April 2 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
** The Ontario government is closing in on a deal to merge Hydro One Brampton with three other utilities, a move that could give the province a windfall of close to C$500 million ($396 million) while creating Canada's largest municipally-owned electricity distributor and kickstart the selloff of provincial electricity assets. (bit.ly/1MEMxsn)
** A coalition of major business groups is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take a "leadership role" in completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership amid fears Canada may walk away from the talks to save its protected dairy and poultry sectors. In a letter to Harper, the heads of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters urged him not to give up on a "historic opportunity" to expand trade. (bit.ly/1NKujTl)
** The British Columbia securities regulators are probing Teck Resources Ltd's trading activity after a news report suggested that the miner was in talks to merge with Chile's Antofagasta Plc, according to a person familiar with the matter. (bit.ly/1y27uHc)
** Canadian financial services firm Canaccord Genuity Group Inc said Chief Executive Paul Reynolds had died and would be replaced by Chairman David Kassie. Reynolds, 52, died in Kona, Hawaii following complications related to a health incident while competing in a triathlon, the company said. (bit.ly/1y2bNlN)
** The Bank of Canada is fighting the U.S. Federal Reserve for just the second time in two decades, joining global peers that are cutting interest rates as the United States is poised to tighten. The Fed will raise its key rate as early as June, while borrowing costs in Canada are headed lower even after the surprise cut in January, economists predict. (bit.ly/1GOKSeS)
** British Columbia independent member of Parliament James Lunney, who left the Conservative caucus on Tuesday so he could speak out freely on his creationist views, was denied the right to deliver in full a lengthy speech he had prepared. Lunney described himself as a victim of "cyberbullying" and "crowd shaming" after he questioned the theory of evolution in a tweet in February. (bit.ly/1Ir8ODm) ($1 = C$1.26) (Compiled by Zara Mascarenhas in Bengaluru)