Editorial: August 19

CBJ Aug 2019

Vaping teens are accounting for a sizable increase in the number of people have taken up the trendy habit in lieu of smoking. But it appears the cool factor of vaping for young people is so enticing that it’s attracting many who had never previously been cigarette smokers. On the one hand we have a government that leads the crusade towards a healthier Canada by telling us how bad smoking is, yet it’s only too happy to keep it legal and reap the rewards of the billions in tax dollars it provides. The same now holds true for e-cigarettes with retail stores popping up everywhere. And, you can bet the teen numbers are going to continue to surge with large U.S. companies such as JUUL opening a bricks and mortar location on the west end of Toronto.

Ticket scalping for major events such as sports and music concerts has always been viewed as one of the lowest forms of ethical behavior but when it migrated online it was taken to an entirely new, disgusting level. Automated bots were programmed to scoop up most of the tickets the instant they became available, leaving the true fans out in the cold – unless of course they care to dig deep into their pockets and pay ridiculously marked-up prices. Kijiji is one of the first online sites to take a stand against such a vile, unfair practice by removing the option to sell event tickets on its platform, but it wasn’t greed in ticket pricing that perpetuated the move – it was primarily due to authentication issues and other challenges encountered in the shift to digital from physical tickets. Regardless, it’s one less online site where tickets can be sold for a King’s ransom, and that’s a good thing. Kijiji had previously restricted resales of Toronto Raptors tickets for the NBA Finals as seat prices soared into the tens of thousands of dollars amidst an outcry from the public.

Facebook is still being grilled by the U.S. government, and it’s beginning to impact on the bank balance. The world’s largest social media platform says new rules and product changes aimed at protecting users’ privacy will negatively impact its revenue growth into next year and significantly raise expenses, taking the shine off quarterly revenue results that beat expectations. Meanwhile, Facebook had already agreed to pay $5 billion to settle a U.S. Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe but then disclosed that the regulator was now investigating it for anti-competitive behavior.

Boris Johnson will have his hands full as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. He was overwhelmingly chosen as the head of the Conservative party following the resignation of former leader Theresa May. Johnson’s convincing victory over Jeremy Hunt catapults the United Kingdom towards a showdown with the EU and towards a constitutional crisis at home, as British lawmakers have vowed to bring down any government that tries to leave the bloc without a divorce deal. Johnson’s Conservatives are governing on a minority mandate, so it’s going to be interesting to whether the Conservatives and the Labour party will be able to reach agreement – on anything. If not, Britons will be back to the polls sooner than later.

Angus Gillespie
angus@cbj.ca
@CanBizJournal

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