July 31, 2013 / 9:57 AM / 4 years ago

PRESS DIGEST-Canada-July 31

July 31 (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 Vancouver Island Health Authority says the stomach flu-causing norovirus has claimed nine lives and made 100 patients and 50 staff members sick this month at a seniors’ home in Victoria, British Columbia, according to a report from Vancouver radio station News 1130. ()

* The economics of BHP Billiton Ltd’s proposed C$14 billion ($13.60 billion) Jansen potash mine, near a tiny Saskatchewan town, have suddenly been thrown into disarray with the collapse of one of the world’s two potash cartels. Russia’s Uralkali OAO dropped out of Belarus Potash Co, marking a major shift in the global potash industry. Saskatchewan’s royalties, incoming investment dollars, and employment rate are set to feel the pinch from potash prices that are expected to tumble because of the cartel’s demise. ()

* Miami-based oil logistics company World Fuel Services Corp is objecting to a Quebec government order to assist with the cleanup of the train derailment and fiery crude-oil explosion in Lac-Megantic. In its statement, World Fuel said it did not expect to be named by the province or in any other government action because “MMA has assumed responsibility for the accident.” ()

Reports in the business section:

* BlackBerry Ltd announced that its brand-new mid-tier phone, the Q5, is coming to Canada on Aug. 13. Previously, the lower-priced version of BlackBerry’s Q10 was only available in certain overseas markets. By bringing the Q5 to Canada, BlackBerry joins the list of companies hoping to capitalize on two market trends -- the commoditization of smartphones and the end of three-year contracts.

* TransCanada Corp’s proposed Energy East pipeline could give western oil producers back-door access to Asian markets at a reasonable transportation cost if it reaches Saint John. Saint John’s ice-free, deep-water port would allow crude to be loaded onto the largest tankers, providing an economical route to India at least, and perhaps China, Bank of Nova Scotia senior economist Patricia Mohr said Tuesday. ()

* Marcel Coutu will retire as chief executive of Canadian Oil Sands Ltd after 12 years in the position, the company said Tuesday as it reported a more than doubling of second-quarter profit. Coutu, who oversaw the company’s expansion to one with a market value of C$10 billion, a fivefold increase from his appointment in 2001, will retire on Jan. 1. ()


* Concerns over the aging population and the rising cost of pharmaceuticals may be distracting from one of the fastest-growing healthcare expenditures in Canada -- doctors’ pay. A report released by the University of Calgary School of Public Policy estimates the average paycheck earned by a typical Canadian physician has risen by about 30 percent over the past decade. ()

* A struggle is raging behind the scenes as the needs of Canada’s military smack up against the Conservative government’s desire to turn billions of dollars in planned defense spending into jobs and economic benefits. Last November, then-defense minister Peter MacKay was warned in a briefing note that a policy of always buying military equipment and services from Canadian companies would likely short-change Canada’s men and women in uniform. ()

* Ontario’s opposition parties proposed different strategies on Tuesday to get to the bottom of what they say was an attempt by former premier Dalton McGuinty’s office to pressure the Speaker of the legislature to change a ruling against the government. Newly released emails show senior Liberals in McGuinty’s office tried to get Speaker Dave Levac to change his preliminary finding that then-energy minister Chris Bentley was in contempt for not releasing all documents on two cancelled gas plants. ()


* Saskatchewan will feel the impact of a global potash price war triggered by Russia but the blow will be softened by industry efficiencies and continuing growth in other sectors such as oil and uranium. The price showdown was initiated by Uralkali OAO, the world’s largest potash producer, which quit a marketing venture on Tuesday that controlled about 43 percent of global exports and signaled prices may fall by as much as a quarter. ()

* In addition to transforming the moribund department store sector in Canada, Chief Executive Richard Baker’s vision for Hudson’s Bay Co has long involved doing the same for Internet retail, and experts say buying Saks Inc could help him achieve it. Experts say the $2.9 billion deal is also going to force retailers to evaluate their online strategies and reach in Canada. ()

* WestJet Airlines Ltd Chief Executive Gregg Saretsky shrugged off concerns that the carrier’s aggressive growth ambitions would undercut its profit, pointing to the company’s record second-quarter earnings as evidence his plan is working. Saretsky said WestJet’s growth strategy was aimed at narrowing the gap between its market share and that of rival Air Canada, in part by making it more attractive to business travelers. ()

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