May 20th, 2024

In the news today: ‘Violent rhetoric’ spiking since Oct. 7: CSIS

By The Canadian Press on May 6, 2024.

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is warning the Israel-Hamas war has led to a spike in "violent rhetoric" from "extremist actors" that could prompt some to turn to violence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

‘Violent rhetoric’ spiking since Oct. 7: CSIS

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is warning the Israel-Hamas war has led to a spike in “violent rhetoric” from “extremist actors” that could prompt some to turn to violence.

The statement comes as newly released documents shed light on discussions held last fall between the spy agency, Public Safety officials and Muslim and Jewish leaders about responding to a reported uptick in hate crimes.

A CSIS spokesman says while the long-term effects of the crisis cannot easily be predicted, it is clear that this conflict has raised tensions within society.

Documents released to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act show Public Safety officials heard concerns from Jewish leaders that police were not doing enough to stop the “hateful rhetoric” coming from some protesters at pro-Palestinian rallies.

Muslim and Arab leaders also raised concerns about activists being “heavily surveilled” by police and wrongly accused of antisemitism.

Here’s what else we’re watching…

Baby killed in wrong-way crash identified

The father of a three-month-boy who died alongside his grandparents in a wrong-way highway crash last week says he’s going through agonizing grief.

Gokulnath Manivannan says losing son Aditya Vivaan and his parents is far worse than the physical injuries he sustained in the crash with a van that was being chased by police on Highway 401 east of Toronto.

In a statement provided by Ontario’s police watchdog, Manivannan says his parents, Manivannan Srinivasapillai and Mahalakshmi Ananthakrishnan, had arrived in Canada from India to visit their grandson just two days before the collision.

Manivannan, who lives in Ajax, says his 60-year-old father had just retired and was looking forward to what he called his “year of grandparents fun.”

He says his 55-year-old mother was looking forward to the visit, which she planned to make all about her new grandchild.

Manivannan says he and his wife haven’t been able to re-enter their family home since the crash, as it’s filled with toys and other reminders of their infant son.

Manivannan said his wife, Ashwitha Jawahar, is also suffering, dealing with repeated flashbacks to the crash while recovering from surgery.

WestJet, mechanics union avoid strike with deal

A potential strike between WestJet and its mechanics union appears to have been avoided.

A statement from the Calgary-based airline Sunday night says a tentative deal between it and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association has been agreed to.

If the contract is ratified by both sides, it would mark the first approved collective bargaining agreement between WestJet and AMFA.

Terms of the deal had not been made public as of Sunday night.

Hundreds strike at Nestle plant in Toronto

Hundreds of Nestle workers walked off the job in Toronto on Sunday after rejecting a tentative agreement the union reached with the chocolate maker.

Unifor issued a statement saying its 461 members who work as machine operators, bar packers, shippers and receivers, general labourers and in the skilled trades at the Toronto Nestle plant chose to go on strike on Sunday evening.

The plant produces Kit Kat, Aero and Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, as well as Smarties, and Nestle says it doesn’t expect the strike will have an immediate effect on the products’ availability in stores.

Unifor says its members wanted improvements to the pension plan, and rejected a two-year freeze on a cost of living adjustment.

Nestle Canada says it’s disappointed workers rejected the tentative deal, and it plans to work with the union to get workers back on the job.

How Canadian companies develop their AI policies

As artificial intelligence proliferates through Canadian workplaces, companies are looking to guide staff around how they can, and can’t, use the technology through policy.

Kitchener-based recruitment software company Plum developed its policy last summer, beginning by asking A-I chatbot Chat-G-P-T what to include and rounding it out with advice from other startups.

Plum’s finalized policy advises staff to keep client and proprietary info out of AI systems, review anything the technology spits out for accuracy and attribute any content it generates.

The company’s CEO Caitlin MacGregor says the point of the four-page document was to scare staff from using AI but to teach them how to use it safely and effectively.

Sun Life Financial has also tried to approach AI with the same mindset and has encouraged staff to complete a self-directed online course that teaches the principles of AI and its effects.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2024.

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