FRIGHTENING DEBT: Ontario man makes cemetery to highlight Canadian debt
The debt gravedigger from Amherstburg, Ontario is back again in time for Halloween.
Anthony Leardi put up a video of his lawn display on Facebook to raise awareness of the humungous debt load Canadians carry of over $650 billion.
A dangerous Ottawa sex offender has been set free by accident and is still on the loose.
The sex offender, who’s name is Brendan Wayne Spurrell, was a convicted child predator and was awaiting his trial for sex assault and death threats. It is unclear how the Ottawa police could have accidentally let Spurrell go free.
Spurrell, who is 22-years-old, is wanted on a plethora of charges. The Ottawa police consider him to be dangerous.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, a spokesperson for Ottawa Police stated that Spurrell “is still wanted and we are actively asking the public for any information if they have seen him to contact us. If they do see him, he is considered dangerous … there is an ongoing investigation [about how he was released by accident] by the provincial police.
In an announcement, the Ottawa police commented that “Spurrell was in court on January 13 and was not to be released. Circumstances of his release are being examined by provincial authorities.” They went on to ask the general public for “information on his current whereabouts … Please do not approach him.”
In 2019, Spurrell was sentenced to two years behind bars for sexually assaulting a child. He later was released on parole, however, he was later charged again with sexual assault.
The Liberal government is discussing introducing a new set of online rights in the wake of many Canadians’ privacy being breached. This would include compensation for victims of online fraud.
When such legislation will be introduced remains unclear, and there is little information on what the compensation would look like, but the government says fines for those found guilty of breaching someone’s personal data are certain.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assigned mandate letters for Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault in order to curb the problem, asking them to work on a “digital charter” that would usher in new legislation to compensate Canadian victims of data breach, according to the CBC.
“It will be significant and meaningful to make it very clear that privacy is important. Compensation, of course, is one aspect of it,” said Bains, explaining that the government would like “to demonstrate to businesses very clearly that there are going to be significant penalties for non-compliance with the law. That’s really my primary goal.”
Compensation for victims would encourage private companies to take these issues more seriously according to privacy lawyer Ryan Berger, of Lawson Lundell in Vancouver. “It will incentivize organizations … to take steps to protect that information and ensure that, for instance, health information is encrypted,” he said. “So right now, there aren’t the sorts of financial implications for them if they fail to do that.”
It is a pressing issue, about 57 per cent of Canadian online reported experiencing a cyber security breach in 2018 according to Statistics Canada.
Lifelabs, a medical services company reported that approximately 15 million customers in Ontario and B.C. could have had their private information accessed during a data breach last month.
The Quebec financial institution Desjardins Group faced a similar scenario a few months earlier when an employee with “ill intention” gathered 4.2 million client’s information and shared it, resulting in a class action lawsuit for both companies.
Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy said, “This is becoming a real challenge for courts and businesses to manage.”
“So one of the questions when I see ‘with appropriate compensation’ — I wonder, are they thinking of something other than class-action lawsuits? Are big companies going to be asked to have reserve funds to pay out compensation? Is there going to be a fixed chart of compensation?”
One avenue to preventing privacy breaches would be the government’s talk of a “right to be forgotten” or “right to erasure” law by calling for the “ability to withdraw, remove and erase basic personal data from a platform.”
In 2014 the European Union passed a law that allowed citizens to ask Google to remove web hits that popped up upon their name being searched if they felt they were problematic. The case was brought about by a Spanish lawyer who fought to have material about his past debt troubles scrubbed from the search engine.
Web hits aren’t usually deleted if they are considered, “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive” under the new law but they rather they are hidden by the tech giants in process call de-indexing or de-listing.
Minister Bains said his department will study the EU version of the law as well as a California’s when drawing up the possible model for a Canadian law.
“I find it a little bit odd that they’ve framed the right of erasure in what I think are pretty narrow terms compared to what the emerging standard seems to be internationally,” she said. “There’s a certain lack of clarity here that I think is, well, maybe deliberate, but in some ways I think maybe it’s a bit of a muddled message too.”
A survey conducted last year by an Angus Reid Institute found that 51 per cent of Canadians were in favour of a right to be forgotten online and the right to have search results changed. Not everybody agreed, with 23 percent claiming that erasing negative information would mean “erasing history and facts.”
“I want to hit the ground running. This is a priority for me and our government. We want to move forward to start to see aspects of the digital charter reflected in legislation and new policies and programs as well,” said Minister Bains. “The goal is to work with opposition members sooner rather than later in presenting this legislation in a timely manner.”
There is currently no timeline as to when the proposed legislation would be brought into place.
The Conservative Party of Canada’s internal investigation and report into how the party lost to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the 2019 federal election found that inexperienced staff and too much top-down control of the campaign were main factors leading to the loss, despite the CPC winning the popular vote.
The report, handled by CPC party stalwart and former Harper cabinet Minister John Baird, found that two major factors in the loss of the election were inexperienced staffers and giving too much of the campaign decision-making to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s campaign manager Hamish Marshall, according to a report released by CBC on Tuesday evening.
CBC journalists spoke to multiple party sources who said the report also included the election revelations that Scheer held dual Canadian-American citizenship (despite Scheer criticizing other politicians for holding dual citizenship) and that he falsely claimed he was once a certified insurance broker.
“I have always taken full responsibility for the campaign,” Marshall told CBC. “The buck stops with me.”
Baird was tasked by Scheer to do the election campaign’s postmortem, with him reporting the findings back to Scheer.
The party caucus next meets on January 24, but it’s unclear whether the report will be shared with the Conservative MPs.
UPDATE: In response to this article, the Privy Council Office stated that all Treasury Board guidelines were followed, and that no public funds were spent on alcohol.
The Privy Council Office has billed the Canadian taxpayer $12,450 for a “Hollywood-style cocktail party,” according to Ottawa news outlet Blacklock’s Reporter.
The cocktail party intended to celebrate the “excellence” of the communications staff. As a part of this party, the taxpayer was charged for velvet ropes, red carpeting, and a master of ceremonies in a tuxedo. It was held at the Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
Brad Penfound, who is a senior director of communication’s advisor, was particularly adamant that a red carpet was present: “I have been getting some quotes for renting red carpet and velvet ropes … We want to have a red carpet feel to the event.”
The taxpayer was billed $2,880 for a cocktail party that included expensive ham, smoked salmon, and beef.
“The total cost of the 2019 event was approximately $10,000.00, including room rental, awards, and hospitality. As this was the inaugural year for the awards, some of the initial costs (approximately $2,400.00) include items that will be re-used for several years,” said Privy Council Office spokesperson Pierre-Alain Bujold. “All Treasury Board guidelines were followed. No public funds were spent on alcohol.”
Despite the free gourmet food and party, the Privy Council was upset that the Art’s Centre served booze in plastic cups. Thankfully, however, Penfound came to the rescue, asking the Art Centre whether “it’s possible to have glass.”
Other expenses included $2,437 for communication awards and $2,712 for nine-inch crystal awards—all of which was charged to the taxpayer.
The Privy Council Office is planning to hold a second annual award ceremony on February 18, 2020.