Legal cannabis use could still get you banned at the border, U.S. confirms

By Patrick Cain National Online Journalist, News  Global News

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Canadians may be banned from entering the U.S. for legally using marijuana in Canada if a border officer decides that they are likely to consume it in the United States, American border officials told reporters Tuesday.

READ MORE: Will legal cannabis users be able to cross the U.S. border? ‘It’s anyone’s guess,’ lawyer says

“If someone admits to smoking frequently in Canada, then that will play into the officer’s admissibility decision about whether they think, on this specific trip, they are also likely to engage in smoking marijuana in the United States as well,” said Todd Owen, a senior official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“It’s now legal in Canada, so it comes down to whether the officer believes they may engage in the same activity while in the United States, based on the intent and purpose of their trip, as opposed to the legal engagement within Canada.”

However, U.S. border officials will make a distinction between whether a Canadian’s past marijuana use was before or after legalization, he said.

“When they are questioned by the officer during the interview process, if illegal drug use comes up, it could come down to pre-legalization or post-legalization, and the officer will make the corresponding decision about admissibility based on that.”

However, Owen also said he “would not expect that officers would be routinely asking people about their marijuana use.”

Owen also said that past marijuana convictions in Canada would continue to be a basis in being banned from the U.S., even if the person had later been pardoned in Canada, or if marijuana convictions were expunged in an amnesty.

“We don’t recognize the Canadian amnesty. That would still make you inadmissible into our country.”

Canadians can be banned from entering the United States for being an ‘abuser’ of marijuana. Asked how officers would decide what level of use constituted abuse, Owen would only say that if would be “based on the facts and circumstances of the inspection, and based on what the officer gleans from the inspection process.”

READ MORE: In major shift, the U.S. says it won’t ban Canadian pot workers

While a growing number of states have legalized recreational marijuana at the state level, it remains illegal at the federal level, and Canadians can be banned from using it in states such as California or Oregon, or admitting at the border that they plan to.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has refused to disclose how many Canadians have been banned from entering the United States due to marijuana use.

People banned at the U.S. border can apply for a “waiver” to let them cross. But the process is time-consuming, expensive — the fee recently rose to US$930 — and the process has to be started from scratch every few years for the rest of the person’s life.

Multiple charges laid against 69-year-old in Surrey collision that left woman dead

Janet Dudgeon, 61, was killed and her mother Barbara, 84, was injured in a crash in Surrey last March

Jesse Johnston · CBC News · Posted: Sep 27, 2018 4:29 PM PT | Last Updated: September 27

Collision investigators photograph the scene of the hit and run on 72nd Avenue. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Collision investigators photograph the scene of the hit and run on 72nd Avenue. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The family of the woman who was killed in a crash in Surrey last year says they're relieved an arrest has finally been made in the case.

Janet Dudgeon, 61, and her mother Barbara, 84, were travelling through the intersection of 72 Avenue and 152 Street in Surrey on March 22.

It was around 6:35pm when an eastbound van smashed into their sedan, killing Janet and leaving Barbara with serious injuries.

"We miss her terribly," said Janet's daughter, Melissa Gambone.

"My grandmother, too. We miss the way she was before the injury."

On Tuesday, police arrested Iqbal Singh Sidhu, 69, in Surrey.

Sidhu appeared in provincial court in Surrey on Wednesday to face 15 charges, including manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and impaired driving causing death.

"It was definitely a long, complicated investigation," said Sgt. Chad Greig with Surrey RCMP.

"We hope the charges being laid will bring some solace to the family of the deceased."

Sidhu was released from custody on several conditions.

Serious charges

Gambone says her family is pleased to see the accused has been charged with manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

"It means that our society is looking at impaired driving with a little more seriousness," she said.

Linda Hepner delivers final State of the City address as Surrey mayor

Hepner announced that the city plans to hire a director of housing to come up with and execute a "made-in-Surrey" housing strategy.

JENNIFER SALTMAN Updated: September 19, 2018

The City of Surrey plans to hire a director of housing to develop and execute a housing strategy for the growing municipality.

“I think a housing director, at this point in Surrey’s history, is going to be critical,” Mayor Linda Hepner said on Wednesday, following her fourth and final State of the City address.

Hepner said a lack of affordable housing was not only a Vancouver problem — it’s a problem for the entire region. Surrey needed to have a strategy that looks at what kinds of projects were needed, she said, and it had to be tailored to the city.

“I think that what we’ve always been is a place where people can see themselves and their families growing, so I think as we’ve grown that now is the right time for a housing director,” Hepner said, pointing out that most big cities had such a position.

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She couldn’t say whether the position would be filled before the municipal election takes place on Oct. 20, but she expected the process would be underway by then.

Housing was one topic Hepner touched on during her wide-ranging speech, which for the most part read like a love letter to the city she has served — first as city staff, then councillor and finally as mayor — for more than 30 years.

After one term as mayor, Hepner is not running for re-election.

She reflected on the changes that had taken place over the past three decades, including skyrocketing population and more festivals and park space, as well as the development of post-secondary institutions.

Hepner touched on achievements during her tenure. At the top of the list was the removal of a tent city on 135A Street and the rehousing of its residents, the recent release of a report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention, and the addition of 134 RCMP officers along with the hiring of a public safety director.

On policing, Hepner said it’s time to have a broader discussion about policing in the city, and what kind of police force Surrey should have.

“When you have episodes of tragedy in your community, there’s a lot of emotion and during an election period it escalates into fear mongering. I would just hope that everybody is prepared to look at it with a full-on study with facts and analysis, and let’s make the best decision for a growing community,” she said after her address.

Another hot election issue was the debate over whether Surrey should ditch its plan to build at-grade light rail in favour of SkyTrain, even though LRT was fully funded and procurement had started. She called it a done deal and said she found the debate incredibly frustrating.

“I think elections are always driven by different points of view — and that’s healthy — but I think that sometimes we get lost in the minutia of language and we don’t settle into what is the reality of fact,” she said.

Hepner said in her speech that she hoped the next mayor and council would work together and lead the city into its “next great chapter.”

If Hepner were to leave a note for the next mayor, it would be “short and sweet and in big, bold letters,” she said, becoming tearful.

“Be good to this city, because it is headed for greatness.”

Ottawa residents begin long, slow recovery after twin tornado touchdowns Staff
Published Sunday, September 23, 2018 8:16AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 23, 2018 10:12AM EDT

Residents and crews of the Ottawa-Gatineau region are now beginning the massive rebuilding effort and long rehabilitation process after the area was hit by twin tornadoes.

“This (area) is kind of an extension of tornado alley through southern Ontario. It’s very rare that we have a tornado this strong, this late in the season,” David Sills, Environment Canada, told CTV News late Saturday.

Friday’s twin tornadoes caused massive damage obliterating dozens of homes, tossing vehicles around, snapping huge trees and injuring several people, at least two of whom were admitted to hospital in critical condition.

Environment Canada says one powerful EF-3 category twister ripped through Dunrobin, Ont., just west of Ottawa, before moving on to devastate the densely populated area of Gatineau, Que. At nearly exactly the same time, a slightly less powerful twister, touched down in the south Ottawa neighbourhood of Arlington Woods.

No fatalities have been reported, which a number of officials have marvelled at given the vast amount of property damage the twisters caused. Approximately 60 buildings were wiped out or partially destroyed in Dunrobin, Ont., while in Gatineau more than 215 buildings were damaged or destroyed.

Like many residents in the region, Gatineau resident Melissa St. Pierre was told not to return to her house. She did anyhow, saying she had to to retrieve her daughter’s belongings. On Saturday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said it "literally…looks like some bomb was dropped from the air."

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out, but as of early Sunday morning, the Hydro Ottawa and Hydro Quebec websites report the number had been reduced to fewer than 80,000 -- 70,000 in the Ottawa area and 8,300 in the Outaouais region, which encompasses Gatineau.

Hydro Ottawa tweeted Sunday morning that they were working with Hydro One to repair the Merivale station, which supplies large swaths of the region, but that there isn’t any estimated time when power will be returned.

Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad compared the magnitude of the damage to the power grid to the debilitating ice storm of 1998 on Saturday. He also warned people to brace for a multi-day power outage following what he described as a "cascading failure" of hydro resources.

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Community banding together

The kindness of strangers has been playing a significant role in the aftermath of Friday's tornado. A lot of people have been stepping up to help storm victims with a hot meal, an outlet to charge their phone or a shower.

Shawna Tregunna tweeted a photo of pancakes saying she was cooking up hot meals all day. She also offered to deliver the vast buffet she prepared, and was kept busy doing so from Friday afternoon until late Saturday night.

Tregunna said she had plenty of help in her Good Samaritan efforts with "tons of volunteers, lots of donation offers, lots of offers to do delivery."

Another Ottawa resident, Erin Blaskie, had the same charitable idea, tweeting out a photo of a pot of chili saying anyone without a hot meal could message her for her address, while In Kanata North, Karen Woods opened up her home to people who needed a shower or their batteries recharged.

Another person who’s noticed the generosity of the community is Todd Nicholson, who lives in the hardest hit area of Dunrobin. He told CTV News channel that both his family and his brother’s family are homeless after their homes were destroyed.

“The storm basically took our home and everything in it… it’s something I’ve never witnessed living here for years,” the former Paralympian said.

“It’s tough but at the same time the community has really rallied together. This is a community that has come together to create some sort of normalcy.”

Trying to return to 'some sort of normalcy'

He went on to say that several sports groups in the city plan to return the registration and equipment fees for children enrolled in hockey programs. On Saturday, the Ottawa Senators Foundation launched a GoFundMe page to raise moeny for the victims of the tornado and has pledged to match the first $25,000 given through the page.

"This is our home, and being part of a community coming together in times of need. The Ottawa Senators hockey club and their fans at home,” the club wrote on the page.

The Canadian Army Run, a charity run which raises money for families of the country’s armed forces like the Air Force, Army and Navy, is also still going as planned Sunday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Saturday that he'd spoken with the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau to offer federal assistance.

The Ontario government announced Saturday that it was activating the province's Disaster Recovery Assistance program in affected areas. Under the program, individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations that have experienced property damage or loss as a result of the storm may be eligible to receive help with emergency and recovery expenses.

The Quebec government announced it would give the Red Cross $1 million to help with relief efforts. On Saturday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said, “we are concentrating on people, getting people back home as soon as possible, as safely as possible.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he plans to visit the Ottawa area today to see for himself the devastation caused by Friday's tornado. On Saturday, he said he’d "do whatever it takes to help them get back on their feet."

Construction workers help nab alleged carjacker in downtown Vancouver

CTV Vancouver Published Friday,
September 21, 2018 10:02AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2018 11:42AM PDT

Police are crediting a group of construction workers with helping to end a dramatic crime spree that played out on the streets of downtown Vancouver Friday.

The incident began around 8:40 a.m. at a parking garage at Pender and Cambie streets, where a man allegedly carjacked a vehicle and sped off toward the busy intersection of Georgia and Hamilton streets.

There, police said the suspect struck multiple vehicles and a pedestrian before trying to flee the area on foot.

Police respond to an alleged carjacking and hit-and-run in downtown Vancouver.

Police respond to an alleged carjacking and hit-and-run in downtown Vancouver.

"He bounced off a number of vehicles and trash cans, he hit a pedestrian, then he got out and ran," Const. Jason Doucette said.

The pedestrian, who was crossing the street legally, suffered injuries that police described as serious but not life-threatening.

Doucette said as the alleged carjacker was running away he crossed paths with some construction workers, who held him until officers arrived at the scene – despite being hit with bear spray.

"(The suspect) came into contact with a number of construction workers, who challenged the man and went to take him into custody when they were bear sprayed by this guy," Doucette said.

Officers reached the area minutes later and arrested a 27-year-old man, who is facing several charges, including dangerous driving, robbery and assault.

What you need to know to survive the haze from B.C. wildfires

By and Aaron McArthur Global News

With wildfires raging across British Columbia, a thick blanket of smoke has covered much of the province along with neighbouring Alberta, Saskatchewan and even parts of Manitoba.

Environment Canada has issued dozens of air quality advisories for the four provinces, and in the B.C. communities of Williams Lake, Quesnel and Castlegar, the air quality health index has reached 10, or “very high risk.


In many communities, residents have taken to wearing face masks, and the haze has been thick enough to blot the sun out hours before sunset.

In Prince George, B.C., ash has been falling like snow, while Calgary and Edmonton have been enveloped in an eerie orange haze.

“It’s been difficult, to say the least. Even sleeping at night is trouble, even with the windows closed and with the air on,” said Lorna Burns, a Kamloops delivery driver who suffers from mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“It’s tricky, but the job’s got to be done.”

Health experts are advising people to avoid strenuous exercise and stay indoors as much as possible. If you’re able to invest in a HEPA air filter to clean the air indoors, all the better.

“Take frequent breaks, try to get inside, if you’re on a break, into an area where the air isn’t quite as contaminated,” said Dr. Todd Ring with the Royal Inland Hospital.


For those who have no choice but to work or travel outdoors, a respirator with an N-95 rating can be effective. Homemade solutions are less reliable.

“Wearing a cloth mask or bandanna or something like that, it offers a slight bit of protection. But really, it’s not very effective,” air quality expert Michael Brauer told Global News.

Cloth surgical masks can actually make things worse, he said, because they provide the illusion of protection but actually just make it harder to breathe.

At London Drugs, pharmacies across the regional chain are reporting a sharp uptick in complaints linked to air quality and are scrambling to fill inhaler prescriptions.

Pharmacy general manager Chris Chiew said it’s important for people to know their limitations.

“Younger children, the elderly or anyone who is asthmatic definitely has to be careful to make sure they have their inhalers close by,” he said.

“Actually, stay away from anywhere where there is a high amount of smoke, so if it is outside, make sure they stay indoors as much as they can,” Chiew added.

According to Environment Canada, people with respiratory illnesses and heart disease are particularly susceptible to air pollution.

People with diabetes are also at risk, as are young children, pregnant women, seniors and anyone with a chronic illness.

The agency says that under hazardous air quality conditions, susceptible people can also reduce risk by taking the following steps:

  • Reduce or reschedule outdoor physical activities
  • Monitor possible symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, coughing or irritated eyes
  • Follow a doctor’s advice to manage existing conditions such as heart or lung disease

Downtown Vancouver's Telus Garden towers sold to an undisclosed buyer for an unknown amount - The Georgia Straight

It was only three years ago that Telus completed its spiffy new national headquarters on West Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver.

Called the Telus Garden, the joint venture with Westbank Corp. cost roughly $750 million and came with a redevelopment of most of the block between Georgia and Robson streets and Seymour and Richards streets.

The Canadian telecommunications giant was obviously proud of the shiny building, which boasted solar panels on the roof, motion-sensor lighting, and other environmentally friendly architectural features. In September 2015, the company's president and CEO, Darren Entwistle, personally hosted a press conference there to celebrate the building's official opening.

Now Telus and Westbank have sold the development, which consists of a  22-storey office tower and 44-storey residential tower.

The deal was revealed quietly on Friday (August 3) with the release of Telus's latest quarterly earnings report.

Neither the buyer of 510 West Georgia Street nor the amount paid were disclosed there.

"In August, the Telus Garden real estate joint venture accepted an offer to purchase the income producing property and the related net assets; the sale is expected to be completed subsequent to August 3, 2018," reads a media release that accompanied the report.

"During the third quarter of 2018 we expect to record our share of the gain, which is estimated at approximately $170 million," it continues. "In 2011, we partnered, as equals, in a residential condominium, retail and commercial real estate redevelopment project, TELUS Garden, in Vancouver, British Columbia."

Telus Garden is located in downtown Vancouver at 510 West Georgia Street, between Seymour and Richards streets.


Telus Garden is located in downtown Vancouver at 510 West Georgia Street, between Seymour and Richards streets.

The property was never listed as for sale, and so the deal is very likely the result of an unsolicited offer that was simply too good for Telus Garden's owners to refuse.

With downtown Vancouver almost out of land that's not already developed and commercial real estate in increasingly short supply, Telus and Westbank probably received quite a bit for the property.

In December 2017, a lot just 10 blocks west of Telus Garden, at 1616 West Georgia Street, sold for $245 million.

by Travis Lupick on August 6th, 2018 at 12:24 PM

Is the Sask Health Authority Beefing Up Security?

There may be changes coming to security practices to the St Joseph's Hospital; in fact, they're currently looking at strategies for all facilities within the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Officials hope this process will make sure that all hospitals and facilities ensure the safety of staff, visitors and patients, according to the Executive Director of Infrastructure Management, Derek Miller.

"The intent of the review is really two-fold. One is we brought together the 12 health regions into a single health authority. We want to create a provincial program for security," explained Miller. "We want the review to basically describe to us the current state of security across our various facilities. And the second part of the report is about recommendations, about how we would structure and operate provincial security programs."

When exactly these changes or upgrades will be implemented is still up in their air as they are waiting for the report. Once they have it, they will have to go through it line by line to make any determinations.

"We are anticipating receiving the report likely in a month or so, likely in August. At that point we'll be reviewing it internally and considering the various recommendations. At that point, it'll inform us of our next steps as we develop our strategy for setting up this provincial program for security."

Here in Estevan, Greg Hoffart, Executive Director at the St. Joseph's Hospital is awaiting the results of the review. 

"We have heard no results from their security review at this time. I think that there are definitely areas of the province where security is of great concern in facilities. So we will be interested to see what their reviews and the results of such a review."

 Written by Hayley Hart/Emily Kroeker

CBC News- How to prevent vehicle break-ins

Park in well-lit areas, avoid leaving items in the car, be extra careful in hot spots like downtown Montreal.

Montreal has its hot spots for vehicle break-ins, but they can happen anywhere, and there are clear ways to curb it, according to the experts and those who've had their cars vandalized.

Montreal has its hot spots for vehicle break-ins, but they can happen anywhere, and there are clear ways to curb it, according to the experts and those who've had their cars vandalized.

Lawyer Jean-François Raymond said he returned to his car, parked at Peel and Ste-Catherine streets in downtown Montreal a few years ago, to find the rear window smashed and what he'd left in the back seat, gone.

Raymond's advice to drivers: don't leave anything in your vehicle.

George Iny from the Automobile Protection Association agrees. He said sunglasses, a purse, electronics, or anything that looks like it's holding something valuable, such as a computer, could entice a thief.

"The core area of the city has a lot of street life, and some people who are in difficulty," Iny said. "For them, this is an opportunity to make a few bucks." 

Iny recommends people never leave the keys in the car, even for just a moment, like at a gas station.

"If someone is staking the place out, the car could disappear. That's how it happens," Iny said.

That's also one of the Canadian Automobile Association's tips for preventing car theft.

The CAA recommends having parts of the car engraved and installing a tracking system or starter kill, and to park in well lit areas. 

The Guardian

Three Oaks student honoured for excellence in workplace safety

Melanie Rodger, who recently graduated from Three Oaks Senior High School student in Summerside, has been busy creating safe spaces at her school, work and volunteer settings.

Recently she was recognized for showing excellence in the demonstration and understanding of occupational health and safety (OCH) principals, by the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) with the Safety Matters Award during their annual public meeting.

“One of the ways to build safer workplaces is to focus on our future workforce,” said Stuart Affleck, chairman for the Workers Compensation Board. “The WCB places great importance on fostering safety champions in our next generation of workers and employers.”

Melanie participated in the OHS Leadership Program over the past year, where she worked with a partner to plan and host events designed to raise student awareness around safety in the workplace.

In the summer of 2017, she worked in a laboratory setting at University of Prince Edward Island, where she gained awareness and appreciation for safety training, and the need for personal protective equipment in certain workplace settings.

She participated in a training course at an aerospace company where workers were provided with an orientation to a new 3-D printer and learned more about effective communication of workplace hazards.

Rodger volunteers at the Prince County Hospital, in addition she serves as president of a volunteer youth board at the hospital. She has taken a leadership role in sharing knowledge about OHS with her co-workers and plans to study bioengineering at McGill University in Montreal this fall.

“We applaud Melanie and the many other students who take an interest in health and safety in the workplace,” said Luanne Gallant, CEO for the Workers Compensation Board. “Any effort to educate and engage others in discussions around safety will help benefit everyone.”

To learn more about educating young workers about workplace safety, visit the Workers Compensation Board website at or call the WCB office at 902‐368‐5680 or 1‐800‐237‐5049.


Crime will be a top issue for Surrey in run-up to civic election, says longtime journalist


SURREY (NEWS 1130) – With three high-profile murders in Surrey last month alone, a longtime journalist believes crime will be a major focus when people go to the polls to elect a new mayor in October.

Frank Bucholtz — a former columnist with the Surrey Now Leader, among other roles — tells us the issue will be perhaps the most prominent issue in October’s vote.

But he says it’s not just murders that are the focus for voters — it’s a lot of those lesser crimes that are proving to be an agitation.

“It isn’t just the murders. It’s also a lot of the other crime that goes on, that’s associated with it. I think people are just feeling that it’s not under any kind of control.”

“In many parts of Surrey, crime is a pretty common thing,” he adds. “It may not be murders or it may not be violent crime. It might be petty crime. It might be property, break-ins, theft or vandalism or things like that.”

That said, Bucholtz says it will be a major challenge for anyone to take on the reigning Surrey First party, suggesting that party will be the favourite unless a high-profile name enters the fray — like perhaps Rich Coleman, the former BC Liberal cabinet minister who was said to be considering a run for mayor.

“Surrey First definitely has an edge financially,” says Bucholtz. “They’ve undoubtedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars before the new rules kicked in that the province brought in. Therefore, I think, any opponent is going to have one hand tied behind their back to compete financially.”

Forty-five per cent of people who responded to a recent Research Co survey say crime is the most important issue in Surrey. Bucholtz says the percentage of people who feel that way might actually be higher, in reality.

But the crime problem is not what’s scaring off potential candidates, in the view of Bucholtz. He believes people may opt out of running due to Surrey First’s dominance in recent elections.

“I think people just feel — what’s the point in putting a lot of money, energy and time and volunteer effort into mounting a campaign against a civic slate which has this kind of advantage financially — incumbency, coziness with business and developers — so I think people have looked at it and said, ‘I’ll take a pass,'” says Bucholtz.

 – With files from Monika Gul


Overall crime rate in Vancouver went down in 2017, VPD says

Property crime and deadly car crashes are down, but homicides and sex offences are up slightly

Vancouver police say the rate of crime in the city dropped in 2017, with less property crime and deadly car crashes but more homicides and car theft.

The overall crime rate has gone down 1.5 per cent, according to department data released Thursday.

Property crime went down nearly two per cent, ending a five-year streak of rising rates. Break-ins to businesses also went down by nearly 18 per cent, robberies were down 23 per cent and deadly motor vehicle collisions dropped by 13 per cent.

There were 1.9 per cent more violent crimes in 2017, but when you compare those numbers for the last 10 years, there's still a decrease.

Homicides in the city went from 12 to 19 last year, for an increase of 58 per cent. Shots fired incidents were up 19 per cent, from 26 to 31.

Sex offences were also up by two per cent.

A statement from the department said motor vehicle theft is still a persistent problem.

"Theft from motor vehicles continues to be an issue in Vancouver, especially downtown," said Const. Jason Doucette. 

"While we'll continue to target offenders, drivers can help by simply not leaving anything visible in their vehicles. If thieves can see it, they're more likely to steal it."

On average, the data noted, Vancouver police responded to calls within nine minutes and 46 seconds in 2017 — about one second slower than the year before.


Mike Smyth: More crime, fewer cops — What is wrong with Surrey's picture?

The spasm of gang violence in Surrey has triggered an outpouring of concern in a community worried about flying bullets and the seductive lure of gang life on impressionable kids.

But it’s also re-ignited a debate in a city that always seems to get the short end of the stick compared to its Metro Vancouver neighbours.

Does Surrey have enough cops? And is the RCMP the right force to patrol mean streets plagued by some of B.C.’s highest crime rates?

Tom Gill, the city councillor considered the frontrunner for mayor in this fall’s municipal election, said the city’s RCMP detachment has added 100 more cops with plans to add more.

“The number is unprecedented,” Gill said. “No other municipality has made as significant an investment in such a short time.”

But it’s not enough to match the per capita number of police officers deployed in neighbouring cities.

According to Statistics Canada, Surrey has just 139 police officers for every 100,000 residents. Compare that to Vancouver, which has 191 cops for every 100,000 residents.

Neighbouring Delta has 163 officers per 100,000. New Westminster has 153.

Now compare the rates of serious crime in those four cities for an even starker contrast.

Surrey has a crime severity index of 117, while Vancouver, New West and Delta have severe-crime rates of 114, 79 and 54 respectively.

The bottom line: Surrey has more crime, and less cops, than its neighbours. What is wrong with this picture?

“It’s actually quite shocking,” said Stuart Parker, a candidate for city council running for the Proudly Surrey party. “The thing a gang possesses is turf. If you don’t have the personnel to compete for that turf, then you’re ceding it to the gangs that do. We need 30 to 50 per cent more officers in Surrey.”

There are also growing demands for the city to dump the RCMP and create a local municipal police force, like the ones in Vancouver, New West, Delta and several other B.C. cities.

“The RCMP has multiple levels of bureaucracy and hierarchies and a backlog of unfilled vacancies,” Parker complained. “A local force will be less top-heavy and allow us to retain police officers in the community where they were recruited.”

But the ruling Surrey First party shows no interest in replacing the RCMP.

“The party is over,” insisted Mayor Linda Hepner, who is not seeking re-election. “We are going to make life (for gangsters) as miserable as we can legally in the city of Surrey.”

Hepner made the comments while releasing a new anti-gang strategy following a rash of deadly violence, including the daylight shooting death of 47-year-old hockey coach Paul Bennett, gunned down in his driveway on June 23.

The report includes recommendations to expand anti-gang youth programs and double the size of the RCMP’s gang enforcement unit in the city.

“It will give us more boots on the ground that will get in the face of gangsters and get them out of our city,” Dwayne McDonald, Surrey’s RCMP assistant commissioner, told Global News reporter Janet Brown.

“My message is, ‘You’re not welcome in Surrey. We are coming for you. You can run. You can hide. But we will find you, we will arrest you and we will put you in jail.’”

But McDonald said the additional anti-gang officers will be moved into the unit from other duties, not new hires. And he declined to say how many officers are actually in the gang unit now for “security reasons.”

“Disappointing,” responded Gurpreet Sahota, the community leader who fired up 5,000 protesters at a recent Wake Up Surrey anti-gang rally. “We need more police officers. And everybody in Surrey is talking about the need for a local police department. Neither was mentioned in the report.”

He questions why a promise to double the size of the city’s anti-gang unit is supposed to reassure anyone when police won’t say how many officers are in the unit to start with.

And why wasn’t the promised “Inadmissible Patrons Program” to ban gangsters from bars started years ago, when a similar program has been running in Vancouver for a decade?

Watch for these issues to heat up as the campaign for mayor gets closer — especially if Liberal MLA Rich Coleman, a former police officer, decides to challenge Gill for the job.

“That recent shooting (of hockey coach Paul Bennett) happened 10 blocks from my house,” said Coleman, who called for more street cops and increased gang surveillance.

“You need intelligence-gathering,” Coleman said. “You need to be visible on the street. You need to use statistical models to know where the hot spots are, target your resources and then push back on crime.”

But Gill said Coleman’s previous controversial oversight of casino gambling — the subject of a scathing recent report on money laundering — should disqualify the former solicitor general from the mayor’s job.

“You really have to rethink whether you can support an individual like that,” Gill said.

It’s clear that gang warfare, and political warfare, are both on the rise in Surrey.


    Four tips for keeping security worries away this summer

    As the summer weather heats up, so does the desire to cut out of the office early and finish the workday from the park, a local pub patio or maybe the family cottage.

    Now is the time where many of us take advantage of the ability to work remotely – using portable devices and free Wi-Fi or mobile hotspots to stay connected. While many managers are fairly flexible on this type of ‘perk’ if the position allows, IT security experts understand that is comes with some risk. To offset this, steps should be taken to ensure data and access is secure while at work, home or on the go. 

    Consider working remotely. Where do you start? The first thing you’re going to do is to sign into email or your white-listed business application of choice to access the files you need to do your job. Doing so in the office versus doing so on a busy summer patio poses different threats. Still, there are a couple of steps organizations can take to keep remote employees happy, while maintaining security. Here are four main ones to consider:

    1. “Just enough” access

    Whether it’s the summer vacation season or the middle of winter, this tip still applies. Limit the access entitlements that employees have to only what they need to do their jobs and nothing more. This sounds straightforward and simple, but it’s often a surprise at how much access employees can accumulate.

    Often referred to as ‘access creep,’ the term refers to the additional access employees have received over time that was never turned off. This could be due to a previous role in another department or a special project the employee worked on. The idea here is that if employees only have the bare minimum of access and nothing more—should something happen and an employee’s access is compromised somehow—the risk to the company is lower than it would have been otherwise.

    2. “Only when needed” access

    There’s going to be roles that require elevated access to important data, as it’s the nature of business. But there are things organizations can do to limit that access with by putting extra protections in place so that the access is only granted when necessary.

    A single sign-on solution is great for enabling employees to be able to access various applications from one simple location, but implementing a risk-based authentication that requires additional authentication if certain parameters are detected will help ensure additional safety measures are in place. For example, when the employee is detected in the office, they can click in without issue. When they are trying to access that application from elsewhere on their personal network though, additional authentication will be required to make certain they truly are who they say they are.

    3. “Sorry, not now” access denial

    In the same vain as the ‘only when needed’ access scenario, there may be situations or applications that organizations are going to decide they do not want to allow any access to outside of their strict controls. Through the use of an advanced authentication tool with Geo-Fencing included, organizations can configure a policy to limit access to only those users in the allowed location.

    4. “I forgot my password” access

    There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get something done so you can sign off for the day and getting hit with password request. For example, consider trying to access a previous application you were working in to upload work (i.e. Box, Dropbox), and you are asked to enter a password you don’t remember.

    In the case of remote working, due to some of the tips I described above, it’s not uncommon to be asked for that password once you’re out of your network. However, unless you’re used to working remotely and can recall it on the fly, it can be a real inhibitor of getting work done when you’re not at the office. This is where a self-service password reset tool is not only a godsend for the end user, but it also alleviates calls to the help desk and can increase security. The reason for this is that customized—or pre-written—challenge questions are more secure than verifying a user’s identity on the phone before resetting a password or unlocking an account.

    We should all be allowed to enjoy some fun in the sun this vacation season. By incorporating some—or all—of these strategies, organizations can better prepare themselves for the inevitable summer ‘WFH’ requests and allow their employees to do just that. In doing so, companies will achieve a more secure environment for their employees who plan on sneaking in some much-needed family time.

    It world Canada

    UK minimum cyber security standard should be followed in Canada, says expert

    There’s no shortage of advice to infosec leaders about what they ought to be doing to tighten the IT security of their organization, starting with the Center for Internet Security’s critical security controls . But what if the board and C-suite wants to tell departments what they must do?

    The recently-issued minimum cyber security standard for U.K. government departments is a good place to start. In seven pages the government sets out what it expects departments to adhere to — and exceed wherever possible.

    This concise document goes along with the more detailed best practices security policy framework for protecting government assets, first published in 2014, to comply with the U.K. national cyber security strategy.

    Those two documents can be granular, and in some ways ‘here’s how you do it’. The minimum cyber security standard is ‘here’s what you better be doing.’

    So, for example, one of the first standards is “Departments shall identify and manage the significant risks to sensitive information and key operational services.”

    Here’s another notable must: “Access shall be removed when individuals leave their role or the organization. Periodic reviews should also take place to ensure appropriate access is maintained.”

    And another: “Multi-factor authentication shall be used where technically possible, such as where administrative consoles provide access to manage cloud based infrastructure, platforms or services. Multi-factor authentication shall be used for access to enterprise level social media accounts.”

    Four sections

    The standard is broken down into four sections infosec pros will recognize for creating a strategy: Identify, Protect, Detect and Respond. Within each department heads are mandated to take certain action. This means if there is a failure the government can ask, ‘Why wasn’t this done?”

    “This is a  useful starting point for Canadian authorities,” said David Swan, the Alberta-based director of cyber intelligence at the Centre for Strategic Cyberspace + Security Science, an international consultancy. “All levels of government can use it. The requirements of the standard can be integrated into any regulatory framework. The standard can be expanded or included in other guidance. In the corporate environment, this level of knowledge should be required by boards of directors, CEOs, CSOs and CISOs. Organizations that don’t require this level of knowledge are essentially ‘co-operative victims’, unaware of their risk, cyber threat and consequences.”

    The standard does allow some implementation flexibility. So the definition of ‘sensitive’, ‘essential’, ‘important’ and ‘appropriate’ are left open. “However , the document adds, “departments are accountable for the effectiveness of these decisions.”

    U.K. departments “shall understand and manage security issues that arise because of dependencies on external suppliers or through their supply chain,” the standard says. That includes ensuring that the standards are met by the suppliers of third party services, such as hardware, software, consulting or cloud providers  However, those third parties could meet compliance in one of several ways. One is if the supplier holds a valid Cyber Essentials2 certificate as a minimum.

    The U.K. Cyber Essentials program has accredited bodies issue certificates to private sector companies attesting they have met certain minimum security standards. Last month, when it released the latest Canadian cyber security standard Ottawa said it is looking to set up a similar program here.

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    However, the Canadian program may take some time. The government said it will first consult with the private sector and potential certification bodies.  At this point it isn’t known who those certification firms could be. In the U.K. they include many IT security consulting companies, who have expertise in the area. The department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) will be responsible for approving the Canadian program. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which oversees security for federal systems, will define a basic set of measures SMEs would have to follow. And the Standards Council of Canada will approve certification bodies to assure evaluate SMEs have met the standard.

    Note where the U.K. mimimum standard starts: “There shall be clear lines of responsibility and accountability to named individuals for the security of
    sensitive information and key operational services.”