Aug 1 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government believes it can inject more democracy into the Senate without the approval of the provinces -- and, conversely, that it can abolish the Red Chamber even if it lacks the unanimous consent of all premiers, said Pierre Poilievre, Ottawa’s new Minister of State for Democratic Reform. Ottawa prepares for the Supreme Court to consider what degree of independence Parliament possesses when it comes to making changes to the Senate. ()
* The race for five provincial by-election seats erupted into a brawl between the Ontario Liberal Party and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Wednesday. Ford has been campaigning for the Progressive Conservatives (PC), arguing that only PC candidates will build subways in his city, comparing the Liberals to armed bank robbers for their treatment of taxpayers’ cash. The Liberals hit back, saying Ford has failed to do anything to build subways while their party has put up the money to kick-start construction. ()
Reports in the business section:
* Canadian Tire Corp will unveil a scaled-down version of itself as the retailer enters the competition for urban shoppers looking for convenience. The chain is launching on Thursday its first Express urban store in a bustling Toronto neighborhood. The Toronto-based company is betting on drawing urban customers who are increasingly turning their backs on super stores. ()
* The federal government is flatly refusing to alter a controversial wireless market strategy that corporate Canada has warned would disadvantage domestic carriers while benefiting large foreign players such as Verizon Communications Inc. Industry Minister James Moore made it official on Wednesday, in a statement that makes it clear the Conservative government will not change its plans to spur competition by granting special privileges to new wireless sector entrants, regardless of their size. ()
* Oil and gas producer Talisman Energy Inc has put its troublesome Norwegian holdings on the auction block as part of a plan to jettison as much as $3 billion worth of assets over the next year as it hones operations into two main regions -- the Americas and Southeast Asia. ()
* The federal government believes it doesn’t need to open up the Constitution to reform the Senate, and that Parliament alone has the power to do so -- without the need to consult the provinces, says Canada’s Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre. The statement on Wednesday came as the government filed its arguments to the Supreme Court of Canada, two days before a court imposed deadline. ()
* Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray on Wednesday said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has no business taking sides in an upcoming provincial vote, and accused the mayor of campaigning to send a “puppet” -- Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday -- to Queen’s Park. ()
* Residents of High River, Alberta, a suburb worst hit by last month’s flood broke into applause when they heard a government official blurt out what they long suspected was the truth about how their neighborhood ended up underwater: “We had to sacrifice your area to try and get the other ones dewatered.” A secretly recorded video of engineer Darwin Durnie’s admission was sent to several media outlets, including the National Post.
* Ottawa has coldly dismissed an impassioned campaign by Canada’s big three cellphone carriers, who want the government to close what they say are loopholes in its wireless policy that could give a massive foreign competitor unfair advantages. A note posted on new Industry Minister James Moore’s website on Wednesday suggests the big three mobile carriers’ intense lobbying on wireless policy has failed to sway Ottawa. ()
* U.S. railway consultant Rick Carter, founder of Railroad Training Services, says he was approached in 2004 to provide the sort of training for Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway’s employees that could have prevented the July disaster in Lac-Megantic, but was turned down at his C$25,000 fee. The irony now is that MM&A may not be able to financially survive the sizable costs associated with cleaning up Lac-Megantic or the civil suits associated with the disaster. ()
* Kinross Gold Corp is suspending its dividend and further delaying the Tasiast project to protect its balance sheet and adjust to a weaker gold price environment. The announcements were made late Wednesday as the Toronto-based gold miner reported a massive second-quarter loss of $2.48 billion, primarily due to writedowns. ()