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Mar 18, 2014

Canada’s veteran finance minister quits, budget surplus in sight

OTTAWA, March 18 (Reuters) – Canada’s Jim Flaherty, the
long-serving Conservative finance minister who helped steer the
economy through the global financial crisis, resigned from
politics on Tuesday, leaving the country on track to balance its
books by 2015.

Flaherty, 64, ends the third-longest stint as finance
minister in the country’s history. He has been suffering acutely
from a rare skin disease, though he denied his resignation had
anything to do with health.

Mar 10, 2014

Quebec election race tight as media mogul joins race -poll

OTTAWA, March 10 (Reuters) – The separatist Parti Quebecois
is no longer in the lead in Quebec’s provincial election
campaign, though it would likely win the most seats in the April
7 vote if current support holds, according to a recent poll.

An Internet survey by the polling firm CROP released on
Sunday night puts support for the ruling Parti Quebecois (PQ),
which wants Quebec to separate from Canada, at 36 percent. This
is the same level as the pro-Canada Liberal Party of Quebec,
with the smaller Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) at 17 percent.

Mar 7, 2014

Canadian guilty of sexual assault after piercing condoms

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Supreme Court of Canada on Friday upheld the sexual assault conviction of a Nova Scotia man for poking holes in his condoms before having consensual sex with his girlfriend in order to try to make her pregnant.

Craig Jaret Hutchinson’s girlfriend, whose name the court has protected, said she had agreed to sex as long as it was with a condom so that she would not get pregnant.

Mar 5, 2014

Quebec calls election, raising prospect of independence drive

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Quebec’s separatist government moved to capitalise on a lead in the polls on Wednesday, launching a provincial election it hopes will result in a majority government that could eventually lead to a third referendum on independence from Canada.

“It is necessary to put an end to the obstruction of our opponents,” Premier Pauline Marois of the Parti Quebecois (PQ), who has headed a minority government for the past 18 months, said in triggering the April 7 election.

Feb 27, 2014

Canada Q4 current account gap widens, but less than forecast

OTTAWA/TORONTO, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Lower prices for crude
oil helped to widen Canada’s current account deficit to its
fourth-largest level ever in the final months of last year,
underlining economists’ expectations that net exports were a
drag on economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The gap widened to C$16.01 billion ($14.42 billion) in the
fourth quarter of 2013, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Still, the deficit was smaller than the C$17.00 billion analysts
had forecast and previous deficits were revised lower.

Feb 21, 2014

Canada inflation rate jumps but retail sales sag

OTTAWA/TORONTO, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Canada’s annual inflation
rate jumped unexpectedly last month to its highest in 1-1/2
years, alleviating concern that the country is headed for
disinflation and reducing the likelihood the Bank of Canada will
be forced to cut already low interest rates.

But the impact of the positive inflation data was offset by
a figures that showed a slump in retail sales in December as
harsh winter weather kept consumers at home. The drop was the
biggest in 12 months and reinforced expectations that the
economy likely shrank in the last month of 2013.

Feb 21, 2014

Canada annual inflation rate jumps to 1.5 pct in January

OTTAWA, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Canada’s annual inflation rate
unexpectedly jumped to 1.5 percent in January from 1.2 percent
in December, reducing the likelihood of an interest rate cut by
the disinflation-preoccupied Bank of Canada.

Statistics Canada also said on Friday the monthly rise in
prices in January from December was 0.3 percent, again more than
expected, after a decline of 0.2 percent in December. Core
inflation, which excludes volatile items like fruit and
gasoline, also came in higher than expected at 1.4 percent on an
annual basis and 0.2 percent on a monthly basis.

Feb 20, 2014

Quebec heading for provincial election, separatists lead

OTTAWA, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Quebec’s two largest opposition
parties said they would vote against the provincial budget that
was introduced on Thursday, assuring a spring election, the
French branch of CBC television reported.

The separatist Parti Quebecois currently heads a minority
government and has a comfortable lead in the polls, and it might
well call an election on its own in the next two weeks, before
it is brought down in a vote on its budget. In either case, an
election by mid-April is likely.

Feb 20, 2014

Canada wireless sale nets C$5.27 bln; Quebecor makes splash

OTTAWA/TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Canadian
telecommunications companies paid a record C$5.27 billion ($4.78
billion) in an auction to secure airwave licenses, the federal
government said on Wednesday, as a new national challenger
emerged from Quebec.

The stronger-than-expected result was a windfall for
taxpayers and a welcome outcome for the ruling Conservative
party, which has made pro-consumer wireless policies a key plank
of a 2015 re-election strategy.

Feb 19, 2014

Canada raises C$5.27 billion in wireless sale; Quebecor goes national

OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian telecom companies paid a record C$5.27 billion ($4.78 billion) in an auction to secure licenses for prime airwaves, the federal government said on Wednesday, as a new national challenger looks set to emerge from Quebec.

The biggest national players – Rogers Communications, BCE Inc’s Bell, and Telus Corp – grabbed the lion’s share of the 700 megahertz spectrum, on which they plan to build more powerful wireless network.