September 27, 2013 / 10:03 AM / in 4 years

PRESS DIGEST-Canada-Sept 27

Sept 27 (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 number of doctors in Canada and the amount they get paid by government health plans hit record highs in each of the past several years - and 2012 was no different. Canada had more than 75,000 doctors working last year, an increase of 4 percent over 2011, and governments paid them C$22 billion ($21.29 billion) for their services, about 9 percent more than the previous year, according to new data released on Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health

* Canada’s foreign service has reached a deal on a new contract with the federal government, ending a lengthy dispute and rotating strikes that have slowed visa processing and other consular services abroad. A summary shows the government agreed to boost base pay for senior ranks of the foreign service, bringing it more in line with what the union had argued were comparable positions elsewhere in government. ()

* A long-time Conservative member of Parliament has quit the Tory caucus after being charged under the Canada Elections Act - a fresh ethics embarrassment for Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he struggles to move beyond the Senate expenses scandal. Dean Del Mastro resigned from the Conservative government caucus on Thursday and was stripped of his duties as a parliamentary secretary. ()

Reports in the business section:

* Prem Watsa has a message for those skeptical of his ability to pull off a takeover of BlackBerry Ltd : Don’t underestimate him. The chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd says his company has plenty of potential partners - so many that he believes the equity part of the $4.7 billion offer will be oversubscribed. ()

* Newfoundland’s government is touting a major offshore discovery as the start of a new chapter in the province’s oil industry, and a reason for international energy companies to consider investments there. Statoil ASA of Norway said on Thursday that its discovery in the Flemish Pass Basin, called Bay du Nord, could hold 300 million to 600 million barrels of light oil. ()

* New entrant wireless carriers that launched cellphone services after buying licenses in Canada’s last spectrum auction failed to pick up significant market share last year. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission released a report on Thursday showing the newcomers adding few new subscribers despite generally undercutting the Big Three carriers on price. ()


* The Stephen Harper government is set to propose a number of new measures to close the U.S.-Canada consumer price gap, including the possibility of extending the tariff relief offered on sports equipment in the last budget to consumer electronics and other products. Internal documents reveal the government’s concern at prices it says are, on average, 15 percent higher than those paid by U.S. consumers before taxes. ()


* When Rwandan President Paul Kagame and other officials from the East African country meet with Toronto’s business community on Friday, their message will be simple: Rwanda is open for business. It may be the biggest push for foreign investment that Rwandan leaders have ever made on Canadian soil. But thanks to the recent experience of a small Canadian oil and gas company, it could be a tough sell. ()

* Oilfield service companies are hoping a boost from liquefied natural gas projects will lift the industry in 2014 after oil and gas producers spent much of the past two years hunkering down in an environment of low commodity prices. “We haven’t had a price increase in our service for a long time,” said Garnet Amundson, president and chief executive officer at Essential Energy Services Ltd, which has drilling operations across Western Canada. “There are 1,100 service rigs, and only about half of them are working on a regular basis, that means there is a lot of idle equipment sitting there.” ()

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