News

1. The Icarus Report

There were two incidents at Stanfield International Airport yesterday.

The first involved Air Canada flight 7775 from Halifax to Fredericton, reported CTV:

A Fredericton-bound Air Canada flight had to turn around and make an emergency landing in Halifax Sunday after the pilot noticed smoke in the cockpit.

Theresa Rath Spicer, spokesperson for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, says Air Canada flight 7775 left the airport at 11:55 a.m. and landed at 12:07 p.m.

There were 13 passengers on board the plane, which was operated by EVAS Air. Rath Spicer says the passengers were safely evacuated from the plane onto the runway and then boarded a bus back to the airport.

No one was injured.

Inbound and outbound flights were delayed for about 45 minutes while the plane was evacuated and towed from the runway.

Rath Spicer says there were no signs of fire on the plane, and normal operations resumed at 12:55 p.m.

Reporting for StarMetro Halifax, Lama El Azrak notes that “the aircraft landed at the intersection of the airport’s two runways, which caused a 45-minute delay for inbound and outbound flights.”

One of the CRJ900 aircraft in Air Canada Express’ fleet. Photo: Bombardier

This led to the second incident, involving Air Canada flight 8635 from Halifax to Ottawa, which was scheduled to leave Halifax at 12:05pm.

A family member of a passenger on the flight contacted me to say that the plane was actually accelerating down the runway for takeoff but the takeoff was aborted because flight 7775 was sitting at the end of the runway, in the direct path of flight 8635.

Yesterday evening, I called Theresa Rath Spicer, the airport’s communications director, to ask about the incident. Twenty minutes later she called me back to confirm there was an incident with flight 8635 and it was reported to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), but she could provide no more details until TSB offices open this morning.

The plane used for flight 8635 was a Bombardier CRJ-900 jet, which seats up to 76 passengers.

Flight 8635 was delayed but did finally successfully take off; it arrived in Ottawa 49 minutes after its scheduled arrival time.

2. The province’s information security failure

“There’s a clear public interest in knowing how well the province is protecting our personal data,” writes Stephen Kimber. “So why are Liberal MLAs refusing to let the public accounts committee question witnesses about the latest data breaches?”:

Last Wednesday, five Liberal MLAs — Gordon Wilson, Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Ben Jessome, Brendan Maguire, and Hugh MacKay — voted, not with their minds, or their hearts, or their common sense, or even in the interests of the taxpayers who put them there, but in the craven service of their self-interested my-way-or-no-way political master, the premier.

Click here to read “The Liberals’ Fang-less Five ‘pre-empt’ public interest.” 

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Friday afternoon, I attended Evan d’Entremont’s session, “1234, I Declare Cyber War,” at the AtlSecCon 2018 convention at the new convention centre (nice place, but seems kind of pricey).

d’Entremont is a software engineer who has written profusely about the security failure. AtlSecCon is the Atlantic Security Conference, “a non-profit, annual, information security conference located in Halifax… [whose] goal is to provide quality information security education and training at an affordable cost.” d’Entremont invited me to attend, and the cost was free.

(“Security failure” strikes me as a more accurate description of what occurred than “privacy breach.” “Security failure” places the blame where it belongs — on those charged with securing the information — while “privacy breach” implies that the 19-year-old who accessed the information is the culprit.)

About 150 people attended d’Entremont’s session. If there was anyone in the audience who disagreed with his take, they didn’t express that disagreement. On the contrary, the room seemed in total agreement.

d’Entremont walked us through what happened with the Freedom of Information (FOI) website security failure; he has helpfully posted his entire slide show on the web, here. He has a dry sense of humour, and some of the tech particulars of his talk went over my head, but he made several points that I think should be underscored.

First, the FOI website stated clearly that:

The disclosure log is an online repository of government information released in response to access to information requests for general information. Eligible responses are posted… No requests made for personal information will be posted on the log. All eligible access to information responses must meet a stringent set of criteria before they are posted. [emphasis added]

Any reasonable person reading that would assume that the information posted on the log is therefore public.

Moreover, d’Entremont pointed to the January 6, 2017 press release announcing the new FOI website, which included the statement that:

Under the new disclosure site, completed Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requests must meet criteria to be eligible for posting. For example:
— personal or confidential business information will not be eligible to be released online
— applicants will receive the response first and seven days later, the response will be posted publicly
— the type of information posted online will depend on criteria set by Information Access and Privacy Services, novascotia.ca/is/programs-and-services/information-access-and-privacy.asp. [emphasis added]

Got that? No personal information would be posted, and Internal Services staff itself will determine the criteria for posting. Again: any reasonable person reading that would assume that the information posted on the log is therefore public, and if it’s not, blame Internal Services staff.

Were that not enough, d’Entermont also led us to the “Access to Information Request service” page on the Nova Scotia government website that provides “Terms of use.” The section labeled “Security of the service” reads:

The Province agrees to adopt industry standards in the development of its Internet systems and procedures to protect the security of the information you access or the transactions you transmit or perform through the Service.

Yet again: the province, not the user, is responsible for adopting “industry standards” for security.

Second, d’Entremont then gave the details of the security failure and the arrest of the 19-year-old man. d’Entremont then quoted various government officials and employees. The politicians said a lot of plainly stupid stuff, but the important quotes are as follows:

Premier Stephen McNeil:

Our senior staff was in contact with [police] over the entire weekend Mr. Speaker, on advice from our senior staff, the best way for us to contain [the information], was to [get a warrant for] the equipment that was used to breach our equipment to make sure that we know who that information has been sent to.” 

Former Internal Services Minister Labi Kousoulis, on the floor of the legislature on April 12:

None of us in here are security experts…

Well, what the minister did is listen to the experts, and I would hope if the [opposition] ever go into government, that they’re going to listen to the advice of the civil servants who are subject matter experts.

MLA Patricia Arab, the current minister of Internal Services, said that after the security failure was discovered:

On advice from my IT staff, all of the tests and protocols on the software had been run.

Third, So who are these IT staff? These people:

d’Entremont proceeded to detail what their responsibilities are, what protocols are in place, and how Conrad, Cascadden, and Samuel failed to follow those responsibilities and protocols. (I wrote about Samuel last week.)

These are the people who are now investigating the security failure and are giving advice to the government. d’Entremont explained the situation in a slide that reads:

The team that will revisit the situation is:
• the same team that failed to secure the system
• the same team that wrote the response policy
• the same team that [is] advising the Cabinet
• the same team that [falsely] claimed the police said to keep quiet
• the same team that briefed the police on the offense

Most importantly:
• the same team directly responsible for the breach of private information

In short, Conrad, Cascadden, and Samuel are in a conflict of interest. There is more than a little evidence to suggest that they themselves are the cause of the security failure, and yet they are charged with investigating it. It is unlikely that they will report back that they are the responsible culprits, and more likely that some other actor will be blamed, fairly or not.

It’s no wonder some hapless teenager was arrested.

d’Entremont said plainly that all three should be fired. I noticed no opposing view in the room.

3. Examineradio 155: Adelina Iftene on Canada’s Prison Health Shame

Adelina Iftene. Photo: Halifax Examiner

This week, we speak with Dal law prof Adelina Iftene about the sad state of health care in Canada’s prisons.

Also, privacy breaches, the convention centre, and laughing about dead people.

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4. El Jones

El Jones

El Jones writes:

What’s the point when no matter how hard we push, no matter if we work all day and night, no matter if we speak and shout and rally until our throats are raw, at best the reward is learning about more injustice and having to fight to fix that.

Click here to read “Evidently, it’s elementary, they want us all gone eventually.”

4. Proclaiming love

“The ‘Proclamations and Resolutions’ section of regional council meeting agendas is the part where councilors ask that particular days, weeks, months or even years be designated to honor people or organizations or historical events or diseases or what have you,” explains Mary Campbell in the Cape Breton Spectator.

Campbell has gone so far as to create a Google Calendar of all the special days, weeks, and months proclaimed by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Seems excessively compulsive, but it’s great fun all the same.

Click here to read “The Proclaimers.”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
White space

Her excessively compulsive, er, compulsions aside, Campbell and I are sometimes eerily on the same wavelength. Why, just last week Halifax mayor Mike Savage proclaimed tomorrow, May 1, as “Global Love Day.

Global Love Day, says the proclamation:

… will establish a worldwide focus toward “unconditionally loving each other as we love ourselves”;

We are One Humanity on this planet:

All life is interconnected and interdependent. All share in the universal bond of love;

Love begins with self-acceptance and forgiveness. With respect and compassion, we embrace diversity;

Together we make a difference through love;

The Love Foundation, Inc. invites mankind to declare May 1, 2018 as Global Love Day, a day of forgiveness and unconditional love. Global Love Day will act as a model for all of us to follow each day.

Reading that, the first thing I thought was “Who’s making money on this bullshit and how are they making it?” And so I spent two hours googling around to learn more about The Love Foundation, Inc. (“Inc.”? Yes, Love is now incorporated.)

I didn’t find much that wasn’t some sort of circular link back to a The Love Foundation, Inc. publication, but according to that, The Love Foundation, Inc. was founded by Harold W. Becker, who describes himself as “a remarkable, self-motivating achiever… [who] earned his MBA by age 25.” He’s published a bunch of books with mawkish titles like Internal Power: Seven Doorways To Self Discovery and Inspiring Unconditional Love – Reflections from the Heart.

Becker has a consulting company called Internal Insights. I don’t know what the company shills, but were I consulting about love, I’d just tell everyone to take ecstasy. No doubt, however, you gotta give Becker money to learn about his love insights.

The point is… er, maybe there’s not a point. But good dog, some failed MBA has managed to make a living spouting nonsense about love and such, and somehow my city government is facilitating what very much looks like some sort of televangical-like scam.


Government

City

Monday

Port Wallace PPC Meeting (Monday, 6:30pm, HEMDCC Large Meeting Room 1, Alderney Gate) — I have no idea what this is about as the agenda still isn’t posted. If anyone goes, let me know.

North West Planning Advisory Committee Public Meeting – Case 21212 (Monday, 7pm, St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, Hacketts Cove) — Oceanstone Seaside Resort wants zoning changes to 8646 and 8650 Peggys Cove Road so it can expand:

The Oceanstone Seaside Resort is comprised of 25 tourist accommodation suites, a restaurant (The Rhubarb Restaurant), and a canteen/snack shop. The suites are distributed across three main buildings and eight cabins. Under current regulations, the Resort has no ability to expand. The applicant is seeking changes to the MPS and LUB to allow for a rezoning to the C-3 (Tourist Industry) Zone.

Tuesday

No public meetings.

Province

Monday

No public meetings.

Tuesday

Community Services (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — Fred Deveaux , the executive director of the Cape Breton Community Housing Association, will be asked about housing and homelessness in Cape Breton Regional Municipality.


On campus

Dalhousie

Monday

Report Launch and Seminar on Youth Outmigration from Shrinking Communities (Monday, 9am, Room 1009, Rowe Management Building) — “a half-day seminar on youth outmigration from Atlantic Canada, featuring the public launch of the SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Report, ‘Finding a Place in the World: Understanding Youth Outmigration from Shrinking Rural Communities’ by Karen Foster and Hannah Main, and a keynote address from Ray Bollman (Statistics Canada, retired) entitled ‘Rural Outmigration: A Look at Some Numbers.’” Register here, although I guess it’s already too late.

Tuesday

Fluid Resuscitation in 2018: Is there a State of the Art? (Tuesday, 12pm, Theatre B, Tupper Medical Building) — Mitchell Levy from Brown University will speak.

Saint Mary’s

Monday

Sloth: Too Tired to Care (Monday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — John Plotz from Brandeis University will speak.


In the harbour

7am: Norwegian Bliss, cruise ship with up to 4,903 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores
8am: Troms Sirius, fire fighting vessel, sails from Pier 9 for sea

Veendam. Photo: Halifax Examiner

9am: Veendam, cruise ship with up to 1,350 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Bar Harbor. The Veendam sails the milk run of Atlantic Canada cruises — Boston to Bar Harbor to Halifax to Sydney to Charlottetown to Quebec City to Montreal and then reversing the order; we’ll see it 16 times this year. It has a fascinating history:

In 2011, a 61-year-old woman passenger on the ship died, as 86 other passengers were suffering from a gastroenteritis illness on the ship. The cruise line claimed that the woman died from other causes, but a Brazillian newspaper said that she died from “suspected food poisoning.”

In 2012, the Veendam flunked a US Centres for Disease Control inspection, although it has passed more recent inspections.

That fall, 70-year-old Sarah Tessier Powell went missing from the ship, somewhere in Canada, maybe in Quebec, or Charlottetown, or Sydney, or Halifax. “Police said they do not suspect foul play in Powell’s disappearance and think she may have walked off the ship without being checked by security,” reported the CBC. “How on earth is that possible? ” asks lawyer Jim Walker. “Passenger gangways are supposed to be heavily monitored by security with each passenger’s sea pass card scanned and the gangways always covered by closed circuit television cameras.”

In 2013, a crew member on the Veendam was arrested on child porn charges in Halifax. Soon after, the ship was hit with another bout of norovirus, with 60 passengers falling ill.

In February 2014, the Veendam was struck with norovirus, affecting 114 of 1,273 passengers, about nine per cent of those on board.

In October 2014, the ship’s propeller failed, causing the cancellation of three cruises that would have included stops in Halifax.

In December 2015, the Veendam was again struck with gastrointestinal illness, this time affecting 73 of 1,429 passengers, more than five per cent of those on board.

In January of 2017, the Broward County, Florida Sheriff’s office arrested a 26-year-old waiter on the Veendam named Gede Sukrantara for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old passenger.

Other than that, the ship seems like a great time.

Noon: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
5:45pm: Norwegian Bliss, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for New York
6:15pm: Veendam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Sydney
8:30pm: Atlantic Star, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Footnotes

No copy editor today. I’m sure I screwed up all sorts of things.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Fuck Mike Savage and the rest of them. May 1rst is international workers day. All over the world. For decades. Have your love yourself day some other time.

  2. Not even close to the most important point in this file, but:
    “earned his MBA by age 25” is one of the stranger education-related boasts I’ve heard. A four-year undergrad plus a 1-2 year direct entry MBA = 23ish. WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG, HAROLD?

    🙂

  3. RE: “d’Entremont said plainly that all three should be fired. I noticed no opposing view in the room.”

    This is so Nova Scotia. I have long questioned why no bureaucrat ever gets fired. Whether it’s the geniuses who pushed so hard for the Nova Centre, the lawyers at Halifax Legal who worked on the NC contract (with no penalties for late delivery of same) or the lawyers that told council that, if we didn’t give Irving Shipbuilding a 500K annual tax break, we would be in court every year and would probably lose. The last one is particularly egregious since Irving’s only recourse would have been to appeal the assessment to Property Valuation Services and failing that, they would go to UARB. The city could ask for intervener status, but there was no way for Irving to go to court until they had exhausted the afore mentioned avenues.
    I’m guessing that the only reason senior bureaucrats don’t get fired is that they know where all the bodies are buried, but maybe I’m missing something.

  4. MayDay already has been purposed and serves nicely as a distress signal, though come to think of it, it does need love.

    1. Yep. Too early for yesterday’s to be posted yet, however. I’m calling… if I find out more, I’ll update this post.