Horgan urges Yes vote in electoral reform referendum, hints at Kitimat LNG plant - Canadanewsmedia
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Horgan urges Yes vote in electoral reform referendum, hints at Kitimat LNG plant

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WHISTLER, B.C. — Premier John Horgan says he will take an active roll on the vote Yes side in British Columbia’s upcoming referendum to change the electoral system.

Horgan told municipal politicians at the annual Union of B.C. municipalities convention in Whistler Friday the current system of electing provincial governments must be amended and modernized to ensure political parties with 40 per cent of the vote no longer hold 100 per cent of the power.

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A mail-in ballot referendum set to conclude Nov. 30 will give voters the opportunity to choose between three forms of proportional representation or support the current first-past-the-post system of electing governments.

“I’m going to campaign as hard as I can in the next month to convince other British Columbians to join with me and take a leap of faith on a change that works in jurisdictions around the world,” said Horgan. “This is not something that’s never been tried before. Do not be put in a place of fear.”

The Opposition Liberals are opposed to the referendum’s options for proportional representation, with Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson saying the NDP wants an electoral system where one-party majority governments become rare or extinct.

Horgan said proportional representation allows the voices of all voters to be heard.

“I believe the time is right,” he said. “Proportional representation will allow us to ensure every vote matters. I believe we’ll get better outcomes.”

Two previous electoral reform referendums in British Columbia in 2005 and 2009 were not successful.

Horgan told delegates he also expects an economic decision on a proposed liquefied natural gas plant and export terminal that could bring billions of dollars in economic activity to the province’s northwest.

“We are now very very close to realizing a final investment decision from LNG Canada that will transform Kitimat, most assuredly, but will provide certainty and sustainability for our gas sector from well head to waterline,” he said.

LNG Canada officials could not be reached for comment on the status of a final investment decision for its proposed $40 billion Kitimat project, a joint venture of Shell Canada, Royal Dutch Shell, PetroChina, Korea Gas Corp., and Mitsubishi Corp.

Horgan also appealed to all B.C. communities to send the government plans and ideas to combat floods and fires, which have resulted province declaring states of emergency for the past two years.

“I believe we need to do more,” he said. “We need to make sure we don’t just do another review. We need a call to action.”

He hinted at a news conference following his speech that his government is considering a review of current policy for annual rent increases and may revisit an unfulfilled campaign promise of a renter’s rebate.

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Richmond Mounties seize servers containing private data allegedly being sold

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Police in Richmond are investigating allegations that database servers containing sensitive and unencrypted customer data from the bankrupt tech retailer NCIX are being sold online. 

AP files

Mounties seize servers after local IT expert reports they had been bought from bankrupt Vancouver company NCIX and contained unwiped information.

Police in Richmond are investigating allegations that database servers containing sensitive and unencrypted customer data from the bankrupt tech retailer NCIX are being sold online.

According to a Richmond RCMP statement, an investigation was opened Thursday, and the database servers in question have been seized.

Vancouver-based tech retailer NCIX filed for bankruptcy late last year, closing more than a dozen stores and auctioning off most of its remaining goods — hardware and software.

According to an article posted online by Vancouver cybersecurity expert Travis Doering, NCIX compromised security for hundreds of thousands of customers, whose private data — including IP, home and email addresses, passwords, credit card information and social insurance numbers — was being sold to the highest bidder on Craigslist,

In a piece written for Privacy Fly, described as a boutique cyber-security firm based in Vancouver, Doering said a Craigslist post advertising NCIX Database Servers led him to a Richmond warehouse, where he discovered that the full records of the now-defunct company, dating as far back as 15 years, were readily available for purchase.

Doering said the servers, which the seller claimed had been purchased through Able Auctions, were never wiped. As a result, prospective buyers were invited to either buy the servers and all the data with them, or simply copy the data to their own hard drives for a five-figure fee.

Doering said many of these records were completely unencrypted, and those that had some measure of security were easily cracked — a fact the seller even boasted about.

The seller, who identified himself as Jeff, bragged that he could “crack their ISCSI server with very simple tools in five minutes,” and called their security “really, really, bad,” according to Doering.

“The data I have seen today contained some the most damaging and extensive records I have ever come across covering at least seventeen years of business transitions,” Doering wrote. “Data breaches by external actors are common in today’s digital world but what makes this set of data so damaging is that it contains every record NCIX ever held.”

By failing to secure their customer data upon bankruptcy, Doering explained, NCIX potentially allowed millions of confidential records to be sold anonymously and without any oversight at all.

If all this is true, millions of North American consumers are now at risk of identity theft and fraud as a result, even after RCMP seizure of the hardware.

“The data can easily be used to cash out credit cards, craft convincing phishing messages containing details on purchases and commit identity theft,” he wrote.

hmooney@postmedia.com


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Legalization countdown: The week in cannabis

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As the countdown to legal marijuana becomes a matter of weeks and days, not months, it comes more and more into focus.

Here’s what we learned this week:

  • Legal marijuana markets will mostly be online to start in several provinces (totally online in Ontario). Online shopping, as we know, means credit cards. But credit card data is held in the U.S., and non-Americans have no protection if Uncle Sam decides to take a peek. So if the U.S. wanted to start assembling a list of at least a fair number of Canadian marijuana users after legalization, they certainly have a way of doing so. That’s awkward, because … 
  • … Politico published an important story last week, in which a senior U.S. border official told them that even after legalization anyone using cannabis in Canada could be barred for life for use, and anyone involved in the Canadian cannabis industry could be barred for drug trafficking. This is important new information – there was some doubt about how strictly the letter of the law would be applied at the border.

WATCH: 1 month until marijuana legalization: Is Canada ready?






  • Will we eventually see imported marijuana for sale in Canada? Recreational imports are banned at the moment – but as more countries move to legalize we could eventually get into a marijuana trade dispute with Uruguay, Mexico or Jamaica, a trade expert explains.
  • It’s not surprising on some level, but decades of illegality has left marijuana strain genetics a mess, DNA studies show. Hindu Kush from three different suppliers can be very different varieties.
  • Marijuana stocks have had an exciting ride. But is it a bubble? It will take six months to a year to see, an investment expert explains.
  • We won’t see factory-made cannabis beverages for at least a year (unless you want to buy some THC oil and make your own, which won’t be all that hard to do). But big beer makers and Coca-Cola have their eye on the market. Apart from anything else, brewers may lose customers as marijuana becomes more available, so they’re making a virtue of necessity by investing in their new rival.

WATCH: Pot sector workers could face trouble at U.S. border






  • Want to pitch yourself as a “cannabis connoisseur” who should be paid $50 an hour to sample different kinds of marijuana? These folks are hiring. (You’ll also have to write social media posts and appear in videos.)
  • Saskatchewan’s fledgling marijuana retail system fears a pot shortage, at least at first.
  • B.C. is warning grey-market dispensaries that they should either shut down on their own or be shut down. (Awkwardly, the province will have exactly one legal store ready to go on October 17, in Kamloops.)

WATCH: Weed and the workplace: Are employers equipped for the implications?






  • Economists at TD predict that legal recreational cannabis will add $7-8 billion to Canada’s GDP, Sort of. “We would caution against reading too much enthusiasm into this,” they write, calling it an “accounting illusion”. The grey and black markets were actually a part of the national economy, after all. Some portion of what looks like growth in 2019 should basically be ignored, they say. (Illegal economic activity gives economists headaches – it obviously exists, but it’s hard to measure.)
  • StatsCan estimates that about 5.4 million people will buy legal cannabis in Q4, while another 1.7 million will stick with grey/black market suppliers. Canadians will have spent $800 million to $1 billion on legal pot by the end of the year, they predict. (StatsCan would also like to hear about your grey/black market pot buying – quantity, quality, price – anonymously.)
  • Bloomberg talks to a company that’s hoping to lower the price of weed to 20 cents a gram through streamlining its production process, and another that wants to have its greenhouses run mostly by robots. (In the long run, will high-tech, largely automated cannabis production be the job creator we were hoping for?)

WATCH: How the military will handle marijuana







QUESTION: So where does legalization leave soon-to-be-not-illegal marijuana in our culture? Is it respectable, a bad habit, a vice, a harmless pleasure? (Will attitudes change over time? It took Ontario decades after Prohibition ended to run liquor stores like more or less normal retail stores.) The words we use all have different value judgments attached: cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed.

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Understandably anxious to enter the mainstream, people in the cannabis industry want to create space between them and what for want of a better word we could call stoner culture. Reporters get very polite but firm requests to avoid the word ‘pot,’ let alone ‘weed,’ and images like the one below.

(Global’s style rule is to prefer ‘marijuana,’ given that it’s the term most in common use, but also to allow ‘cannabis,’ ‘pot,’ and ‘weed,’ ideally on second reference.)

If you were choosing images for an online story about cannabis, would you use the photo below, which Canadaland called “the most overused stoner pic of all“? (They may have a point.) Why or why not? The form is below the image. Responses may be published. 

A woman exhales while smoking a joint during the annual 420 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Ottawa. Ontario adolescents are drinking, smoking and using cannabis and other recreational drugs at the lowest rates since the late 1970s, suggests a biennial survey of Grade 7 to 12 students by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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Power outages in South Temiskaming

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Several communities in South Temiskaming are experiencing power outages due to a  storm packing 70 to 100 kilometre an hour winds that swept through the region on Friday, September 21. Hydro One crews are responding to a number of downed power lines and tree branches in the area. Hydro One says there were 32 incidents and 992 customers in the New Liskeard region affected by the power outages.

was last modified: September 22nd, 2018 by Editorial Staff

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