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For Fernandez, tennis success is a family affair
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With a single-minded focus and wisdom beyond her years, the youngster is determined to rise to the top, with a little help from dad
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By JAMIE ROSS
  
  

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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page S5

GATINEAU -- Last week, on her run to a second pro-level tournament final in two weeks, Leylah Annie Fernandez committed a minor breach of tennis etiquette. After taking out fellow Canadian and world No. 224 Françoise Abanda in the semi-final at the Granby Challenger, Fernandez, who had just won arguably the biggest match of her career, ran over to hug her father before heading to the net to shake hands with her opponent.

Convention would suggest the order of those two actions should be reversed, but considering Fernandez is only 16 and that the celebration totalled about 12 seconds, it was easy to shrug off as harmless inexperience.

Abanda did not see it that way.

Perhaps feeling slighted by the celebration, or simply stung having been beaten by the teenager twice in two weeks, she took to social media to educate her young compatriot on proper manners.

"I waited at the net, but Leylah was busy celebrating with her team. You're supposed to shake your opponent's hand before your coach," Abanda wrote on twitter.

If she continues her ascent through the WTA rankings, it probably won't be the last time Fernandez runs afoul of a higherranked, more-experienced player. After Angelique Kerber called Bianca Andreescu a "drama queen" after losing to the then-18year-old in the final at Indian Wells, it almost feels like a rite of passage.

On the heels of her success at back-to-back Canadian events this month, which included her first pro tournament victory at the Gatineau Challenger and runner-up at Granby, Que., Fernandez rose 115 spots to No. 272 in the world when the WTA put out its rankings Monday.

That keeps her goal of cracking the top 200 this season within reach. After being granted a maindraw wild card on Wednesday, she'll get another chance to eat away at that margin at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which begins next week. Fernandez will face a qualifier after being given a wild card into the tournament.

"I want that," Fernandez said during an interview in the midst of her winning run at Gatineau.

"Top-200 ranking. [Make the main draw at] French Open, Wimbledon. That's what I want to do.

Progress, little by little."

Incremental progress would be a change for Fernandez, whose past year has been full of firsts.

She inked an apparel deal with Asics in the fall; reached the final of the junior Australian Open in January; and took the junior French Open title in June.

Since then, she's signed with an agent, began working with a new coach and won her first pro tournament. Media requests have poured in. Responsibilities, on and off court, have piled up.

Until recently, Fernandez's father, Jorge, had been managing most aspects of his daughter's career, including coaching. But with another daughter on the rise in the junior ranks, the workload is now too much.

"The attention has grown to the level where I can't manage it any more," he said. "We have to stay focused on what got the attention in the first place."

FAMILY OFFERS FULL SUPPORT If it all sounds like a bit much for a teenager, don't worry. Fernandez says she still finds time to do normal kid stuff. Such as ... watching Murdoch Mysteries while knitting?

"This is a weirdo. A 90-year-old trapped in a 16-year-old's body," Jorge says, nodding toward his daughter.

She rolls her eyes.

"He's 49 going on 5."

There is a palpable bond between Jorge and Leylah, who despite travelling year-round with her dad by her side insists she never gets sick of him. Their closeness makes those long road stretches a bit easier, when they might go as long as a month without seeing Leylah's mom, Irene, or sister Bianca.

The family's total commitment to their daughters' tennis careers has stretched them thin. With Jorge devoting all of his time to coaching his children, Irene is left working full-time.

The family moved from Laval, Que., to a small apartment in Delray Beach, Fla., where the sisters share a bedroom. Living in Florida, a global tennis hub, gives them nearly endless year-round access to public courts, so they don't have to pay for court time at a private club.

The Fernandez family was the subject of a recent Radio-Canada documentary that explored the challenges of raising a nascent tennis star on a tight budget.

In it, Jorge, who immigrated to Canada from Ecuador as a child, reveals he has no retirement savings and the family doesn't own any property. "We have nothing, really," he says. "What we do have, we devoted to tennis."

GROWTH IN THE GAME WON'T BE CHEAP Tennis Canada has stepped in and contributed financing for Leylah, despite her development outside the national body's traditional system.

That money went toward paying for coach Dave Rineberg, who joined the Fernandez camp on a trial basis for Leylah's Canadian swing. The financing also helps offset the cost of travel, in which a player may have to hop from one country or continent to the next on a weekly basis.

"She's going to turn pro and we're going to need some heavy financing," Jorge told the Montreal Gazette shortly after the junior French Open win. "This is going to turn into a numbers game, and that's a whole different problem we're going to have to face. We need a team for her at some point."

Getting an agent brings someone into the fold who can seek out new sponsorship and marketing opportunities.

Jorge says some of his daughter's commercial appeal comes from her ability to speak three languages. She is fluent in English, French and Spanish, having grown up speaking French at school in Quebec while picking up Spanish at home from her dad.

English is her third language, which she learned by speaking with her mother, who doesn't speak Spanish or French.

The bigger pay days, however, come with tournament wins.

Fernandez's victory at Gatineau netted her US$3,935, while her finals appearance in Granby generated US$6,518. The real money starts rolling in when a player begins playing at WTA events, where prize pools swell into the millions of dollars.

A first-round appearance at the Rogers Cup will earn her about US$8,000, which is almost half of her entire earnings this season.

LEARNING TO ENJOY THE RIDE Sitting in a tent in Gatineau ahead of an evening match, Fernandez, dressed in all blue gear (her father, sporting the same brand, head to toe in red), is asked what it was like to watch 15-year-old American Cori Gauff make her historic run through Wimbledon a few weeks earlier.

By this point in the conversation she had let her father do most of the talking. But at the topic of Gauff, she perks up.

Fernandez fell to Gauff in the junior French Open only last year, so it was easy to imagine having that success herself, she says.

On the one hand, she was happy for her. On the other, it was motivation.

"If she can, then I can. When I saw that at first, I thought. 'I want to be there next year.' " Jorge knows it's a cliché, but he reminds his daughter that it's not necessarily about the destination.

He wants her to actually be a teenager and enjoy the ride.

"She's an old soul. There's something oddly mature about her and what she wants to achieve," Jorge says. "I tell her all the time, 'It's about the journey.

One day you'll tell your kids about the experiences. Travelling the world.' "Fernandez nods her head, but again, doesn't engage. It's only when the topic of conversation returns to tennis that she takes interest.

Asked about winning a junior Grand Slam, she offers the same humble platitude you would expect from any polite young person. But on the issue of losing, she sits up straight and then leans forward. Her voice rises for the first time.

"Losing. That's devastating," she says with wide eyes. "Because I just know, there are so many things I could improve on to make me better. I can never wait to get back out there."

Associated Graphic

Leylah Annie Fernandez hits a forehand at the Granby Challenger in Gatineau on July 17. The 16-year-old is determined to crack the top 200 this season.

DAVE CHAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Man City starts season on the right foot, winning Community Shield match against Liverpool
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By ROB HARRIS
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B11

LONDON -- After completing a clean sweep of domestic trophies last season, Manchester City opened the new campaign by lifting the Community Shield following a shootout victory over Liverpool on Sunday.

City netted all five penalties - the last by Gabriel Jesus - and backup goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made a key save on his first appearance in a year to deny Georginio Wijnaldum's attempt in a 5-4 shootout win after the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season ended 1-1 in regulation time.

"It was a good test for both teams," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "It's nice for the players to realize what they will face this season. At this level, the difference is nothing."

On the field, perhaps, between the teams. Not in terms of trophy hauls in recent years.

City opened last season by lifting the Shield and went on to win the FA Cup, League Cup and Premier League - edging Liverpool to England's top title by a single point.

Liverpool, which won the Champions League for a sixth time last season, won only one of seven preseason games before losing to City at Wembley Stadium.

Raheem Sterling took 12 minutes to pick up where he left off for City at Wembley in May, when he completed a 5-0 victory over Watford in the FA Cup final.

Kevin De Bruyne nodded across to David Silva, who flicked the ball on for Sterling to turn in from close range. It was Sterling's first goal against the club he left four years ago, and he didn't hold back in celebrating in front of the Liverpool fans closest to the goal.

Liverpool was not only exposed in defence, but wasteful up front - and twice denied by the goal frame after the break when Virgil van Dijk hit the bar and Mohamed Salah struck the post.

But Bravo was beaten in the 77th minute when two defenders combined.

Van Dijk brought down Jordan Henderson's free kick and volleyed across to Joël Matip, who headed low into the net.

Liverpool was denied a winner in regulation time when Salah's header beat Bravo, but Kyle Walker scrambled back to clear from the goal-line.

"It was a really powerful performance," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said.

"Both teams had a similar preseason, travelling so much you don't really know where you are. It's just so intense with all the trips.

"Obviously in the second half, we were in charge and full of desire. We didn't do it, but at least we got the equalizer, so it's how it is.

Penalties, a bit of luck is involved and one goalkeeper's save decides it, but I can't be disappointed today."

For a game focused on raising money for good causes, there was a significant amount of ill-feeling at Wembley.

The club anthems were booed by opposing fans, then the national anthem - God Save The Queen - was jeered by Liverpool supporters.

WHITECAPS 2, FC CINCINNATI 1

CINCINNATI Felipe scored in the 84th minute to help Vancouver end its ninegame winless streak and hand expansion FC Cincinnati its fourth straight loss in MLS action on Saturday night. Russell Teibert chased down Ali Adnan's pass and crossed it through the goalkeeper's legs to Felipe, who smashed it home from close range. Hwang In-beom made it 1-1 for the Whitecaps (5-11-9) in the 41st minute, following up Kendall Waston's attempted clearance with a low hard shot from outside the area. Allan Cruz gave FC Cincinnati (5-17-2) the lead in the sixth minute.

RAPIDS 6, IMPACT 3

COMMERCE CITY, COLO. Kei Kamara scored the second hat trick of his career and Colorado used a flurry of first-half goals to beat Montreal. Kamara gave Colorado (6-12-5) a 2-1 lead in the 36th minute with a penalty kick and made it 3-1 in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. Three minutes later, Diego Rubio scored to make it 4-1 before halftime. Kamara netted his hat trick with a header to cap the scoring in the 90th minute. Andre Shinyashiki also scored and Colorado had another on Montreal's own goal. Maximiliano Urruti and Saphir Taïder scored for Montreal (11-11-3).

RED BULLS 2, TORONTO FC 0

HARRISON, N.J. Kemar Lawrence scored his first goal of the season and Luis Robles had three saves to help New York beat Toronto. Alejandro Romero Gamarra also scored for the Red Bulls (10-9-4). Toronto dropped to 9-10-5.

Associated Graphic

Manchester City players celebrate after Gabriel Jesus, right, scores the winning penalty kick in the shootout of the Community Shield match against Liverpool on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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Bethel-Thompson eager to battle Edmonton
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Argos quarterback looks to redeem himself, says July loss was low point in season of challenges
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By DAN RALPH
THE CANADIAN PRESS
  
  

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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B13

TORONTO -- McLeod Bethel-Thompson is looking forward to facing the Edmonton Eskimos again.

Bethel-Thompson finished just 6-of-18 passing for 90 yards with an interception July 25, when Edmonton (5-3) dispatched Toronto 26-0 at Commonwealth Stadium. It was Edmonton's first shutout win since 2014 and marked the first time since 2009 the Argos hadn't scored a point in a game.

The two teams meet again Friday night at BMO Field. It will be the first game for Toronto (1-6) since Bethel-Thompson rallied that the squad to a thrilling 28-27 home victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Aug. 1.

In a season that's been chock full of challenges, Bethel-Thompson said the loss in Edmonton was his lowest point.

"I learned what death felt like and maybe that's a metaphor, but maybe it's not," Bethel-Thompson said Thursday. "[What] it feels like to be too far into it, to want it too much, to make it life or death and when you get punched in the mouth.

"When you're too far into it what the game can feel like, how everything can feel too fast or too out of control and what you need to do to just kind of breathe and come back into the moment. If you're playing two steps ahead of yourself, you're never going to see what's right in front of your face. It was a good learning experience."

And the lesson learned?

"Be myself, play my game and be in the moment," he said. "If I can play my game, I'm going to have a lot of success.

"I'm excited to see what that looks like."

Bethel-Thompson looked good against Winnipeg, completing 37-of-49 passes for 343 yards and three TDs while rushing for 44 yards on five carries. BethelThompson's 11-yard touchdown pass to S.J. Green with 13 seconds remaining tied the score 27-27 before Tyler Crapgina booted the game-winning convert.

"It was a great death that night [loss to Edmonton] and it was a beautiful rebirth after that," Bethel-Thompson said.

Ideally, Bethel-Thompson would've preferred Toronto playing the following week rather than going on a bye. But he said there are benefits to having some down time.

"The quick answer is yeah, I would've wanted to get right back on the field," he said. "We got on a roll at the end of that game ... but my body feels better than it did.

"That was a long road stretch [three straight games away from BMO Field before facing Winnipeg] and we needed a break from football. That's why this game is so important, to get us back rolling going into this stretch."

But head coach Corey Chamblin felt Toronto desperately needed the break.

"That was the last little bit of juice we had with all the stuff we went through," he said. "You can see now the guys are a lot fresher.

"I think the biggest thing with the win is you'll reset yourself and find yourself back in a positive mindset. It creates more positive energy not only in the locker room, but outside the locker room."

Edmonton comes off a 16-12 win over Ottawa as CFL passing leader Trevor Harris (2,631 yards) finished 33-of-40 passing for 327 yards in his first game against his former team. C.J. Gable ran for 116 yards and two TDs on 18 carries while adding four catches for 34 yards.

Harris has recorded 20 or more completions in 21 straight games, just three short of the CFL record held by Ricky Ray, the former Eskimo/Argo who retired earlier this year.

But registering a second straight win won't come easily for Toronto.

Edmonton's offence leads the CFL in net yards (423.6 a game), average plays from scrimmage (63), fewest sacks allowed (three) and passing (328.9), while being tied for most average yards per play (6.7). The Eskimos' defence comes in first overall in fewest offensive points allowed (16.5 a game), yards allowed (251.6), offensive plays (48.5), yards per play (5.2) and sacks (26).

"The good thing is this is our second time seeing them," Chamblin said. "We should be better prepared for what we're going to see. They'll have their wrinkles and we'll have to adjust to it, but they won't have 1,000 wrinkles."

Toronto is also expecting a season-high home crowd with the Canadian National Exhibition opening Friday.

Associated Graphic

Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson scrambles to escape from a diving Lorenzo Mauldin IV of the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton on June 6.

PETER POWER/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to win UEFA Super Cup
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B13

ISTANBUL -- Adrian may never play more than a smattering of games for Liverpool, but he'll be remembered for his "crazy week."

The backup goalkeeper turned penalty hero with a save on the final kick of the shootout, as Liverpool beat Chelsea to win the Super Cup and kick off a new European season.

After Champions League holder Liverpool and Europa League winner Chelsea finished extra time at 2-2, Adrian made the crucial save with his leg to deny Tammy Abraham and give his team a 5-4 win on penalties in a game which finished after midnight Turkish time on Thursday.

It was a dramatic turnaround after Adrian fouled Abraham to concede a penalty in extra time.

Adrian was signed just nine days before as backup for Alisson, but when the Brazilian injured himself last Friday in the English Premier League opener, he was thrust into the spotlight first as a substitute, then as a Super Cup starter.

"Welcome to Liverpool," Adrian said.

"It's been a crazy week. I'm really happy for the team, I'm happy to play for Liverpool and happy for the fans."

The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper was a free agent after leaving West Ham, where he didn't play a single Premier League game last season and last appeared in an FA Cup loss to the lowly AFC Wimbledon.

"The goalkeeping coach told me he needs time to get fit, but he didn't have time. He played so well tonight," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.

"His performance over 120 minutes was incredible and the penalty save was the icing on the cake."

Even before the shootout, Adrian kept Liverpool in the game with a 113th-minute save from Mason Mount to stop Chelsea winning in extra time. Still, he's expected to relinquish his Liverpool starting spot to Alisson when the Brazilian returns from his calf injury in a few weeks.

Liverpool played its second penalty shootout in three games, having lost to Manchester City for the Community Shield on Aug. 4.

Chelsea took the lead in the 36th minute, when Christian Pulisic exposed poor positioning by Liverpool right back Joe Gomez to pass for Olivier Giroud to shoot low past Adrian.

Liverpool stormed back after the break, Fabinho's 48th-minute pass opening up the Chelsea defence and leaving Sadio Mane with an easy finish off Mohamed Salah's flick.

In extra time, Mane put Liverpool ahead off a Roberto Firmino cross, but Chelsea quickly responded with a penalty from Jorginho - whose name was misspelled as "Jorghino" on his shirt - when Adrian brought down Abraham.

Just as in its 4-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday, Chelsea played a strong first half before slumping after halftime, but this time, its mistakes weren't nearly as harshly punished.

"I don't like losing," Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said after his second game in charge yielded a second loss.

"We were very unfortunate today. It's a really good sign for us."

Lampard's team tormented Gomez in the opening 45 minutes, drawing him out of position and exploiting the space created. After an early chance for Salah, it was all Chelsea as Pedro hit the bar and Giroud shot at Adrian. Soon after, Pulisic and Giroud combined for the opening goal.

Chelsea emerged after halftime looking disjointed and almost immediately conceded.

After Mane scored, Liverpool nearly followed up with a second as Fabinho fired just wide, then Jordan Henderson forced a save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Chelsea goalkeeper made a spectacular double save to keep Liverpool at bay in the 75th, diverting Virgil van Dijk's shot onto the bar after substitute Abraham cleared Fabinho's shot off the line with his first touch of the game.

Liverpool won its fourth Super Cup and the first by an English team since the Reds beat CSKA Moscow in 2005. Chelsea has now lost three Super Cup games in the last eight years, twice with Lampard as captain and once with him as coach.


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Ottawa looks for ways to kick-start its struggling offence
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Redblacks, who play host to the East-leading Tiger-Cats, have struggled to move the ball
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By LISA WALLACE
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page S3

OTTAWA -- It's hard to score points when you don't have the ball, and lately for the Ottawa Redblacks, it's hard to score points even when you do.

The Redblacks (3-5) look to get their sputtering offence going on Saturday when they play host to the East Divisionleading Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-2).

Ottawa sits dead last in the CFL with a time of possession of 25 minutes and 32 second and its net offence of 304.4 yards a game is the worst in the league as is its 5.3 average yards a play. When the Redblacks have managed to get the ball, they have struggled to sustain any kind of momentum with a league-worst 51 two-and-outs.

"It's mainly on my shoulders. We just have to finish drives and take care of the ball and execute the plays as coach calls them," said Ottawa quarterback Dominique Davis, who has thrown a league-high 15 interceptions.

"I'm always hard on myself if we win or if we lose," he added. "I just look at it as a learning experience and try to correct the mistakes from the week before."

Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell says everyone's attention to detail needs to be better.

"Everybody on offence knows exactly what we're doing and they can do it with speed and tempo and confidence and then you start building momentum that way," Campbell said. "On the flip side our defence is going to get some two-and-outs so we can get our offence the ball more often."

The offence might improve if the Redblacks could get the ball in Brad Sinopoli's hands more often. The veteran receiver, who posted four consecutive 1,000-plus yard seasons, has just 311 yards on 31 catches so far this season.

"I never really worry about the numbers," Sinopoli said. "As a player, you just want to be involved as much as you can and when that doesn't happen you're disappointed in yourself and you're maybe trying to figure out what can I do better, what can I change, but at the same time it's football.

"There's a lot of different factors that come into play. You have to ride the wave and make the play when the ball comes your way."

Campbell agreed that Sinopoli has been under-utilized, but said that other offensive weapons have been as well.

"We're not being productive enough as a whole and football really is the ultimate team game and that you have to get 12 guys working together," Campbell said. "When that happens, all of a sudden Brad's stats look like they normally will.

"We obviously want to use him the best we can and it's going to be a function that his stats are going to start looking better as we start looking better as a team."

Mossis Madu Jr. will be back in the lineup as John Crockett is still dealing with some minor ailments. Ottawa has had success when they can run the ball and Madu is looking to keep the trend going.

Last week in a 16-12 loss to Edmonton Crockett rushed for 85 yards in the first half and Ottawa led 12-10, but touched the ball just four times in the second half for four yards.

"Earlier in the season when we were having success we were running the ball," Madu said. "In each drive and it gets going more and more we run the ball and we have success. There's been games where we go two and out and it's because we're not running the ball well and collecting first downs."

Associated Graphic

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Dominique Davis, right, hands the ball off to Mossis Madu Jr., during a game in June. Madu returns to the team, which while struggling on offence, has had some success running the ball this season.

JEFF MCINTOSH/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Panthers to retire Luongo's number
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Goaltender who sported the No. 1 jersey will be the first Florida player to receive the honour
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By TIM REYNOLDS
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Page B13

SUNRISE, FLA. -- Roberto Luongo regrets not having more friends and family at his last game with the Florida Panthers. If he had known he was retiring, a decision he didn't make until weeks later, he would have ensured that more of the people closest to him were there that night.

They're all invited for his jersey retirement instead.

The Florida Panthers announced Monday that they will send Luongo's No. 1 jersey to the rafters on March 7. Fittingly, the opponent will be the Montreal Canadiens - the hometown team for their now-retired goaltender.

"Hopefully, there will be a lot of people in the building to enjoy that special moment with me," Luongo said.

Luongo will become the first Panthers player to have his number retired.

"Roberto is a cornerstone of Panthers history and an icon of the game," Panthers owner Vincent Viola said. "He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career.

Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. ... There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired."

Luongo retired in June after 19 NHL seasons, most of them with Florida. His 489 career victories are third in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.

"There was never a question in any of our minds that Roberto would be the first Panthers player to have his number retired by the franchise," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "One of the game's most iconic goaltenders, he gave his heart and soul to the Panthers and the South Florida community and carried himself with dignity, modesty and humour."

Luongo is Florida's all-time leader in wins, shutouts and saves. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada, plus helped his home country win two world championships and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He entered the off-season intending to come back for at least one more year, then realized over the next few weeks that his body didn't want to go through what would have been a 20th season.

"I knew that I was at the point in my career where my body just didn't want me to go through the motions," Luongo said. "The more we got into the summer, the more I realized it was time to step away from the game."

The Panthers previously retired two other numbers - 93 for former Panthers president Bill Torrey in commemoration of the franchise's inaugural game being played in 1993, and 37 for original owner Wayne Huizenga, in tribute to both his being born in 1937 and that being his lucky number.

Associated Graphic

Goaltender Roberto Luongo, making a save against the Senators in March, retired in June after 19 NHL seasons, most of them with the Panthers. He has 489 career victories, the third most in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.

JOEL AUERBACH/ GETTY IMAGES


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Blue Jays rout Rangers in second straight victory
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Back-to-back homers from McKinney and Hernandez help take Toronto to a 3-0 win
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By MELISSA COUTO
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B13

TORONTO -- Billy McKinney and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays kept the Texas Rangers off the board Tuesday in a 3-0 victory.

Randal Grichuk also hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays (51-72).

Danny Santana had a pair of doubles for the Rangers (59-60), supplying the visitors' only two hits through the game's first five innings.

Texas starter Lance Lynn (14-8) gave up one run and four hits with three walks and a strikeout in five innings. It was the first time since April 23 that Lynn had pitched fewer than six innings in a start.

Wilmer Font served as the opener for Toronto, allowing one hit and two walks over his two innings of work.

Left-hander Thomas Pannone (3-5) followed Font with four scoreless innings - allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out three - and Tim Mayza, Derek Law and Ken Giles kept the shutout going to give Toronto its fifth win in seven games.

Giles, making his first appearance since Aug. 7, earned his 16th save of the season.

The Blue Jays made it a 3-0 game in the sixth with the backto-back solo shots from Hernandez and McKinney off Texas reliever Shawn Kelley.

It was the 11th time this season that Toronto had homered in consecutive at-bats - and second time in as many nights - tying a franchise record from 1999.

Grichuk gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his team-leading 22nd homer of the season, a solo shot to straightaway centre field.

The Blue Jays have hit 106 homers since June 16. They came into the game four back of the Yankees for the most home runs hit in that two-month span.

Rookie sensation Bo Bichette walked in the third inning to extend his on-base streak to 16 games to begin his career, the longest ever by a Blue Jay. The on-base streak is the third longest in MLB history by a player aged 21 or younger, surpassing Ted Williams's 15-game streak from the 1939 season.

Rangers centre-fielder Delino DeShields slammed hard into the wall when he fell backward while making a catch on a deep Reese McGuire fly ball with two out in the fourth inning. McGuire was batting with the bases loaded and DeShields's catch saved at least a pair of runs. DeShields stayed in the game.

Rougned Odor continued to be booed loudly in each of his plate appearances. Toronto fans have loudly voiced their displeasure for the Texas second baseman since he punched former Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the jaw during a 2016 game.


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Bichette has double the fun
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Rookie hits a double for sixth game in a row, also homers, as Blue Jays take series opener against Rays
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By DICK SCANLON
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B11

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. -- Rookie Bo Bichette homered and scored both runs, Jacob Waguespack pitched six impressive innings and the Toronto Blue Jays ended Tampa Bay's six-game winning streak, beating the Rays 2-0 Monday night.

Bichette opened the game with a double off Charlie Morton, the sixth successive game in which he has doubled. He hit his third home run leading off the third.

The 21-year-old Bichette, the son of former major-leaguer Dante Bichette, played at Lakewood High School just six kilometres south of Tropicana Field as recently as 2016. He has hit in all eight of his majorleague games.

Waguespack (3-1) gave up four hits and a walk, striking out six in his fifth majorleague start. Derek Law got four outs for his second save in four days.

Morton (12-4) pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out nine.

The Rays, who had scored six or more runs in a franchise-record seven consecutive games, put nine runners on base in the first seven innings, including three via Toronto errors. They were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and were shut out for the first time since June 28.

Freddy Galvis and Randal Grichuk also had two hits for the Blue Jays, who have won six of eight.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 0 for 3 against Morton. In Morton's major-league debut in 2008 with Atlanta, he faced future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. The elder Guerrero went 1 for 3 against Morton that day.

Blue Jays right-hander Yennsy Diaz was sent back to the minors a day after his wild major league debut (four walks, two with the bases loaded) in Sunday's 6-5 loss at Baltimore. "He told me he was nervous, and I love that," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "Usually the guys make excuses, say I was a little wild and stuff, but he said he was just nervous."

Toronto right-hander Trent Thornton (4-7) will make his third start against the Rays in the second game of the three-game series Tuesday night.

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. strikes out in the third inning on a pitch from Tampa Bay Rays starter Charlie Morton at Tropicana Field on Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Guerrero went 0-for-3 as the Jays won 2-0.

CHRIS O'MEARA/AP


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BROWNS' CALLAWAY SUSPENDED FOUR GAMES FOR DRUG-POLICY VIOLATION
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Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page S2

CLEVELAND Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway has stepped out of bounds again.

The NFL suspended Callaway four games without pay on Friday for an unspecified violation of the league's policy and program on substance abuse.

Callaway will sit out the first four regular-season games.

The 22-year-old can practice and play in preseason games before his suspension begins. He will be eligible to return to the Browns' active roster on Sept. 30, the day after the team plays in Baltimore.

Callaway started Thursday night's exhibition opener against Washington because Browns coach Freddie Kitchens rested star receivers Odell Beckham Jr.

and Jarvis Landry. He finished with three receptions for 42 yards.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," Callaway said in a news release sent by the Browns.

"I made a mistake and I own that. I have taken steps to make myself better and I appreciate the Browns standing by me and supporting me during this time. I know there's nothing I can say to regain trust; it will all be about my actions."

Browns general manager John Dorsey said the team was disappointed by Callaway's actions.

"Freddie and I have had a direct conversation with him about where we stand," Dorsey said. "He understands our expectations of him. We will continue to support him as long as he remains committed to taking advantage of the resources made available to him by our club and the league to help him become the best version of himself as a person first and foremost."

The Browns drafted Callaway in the fourth round in 2018 despite his troubled stay at Florida, where he had a series of off-field issues ranging from a suspension for using stolen credit cards to a sexual-assault allegation for which he was cleared.

Before being drafted, he had a diluted urine sample at the NFL combine, and then Callaway got off to a rough start with the Browns last year when he was cited for marijuana possession following a traffic stop in August.

The speedy Callaway played in all 16 games as a rookie, starting 11. He finished with 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns.


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BARTY, NADAL NAMED TOP ROGERS CUP SEEDS AHEAD OF MAIN DRAW
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B12

Rafael Nadal is the top seed for the coming men's Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal, while Ashleigh Barty is the top seed for the women's event in Toronto.

Tennis Canada announced the names of the top seeds Monday based on the latest ATP and WTA tour rankings.

Nadal, ranked No. 2 in the world by ATP, gets the top seed in Montreal after world No. 1 Novak Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the tournament last week. Nadal is a four-time Rogers Cup champion and won the tournament in Toronto last year.

No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria will be the tournament's second seed, as Roger Federer withdrew from the event shortly after losing to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final earlier this month.

Barty will be competing in her second tournament as the world No.

1. The Australian moved up to the top spot in the rankings after a breakthrough first half of the year, which saw her capture her first Grand Slam title at the French Open as well as a championship at the Miami Open.

The main draw in each event starts on Aug. 5.

Meanwhile, at the Citi Open in Washington on Monday, Canada's Brayden Schnur was bounced, falling in the first round against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (2).

THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Major restaurant chains choosing sides as 'protein war' heats up
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page B4

Professor in food distribution and policy, and scientific director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax

The great "protein war" is heating up as several major restaurant chains are embracing the plant-based movement while others firmly position themselves as guardians of the mighty meat eater. It's getting confusing with all these announcements, and it's hard to keep track.

A&W, Canada's first Beyond Meat ambassador, started it all a little more than 12 months ago with its surprisingly successful Beyond Burger campaign that uses plant-based meat substitutes produced by Beyond Meat of Los Angeles.

Since then, grocers have all jumped on the Beyond Meat bandwagon, but now many other chains are making their position on plant-based dieting quite public. So much so that A&W's pioneering move has somewhat been lost in all the plant-based noise.

In cattle country, where A&W was hated as much as the taxman, beef producers now have many targets to choose from. Tim Hortons, Burger King and Subway, to name just a few, have all embraced plant-based products in recent months.

The case made by Restaurant Brands International (RBI) is interesting. Tim Hortons and Burger King, both owned by RBI, appear to be hedging on plantbased dieting. Early in the summer, Tim Hortons was adding many Beyond Meat products to its menu while Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper, using California-based Impossible Foods' patties; both chains are going plant-based, but with different companies.

Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the two leading contenders for top supplier of plantbased products, have had a busy summer. As soon as Burger King announced its partnership with Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat made public its association with another major restaurant chain, Subway, and a few weeks after this it finalized its partnership with Dunkin' Donuts. Then, the American-based institutional food-prep giant Sodexo announced it was working with Impossible Foods.

Confused yet? Not a week goes by these days that we don't hear about a major chain going plantbased.

Tim Hortons's commitment to Beyond Meat points to how inclusive the chain wants to be. Tim Hortons is mostly known for its non-meat offerings and now is offering something for everyone.

Burger King's case is a little more complicated since it makes its money selling mostly burgers. After running pilot programs for a few months in different U.S. markets, it is now offering the Impossible Whopper to its customers across the United States. It did not take long for skeptics to criticize Burger King's plant-based move.

Some vegans make the point that the chain intends to cook Impossible Whopper patties on the same grill as patties from "dead cows." As a result, Burger King is now giving customers a choice: They can have their Impossible Whopper patties cooked separately if desired. Simply adding a plant-based option on the menu is no longer enough, chains are now made accountable for what goes on in the kitchen as well.

Burger King's decision to partner with Impossible Foods may seem surprising, but the chain was clearly motivated by McDonald's very public stand on meat consumption.

As Chipotle and Arby's did earlier this summer, McDonald's is doubling down on beef and has no intention to offer meat alternatives anytime soon. In fact, McDonald's is now selling an enhanced version of its Big Mac and the ads are everywhere - an obvious, direct response to what we have seen since last year's Beyond Burger launch by A&W.

Seeing McDonald's Canada going in another direction would have been surprising. For a long time, McDonald's Canada has prided itself on promoting Canadian beef and other commodities grown and produced in the country. It would have been awkward to see McDonald's adding any plant-based products to its menu.

McDonald's Canada is also a key stakeholder in the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an initiative launched to give beef a greener reputation. Its commitment to beef and its customer base remains the same. In 2003, McDonald's offered a less-thandecent veggie burger. The product was awful and was dropped a few years later as if its failure was almost by design. The chain clearly has no intention of luring flexitarians who are looking for "fake" animal proteins.

The summer of 2019 has become a high point in the so-called "protein war," our divisive quest to see a more pluralistic protein marketplace. The narrative of how the food-service industry is using the emergence of plantbased dieting as a lightning rod seems to be polarizing our collective discussion about the future of proteins even more.

Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Maple Leaf Foods, with its Lightlife product, Montrealbased Vegeats, and many other plant-based product providers are trying to democratize the notion of proteins. As a result, we are seeing more innovation coming from the food industry than we have in the past 20 years. We are seeing the rise of a brand-new section in the grocery store, a first in many years. Proteins are making everyone in the food industry think differently about their products, at the meat counter and beyond.

We should be thankful for what is happening, but let's hope a truce in the protein war occurs soon. A divisive debate is never desirable, especially when food is involved.

Associated Graphic

Many grocers and restaurants, including Carl's Jr., seen above, have jumped on the Beyond Meat bandwagon since A&W's successful campaign last year. However, other chains that have built their platform around promoting Canadian beef, such as McDonald's Canada, are doubling down on their meat-focused brands as a counter to the plant-based trend.

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES


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Turquoise Hill's cost woes stoke mining-sector concerns
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Mongolian project's soaring price tag and major delays reinforce investor wariness
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B2

Soaring construction costs at one of the world's most promising copper projects have hit the mining industry, creating uncertainty about how much the sector has truly changed.

Canada's Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., which owns two-thirds of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project in Mongolia, unexpectedly announced this month that an underground expansion of its mine will take much longer, and will cost much more, than originally planned.

Already expected to cost US$5.3-billion, the OT expansion will now require up to an additional US$1.9-billion in capital spending to complete. Sustainable production from the project has also been delayed by 16 to 30 months from original estimates, to between May, 2022, and June, 2023.

On a conference call, Turquoise Hill attributed the woes to geotechnical issues and ground conditions. "We must stop and pause and take the appropriate action, and that's what we're doing," chief executive Ulf Quellmann said.

Global giant Rio Tinto PLC owns 51 per cent of Turquoise Hill and operates the OT project, having acquired the controlling stake from Canadian mining financier Robert Friedland. Turquoise Hill used to be called Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.

Political risk and heavy capital requirements have weighed on Turquoise Hill's shares for years. That pressure only compounded after the soaring costs and major delay were announced on July 15, sending the stock plummeting another 46 per cent since.

Turquoise Hill now has a market value worth $1.5-billion, down from $13.3billion at the height of the commodity supercycle in 2011.

The update has bolstered fears that miners still can't control project costs.

"That perception continues, and [news] like Turquoise Hill's just reinforces it," said Glenn Ives, chair of Deloitte and head of the firm's North American metals and mining practice.

Miners have a history with cost overruns, particularly with megaprojects.

Famous examples of developments with runaway costs include Barrick Gold Corp.'s Pascua-Lama project in the Andes, where total spending jumped to $8-billion from $1.5-billion - and then the project was put on hold. Anglo American PLC's Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil also took four years longer to build than expected and cost twice its original budget.

A 2015 study by Export Development Canada, which helps finance a number of mining projects in riskier regions, found that between 1994 and 2015 mining projects had an average cost overrun of 37 per cent.

Megaprojects that cost $2billion or more to build had an average cost overrun above 60 per cent.

For many years, the runaway spending was masked by rising metals prices. Once the supercycle crashed, however, many miners' balance sheets were left loaded with debt.

Between 2015 and 2018, the industry focused on paying down debt and selling assets. Miners also slashed their annual spending in order to boost free cash flow, with capital expenditures plummeting in 2017 by roughly two-thirds from their peak of US$80-billion across the industry in 2012, according to a study by Deloitte.

With their balance sheets now in order, the sector is on much better footing.

Mining executives have also promised that they've learned from their past blunders.

"Many mistakes were made in the haste to bring new supply on line as soon as possible," some of the world's largest miners acknowledged in a joint study by consultancy Spencer Stuart and the Center for Copper and Mining Studies (CESCO) in 2018. "Ore bodies must be adequately understood and tested, engineering advanced and host communities fully consulted and supportive before projects are approved."

The hope is that this new discipline will bring generalist investors - or those that do not specialize in metals and mining - back to the sector. At the start of 2011, the materials subindex accounted for 22 per cent of the S&P/TSX's total value. Today, it makes up just 11 per cent.

OT's problems, though, serve as a setback. Turquoise Hill declined to comment for this story.

The timing is particularly bad because many miners must start exploring and developing again in order to replace depleting assets. "At some point, a new capex [capital expenditure] boom is going to come along to plug a supply shortfall," Simon Redmond, the commodities head at rating agency S&P Global, told Deloitte for its study last year.

The irony is that OT is needed to provide new copper supply. It is a massive project, and by 2027 it is expected to be the world's third-largest copper mine. Crucially, it is also projected to have some of the world's lowest-cost production once it is up and running.

However, its expansion requires block caving, which is an extremely technical type of underground development. The complexity has led to extra costs and a major delay - conjuring up memories of all the sector's construction problems over the past decade.

Mr. Ives of Deloitte says he hopes investors ultimately see OT as an outlier, because it is "a very difficult project in a very difficult location," he said. "This is a fantastic deposit, it's just a hellishly difficult place to operate."

TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES (TRQ) CLOSE: 73¢, DOWN 2¢


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Brookfield bets $2.4-billion on mortgages
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Asset manager to take controlling stake in Genworth's Canadian mortgage insurance arm as CMHC cedes share to private sector
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B1

Brookfield Asset Management Inc.'s private-equity arm is making a long-term bet on Canada's mortgage market with a $2.4-billion deal to take control of Genworth MI Canada Inc., the country's second-largest mortgage insurer.

Brookfield Business Partners LP, a publicly traded subsidiary of the global asset manager, is acquiring a 57-per-cent stake in Genworth MI Canada from the mortgage insurer's American parent company, Genworth Financial Inc.

Brookfield will pay $48.86 a share for nearly 49 million shares in Genworth MI Canada - a 5-percent discount to the price at Monday's close on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but an 18-per-cent premium compared with the date when the company was formally put up for sale.

The deal appears to relieve a headache for Richmond, Va.based Genworth, which has waited years for regulators to approve a separate deal that would see the American company acquired for US$2.7-billion by a privately held Chinese buyer, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. That transaction, which was first announced in October, 2016, has stalled while awaiting approval from Canadian regulators and federal officials, who are required to consider the potential impact on Canada's mortgage industry and have held the deal up over national-security concerns, even after U.S. regulators gave it a green light.

Earlier this summer, Genworth Financial announced it was considering "strategic alternatives" for Genworth MI Canada, seeking to break the deadlock. That raised the prospect that, absent a suitable buyer, Genworth Financial's stake in its Canadian subsidiary might have to be sold into the public market at a discount. But Brookfield emerged with deep pockets and the industry expertise needed to take control.

"We are pleased to find such a highcalibre buyer for our interest in Genworth Canada," said Genworth Financial president and chief executive Tom McInerney.

Genworth Financial's share price shot up 15.8 per cent on Tuesday, and Brookfield Business Partners shares rose 2.7 per cent, but stock in Genworth MI Canada fell 1.7 per cent.

The Canadian arm of Genworth is a rare asset. It is Canada's largest private-sector mortgage insurer, providing a backstop against defaults to residential mortgage lenders, and it trails only the governmentowned Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in size. Its only privately owned competitor is Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company, which is jointly owned by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and financier Stephen Smith.

Genworth Canada currently has a 33per-cent share of the country's mortgageinsurance market, while CMHC holds half and Canada Guaranty the remaining 17 per cent, according to data from RBC Dominion Securities Inc. But the federal housing agency has been ceding its share to the private insurers.

Genworth's improving position in a highly consolidated market made it a logical target for Brookfield Business Partners, which seeks to acquire and manage companies in sectors where the barrier to entry is high. Brookfield also has extensive expertise in mortgages and housing: It is one of the largest residential real estate developers in North America, active in real estate financing, and owns the Royal LePage brokerage.

Brookfield Business Partners managing partner David Nowak described Genworth Canada as "a high-quality leader in the mortgage-insurance sector," in a statement.

The total share of mortgages that are insured has been falling, from 57 per cent in 2015 to 41 per cent in 2019, according to a recent CMHC report. The shift toward uninsured mortgages comes as regulators have tightened rules on mortgage lending, requiring borrowers to meet stricter tests to qualify for mortgage insurance.

Even so, the housing sector as a whole has continued to grow, adding a steady stream of new demand for mortgage insurance, particularly from first-time home buyers. And Brookfield is betting that Genworth can grab a larger share of the market, making full use of Brookfield's deep relationships with banks that do the lion's share of Canada's mortgage lending.

The deal is expected to close before the end of 2019, subject to approvals from Canada's banking regulator and Minister of Finance.

Brookfield is not currently looking to acquire the 43 per cent of Genworth MI Canada's shares that are owned by other investors. But Jaeme Gloyn, an analyst at National Bank Financial Inc., said that prospect "is not entirely off the table" and "would likely unfold at a premium" to the price Brookfield is paying for control.

Ratings agency DBRS Ltd. called the deal "positive for Genworth Canada," which has been more stable than its U.S.

parent.

Oceanwide Holdings consented to the transaction and extended the deadline to finalize its own deal with Genworth Financial until Dec. 31.

BROOKFIELD BUSINESS PARTNERS LP (BBU.UN) CLOSE: $47.92, UP $1.26 GENWORTH MI CANADA (MIC) CLOSE: $50.60, DOWN 35¢


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Global markets tumble on U.S.-China spat
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Beijing allows yuan to drop to low not seen in more than a decade, stoking concerns of possible currency war
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Stock markets around the world fell hard on Monday on fears that China's willingness to let the yuan slide in response to the latest U.S. tariff threat could further aggravate trade-related tensions between the world's two largest economies.

China on Monday let the yuan tumble beyond the seven-perU.S. dollar level for the first time in more than a decade, in a sign Beijing may be willing to tolerate further currency weakness after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed last week to impose 10per-cent tariffs on the remaining US$300-billion of Chinese imports from Sept. 1.

A weaker yuan - and a stronger greenback - pose challenges for U.S. companies that do substantial business in China, as it effectively raises the cost of their goods for Chinese customers.

China also said it would stop buying U.S. agricultural products.

Safe-haven assets, including the Japanese yen, government bonds and gold, rallied as investors cut back on riskier assets.

"I think there's a sense that President Trump might try and escalate in terms of a reaction, if he thinks that this was a deliberate move by the Chinese to try and weaken their currency artificially," said Brian Daingerfield, head of G10 FX strategy for the Americas at NatWest Markets in Connecticut.

Against the Japanese yen, the U.S. dollar fell 0.43 per cent to its lowest level since a January flash crash.

Trade-sensitive emerging market currencies took a beating. The emerging market currency index fell 1.24 per cent to set a 2019 low, on pace for its worst one-day drop since June, 2016.

MSCI's All Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, extended last week's slide and was down 2.53 per cent to a two-month low.

On Wall Street, the main indexes logged steep declines, led by technology companies.

"The currency move is part of the trade war," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, N.J. "It is a bold statement to the U.S. that says, 'If you want to play, we could play a different way as well.' It takes any optimism out of the market that there will be a quick resolution to trade."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 767.27 points, or 2.9 per cent, to finish at 25,717.74; the S&P 500 lost 87.31 points, or 2.98 per cent, to close at 2,844.74; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 278.03 points, or 3.4 per cent, to end at 7,726.04.

Canadian markets were closed for the holiday Monday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 2.31 per cent.

Factoring in Friday's losses, the index marked its largest two-day decline in more than three years.

Worries about a slowdown in global growth owing to an extended trade conflict also hurt oil prices.

"The escalation in the U.S.-China trade is another negative for the oil demand outlook, as the fallout from the spat continues to greatly impact the Asian economic region, which is key to the oil demand outlook," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital Management.

Brent crude fell US$2.08, or 3.36 per cent, to settle at US$59.81 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 97 US cents, or 1.74 per cent, to settle at US$54.69 a barrel.

Gold rose to a more than sixyear high. Spot gold was up 1.52 per cent at US$1,462.32 an ounce.

U.S. Treasury yields tumbled, with 10-year yields hitting their lowest level since November, 2016, on the safety bid.

In late U.S. trading, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was down 12.7 basis points at 1.7278 per cent.

Associated Graphic

The Dow fell 767.27 points to end at 25,717.74 on Monday, while the S&P 500 lost 87.31 points to finish at 2,844.74 and the Nasdaq dropped 278.03 points to close at 7,726.04.

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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Underwriters are stuck with about a third of New Gold's bought deal
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B2

New Gold Inc.'s $150-million stock issue has met with a frosty reception from investors as underwriters remain stuck with about a third of the shares despite bullion's big run this year.

Late last week, Toronto-based New Gold said a syndicate of underwriters had purchased the issue from the company and was offering close to 94 million new shares at $1.60 apiece to investors, a discount of 7 per cent to the market close at the time.

In such "bought deal" transactions, underwriters attempt to resell shares to third-party investors, preferably in a matter of hours. For assuming the risk, brokers are paid a flat commission, in this case 4.5 per cent.

But nearly a week after the underwriters purchased the shares, about a third of deal remains on their books, according to sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Sources cited the relatively slim deal discount given New Gold's risk profile, uneven interest in the sector and questions over the miner's long-term prospects as factors.

New Gold, whose market value is about $890-million, is carrying about US$780-million in longterm debt, largely incurred by big cost overruns at its low grade Rainy River mine in Ontario. New Gold said it intends to use proceeds from the bought deal in part to pay down that debt. New Gold receives the proceeds from the issue, minus a commission to the dealers, regardless of whether it sells out to third-party investors.

New Gold's shares have consistently traded below the $1.60 deal price since it was announced, meaning investors could buy stock in the open market at a cheaper price rather than buy from the syndicate. New Gold's shares closed at $1.55 apiece Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. led the deal and was allocated the biggest chunk of stock to sell: 35 per cent.

RBC Dominion Securities Inc. and Scotia Capital Markets were allocated 15 per cent each.

Neither BMO nor New Gold responded to a request for comment.

Sixteen banks participated in the syndicate, including large Canadian bank-owned dealers CIBC World Markets Inc. and TD Securities Inc., U.S. dealers JPMorgan Securities and Merrill Lynch, as well as a number of boutiques, such as Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. and GMP Capital Inc.

Jon Case, precious metals portfolio manager with Sentry Investments Inc., said he was offered a piece of the New Gold deal, but turned it down. He said the weak reception for New Gold points to a lack of interest from generalist investors, in sharp contrast to a couple of years ago.

In 2016, the last time gold bullion had a similar move upward in a short period of time, the appetite from investors for gold equity issues was much stronger.

"There was a New Gold-style deal every week," Mr. Case said.

"They were all oversubscribed, they all traded up because there was this absolute tsunami of money pouring into gold equities.

The fact that the New Gold deal hasn't gone well tells you that despite the pretty spectacular performance in the equities, you still haven't really got that generalist capital."

Over the past decade, interest from both specialist mining funds and generalist investors has fallen, in large part because of disappointing performance at many of the big gold companies, including badly timed acquisitions and technical problems at mine sites.

The rise of gold exchange traded funds and the popularity of alternative investments that appeal to the risk-orientated investors, such as cannabis stocks, has also dampened the appeal of gold for generalist investors.

Historically sought out as a safe-haven investment, gold has run up 18 per cent this year, driven by escalating international tradewar tensions, a slowdown in global growth and falling interest rates. On Wednesday, gold futures traded north of US$1,520 an ounce, the highest level since early 2013.

NEW GOLD (NGD) CLOSE: $1.55, NO CHANGE


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Canada sheds 24,200 jobs as labour market stagnates
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Unemployment rate in July rose to 5.7 per cent, as wholesale and retail trade declined
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By KELSEY JOHNSON
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Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page B3

OTTAWA -- Canada's economy shed a net 24,200 jobs in July, driven by a decline in wholesale and retail trade, official data showed on Friday as Canada's job market remained in a holding pattern for the third consecutive month.

Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate edged up to 5.7 per cent from 5.5 per cent in June as more people looked for work after hitting record lows earlier this year. Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a gain of 12,500 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent.

"Clearly, it's on the disappointing side of expectations," Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said.

"Of course, you can never read too much into any one month, but this is the third setback in employment in the past five months."

The Canadian dollar weakened to 75.37 US cents after the decline in jobs.

July saw the loss of 11,600 fulltime jobs and 12,600 part-time positions. Employment declined for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 and for women in the core working ages of 25 to 54 but increased for core working-age men.

Wages for permanent employees - a figure watched closely by the Bank of Canada - rose by 4.5 per cent year over year, the largest gain seen since January, 2009.

"At the moment, it looks like the Canadian labour market has reached a limit where the unemployment limit can't break that 5.5-per-cent, 5.4-per-cent level without wages going up," said Simon Harvey, an FX market analyst for Monex Europe and Canada.

The number of private-sector employees, Statscan reported, dropped by 69,000 in July - driven largely by declines in the wholesale and retail trade sector, which shed 20,600 jobs. Self-employment was up by 28,000 positions, while the number of public-sector employees was little changed.

The construction sector saw the biggest employment boost in July, adding 25,000 jobs. Gains were also seen in the public administration industry, which posted an increase of 9,200 positions.

The central bank has remained firmly on the sidelines since October and is not expected to move for the remainder of the year - despite a recent rate cut by the U.S.

Federal Reserve.

"The Bank of Canada needs to tread carefully," Derek Holt, vicepresident of capital markets economics at Bank of Nova Scotia, cautioned on Friday, noting Canada's domestic data could start "to weaken in the third quarter."

"I do think at the margin this lands pretty heavily on the side of suggesting the bank will consider trimming interest rates at some point," BMO's Mr. Porter said.

"Of course, we have to wait and see what actually happens on the trade front in the next few weeks, but this certainly is supportive of the doves' view," he said.

In a separate release, Statscan said the value of Canadian building permits declined by an unexpected 3.7 per cent in June to $8.01-billion as multifamily and institutional permit values dropped.

Associated Graphic

While 11,600 full-time jobs were lost in July, wages for permanent employees rose by 4.5 per cent year over year, the largest increase since January, 2009.

NATHAN DENETTE/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Airlines win right to appeal Canada's new passenger bill of rights
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By ERIC ATKINS
  
  

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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B1

The airline industry has won the right to appeal Canada's new rules that govern how airlines must treat passengers who face delays, cancelled flights or lost luggage.

The Federal Court of Appeal on Thursday granted several airlines, including Air Canada, Porter Airlines and the industry group International Air Transport Association, the right to jointly appeal the air passenger bill of rights.

The first phase of the new law went into effect on July 15, requiring airlines to pay up to $2,400 for bumping a customer for reasons within the airline's control; provide compensation of as much as $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage; and allow passengers to leave a plane that is delayed on the tarmac for more than three hours with no chance of an imminent departure.

The second phase, which goes into effect on Dec. 15, requires airlines to pay up to $1,000 a passenger for non-safety-related flight delays or cancellations that are within a carriers' control; provide food, drinks and accommodations to delayed passengers; and seat children younger than 14 near their accompanying adult at no extra charge. The rules apply to all flights originating or ending in Canada and cover domestic and international carriers.

The airlines sought permission to appeal the rules on the basis that they contain provisions - including compensation that exceeds actual passengers losses - that are contrary to an international deal the airlines reached in 1999, known as the Montreal Convention. The industry also argued Canada has no authority to impose the rules on foreign carriers.

The respondents in the appeal, the Attorney-General of Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency, replied to the airline industry's application to appeal in a July letter to the court, saying the rules were the result of consultations with the airline industry, consumers groups and other stakeholders.

"The objective was to put in place clearer and more consistent passenger rights by establishing minimum standards of treatment ... and minimum levels of compensation that all airlines must provide," the letter said, asserting the challenge to the rules "must fail on the merits."

Before the new rules came into force, passengers who felt they were wronged by airlines relied on a patchwork of government, industry and airline rules, practices - and, in many cases, their own negotiating skills to settle with a carrier.

As is customary, the Federal Court of Appeal did not issue reasons for its decision. No date for a trial has been set.


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Britain won't take current Brexit deal, minister tells EU
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B1

LONDON -- The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, must go back to the bloc's leaders to change the terms of the talks because Britain's Parliament will not accept the current deal, British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Sunday.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Mr. Barclay said the "political realities" had changed since Mr. Barnier's instructions were set after Britain voted to leave the EU more than three years and that his mandate should reflect those differences.

Britain's new prime minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged to leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, and has told the bloc there is no point in new talks unless negotiators are willing to drop the so-called Northern Irish backstop agreed with his predecessor Theresa May. But Mr.

Barnier has said the EU will not renegotiate the divorce deal, formally known as the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent a return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

"Mr. Barnier needs to urge EU leaders to consider this if they too want an agreement, to enable him to negotiate in a way that finds common ground with the U.K. Otherwise, No Deal is coming down the tracks," Mr. Barclay wrote in the newspaper.

"It is our firm view that Irish border issues should be dealt with in talks on the future agreement between the U.K. and the EU - where they should always have been - and we're ready to negotiate in good faith on this basis." The backstop, which would come into play if a future trading arrangement falls short of keeping the border open, has been the main stumbling block in the Brexit talks and one of the reasons why Parliament rejected the deal three times.

Mr. Johnson has vowed to get rid of the backstop and the new government has taken a hard line with the EU, saying it was "turbo-boosting" preparations for a no-deal Brexit if the bloc fails to agree alternative arrangements for the border.

Mr. Barclay said officials were working on those arrangements.

"We have already started work across Whitehall to find the solutions, and they can and will be found, in the context of the free trade agreement we will negotiate with the EU after October 31," he wrote.


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Jay-Z sells out Kaepernick, grabs big money from NFL
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By PAUL NEWBERRY
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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B13

Remember when Jay-Z was a dynamic hip-hop artist whose stark lyrics gave voice to the oppressed and downtrodden?

Well, those days are over.

He may have 99 Problems - but a conscience certainly ain't one.

Completing his transformation to total sellout, Jay-Z climbed into bed with those racial progressives over at the NFL in what was clearly nothing more than a money grab for one side and a public-relations coup for the other.

Sorry, Kaep.

Social justice has been banished to the sidelines.

"I think we've moved past kneeling and I think it's time to go into actionable items," Jay-Z said in a ludicrously weak attempt to spin his hefty NFL payoff into some sort of profile in courage.

With a totally straight face - and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by his side - the rap icon and entrepreneur said his partnership with the league is actually a progressive step to carry on the campaign that banished quarterback Colin Kaepernick courageously began by kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality and glaring racial inequities in the U.S. justice system.

"I think everyone knows what the issue is - we're done with that," Jay-Z said. "We all know the issue now. Okay, next."

Hmm, where have we heard that before?

Oh, yeah, from opponents of the civil-rights movement, who derided those protesting against whites-only lunch counters and seats in the back of the bus as nothing more than rabble-rousers who should've been focused on real issues afflicting the African-American community, as if a system that denied pretty much every human dignity wasn't the actual problem.

"Now that we all know what's going on, what are we going to do?" Jay-Z said, putting his foot further in his mouth. "How are we going to stop it? Because the kneeling was not about a job, it was about injustice."

Hey, maybe the NFL should take its deal with Roc Nation to a whole new level by pairing Jay-Z with Jon Voight, another celebrity (yes, kids, Jon Voight was once a cutting-edge actor) who turned in what little was left of his cred card after that awful film Anaconda by declaring recently that racism was "solved long ago by our forefathers."

We can see the ad now: "Welcome to another season of exciting NFL football! Featuring the social-justice stylings of Jay-Z, who'll show us all how to make a buck off police beating up black people. And the racially harmonious world of Jon Voight, asking the question that's been on everyone's mind: Why can't we all just get along? And finally, we'll bring you the smiling face of Roger Goodell, reminding everyone for the 847th time that Colin Kaepernick is not in the NFL because he's just not good enough."

Now, back to reality.

Safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in his kneeling protest but managed to keep a job in the NFL, took aim at Jay-Z for teaming up with the league without getting some sort of assurance that his former 49ers teammate would get another crack at taking the field, something he clearly wants to do.

Jay-Z framed it this way: "So what are we gonna do? ... [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job."

Reid replied on Twitter: "These aren't mutually exclusive.

They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin's career."

Touché.

Maybe we're being too hard on Jay-Z, who has long pulled off that delicate balancing act between social consciousness (such as his Trayvon Martin documentary series) and the potential pitfalls of good ol' capitalism (his 2013 collaboration with Barney's was widely panned over allegations that the luxury store discriminated against black shoppers).

He's been on the right side of many issues, but never let it stand in the way of making a buck.

Jay-Z was reportedly peeved at rapper Travis Scott for performing with Maroon 5 during last season's Super Bowl in Atlanta, after many black artists bailed on the halftime show over the league's treatment of Kaepernick. But now that he's got all that cash in his pocket, Jay-Z says his stance had nothing to do with the ex-quarterback.

"My problem is [Scott] had the biggest year to me last year, and he's playing on a stage that had an M on it," Jay-Z said. "I didn't see any reason for him to play second fiddle to anyone that year, and that was my argument."

Jay-Z says he won't be performing at this season's Super Bowl, but his company - home to Rihanna, DJ Khaled and other stars - will co-produce the halftime show and serve as a consultant on other entertainment projects with the league, as well as working with its Inspire Change initiative.

"The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive," Jay-Z told The New York Times when his deal with the league was first announced.

"They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good."

Too bad he won't be pushing for an NFL that includes Kaepernick.


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Curry welcomes new beginnings at Golden State
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By JANIE MCCAULEY
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B12

OAKLAND -- Someday, years or even decades from now, at one of those celebratory reunions teams like to do, Stephen Curry knows he and Kevin Durant will reminisce with fondness about their three insanely successful years together on the Golden State Warriors.

They will reflect on the greatness, the fun, all they learned from each other shooting side by side, day after day. Two championships, a pair of NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards for Durant.

"I'll always remember the three years we had. We'll probably be back here down the road celebrating those like they did the '74-'75 team," Curry said, nodding in the direction of the Warriors' recent championship banners. "It'll be cool when that happens."

For now, Curry is embracing new beginnings as the oldest player on a Golden State roster that will look far different come training camp next month - and that also was the theme he shared with girls attending his Warriors camp this week in one of his bittersweet final trips to the downtown Oakland practice facility before a move to San Francisco and the new Chase Center. Durant, recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon, has departed to join the Brooklyn Nets.

"We won two championships and I think we both got better throughout the process as basketball players and as people," Curry said. "With the demand every single night to be great and just all that that comes with, in terms of the media attention, the scrutiny, the criticism, the praise even, it's a lot to handle. And I think me and him especially on that level could connect. Him going to Brooklyn, you're just trying to make sure he's happy and going to a place where he feels like he needs to be. At the end of the day, you've got to be happy about that for him."

Also gone are veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, guard Quinn Cook and big man DeMarcus Cousins. Meanwhile, the Warriors have added a handful of new faces such as D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein and Glenn Robinson III. Draymond Green got a new four-year deal earlier this month worth close to US$100-million. Kevon Looney re-signed, too.

As Klay Thompson works back this season from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee that he injured in the deciding Game 6 loss of the Finals to the Toronto Raptors, Curry's backcourt mate will be Russell.

At 31, Curry doesn't mind that he will be the quote-unquote old guy entering his 11th NBA season.

A two-time NBA MVP, he has reached five straight NBA Finals.

"Has it sunk in? No. Have people been reminding me? Yes, any time they bring up our team looking forward," he said with a smile. "It's cool, though, hopefully I'm wise beyond my years but still youthful in what I can do on the floor. It's just a change in dynamic all the way around. We're excited about the opportunities, the challenges for the whole roster, because we've got a lot of guys that have the opportunity to really prove themselves and make a difference in our team.

Obviously our core, till Klay gets back, we know how to win and we know how to play. We're just going to do it a little differently."

Curry is unconcerned at this stage about outside expectations regarding how good this group might be and speculation that these Warriors may not be a championship contender.

"I know the reality of the situation in terms of we lost a guy like Kevin Durant, who's an alltime great basketball player," Curry said.

"We lost two veteran, high-IQ guys in Shaun and Andre that really were like the cogs in the wheel that kept us going and you could rely on them every single game. So, the look is different but nobody really has a sustained run like we did where every year you're expected to be the greatest. It's just a matter of now we have to, I wouldn't even say prove people wrong, but we have to kind of galvanize the new roster and do the exact same thing."

As he told the female campers all sporting his No. 30 jersey, first things first.

Curry took a quick poll of how many had started school again.

Dozens of hands shot into the air.

"Great to see you all again! You all having a great day, too?" Collective: "Yeah!"

"New beginnings, right? We're going to take care of our school work this year?" Curry asked.

"We're going to be very dedicated and hard-working in the classroom as we are on the basketball court? That's very important to be well-rounded people, right?

Athletes and academics."

Associated Graphic

Stephen Curry of Golden State and Toronto's Danny Green battle for the ball during the NBA Finals last June between the Warriors and Raptors. Curry has reached five straight Finals.

GETTY IMAGES


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Hunter finally tapped as world junior coach
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He's sent numerous stars to the NHL, but the London Knights coach had always been on the outside of national program
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By JOSHUA CLIPPERTON
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B13

PLYMOUTH, MICH. -- Alan May remembers a dedicated, physical specimen. Keith Jones recalls unmatched passion and a brilliant hockey mind. As a player, Dale Hunter had all those things.

And then there were the practical jokes.

"He put Garry Galley's truck up on blocks at the old practice facility," May said of Hunter, his teammate with the Washington Capitals. "Other times, he'd take Garry's car and move it to the strip mall a few blocks away.

"Dale was the last guy you wanted to pull a prank on because he'd get you back 10 times worse."

Jones also once found himself in Hunter's crosshairs.

"I realized there was a horrifically bad smell in my car," Jones said with a laugh during a recent phone interview. "As I started to drive away, I looked back, and out of the arena door was Dale Hunter's head and Calle Johansson's head peeking around the corner and laughing.

"They had taken this Swedish fish that is apparently a delicacy and stuck it under the seat. I drove with my head out the window to get to the car wash, and went back three straight days."

Often a man of few words publicly, but a noted character behind the scenes with those that know him best, Hunter is finally getting a chance to coach Canada at the 2020 world junior hockey championship.

Set to turn 59 on Wednesday, Hunter has been a Canadian Hockey League force since buying the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights with his brother, Mark, back in 2000. The franchise has won two Memorial Cups (2005, 2016) and sent a number of pro-ready players to the NHL, including Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Corey Perry and Mitch Marner.

But apart from coaching Canada at the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in 2013 - which he won - Hunter has been on the outside looking in with the national program.

"A long time coming," said Stan Butler, head coach and general manager of the OHL's North Bay Battalion and a two-time world junior bench boss. "I don't know if there's anybody in junior hockey more deserving."

Hunter said he's always had "other stuff on, and we had great coaches."

"It's awesome," he added of the opportunity. "It's an exciting time."

May and Jones, however, have a few ideas about why it's taken so long for their former captain to get the nod.

"There's a lot of petty jealously at the success he's had," said May, who now works on Capitals television broadcasts. "I've seen a lot coaches get that gig that don't even hold a candle to Dale."

"He doesn't campaign for anything," added Jones, an analyst for NBCSN and a colour commentator for the Philadelphia Flyers. "He's not out to promote himself. He's out to make his teams better, he's out to win at all costs." Hockey Canada, not surprisingly, has a different perspective.

"We only have one spot for a head coach every year," said Shawn Bullock, director of the men's teams. "Dale was enthusiastic when he got the call.

"We couldn't be more excited."

Some of Hunter's former players raised eyebrows when told this would be the first time he's getting the gig.

"It's definitely surprising," Marner said earlier this month. "But it doesn't surprise me he's getting the chance now."

Hunter left the Knights to coach the Capitals in the 2011-12 season, leading Washington to an upset victory of the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

But instead of continuing in the NHL, he returned to London and his Knights.

Hunter is on the ice this week in suburban Detroit with 38 players for a series of practices and exhibition games against the United States, Sweden and Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase. It's the first opportunity for Hockey Canada's brain trust - including Mark Hunter - and coaching staff to get an up-close look at some of the teenagers hoping to represent their country at this year's tournament, which begins Dec. 26 in the Czech Republic.

Canada has won the event two of the past five years, but also failed to medal the past three times it's been played in Europe.

"It's a big ice surface," Dale Hunter said.

"It's a tough tournament."

Associated Graphic

Under the leadership of Dale Hunter, seen during a 2014 game against the Edmonton Oil Kings, the London Knights have won two Memorial Cups.

DAVE CHIDLEY/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Buhai leading at Women's British Open
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Canadian Svensson flirts with golf's magic number at Wyndham Championship
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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page S3

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND -- Ashleigh Buhai stretched her surprise lead at the Women's British Open to three shots, shooting a bogey-free five-under 67 in Friday's second round.

Buhai, a 30-year-old South African who has never won on the LPGA Tour, birdied four of the final eight holes to post 12under 132.

"I'm trying not to keep thinking it's a major. It's just another tournament," said Buhai, whose best previous British Open finish was a tie for 30th in 2017. "I just keep trying to do what I've done the last few weeks. I've kept the mistakes off the card the last two days."

Alone in second at nine under was 20-year-old Hinako Shibuno, a rookie on the Japan LPGA Tour who is making her LPGA Tour and major championship debut.

"I just wanted to make the cut.

That's all," Shibuno said.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., is tied for 18th at four under after shooting a one-under 71 on Friday. Hamilton's Alena Sharp missed the cut at four over.

Shibuno, who shot 66 on Thursday, had a 69 on Friday and wowed spectators at Woburn Golf Club with her fearless play.

She led for much of the afternoon before Buhai overtook her.

Shibuno has two victories in Japan this year and is ranked 46th in the world.

American Lizette Salas was third at eight under. She birdied the first four holes en route to a bogey-free 67.

"Awesome day," Salas said.

Bronte Law, the top-ranked English player at No. 22 in the world, also shot 67 and was four shots back alongside Céline Boutier, second-ranked Park Sunghyun, Caroline Masson and local favourite Charley Hull, who is playing on her home course.

Boutier had the day's lowest round at 66.

Defending champion Georgia Hall was also six under after a 69, along with Ariya Jutanugarn (70), Carlota Ciganda (69) and top-ranked Ko Jin-young, who was frustrated after a 70.

CANADIANS IN THE HUNT AT WYNDHAM CHAMPIONSHIP GREENSBORO, N.C. Canada's Adam Svensson made a run at golf's magic number before settling for a nine-under 61 on Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

The 59 watch was on after the 25-year-old golfer from Surrey, B.C., made seven birdies for a 28 on the front nine at a soft and wet Sedgefield Country Club. But Svensson cooled down with two birdies on the back nine, preventing him from becoming just the 10th player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59.

"I was kind of like, all right, I'm nine-under par [after No. 13] and there's still four or five holes and a par five," Svensson said.

"I was actually pretty calm. I thought I would be a little more nervous than I was." Svensson was tied with Canadian Mackenzie Hughes and four others in third place heading into the weekend at 11 under - two strokes behind leader An Byeong-hun An was at 13-under 127 halfway through the PGA Tour's final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs. Brice Garnett was a stroke back after a 64.

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., was the lone Canadian to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, doing so in 2017 at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Svensson missed a five-foot putt for birdie at No. 15 and a 15-footer for birdie at No. 17, pretty much ending his shot at a 59.

He made an 11-foot par putt on No. 18 to complete a bogey-free round.

"I was happy with the way I played. I had a couple missed putts coming down the stretch," he said.

Hughes, from Dundas, Ont., shot 66 after opening with a 63 to stay in contention entering the third round.

Three other Canadians made the cut. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., (66) and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., (66) are five under, while Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., (69) is four under.

Associated Graphic

Canadian Adam Svensson plays a shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday. Svensson shot a bogey-free nine-under 61 and sits in a tie for third place.

TYLER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES


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England faces tough last day at first Ashes test as Australia takes control
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B10

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND -- England must bat through the final day of the first Ashes test after Steve Smith and Matthew Wade scored centuries and a rampant Australia set the hosts an unlikely winning target of 398 on Sunday.

At stumps, England was 13-0 - and needing another 385 for a shock victory - after Australia had the luxury of declaring at 487-7 in its second innings at Edgbaston.

The match has turned around entirely after England led by 90 runs after the first innings.

England openers Rory Burns (7 not out) and Jason Roy (6 not out) were at the crease at the end of a fourth day dominated by Australia, which had resumed only 34 runs in front on 124-3, reaching lunch at 231-4 and tea at 356-5.

Prolific batter Smith (142) scored his 25th test century to become the fifth Australian - and the first since Matthew Hayden in Brisbane in 2002 - to register twin tons in the same Ashes match.

Smith, the former Australia captain who was removed from the role and banned for a year for his part in the ball-tampering scandal of last year, was caught behind off Chris Woakes.

"I love playing test cricket and I love playing against England. It's a terrific place to play Ashes cricket," Smith said. "It feels like Christmas morning every morning getting to come and do this." Smith, who follows Warren Bardsley, Arthur Morris, Steve Waugh and Hayden into the record books, passed 50 for the sixth successive time against England.

Smith's 144 in the first innings rescued Australia from oblivion, and his 142 set his team on course for a victory push. England may look to its famed wet weather for some help, but any early morning showers are forecast to clear up before the start of the first session. There is only a 10-per-cent chance of rain during the hours of play.

Burns and Roy survived seven overs before stumps. They and their nine teammates must collectively see off another 90 on Day 5, on a pitch offering plenty of turn for Nathan Lyon.

Wade reverse-swept England captain Joe Root for a four to earn his third test century before Australia brought up the 400 mark in 96 overs. The recalled 31-year-old Wade, playing his first test since 2017, was caught by Joe Denly off Ben Stokes for 110. Both Wade and Travis Head (51) shared century partnerships with Smith, as the continued absence of England's record wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson limited bowling options.

England had earlier confirmed that Anderson would not be available to bowl for the remainder of the match. He will bat if needed.

England offspinner Moeen Ali finished with 2-130. On a pitch offering lavish turn, Moeen bowled two moon balls but also spun one wickedly through the gate of Tim Paine.

Associated Graphic

England's Rory Burns plays a shot against Australia on Sunday, the fourth day of the first Ashes cricket test match between the two countries at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England.

LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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Canadian star Groenewegen pitches perfect Pan Ams game
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B11

LIMA -- Sara Groenewegen pitched a perfect game to lead the Canadian women's softball team to an 8-0 win over Venezuela on Monday at the Pan American Games.

The native of White Rock, B.C., struck out 10 in five innings as Canada improved to 2-0 at the tournament.

Larissa Franklin of Maple Ridge, B.C., drove in three runs for Canada.

Groenewegen was also a key player for Canada when the team beat the United States in the 2015 Pan Am final in Ajax, Ont.

Canada faces the reigning world champion Americans on Tuesday.

Softball is back in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being kept off the schedule the past two Summer Games.

The Pan Ams are not an Olympic qualifier.

Canada will return home for the Americas Olympic Qualifier from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1 in Surrey, B.C.

In water polo, the Canadian women's water polo team improved to 2-0 with a 28-2 win over Peru.

Axelle Crevier of Montreal and Emma Wright of Lindsay, Ont., led Canada with five goals apiece.

Monika Eggens, Shae Fournier, Hayley McKelvey and Kyra Christmas each had three goals for Canada.

The Pan Am water polo tournament serves as an Olympic qualifier. The men's and women's winners both advance to Tokyo.

The Canadian women return to action against Mexico on Tuesday, wrapping up preliminaryround play.

Canada won silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

In rhythmic gymnastics, Canada's Natalie Garcia won a silver medal in the clubs discipline.

Garcia, from Mississauga, was second in the clubs at this year's Canadian championships. She took gold in the discipline at last year's Junior Pan American Championships.

In racquetball, two Canadians were knocked out in the men's singles quarter-finals.

Coby Iwaasa of Lethbridge, Alta., lost 2-0 (15-14, 15-13) to Mexico's Alvaro Beltran.

Meanwhile, Samuel Murray of Baie-Comeau, Que., fell 2-0 (15-7, 15-10) to Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico.

CANADIANS TO WATCH TUESDAY Christabel Nettey (Track and field): The long jumper from Surrey won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2015 Pan Am Games.

Rachel Cliff (Track and field): The long-distance runner from Vancouver competes in the 10,000 metres. Earlier this year, she broke the Canadian marathon record.

Mario Deslauriers (Equestrian): The 54-year-old show jumper from Bromont, Que., first competed at the Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Women's field hockey team: Canada, ranked 18th in the world, faces No. 3 Argentina in the semifinals. The winner of the tournament earns an Olympic berth.

Kate Haber (Rowing): The native of Owen Sound, Ont., teams up with Jaclyn Stelmaszyk of Uxbridge, Ont., in the lightweight double sculls. Haber won gold at the 2015 Pan Ams.


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Blue Jays rout Rangers in second straight victory
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Back-to-back homers from McKinney and Hernandez help take Toronto to a 3-0 win
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By MELISSA COUTO
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B13

TORONTO -- Billy McKinney and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays kept the Texas Rangers off the board Tuesday in a 3-0 victory.

Randal Grichuk also hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays (51-72).

Danny Santana had a pair of doubles for the Rangers (59-60), supplying the visitors' only two hits through the game's first five innings.

Texas starter Lance Lynn (14-8) gave up one run and four hits with three walks and a strikeout in five innings. It was the first time since April 23 that Lynn had pitched fewer than six innings in a start.

Wilmer Font served as the opener for Toronto, allowing one hit and two walks over his two innings of work.

Left-hander Thomas Pannone (3-5) followed Font with four scoreless innings - allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out three - and Tim Mayza, Derek Law and Ken Giles kept the shutout going to give Toronto its fifth win in seven games.

Giles, making his first appearance since Aug. 7, earned his 16th save of the season.

The Blue Jays made it a 3-0 game in the sixth with the backto-back solo shots from Hernandez and McKinney off Texas reliever Shawn Kelley.

It was the 11th time this season that Toronto had homered in consecutive at-bats - and second time in as many nights - tying a franchise record from 1999.

Grichuk gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his team-leading 22nd homer of the season, a solo shot to straightaway centre field.

The Blue Jays have hit 106 homers since June 16. They came into the game four back of the Yankees for the most home runs hit in that two-month span.

Rookie sensation Bo Bichette walked in the third inning to extend his on-base streak to 16 games to begin his career, the longest ever by a Blue Jay. The on-base streak is the third longest in MLB history by a player aged 21 or younger, surpassing Ted Williams's 15-game streak from the 1939 season.

Rangers centre-fielder Delino DeShields slammed hard into the wall when he fell backward while making a catch on a deep Reese McGuire fly ball with two out in the fourth inning. McGuire was batting with the bases loaded and DeShields's catch saved at least a pair of runs. DeShields stayed in the game.

Rougned Odor continued to be booed loudly in each of his plate appearances. Toronto fans have loudly voiced their displeasure for the Texas second baseman since he punched former Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the jaw during a 2016 game.


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CI FINANCIAL LOOKS FOR A WAY FORWARD
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As the asset-management business undergoes a revolution, the Bay Street powerhouse is struggling for investor attention amid doubts about its strategy
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By TIM KILADZE, CLARE O'HARA
  
  

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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page B4

The call was controversial, and she knew it. Presenting at an investment conference last fall attended by some of the biggest names in North American finance, fund manager Kim Shannon devoted her 20-minute presentation to praising, of all companies, CI Financial Corp.

In an earlier time, Ms. Shannon had been one of CI's stars: She was crowned Canadian fund manager of the year in 2005 for her work on the CI Canadian Investment Fund. But she had a very public falling out with CI's top brass after she moved to a rival firm; by the time she spoke on stage at Arcadian Court in Toronto last fall, the frosty relationship had lasted for more than a decade.

Yet, Ms. Shannon is a bargain hunter who typically lines her portfolios with the shares of companies that many other investors hate (and are therefore cheap). That describes CI, the largest Canadian mutual-fund company not owned by a big bank. Since May, 2014, CI's stock has plummeted 45 per cent, and after some share buybacks, what was once a $10-billion company now has a stock-market value of $4.8-billion.

Not long ago, mutual funds were the way millions of middle-class investors got access to professional stock selection - and CI dominated. For years, it was considered the best managed and fastest moving of the large Canadian fund companies.

But the traditional fund business, which typically charges 2 per cent a year in fees on equity portfolios, is now in a fight for relevance.

Low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have developed a robust following. Robo-advisers have made some clients question the value of human advice.

This new competition and pressure from regulators have forced money managers to cut fees to try to prevent investors from moving their money.

In Canada, there is an extra degree of difficulty. Independent fund managers such as CI, AGF Management Ltd. and Mackenzie Financial (which is a unit of IGM Financial Corp.) used to rule, but the Big Six banks have been elbowing their way deep into the business of wealth management through acquisitions and by using their branches to hawk their own funds.

Despite those factors, Ms. Shannon sees opportunity in CI: a company with strong cash flow, manageable debt and a large customer base, and $130-billion in assets under management. "They were, and still are, an incredible sales machine," she said in an interview last month.

The question is whether that's enough anymore.

CI has fallen into net redemptions, which means investors are pulling more money from its funds each quarter than they are putting in. In the fund industry, once that cycle starts, it is tough to break.

CI's top executives say they are victims of an industry revolution beyond their control. The man who has been the face of the company for decades, chairman Bill Holland, says investor perceptions of mutual-fund companies have changed radically. "It's still an unbelievable business. But the people who look at it hate it. They do."

Some observers beyond the company's inner circle tell a different tale, suggesting CI has lacked a clear strategy. This was the one independent fund company with the scale to invest for the future and the heft to take on the banks, but now it's struggling. "We've been fairly articulate in what we're trying to accomplish here," CI chief executive Peter Anderson says. And yet, he knows the message isn't getting through to investors. "It's clear people aren't hearing it."

Mr. Holland was the brains behind CI's once-explosive growth, and he is so revered internally that they call him "Chief." At 60 years old, he is still intense and brash, his mind darting to five different places when answering a question. He's also the rare example of an executive who can't help but say how he really feels.

Barely a minute into an interview with Mr. Holland and Mr. Anderson, the Chief is already exasperated. CI had $656-million in free cash flow last year, but the market treats the company like it's radioactive. The stock trades at a mere 8.5 times earnings. "We make more than the weed industry," Mr. Holland says, yet cannabis companies such as Cronos Group Inc. with no profits have higher market capitalizations.

It's as if everyone's forgotten who's running the show, and what they have accomplished.

Formerly known as Universal Savings, and later Canadian International, the company built an early reputation for offering investors exposure to foreign markets, at a time when many Canadian investors held only domestic funds and assets. Mr. Holland joined in 1989, at the beginning of what was a golden decade for the industry.

CI had a certain edge: Its sales and marketing arm, run by Mr.Holland, was unparalleled. It was a time when the rules were looser, which meant CI's wholesalers - the employees who sold its funds to investment advisers - could entice clients with lavish gifts and getaways. "All you talked about was, 'How do I qualify for the trip?' " Mr.Holland says of the mindset many investment advisers had in that day. CI would offer all-expenses paid excursions to Florida and guests would be put up in a spot known as the CI Safehouse. Like Vegas, what happened there, stayed there.

CI also displayed a knack for finding, and marketing, star fund managers. Retail investors trusted big names with good track records, and CI was happy to promote them - people such as Ms.Shannon and Gerry Coleman, who managed the CI Harbour Fund.

Once Mr. Holland became CEO in 1999, he became bent on bulking up through deals. His playbook was to acquire rivals for their assets, then slash the duplicated costs. A year into his tenure, he launched a gutsy, but ultimately unsuccessful, hostile takeover bid for archrival Mackenzie, hoping to make CI the largest fund company in Canada.

Mr. Holland never quite reeled in a trophy asset, but a series of sizable acquisitions included purchasing Sun Life Financial's mutualfund assets - the insurer became CI's largest shareholder in return - and the Canadian unit of Assante Corp. The latter caused a stir because Assante ran its own network of financial advisers - meaning that CI was putting itself in competition with the people at other firms who bought its funds.

Yet, it worked. "Without a doubt, the best decision we made years ago was to buy this business," Mr. Anderson says. By 2006, on the eve of the global financial crisis, CI was the largest of all independents and had amassed $55-billion in assets under management - second only to Royal Bank of Canada.

Like everyone else, CI suffered through the Great Recession. But its pain was short-lived, while many rival independent firms never recovered. Michael Lee-Chin, a boy wonder from the 1990s bull market, sold his company, AIC Ltd., to Manulife Financial Corp. for a small fraction of its former value in 2009. AGF and Mackenzie both fell into unstoppable spirals of net redemptions.

What saved CI? The company always kept a diverse fund lineup, with a healthy share of conservatively managed value funds. In 2013, after the commodity supercycle had crashed, CI had more top-rated funds than anyone else in the Canadian mutual fund industry.

CI's management also preached fiscal prudence. Mr. Holland handed the CEO role to one of his deputies, Steve MacPhail, in 2010, and the new boss was obsessed with expenses. (A friend once described Mr. MacPhail as "the last guy to take Uber if there's surge pricing.") That discipline, coupled with strong returns, sent CI's shares soaring to a record high of $36.79 in May, 2014.

One week later, CI got a gut punch. Bank of Nova Scotia had been its largest shareholder since 2008, after it acquired Sun Life's 37-percent stake, and many people assumed Scotiabank would buy the rest of the company some day. But the opposite happened. A new CEO, Brian Porter, decided to unload the stake by selling the shares to public investors. Scotiabank also pulled $3-billion worth of client money it had placed in CI funds.

But it wasn't until 2016 when things really started to go badly. A tax change by the Trudeau government became a big problem for CI.

Historically, investors were allowed to move money between investments known as "corporate class funds" without incurring taxable gains. Ottawa came to see this as a tax loophole. Its policy change, buried deep within the 2016 federal budget, hit roughly $120-billion of industry assets under management (AUM), or 10 per cent of all mutual-fund assets in Canada. CI arguably got the worst of it, because corporate class funds made up about 50 per cent of its retail assets, according to Mr. Holland. Wealthier clients in its Assante and Stonegate channels used these funds to minimize taxes once their contributions to registered investment portfolios had been maxed out.

At the time, Mr. Anderson was only a few weeks into his tenure as CEO, having taken over from Mr. MacPhail. The day the changes were unveiled, he was mid-air on flight. "It was the first time I ever used WiFi on a plane," he says. Reading through the budget, colourful language erupted from his mouth.

It was around this time that Mr. Holland started to see the revolution that was beginning to overtake the wealth-management industry.

Bank-owned brokerage firms began firing investment advisers and pushing some middle-class investors to their bank branches instead - where, conveniently, the banks market their own funds.

Robo-advisory firms such as Wealthsimple Inc. and Nest Wealth Asset Management Inc. were also developing a following, particularly with millennials.

ETFs were also catching on in Canada. Mutual-fund companies held their own for many years; people are creatures of habit, and they had been trained to buy mutual funds for three decades. Even today, the Canadian ETF industry has 35 providers managing approximately $178.6-billion in assets, but that's still only a sliver of the $1.47-trillion invested in mutual funds domestically.

But that gap is shrinking. In 2018, ETFs in Canada had $19.8-billion in net sales, while mutual funds saw $2.7-billion in net outflows, according to Strategic Insight. Halfway through 2019, ETFs are on pace to outsell mutual funds again.

"The real change, I would say, has been in the last year," Mr.Holland says. "The [mutual-fund] industry is in net redemptions most months."

What's changed? Crucially, the cost difference is glaring. ETF behemoths such as BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group Inc. spread their internal costs over their trillions in assets. In turn, they can slash fund fees to a tenth of a percentage point, just 0.1 per cent annually, or less. Canadian funds, meanwhile, have been slow to evolve. In mid-2018, the average five-year decline in management expense ratios (MERs) for Canada's 100 largest mutual funds was only 0.05 of a percentage point. The most expensive version of CI's second-largest fund, the Signature Income and Growth Fund, costs investors 2.41 per cent annually.

The competition is breeding all sorts of experimentation. A year ago, global mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments, which has a large Canadian arm, launched the world's first ever no-fee index fund.

Banks are also getting into ETFs more aggressively. In January, Royal Bank of Canada and BlackRock joined forces to sell them, creating a partnership between Canada's largest bank and the world's largest asset-management firm. The two are developing and marketing ETFs under the brand RBC iShares.

Amid all this change, the knock on CI is that it was too slow to evolve. On some level, it is understandable: CI kept pulling in money for many years while rival independents wobbled. "They didn't have to fix what wasn't broken," says Scott Chan, a financial-services analyst at Canaccord Genuity.

Some critics say it's more complicated than that. One theory is that management always expected to sell the company to Scotiabank, and when that possibility died, they had to scramble. Others blame Mr. MacPhail, arguing he was so focused on expenses that he forgot to invest for the future.

Mr. Anderson isn't having any of it. CI, he points out, was one of the first big money managers to acquire an ETF provider, scooping up First Asset Capital Corp. in 2015 when it had $3-billion in assets under management. He also says CI was one of the first to launch "liquid alternatives" funds, which provide downside protection in falling markets by offering hedge fund or private-equity strategies within a mutual-fund account.

Mr. Anderson does concede that CI missed the boat on funds for alternative investments, a widely popular asset class that allows high-net-worth investors to buy slices of infrastructure and real estate projects.

Other say there were problems with how CI grew. As the company did acquisition after acquisition, including the 2017 purchase of Sentry Investments for $807-million, its fund lineup became unwieldy.

"When you do that," says Dan Hallett, an independent analyst who's covered the industry for decades, "what you really get at a high level is poor performance, because you can't possibly have 150 outstanding, top-notch products." In turn, investors began pulling their money - hence the net redemptions.

The most stinging critique of CI today is that management has not articulated a clear and coherent strategy for the way forward. "I hear it every day," Mr. Holland says.

That doesn't mean he agrees. He and Mr. Anderson say their vision is to transform CI from a fund company to a wealth manager - one with everything from a fund manufacturing arm that creates new products to financial advisers to a digital footprint. In other words, to make CI look more like a bank.

Investors increasingly reward money mangers that own their distribution channels, so CI wants to double its assets in its Assante and Stonegate networks. (At the moment, 830 Assante advisers manage $45-billion in client assets.) "To get to that size, we're probably going to have to continue to look for potential acquisitions," Mr. Anderson says.

CI is also bulking up its digital operations, having recently acquired a majority stake in robo-adviser Wealthbar Financial Services Inc. It also purchased BBS Securities Inc., which specializes in digital back-office functions to help streamline operations. In June CI named Darie Urbanky, who has a background in tech and operations, as its new president, signalling the importance of these businesses going forward.

The wild card is whether CI will be any good at any of this. This is a company best known for being a serial acquirer and for its sales team. In Canada, there isn't much left to purchase, and the sales culture has changed, with regulators cracking down on anything resembling bribes to advisers. "When you think about the old, hardselling days - they're just gone," Mr. Holland says. "We couldn't even take people to the basketball games in the playoffs," he adds of the Raptors' run this spring. Sports tickets are against the rules.

It also isn't clear who will be in charge of the next chapter. In April, CI announced that Mr. Anderson will retire next year. "The key talking point on the name right now is the search for a new CEO," says CIBC World Markets analyst Paul Holden. "Until then, it feels like we are in a state of limbo."

Because there is so much uncertainty, it has to be asked: Why not sell CI to a larger financial institution, namely a bank or an insurer?

"Gaining access to distribution, whether domestically or internationally, just makes a lot of sense for their businesses," Mr. Holden says.

Of course, that would require a buyer, and the big unknown is who would want a fund company facing net redemptions. But on Bay Street the best two guesses at potential acquirers, or partners, are Bank of Nova Scotia and Sun Life, largely because of the historical relationships.

Of these, Scotiabank is the tougher sell, at least right now. The bank recently purchased three separate companies in the span of one year, for a total cost of nearly $7-billion, and CEO Mr. Porter has said he is focused on integrating these businesses before splurging again.

Sun Life is a little more realistic. The life-insurance business is struggling to adapt in the digital age, so the company is already building out a wealth-management business to offset slower growth.

But the major wrinkle here is that CI is a big company to swallow, with a market value of about $5-billion. Any acquirer would have to pay a premium over and above that.

Asked about CI's relationship with Sun Life, Mr. Holland and Mr.Anderson start gushing with praise for the insurer. There's no formal relationship right now, but CI's open to ideas. "Who knows what the relationship between CI and Sun Life could be, will be, should be," Mr. Holland says. They sound hopeful - or at least wishful - that something, even just a distribution partnership, could come together.

The only option Mr. Holland openly shoots down is a privateequity buyout.

"We're always getting looked at," he acknowledges.

"We hit every value screen." But he says it's hard to make the math work. Mr. Holland thinks CI would have to be acquired for $31 a share - "and then they have to lever it," he says, meaning adding a lot of debt.

For now, the far better option in Mr. Holland's mind is to buy back CI's stock at cut-rate prices. The company slashed its dividend a year ago to devote more cash to stock repurchases, all in the name of boosting earnings per share. "We're very rapidly privatizing the company," he says.

It is the ultimate value-investing move, and it's partly what attracted Ms. Shannon to the stock. "They had such a valid reason for cutting the dividend," she explains. The problem is, there aren't many people who feel the same - at least not yet. "Historically, we've trained investors that when you've cut your dividend, it usually means you're in financial difficulty," she says.

CI is not. This is the company that emerged stronger when previous frothy plays, such as the dot-com bubble, died off. Who says ETFs and robo-advisers really won't struggle in the long run? They haven't even been recession-tested yet. "The death of the mutual-fund business is very overrated," Mr. Holland says.

The risk in thinking this way is that what's transpiring now is likely more than a correction - it is a revolution, and retail investors are forming new patterns of behaviour. Cable companies once prayed that cord-cutters would come back, too.

CI could start aggressively cutting its fund fees, but then it is competing against global giants - one of which has teamed up with Canada's biggest bank. CI's best hope, then, may be to give investors reason to seek out its funds again - that is, to deliver good returns.

Stellar performance could turn the tide on net redemptions, and stemming these could change the market narrative.

The trouble with this plan is that isn't so easy to do - at least not in these conditions. This bull market has lasted a decade, and it's been next to impossible for money managers to beat broad indexes over a long time period. Even Warren Buffett, one of the most brilliant investors of a generation, has struggled in his equity portfolios lately to beat index funds that cost 0.1 per cent a year, or less.

The entire mutual-fund industry suffers from a perception problem. Ms. Shannon is a member of the U.S. Institute, a think tank for asset managers, and there's a consensus that incumbents haven't done enough to market themselves. "We've talked about how, collectively, we haven't come together to defend active management in any cohesive way," she says.

But Mr. Holland can't help but take it personally. This was his baby, so the cold shoulder from investors hurts. "Nobody cares about the asset-management business," he says.

Associated Graphic

Peter Anderson, CEO of CI Financial, says that despite criticism over its approach, the company has 'been fairly articulate in what we're trying to accomplish here.'

MARK BLINCH/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Bill Holland, the CI Financial chairman who has been the face of the company for decades, admits that investor perceptions of mutual-fund companies have changed radically.

MARK BLINCH/ THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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In the spring of 2018, a lot of things looked right in the global economy.
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Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page B6

World gross domestic product was growing at its fastest pace in six years, and looked to still be accelerating: The International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook projected growth of nearly 4 per cent in each of the next two years.

What's more, the growth looked "synchronous," as the economists put it - not just strength here and there, but a broad swath of the world simultaneously on the upswing. The value of global trade was expanding at a healthy 6-per-cent annual clip.

Central banks - including those of the United States and Canada - were raising interest rates, in recognition that their economies, already running at full speed, no longer needed the stimulation that low rates had long been providing. After a decade of ups and downs, the world finally looked to be in a (more or less) full recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.

That's when the world's biggest economy, the United States, fired the first shots in a trade war with the world's second-biggest economy, China.

In the ensuing 16 months, as each side has raised tariff walls against each other and China-U.S.

trade talks have gone nowhere, the dispute has cast an ominous cloud over that once-bright outlook. Optimism has been replaced with fear. Synchronous growth has been supplanted by synchronous slowdown. It's increasingly apparent that this dispute threatens to knock the wind out of the global economy and financial markets. And while Canada's economy has so far held up better than most, there's little doubt our heavily trade-dependent economy stands in the crossfire.

Over the past week the gloom took its darkest turn yet: U.S. President Donald Trump threatened a new round of sweeping tariffs against Chinese goods, China responded by allowing its currency to devalue, and the U.S. formally declared China a "currency manipulator" - opening a dangerous new front in the war.

The fear sparked in global financial markets was visceral. Bond yields plunged to record lows, commodity prices tumbled, stock markets whipsawed and currencies gyrated violently. By the time the dust had settled, the inversion of the U.S. yield curve - in which yields on short-term bonds are higher than longer-term bonds - was the deepest in nearly two decades. That's an emphatic signal that the markets are bracing for a recession, with the trade war as the catalyst.

At the root of this increasingly worrisome feud is a Trump administration that views China as its economic enemy, and looks determined to pursue a Chinese trade policy based more on confrontation than co-operation. This fear of China, and a determination to rein it in, have led us to this highstakes game of chicken. The stability of the global economy hangs in the balance.

THE BATTLE BEGINS Underpinning the Trump administration's trade issues with China is a belief among the President and his key advisers that the United States made a big mistake nearly two decades ago, when it orchestrated China's entry into the World Trade Organization. Hardliners led by senior trade adviser Peter Navarro, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, are convinced China's centralized government never intended to pursue truly free markets and fair trade. They see a Chinese economy that has grown into a major U.S. competitor by exploiting the trade liberalization afforded it by WTO membership, and at the expense of U.S.

manufacturing jobs. They now appear intent to put the genie back in the bottle.

But this runs deeper than simply levelling the trade playing field. There's a sense it has more to do with the United States feeling its place at the top of the global pecking order threatened - a desire to halt China's march to supplant the U.S. as the dominant world power, abetted by a permissive world trade order that has allowed it to manipulate its gullible Western counterparts.

"There are a lot of people in Washington who have become convinced that they're in some sort of existential struggle with China," says international trade veteran Robert Wolfe, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston.

(Indeed, Mr. Lighthizer last year called China's trade policies around intellectual property an "existential threat to America's most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy: our intellectual property and technology.") Mr. Trump's zeal to launch a tariff war was aided by his confidence that the U.S. could win in short order. China, after all, is a much more trade-dependent economy than the United States; China's exports are the equivalent of about 20 per cent of its GDP, compared with about 12 per cent for the U.S. What's more, China exports four to five times as much to the United States as the U.S. ships in the other direction. The assumption was that China, which would feel more pain from the trade war, would blink first and make concessions to strike a deal.

That was a serious miscalculation of the Chinese mentality, says Paul Blustein, author of the new book Schism: China, America, and the Fracturing of the Global Trading System.

"Surrendering and kowtowing to foreigners is just unthinkable," Mr. Blustein says. "They'd rather 'eat bitterness' - that's the Chinese term for accepting some kind of lower living standards, if you have to, in order to keep your national pride."

Mr. Trump's latest volley in the trade war will shift the bitterness closer to home. The U.S. tariffs imposed so far, on US$250-billion a year of Chinese goods, have focused on imports that don't hit U.S.

consumers directly - they're mostly intermediate inputs in the manufacturing process. But the additional US$300-billion a year of Chinese goods that Mr. Trump has threatened to hit with tariffs beginning Sept. 1 (starting at 10 per cent and eventually rising to 25 per cent) represent everything else China sends to the U.S. market - including consumer products such as electronics, toys, sports equipment and clothing that dominate U.S. retail shelves.

"The White House now appears prepared to impose increased and visible costs directly on its voting base," Bank of Nova Scotia economists Brett House and Juan Manuel Herrera say in a recent research report.

Meanwhile, many observers worry that this week's clashes between the United States and China on the currency front opens a dangerous new avenue in the dispute - one in which the two countries race to devalue their respective currencies to make their exports more price-competitive, in order to counteract the damage from the tariffs. A wave of what trade experts refer to as "competitive devaluations" - involving not only the key U.S. and Chinese currencies, but quite possibly triggering similar keep-pace moves by other countries - would introduce a new and highly destabilizing component to world finances.

"If this is the beginning of a new and dangerous phase of the trade war, then all bets are off," IHS Markit chief economist Nariman Behravesh said in a research note. "The ensuing financial fire storm could push the U.S. and global economies into recession."

CANADA VULNERABLE The basic economic math surrounding tariff wars is pretty simple. A tariff increases the cost of importing a good, and that increased cost could either take a bite out of an importer's profits, or be passed along to the importer's customers in the form of a price increase. Either way, the tariff eats into disposable income and discourages consumption, while increasing inflation. Done enough times with enough products in enough markets, the cumulative impact is to slow economic activity and decrease trade. When that involves economies as big as the United States and China, in a global economy that has become highly integrated, the drag on their activity is certain to spill over to other trading partners, too, leading to a generalized slowdown.

Sixteen months in, the U.S.-China dispute has already demonstrated that effect. World GDP has slowed appreciably, with waning export demand cited repeatedly as the biggest drag on growth. The IMF has steadily lowered its forecasts, recently reducing its 2019 growth projection to 3.2 per cent.

World trade growth has evaporated; new orders for future exports are in decline, implying further slowing to come. The newest U.S. threats to greatly expand its tariffs against China - and the nearcertainty that China will retaliate - will only deepen and extend the slowdown.

While the whole world will pay a price for this trade war, Canada looks particularly exposed. Not only is the Canadian economy heavily dependent on trade - exports are equivalent to nearly onethird of Canada's GDP - the United States and China are Canada's two biggest trading partners, accounting for a combined 80 per cent of Canada's exports and 70 per cent of its imports.

The ties are, of course, particularly tight with the United States, with which Canada shares its only border and fully 70 per cent of its total two-way trade. Scotiabank's Mr. House says Canada will chiefly feel the impact of the tariff war through its drag on U.S. growth, which would translate to slower U.S. demand for Canadian exports; the upward pressure from the tariffs on U.S. inflation and how that could affect U.S. interest rates; and the resulting impact on the exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. dollars.

On one hand, it's hard to see how even the latest prospect of greatly expanded U.S.-China tariffs would send Canada's economy anywhere near a recession. Scotiabank calculated that the nearterm direct economic impact of this latest threatened round of U.S. tariffs would shave a modest 0.11 percentage point off Canadian GDP growth in 2020. If Mr. Trump followed through on his threat to gradually increase those tariffs to 25 per cent from an initial 10 per cent, Scotiabank estimated the hit at more like 0.28 percentage point.

With the Bank of Canada projecting last month that the economy would grow by about 1.9 per cent next year, the damage from another U.S.-China tariff escalation would be meaningful, but not enough to grind growth to a halt. And if the Canadian economy is feeling the pressure, it has a funny way of showing it: Estimates suggest that the second quarter was Canada's strongest quarter for growth in two years.

However, other less-direct economic consequences are harder to quantify - and potentially more serious. Economists worry that business and consumer confidence, not just in the United States and China but around the world, could be profoundly shaken with further escalation, especially the longer the dispute drags on with no signs of a resolution. If rising uncertainties cause consumers to retrench, and cause businesses to put off investing in new equipment and facilities, the resulting slowdown in economic activity could dwarf the more direct impacts of the tariffs.

The introduction of the currency wild card this week has added a highly unpredictable, and potentially highly disruptive, new element to the situation. It was perceived as a major step up in risk by the financial markets, which some observers have felt have been too complacent about the trade war until now. The resulting plunge in bond yields around the world - including in Canada, where the 30-year government bond hit a record low of 1.48 per cent - and the deep inversion of yield curves effectively signal that the global bond market now sees the risk of a global recession as very real.

For Canada, how the market drama played out in the commodities sector was a particularly dire warning. Oil prices slumped 13 per cent in a few days, leading a generalized slide in commodity prices, reflecting fears that a deeper global slowdown would gut demand for raw materials - not the least from the United States and China themselves, who are the world's biggest commodity consumers. Given Canada's position as a major exporter of a wide range of commodities, and oil in particular, the commodity slump played out in its currency, too, as the Canadian dollar lost a full cent against its U.S. counterpart.

The Bank of Canada will be under increased pressure now to follow other central banks that have begun moving swiftly, and in growing numbers, to cut interest rates to shore up their economies against the rising risks. The U.S. Federal Reserve cut its key rate by one-quarter of a percentage point last week, prior to the latest escalation in trade tensions, citing trade risks as a key concern.

After the new actions, New Zealand's central bank raised the bar by cutting a half percentage point this week. The market has now priced in about an 80-per-cent likelihood that the Bank of Canada will cut its rate by a quarter-point before the end of the year - up from a 20-per-cent chance just 10 days ago.

What's striking, Scotiabank's Mr. House says, is that this rapid slide into talk of recession is coming at a time when, at least in Canada and the United States, there are few if any economic indicators pointing to a downturn. Both countries have solid growth and full employment.

"We wouldn't be talking about recession at all in Canada and the United Sates, were it not for those trade battles," he says. "It's really an 'own goal' that's being kicked here by the White House."

"It makes no sense to be doing what [Mr.

Trump] is doing."

APPROACHING THE EDGE By the same token, what the U.S. President does next is equally hard to predict - especially with its decision to formally label China a currency manipulator.

"It's a dangerous move on the part of the United States that's not been thought through," says Tom Bernes, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont., and a former senior official at the International Monetary Fund.

A logical next step would be to petition the IMF - which, among other things, polices currency manipulation - to investigate China's actions in currency markets. But the IMF as recently as last month concluded that China's currency was fairly valued - effectively a determination that China hasn't been artificially driving its currency lower for its own economic gain, the basic definition of manipulation.

Since Mr. Trump has open disdain for multilateral economic institutions such as the IMF anyway, he may take matters into his own hands. He may use the currency-manipulator label as justification to have his own government intervene in currency markets, either to push China's yuan higher or to devalue the U.S. dollar. Such a move would risk seriously destabilizing financial markets, which would have deep concerns with the government imposing its will on the currency market.

But many observers viewed China's decision this week to allow its currency to fall as essentially a shot across the bow - calculated to show the United States how easily it could devalue its currency if pushed to do so, and perhaps to roil financial markets in the process. Mr. Trump has always been highly sensitive to downturns in the stock market; the market turmoil triggered by this week's currency spat may convince him that further moves on the currency front would jeopardize the healthy markets that he cherishes, especially with the presidential election year fast approaching.

Similarly, some observers question whether he will go through with his threatened next round of tariffs, given the likely negative reaction the voting public to the resulting jump in prices for popular consumer goods. Rather, they believe the threat is aimed at turning up the heat on China to strike a deal - typical of Mr. Trump's negotiating style.

"Ultimately, the failure to reach a trade deal would weaken the U.S. economy, undermining Trump's re-election prospects. ... He does not want that," writes Peter Berezin, chief global strategist at BCA Research, an independent economic and financial-markets research firm based in Montreal.

BAD PRECEDENTS, FRAYED RELATIONSHIPS Regardless of whether the United States and China can find a way to dial down their tensions or even reach some sort of trade agreement, a dangerous precedent has been set. Mr. Trump's distaste for key international institutions, and the global rulesbased multilateralism that they engender, has led the world's most powerful economy to toss aside the global trade rule book and wield tariffs as a weapon in pursuit of "America First" self-interest.

What's more, he has brought China outside the rule book with him - and so far, China has been willing to come along.

But the lessons of 20th-century history have shown that tariff wars and other forms of beggarthy-neighbour economic aggression have not only proven to be economically destructive. They have contributed to the build-up of ill will that, ultimately, fuelled two world wars.

"I don't think disputes over trade lead to war, but they can certainly add to add to mutual hostility and tension," says historian Margaret MacMillan, whose book The War That Ended Peace chronicled the deteriorating geopolitical relationships and economic aggression that preceded the First World War. After all, she reminds us, "Before the First World War, Britain and Germany were each other's biggest trading partner."

Ms. MacMillan worries that perhaps the most troubling aspect of this trade war is the distrust it is fostering between the world's two superpowers.

"You've got people on both sides now saying that the other is an enemy - or hostile, or at least not a friend," she says. "That is worrying, because once you begin to say it, then you begin to take it for granted. It's a sort of self-fulfilling thing - if China sees the U.S. as its opponent, then everything the U.S. does starts to feed into that, and vice versa."

"It's adding up to a rather troubled relationship."


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U.S. retail boom eases economic fears
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WASHINGTON -- U.S. retail sales surged in July as consumers bought a range of goods even as they cut back on motor vehicle purchases, helping to assuage financial market fears that the economy was heading into recession.

The upbeat report from the U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday, however, will likely not change expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again next month as news from the manufacturing sector remains dour, underscoring the darkening outlook for the economy against the backdrop of trade tensions and slowing growth overseas.

President Donald Trump cheered the strong retail sales data, which came a day after a key part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve inverted for the first time since June, 2007, and triggered a stock market sell-off. An inverted Treasury yield curve is historically a reliable predictor of looming recessions.

Mr. Trump's "America First" policies, which have led the United States into a bitter trade war with China, have been blamed for threatening to derail the longest U.S. economic expansion in history and unleash a global recession.

"The United States is now, by far, the Biggest, Strongest and Most Powerful Economy in the World, it is not even close!" Mr.Trump wrote on Twitter. "As others falter, we will only get stronger. Consumers are in the best shape ever, plenty of cash."

Financial markets have fully priced in a 25-basis-point rate cut at the U.S. central bank's Sept.

17-18 policy meeting. The Fed lowered its short-term interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point last month, citing the acrimonious U.S.-China trade fight and slowing global economies.

But the data could push markets to dial back expectations of a 50-basis-point rate cut next month. (One basis point is a hundredth of a percentage point.)

"So yes, consumers are lifting economic growth and easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut more aggressively, but the trade war itself, and the rhetoric that accompanies it will push for more rate cuts," said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto.

Retail sales increased 0.7 per cent last month after gaining 0.3 per cent in June, the government said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would rise 0.3 per cent in July.

Compared with July last year, retail sales increased 3.4 per cent.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales jumped 1 per cent last month after advancing by 0.7 per cent in June. These socalled core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.

Solid retail sales were reinforced by strong second-quarter results from Walmart Inc. The world's largest retailer posted a 20-quarter, or five-year, streak of U.S. growth, unmatched by any other retail chain, and raised its earnings forecasts for the year.

U.S. stocks were trading largely higher after Wednesday's sharp losses. The dollar edged up against a basket of currencies.

U.S. Treasury prices rose, with the yield curve steepening a little after Wednesday's inversion.

July's gain in core retail sales suggested strong consumer spending early in the third quarter, though the pace will likely slow from the April-June quarter's robust 4.3-per-cent annualized rate. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, is being underpinned by the lowest unemployment rate in nearly half a century.

While a separate report from the Labour Department on Thursday showed an increase in the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits last week, the trend in claims continued to point to a strong labour market.

Solid consumer spending is blunting some of the hit on the economy from the downturn in manufacturing, which is underscored by weak business investment. There are, however, red flags for the labour market coming from manufacturing.

The sector's struggles were highlighted by a third report from the Fed on Thursday showing factory production dropped 0.4 per cent in July. Output at factories has declined more than 1.5 per cent since December, 2018. Manufacturing, which makes up about 12 per cent of the economy, is also being weighed down by an inventory overhang, especially in the automotive sector.

The troubles appear to have continued into the third quarter.

Though a report from the Philadelphia Fed on Thursday showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region slowed moderately in August amid an increase in new orders, manufacturers reported hiring fewer workers and slashing hours.

A measure of factory employment dropped to its lowest level since November, 2016. The weakness in factory employment in the region that covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware was mirrored by another survey from the New York Fed. Activity in New York was little changed this month, with employment measures deteriorating further.

"The health of factories is still an important driver of growth and the soft patch for production remains a factor that is keeping economic growth in the slow lane," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

Manufacturing productivity tumbled at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the second quarter, with factories cutting hours for workers, another report from the Labour Department showed.

The economy grew at a 2.1per-cent rate in the second quarter, decelerating from the first quarter's 3.1-per-cent pace.

Growth estimates for the third quarter range from a 1.5-per-cent pace to a 2.1-per-cent rate.

In July, auto sales fell 0.6 per cent after rising 0.3 per cent in June. Receipts at service stations rebounded 1.8 per cent, reflecting higher gasoline prices. Online and mail-order retail sales jumped 2.8 per cent, the most in six months, after rising 1.9 per cent in June. They were likely boosted by Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Day event.

There were increases in sales at clothing, furniture and building material stores. Sales at restaurants and bars accelerated 1.1 per cent. But spending at hobby, musical instrument and book stores dropped 1.1 per cent last month.

"The consumer is incredibly resilient," said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel in Chicago. "But without growth from housing investment and manufacturing, the consumer will be hard-pressed to continue to alone support the U.S. economy."

Associated Graphic

Solid consumer spending is helping to ease the pain the U.S. economy is feeling from the downturn in manufacturing.

MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP


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Chinese ban on Canadian exports increasingly hurting farmers
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B1

OTTAWA -- The hardship is mounting for Canadian farmers hurt by China's decision to stop buying certain agricultural exports from Canada in the wake of Ottawa's arrest of a top Chinese tech executive.

"Since the end of the December we have not sold a single vessel - a shipload of soybeans - to China," Ron Davidson, executive director at Soy Canada, said.

Relations between Beijing and Ottawa turned sour late last year, at a time when Canadian farmers were already struggling with the turmoil in agricultural markets caused by the mid-2018 trade war between the United States and China. The catalyst was Canada's detention of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s chief financial officer last December on an extradition request from the United States.

In the months since Meng Wanzhou was arrested, China has increased retaliatory economic pressure on Canada, and the casualties have included Canadian soybeans, canola, pork and beef. With the loss of a major market sowing uncertainty in the industry, farmers of these products are scrambling to find alternative buyers.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement Tuesday that the government will ensure farmers "have the support they need."

"In recent weeks, we have announced over $27-million in support of our grains, oilseeds and meat industries, aimed primarily at developing international markets," she said, adding that Ottawa is working with provinces to improve farm financial-support programs such as AgriStability.

"We are working around the clock to resume trade of key agricultural exports with China as soon as possible."

Canola producers are still struggling with a suspension of canola seed purchases from China - a loss that amounts to one-quarter of their exports.

"Canada on average ships about $2.7-billion in canola seed [annually] to China. This has slowed to a trickle," said Brian Innes, vice-president of public affairs at the Canola Council of Canada, which represents 43,000 producers.

"This is by far the most challenging disruption this industry has ever seen."

For pork producers - now banned from China - they're working to shift export sales to other foreign markets such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan. But the buyers there know Canadian pork is barred from China and the prices fetched will reflect that, said John Ross, executive director of the Canadian Pork Council.

"Nothing was certified for export after June 25. So that product is really looking for a home," said Mr. Ross, whose organization represents 7,000 producers.

A ban on shipments of Canadian pork and beef to China took effect late last month. Chinese officials cited falsified export certificates.

Mr. Ross said Canadian pork producers were on track toward $1-billion in sales to China this year, or as much as one-quarter of exports, before the ban.

He added China also purchased pig heads and feet, and there's no significant alternative market for these parts now.

"We're still processing hogs every week and the product is moving into the global market. It's just not moving to the best market that there is."

For soybean farmers, the closing of the China market is the latest in a turbulent world market. After China slapped major tariffs on U.S. soybeans in 2018, the American crop ending up flooding other markets including Canada and Europe. Before Ms. Meng's arrest, China had offered Canadian soybean farmers an alternative export destination.

"We got pushed out of the Canadian market. We got pushed out of the European market, which is the second biggest world market and we became overdependent on China," Mr. Davidson said.

"And now something happened in China and we're not selling there either."

He said the soybean industry - which during the last census amounted to more than 30,000 farmers - is looking to Ottawa for help. The canola industry's Mr. Innes says prices have fallen 10 per cent, which is a significant change for farmers.

"Taking away 10 per cent takes away farmers' ability to meet costs and takes away profits." Over a year, a 10-per-cent decline in prices means a loss of $1-billion in revenue, he said.

The Canadian government has been trying to solve the impasse with China, but Beijing has not been receptive. "The government is making all effort to engage the Chinese but it takes two to engage.

"The response from China has not been very positive," Mr.

Ross said.

Ottawa is also trying to find new markets for products. Mr.

Innes praised the work of International Trade Minister James Carr who has helped spur more outreach to other buyers such as Japan, Korea, Pakistan and European countries.

The canola industry is also seeking the federal government's help to boost requirements for biodiesel that contains crop-based oil such as canola.

One of the biggest problems now is not knowing what comes next.

"I would suggest that for all producers, the suspension of the pork trade with China immediately injected a significant level of instability and uncertainty in our industry," Mr. Ross said.

"In turn, this instability impacts producer's confidence in the market and their willingness to invest in both the maintenance and/or growth of their farms."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
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Struggle for control precipitated company's troubles
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Page B1

Every day brings a new revelation from the corporate horror show that is CannTrust Holdings Inc.

The latest: CannTrust said on Monday that Health Canada has determined a second operation run by the cannabis company, this time a manufacturing facility, was not compliant with regulations. That triggered another dip in the stock's roller-coaster ride.

On Friday, the company said its auditor, KPMG LLP, had withdrawn its certification of the company's 2018 financials and declared the audited results can't be relied upon as accurate.

And so it has gone since July 8, when CannTrust - once considered as close to blue chip as the industry could offer - disclosed Health Canada had cited it for growing pot plants in unlicensed rooms at its Southern Ontario greenhouse.

On the surface, the sad saga of CannTrust looks to be about a failed attempt to skirt regulations in an effort to meet promises to investors. What the reporting has shown, though, was a struggle for control at the executive and board levels, which led employees to divide themselves into warring camps.

Ultimately, the internal battle pushed conflict out in the open, and that was a factor in a crisis that has prompted the ejection of CannTrust's two top executives, set off an investigation by securities regulators, led to an effort to sell the company and brought skepticism about the legal cannabis industry's ability to operate like any other.

Company founder Eric Paul stepped aside as chief executive officer in early October, 2018, to make way for Peter Aceto, the former CEO of Tangerine Bank. Mr. Paul said that, with Mr. Aceto's "successful track record of strong leadership, deep operational knowledge and focus on delivering shareholder value, he will be the perfect compliment to our leadership team."

By all accounts, it was not a smooth transition of power. Weeks after Mr. Aceto was hired, president Brad Rogers and Michael Ravensdale, vice-president of quality and production management, left the company in quick succession, according to CannTrust's management circular. The reasons for their departures have not been made public.

Then, as an internal e-mail showed, within a month and a half of his arrival, Mr. Aceto was told by staff of cannabis being grown in unlicensed rooms at the company's Niagara-region greenhouse, and that the company had "dodged some bullets" when Health Canada inspectors did not raise onerous questions, The Globe and Mail reported. It was brought to the attention of Mr. Paul, the chairman.

The e-mail chain shows he told staff how to respond to any questions from the regulator.

An internal document shows plants had been moved into two unlicensed rooms on Oct. 3, two days after CannTrust announced Mr. Aceto had signed on as CEO. The move was made after lengthy delays by Health Canada processing the company's applications, according to the document, seen by The Globe. The rooms did not receive certification until last April.

By the end of 2018, tension between Mr.Aceto and Mr. Paul over who was running the company began to surface, according to another internal e-mail, the contents of which were reported by The Globe last week. "Management often receives conflicting instructions from board members.

It is often unclear when and which board members need to be involved in decisionmaking, and when decisions are made, they are often second-guessed," Mr. Aceto wrote on Dec. 31.

According to current and former employees, some of CannTrust's workers took sides as tension increased, some with Mr. Paul and his long-time allies on the board, and some with Mr. Aceto. Those in the former camp complained that the new CEO lacked the industry background necessary to deal with the nuances of delivering cannabis on time while juggling the demands of customers, investors and regulators.

Those siding with the latter lamented that Mr. Aceto was never really handed the reins at CannTrust, and that he was given conflicting information on industry and company standards and practices by the long-time executives and directors - the same ones who had initially sought a CEO who could add credibility to the management team as recreational cannabis legalization approached.

With no clear leadership and the company in crisis, loyalists felt obliged to lay the blame at the other guy's feet in hopes of a revival.

In the end, neither has escaped scorn.

As the walls closed in on CannTrust amid investigations and recriminations, Mr.Aceto was terminated "with cause" by the board's special committee looking into the imbroglio. It also persuaded Mr. Paul to step down.

Now, as the fate of CannTrust hangs in the balance, it's clear internal strife only served to help tear the company apart from the inside.

Associated Graphic

A uniform-cleaning services employee delivers lab coats to CannTrust's Vaughan, Ont., facility on Monday, where Health Canada uncovered several more infractions in July.

TIJANA MARTIN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Deals by foreign buyers near $40-billion, set to outpace last year
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B1

Acquisitions in Canada by foreign buyers is already approaching the dollar value for all of 2018, as confidence in the economy trumps rising global trade tension and a dearth of deals in the oil patch.

Deals announced in the first half of 2019 topped $39.3-billion, only slightly less than the $40.2-billion worth of deals in all of 2018, a year considered to have been brisk for deal-making by foreigners, according to figures from the law firm Torys LLP.

Based on announced transactions and those the firm knows are being discussed, it is shaping up to be a strong year, though it is too early to predict a record, said Cornell Wright, co-head of Torys' mergers and acquisitions practice.

The first-half figures were skewed somewhat by one very large transaction: Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp.'s US$10billion takeover of Vancouver's Goldcorp Inc., Mr. Wright said.

That deal proceeded after Barrick Gold Corp. decided in March against a plan to acquire Newmont - now called Newmont Goldcorp Corp.

"M&A is driven principally by confidence and confidence remains high. You've got a good macro environment, and you've got great targets and great opportunities in Canada," Mr.

Wright said.

At the start of the year, trade tension between Canada and China boiled over after the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co.

Ltd., on an extradition request from the United States. That only added to investor uncertainty over trade between the United States and China, which has since become a tariff war.

The frayed relations threatened to shake the confidence of buyers, but the statistics show that has yet to stall merger and acquisition activity.

Now, inbound deal flow - involving foreign buyers of Canadian companies - could approach or exceed recent annual highs. The highest dollar figure for inbound deals in this decade was $54.4-billion in 2012. U.S. interest in Canadian targets is expected to remain strong, owing partly to favourable currency exchange rates.

The number of economic net-benefit reviews by Investment Canada has tailed off since the deal-value thresholds were increased two years ago. Now, those reviews take place for deals that are more than $1.568-billion in enterprise value for most private-sector investors, Torys noted. That is up from $800-million in 2016. In the first half of this year, there were just two of that size - Altria Group's $2.4-billion investment in Cronos Group Inc., the cannabis company, and Newmont's acquisition of Goldcorp.

Instead, the government has concentrated on national-security-based reviews, which have largely involved buyers from China. After such a probe last year, Ottawa quashed the $1.5-billion takeover of construction firm Aecon Group Inc.

by China Communications Construction Co. Ltd., citing security concerns.

In overall Canadian M&A so far this year, the value of deals in public and private markets totalled US$73-billion, down from US$93-billion in the same period of 2018, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Corporate transactions accounted for 71 per cent of all deals, including eight worth more than US$1-billion, while the remaining 29 per cent of deals were completed by private-equity firms and pension plans, PwC said.

The overall number of deals fell between January and June, while the transaction size increased, Torys said. Transactions of more than $1-billion have nearly reached the number that occurred in all of 2018, and the number of those between $500-million and $1-billion has also increased. Meanwhile, the number of deals in the $100-million to $500-million range is down sharply since 2017.

The downturn in the energy sector - once fertile ground for M&A - has not let up, with the bulk of activity in recent years driven by foreign companies selling operations rather than waiting for new pipelines to clear regulatory hurdles.

That trend was marked in the first half by Devon Energy Corp.'s sale of its remaining oil sands business to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. for $3.8-billion.

The sector's uncertainty was on full display in January when Husky Energy Inc. walked away from its $2.5-billion hostile takeover bid for MEG Energy Corp. just as the offer expired. Meanwhile, producers, including Cenovus Energy Inc., have taken assets earmarked for sale off the block due to disappointing offers, Torys said.

The energy sector accounted for just 17 per cent of Canadian M&A activity in the first half, down from 28 per cent in 2018 and 44 per cent in 2017, Mr. Wright said.

"Even with strong oil prices and fundamentals, in order to achieve meaningful improvement in deal activity, investors will need to rebuild their confidence in the Canadian regulatory and political climate and prioritize capital spending in the sector," Torys said.


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Vancouver port volumes jump on surge in specialty crop exports
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- The Port of Vancouver handled a record 72.5 million tonnes of cargo in the first half of this year, a bright spot for British Columbia as housing markets, the forestry sector and other parts of the economy sag.

Canada's largest port said cargo volumes rose 0.5 per cent compared with the 72.2 million tonnes processed in the first six months of 2018.

"While Canada is certainly not exempt from the challenges impacting global trade, the diverse range of trading partners and cargo handled through the Port of Vancouver ensures the entire port remains resilient," Robin Silvester, president of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, said in a statement.

But a new report by Central 1 Credit Union cautions about the impact of trade uncertainty in the second half of 2019.

"A compendium of factors including deterioration in the global trade environment, retrenchment in the forestry sector and slowing consumer spending on big-ticket items will weigh on growth," Central 1 deputy chief economist Bryan Yu said in his outlook for the B.C. economy.

Mr. Yu said reduced sales activity in real estate, as well as downturns in mining and forestry, will contribute to slower growth in gross domestic product in B.C. of 2.2 per cent this year, compared with 2.4 per cent in 2018.

Reduced housing sales activity, "owing to federal mortgage stress tests and provincial government tax measures, has dragged the resale market into recession-like conditions," he said. "Meanwhile, the forestry sector has experienced sharp contractions since robust activity in early 2018."

Undaunted by the forestry slump, B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison launched an unsolicited, $981.7-million bid this week for full control of Canfor Corp., Canada's second-largest lumber producer. Mr. Pattison, through Great Pacific Capital Corp., owns 51 per cent of Vancouver-based Canfor.

He wants to take the company private with his cash bid of $16 a share for the 49 per cent of Canfor stock that is widely held.

Last month, Canfor announced the indefinite shutdown of its sawmill in Mackenzie, B.C., and plans to chop one of two shifts at its mill in Isle Pierre, B.C., in September.

"A rising number of mills have closed due to current market conditions and lack of long-term timber supply, marking a trend that will likely persist," Mr. Yu said.

He warns that global economic conditions are deteriorating amid the U.S.-China trade war.

China's ban on Canadian canola has eroded total exports of the agricultural product. The Port of Vancouver said it saw a 12.6-per-cent decline in canola shipments in the first half of this year versus the same period last year. Lumber exports slipped 1.6 per cent and other wood product shipments fell 10.2 per cent.

But many commodities enjoyed strong demand, with specialty crop exports surging 34.2 per cent, potash and potassiumbased fertilizer shipments jumping 27.3 per cent and wheat exports rising 22.4 per cent.

Imports and exports of goods in containers set a record, with 1.7 million shipments handled in this year's first half, up 3.5 per cent from the same period of 2018.

The shipping industry deploys large vessels to carry containers, which are reusable steel boxes measured as 20-foot equivalent units.

"The Port of Vancouver is definitely a significant driver of the economy and reflective of the trade that goes through the region," Mr. Yu said in an interview.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is warning that the West Coast could run out of capacity to handle container shipments within six years. The port authority said it needs to win regulatory approval to build its Roberts Bank Terminal 2 site that would be situated on reclaimed land south of Vancouver, with operations opening in 2029.

But a rival proposal from a tenant, GCT Global Container Terminals Inc., has added to the uncertainty over how best to expand trade capacity.

Associated Graphic

A record 1.7 million shipments were handled at the Port of Vancouver in the year's first half, up 3.5 per cent from the same period in 2018.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Rogers names former Facebook executive to head its media division
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B1

Rogers Communications Inc.

has tapped former Facebook Canada executive Jordan Banks to lead the company's media division.

Rogers Media president and long-time Canadian television executive Rick Brace is set to retire at the end of the year, and Mr. Banks will join the company on Sept. 9, Rogers said on Monday.

Rogers Media includes the Citytv television network, more than 50 radio stations, the Sportsnet specialty channels and website and the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

Mr. Banks will bring 20 years of experience with digital media and technology, including seven years as managing director of Facebook and Instagram Canada, to the role.

Rogers Media accounted for more than $2-billion of the telecom giant's $15-billion revenue in 2018, but Mr. Banks will assume leadership of a business in transition as foreign digital giants continue to upend the conventional broadcast and print advertising model.

"It's really about generational change at the end of the day," said Kaan Yigit, president of Toronto-based consumer research consultancy Solutions Research Group, noting that Mr. Brace's retirement follows that of Scott Moore, who stepped down as president of Sportsnet last year.

"Both [Mr. Brace and Mr. Moore] were business builders, but from a different generation," Mr. Yigit said in an e-mail on Monday. He said Rogers could benefit from having "someone with a digital-first pedigree and background run media - one can even say it's about time."

After several rounds of layoffs in recent years, Rogers sold its struggling magazine publishing division, which includes titles such as Maclean's and Chatelaine, in April.

It also cut an unspecified number of off-air jobs at Sportsnet in June and cancelled the expensive annual showcase of the coming TV broadcast season known as upfronts.

In recent years - and after spending $5.2-billion to acquire 12 years of national broadcast rights for the National Hockey League in 2013 - Rogers has shifted the focus of its media business toward sports as it hopes that the live entertainment can keep viewers tuning in. In a statement on Monday, the company said Mr.

Banks's mandate will include "driving growth across sports and local [news] in a digital world."

Mr. Banks, who is a lawyer by training and started his career at Goodmans LLP, also led eBay Canada, spent time running JumpTV (an internet-based sports broadcaster), and worked on international business and licensing for the NHL Players' Association. He left Facebook Canada in 2017 and has a business advising and providing capital to early-stage tech companies.

"Jordan is a globally respected and transformative digital executive who will build on Rick's legacy to drive future growth," Joe Natale, chief executive of Rogers, said in the statement.

Jacob Glick, who was chief corporate affairs officer at Rogers from 2014 to 2017, praised the appointment on Twitter.

"Congratulations to Jordan. This is a tough job in a rapidly changing industry.

But there is a great team of people at Rogers Media to support him," he wrote. Mr.Glick is now general counsel at North Inc., a scale-up firm based in Kitchener, Ont., that makes smart glasses.

Of Mr. Brace, Mr. Natale said in the statement, "Rick is a seasoned business leader who measurably reshaped our media business for the future, and I would like to thank him for his many accomplishments."

Mr. Brace joined Rogers in 2015 after spending more than a decade at rival Bell Media, where he held a number of roles, including president of CTV. He also helped found Canada's other major sports specialty channel, TSN, in the 1980s and, before that, held technician and TV production roles at the CBC.

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Toronto-based theScore gains entry into U.S. sports betting
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page B3

Sports fans and gamblers in New Jersey will soon be able to bet online with theScore Inc. in time for football kickoff.

The Toronto-based media company has received approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to play host to internet and mobile sports-wagering services in the state, it said on Friday. The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a federal law last year that prevented gambling on sports in most states, opening the door for states to legalize sports betting.

TheScore is planning a soft launch of its sportsbook app to a select group of bettors "in the coming days," but would not confirm a date. It also intends to roll out the sportsbook app across the state in time for U.S.

football season.

"Sports betting is just one aspect of why people are passionate about sports," founder and chief executive John Levy said.

"It's all part of this engagement that people have with sports."

Through theScore's sportsbook app, which is required by state regulation to be separate from its main media app, users can bet on sports games and other statistics, such as how many points or goals a team will score, Mr. Levy said. It plans to integrate the two apps so that users can toggle between the media app with news, live scores and alerts, and the sportsbook app to directly place bets.

While competitors in New Jersey such as DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook offer similar betting services, Mr.Levy said that theScore aims to grab a piece of the market that has generated US$1.925-billion year-to-date in total gambling revenue, according to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

"We provide all this sports and betting information, and then people take it and they go and bet elsewhere, but those other apps are just transactional," Mr.Levy said. "People go and make a wager, and then they get their information elsewhere. But most of the time, they're getting their information from us."

With about two-thirds of its four million average monthly users located in the United States, theScore plans to expand the app to other states after its initial New Jersey launch. Last month, the company announced an agreement with Penn National Gaming Inc., North America's largest regional gambling operator, which allows theScore to offer online and mobile sports betting and online-gambling applications in 11 states.

In Canada, the federal government prohibits betting on singlegame sporting events, which is banned under the Criminal Code.

Sports betting is allowed through provincially regulated lottery and gaming commissions, but the Ontario government said in its 2019 budget that it wants to open up online gambling. Ontarians spend approximately $500-million annually on gambling online, with most of that money spent on illegal websites, according to the province's 2019 budget.

And Canada risks missing out on a large market, according to Paul Burns, president of the Canadian Gaming Association. He estimates that sports-lottery products generate about $500-million a year, with online offshore sports betting amounting to more than $4-million.

"Sports betting is very popular and it's growing," Mr. Burns said.

"It's a huge part of the gambling industry in Europe and it's a growing segment in North America thanks to the legalization in states in the U.S."

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Stroman quick to dismiss rumours of bitter Jays exit
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By MELISSA COUTO
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B11

Marcus Stroman knew the chances of remaining a Toronto Blue Jay at the end of July were pretty slim. But he didn't quite expect to be a New York Met before the month was over.

Speaking on a conference call with members of the media on Monday, roughly 24 hours after being traded from the only major-league organization he had ever known, Stroman said he was "shocked" to learn it was the Mets that had acquired him.

He was also frustrated, at least in the immediate aftermath of the trade.

Reports had surfaced Sunday of a "commotion" in the closed Blue Jays clubhouse, and the charismatic right-hander chalked that up to him "voicing his opinions" in an exit interview.

"I didn't like how a couple of things were handled throughout the process and that was it. It had nothing to do with the Mets at all," Stroman said. "It all kinda hit me quick, and once I settled and talked to my family, the excitement all settled in. To be back home, to pitch in New York, it's going to be an amazing time and I can't wait."

The Long Island, N.Y., native maintained there are "no hard feelings" between himself and the Blue Jays, the team that drafted him in the first round out of Duke University in 2012.

He said he'll look back fondly on his eight years in the organization, which included big playoff starts and back-to-back appearances in the American League Championship Series.

"The moments that we've had here has been nothing but exciting. I'll do nothing but look back on these times and be kinda grateful for them all, to be honest with you," Stroman said. "The frustration is something that happens in an instant and it's gone in an instant, that's not something that's held on to.

"We had a conversation and I voiced my opinion and that's it.

No hard feelings on either end. I'll be back in Toronto in the near future. I love this city, it's not the last time I'm going to be here."

New York opened play on Monday with a 50-55 record, good for fourth place in the National League East. There had been talk that the Mets might be sellers at the deadline, with ace Noah Syndergaard (a former Blue Jays prospect himself) rumoured to be available to contending teams.

But New York turned that notion on its head in acquiring Stroman, who held a 2.96 earned-run average through 21 starts with the Blue Jays this season.

"I think it's an unbelievable team," Stroman said of the Mets.

"I think it's one of the best staffs in Major League Baseball."

Stroman's departure was met with disappointment from Blue Jays fans who had became enamoured with the energetic pitcher from his earliest days with the team.

Stroman had expressed his desire to stay in Toronto multiple times - he even got a tattoo of the city's skyline on his abdomen in the off-season - but said Blue Jays management had never approached him with an offer for a contract extension.

General manager Ross Atkins said Monday that he had had "very, very brief" initial talks with Stroman's agent throughout the season, but "felt as though there was too big of a gap" to delve deeper into formal discussions of a contract extension.

"It's not that he's not a good fit, I wouldn't say that," Atkins told reporters on a conference call. "I would say that if there was a way for him to be a part of it - and we certainly did work towards that - the initial steps that you take, the discoveries, the due diligence about potential extensions, we felt as though there was too big of a gap.

"I love watching Marcus as a performer, I believe he's going to go on and be a durable, solid major-league pitcher, and I'll be excited to watch him do that."

The rebuilding Blue Jays received a pair of minor-league pitching prospects in the deal with New York - 24-year-old lefthander Anthony Kay and 18-yearold right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson.

Kay has struggled to a 1-3 record and a 6.61 ERA in seven starts for triple-A Syracuse after going 7-3 with a 1.76 ERA in 12 starts at double-A Binghamton. Woods Richardson, meanwhile, is 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA in 20 starts for class-A Columbia, with 97 strikeouts in 781/3 innings.

Atkins said he's excited about the potential of both pitchers, calling Woods Richardson "one of the most exciting young pitching prospects in baseball."

"I think the great thing about young players is ... how much they can improve in short periods of time," Atkins said. "And I think when we look up we'll see where [Woods Richardson] is. ... And in Anthony Kay, we have a higher probability and we will see what his upside is.

"We're extremely excited about his potential to help very soon."

Associated Graphic

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins said the organization had 'very, very brief' initial talks with pitcher Marcus Stroman's agent about a possible extension, but that the two sides could not find common ground. Stroman, seen in action against Cleveland eartlier this month, was dealt to the Mets on Sunday.

MARK BLINCH/GETTY IMAGES


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Sweden's dynamic duo, Raymond and Holtz, ready to challenge for top draft spot
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By JOSHUA CLIPPERTON
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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page S3

PLYMOUTH, MICH. -- Lucas Raymond took a pass, cut to the middle and roofed his third goal of the game to send Sweden into a euphoria.

Somewhere in the mass of humanity that swarmed the diminutive forward back in April as his country celebrated its first under-18 world hockey title - on home soil, no less - was teammate Alexander Holtz.

"It was amazing," Raymond recalled this week. "It doesn't happen very often that you get to win such a big thing."

"Incredible," Holtz added.

"And to do it on home ice, it was [even] more special."

The pair were catalysts at that tournament, figure to be important pieces at the 2020 world junior championship in the Czech Republic and are expected to go early, perhaps both in the top three picks, at next year's NHL draft.

Raymond and Holtz. Holtz and Raymond. Expect to hear those names linked together for a long time.

"We knew they were really talented," Swedish head coach Tomas Monten said. "What helps their game is they work really hard, they skate [and] they're not afraid of playing in the dirty areas.

"They're going to get some extra attention. Everyone knows that they're skilled, that they're players to watch out for."

The 17-year-old wingers, who usually play on the same line, are in suburban Detroit this week at the World Junior Summer Showcase for a series of practices and games against the United States, Canada and Finland as the countries swing preparations for the 2020 event into high gear.

Holtz and Raymond are also getting their first real taste of speaking with North American reporters, something they'll have to get used to at the world juniors and ahead of the draft.

"We talked to them a little bit before coming here," Monten said. "We went through this with [2018 No. 1 pick] Rasmus [Dahlin] two years ago. If they want any special help, just ask us."

"It's good to talk to the media," Holtz said. "You have to do it." But they won't live under the same microscope as Jack Hughes, who went first at the most recent NHL draft, or presumptive 2020 No. 1 pick Alexis Lafrenière.

That's because instead of playing junior hockey in Canada or the United States this season, Raymond (Frolunda) and Holtz (Djurgardens) will remain with their professional clubs back home in Sweden.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Raymond is more of a playmaker, while Holtz - at six feet and 183 pounds - is often characterized as the tandem's finisher, even though the former scored three times in the under-18 final against Russia.

Raymond had 13 goals and 48 points in 37 outings with Frolunda's top junior team in 2018-19, while Holtz registered 30 goals and 47 points in 38 games for Djurdgardens in the same division. Both teens also spent stints playing against men in the pros in Sweden's top league, the SHL.

"Incredible players," said defenceman Philip Broberg, drafted eighth over all by Edmonton in June. "Really important for this team. Just really good guys to be around.

"They're really good, humble people."

Sweden has won just two gold medals at the world juniors (1981 and 2012), but Monten said having the coming under-20 tournament, which gets under way on Dec. 26, back in Europe on wider international ice after three straight years in North America should benefit his players.

"You've got to play a little bit more of a puck-possession game," he said. "We're going to try to use the size of the ice to our advantage."

Raymond and Holtz are doing their best to avoid draft talk, but it's difficult in 2019 when lists and prognostications are already out and readily available as observers guess where hockey's next crop of potential stars might wind up.

"I'm trying not to think about it," Raymond said. "It's tough because of all the social media."

Lafrenière, who is part of the Canadian set-up at the summer showcase in Plymouth, Mich., looks to be the top choice as it stands now - granted, a lot can change - ahead of the 2020 draft in Montreal.

But the two Swedes are hoping to nudge into the conversation.

"Yeah of course!" Holtz said with a big grin. "Every player wants to go first over all."

Only six of their countrymen have ever been taken in the top three at the NHL draft - Mats Sundin (No. 1 in 1989), Daniel and Henrik Sedin (No. 2 and No. 3 in 1999), Victor Hedman (No. 2 in 2009), Gabriel Landeskog (No. 2 in 2011) and Sandin last year.

Raymond and Holtz could very well add to that list next June, but will do their best to block out the noise until then.

"They know that they're going to get drafted," Monten said.

"They can only play and only do their thing.

"Then others decide where they go."

Associated Graphic

Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz, not shown, helped Sweden to its first under-18 world title.

CODIE MCLACHLAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Orioles capitalize on mistakes to beat Jays
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Toronto reliever Diaz walks four batters in fifth inning in his major-league debut
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By TODD KARPOVICH, BALTIMORE
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B10

Sometimes the inexperience of the Baltimore Orioles is glaring.

Nonetheless, first-year manager Brandon Hyde continues to see improvement with the rebuilding club.

Trey Mancini drove in two runs and the Orioles took advantage of a wild major-league debut by Toronto reliever Yennsy Diaz to beat the Blue Jays 6-5 on Sunday.

"We sure have played a lot of close games," Hyde said. "I would love to have a 10-2 game one time.

I think we stick together in the dugout real well. I don't think guys give away at-bats."

"Our bullpen has done a nice job for the most part holding onto a lead, which is really important, obviously. And we've been scoring some more runs. We're getting some more experience and some guys are improving," he said.

The Orioles (38-73) won a mistake-prone game with wild pitches, misplayed balls, costly walks and base-running errors by both teams.

Rookies Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio had back-to-back homers off Tom Eshelman that pulled the Blue Jays within 6-4 in the seventh inning. Biggio is 13 for 32 (.406) over his first seven career games. The Orioles have allowed two or more home runs in nine consecutive games, tying an MLB record.

Dillon Tate entered for Baltimore and threw two wild pitches before allowing a run-scoring double to Randal Grichuk, who tied a career-high with four hits.

Eshelman (1-2) managed to pick up his first major-league win after allowing four runs and eight hits over five innings. Branden Kline and Richard Bleier combined for a scoreless eighth and Shawn Armstrong picked up his fourth save.

"To be able to do that with this group of guys, it's pretty special," Eshelman said.

Toronto was two for 15 with runners in scoring position. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had his 11th three-hit game and is batting 19 for 39 (.487) in 10 games against Baltimore.

Baltimore led 4-2 when Diaz, who had never pitched above Double A, took over to begin the fifth. The 22-year-old walked four batters, including two with the bases loaded, and was pulled with two outs.

"He was all over the place," Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. "When he throws strikes in the big leagues, he'll look good."

The Jays loaded the bases against Orioles opener Jimmy Yacabonis in the first. He got out of the jam on a forceout at the plate and a double play, with left fielder Anthony Santander catching a fly ball and throwing out Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

"I tried to anticipate the plate," Santander said. "I had it in my mind before it happened."

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom half off Sean Reid-Foley (1-2) on a shallow popup by Jace Peterson that landed in left field for a single, allowing Santander to score from second.

Toronto tied it in the second on an RBI single by Teoscar Hernandez off Eshelman.

Baltimore took a 4-1 lead in the bottom half when Bichette couldn't handle a sharp grounder to shortstop by Jonathan Villar that allowed Chance Sisco to score and Mancini followed with a two-RBI double.

"Maybe 99 times out of 100 I make that play," Bichette said.

Mancini has 15 RBIs in 13 games against Toronto this season.

Rookie right-hander Jacob Waguespack (2-1, 4.80 ERA) will start the series opener for the Blue Jays in Tampa Bay on Monday. He allowed one run on three hits over a season-high six innings against the Royals on Wednesday.

Associated Graphic

Sean Reid-Foley of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch against the Orioles in Baltimore on Sunday. Baltimore took an early lead off Reid-Foley after a popup landed in left field, allowing a runner on second to make it home.

EVAN HABEEB/ USA TODAY SPORTS


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Rested offence may give Lions edge over Ticats
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Coming off a bye week, B.C. is tweaking its lineup to gain every edge over Hamilton
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By GEMMA KARSTENS-SMITH
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Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page S2

SURREY, B.C. -- After a rough start to the season, the BC Lions are hoping a week of rest and the return of some key players can help swing the squad's fortunes.

Quarterback Mike Reilly admits that the Lions (1-6) had different expectations for what they'd be able to execute offensively this year.

Seven games in, the former Grey Cup MVP has been limited to 1,668 passing yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions.

Making adjustments is simply part of the game, Reilly said.

"That's a challenge that I think every team in the league has to go through, on both sides of the ball," said Reilly, who signed with the Lions during the off-season, opting to leave the Edmonton Eskimos. "You have to be able to do that. And that's something we've certainly been working through in the first seven games of the season."

Coming off a bye week, the Lions are hoping their latest adjustments - including bringing back some newly healthy offensive linemen - will give the team a boost when they face the TigerCats (5-2) in Hamilton on Saturday.

The offensive line has been a weak spot for B.C. all season, having allowed Reilly to be sacked a league-high 25 times.

Early injuries to stalwarts like Sukh Chungh and Joel Figueroa were part of the problem, but both are expected to be in lineup against Hamilton.

"Hopefully through the course of having all the guys healthy, we can develop some continuity," said B.C. coach DeVone Claybrooks. "When having consistency, you play better because you know what the other guy likes to do beside you. So hopefully that will turn into Mike not getting hit too much and getting more ball control and better on offence."

The Lions have also added a new face to the O-line, bringing in Justin Renfrow from the Calgary Stampeders.

The 29-year-old Philadelphia native said he learned of the deal from an Instagram notification.

Leaving Calgary was tough because he was very involved in the community, he added.

"But when it came to the football side of me, I've been waiting for a chance to play," said Renfrow, who's expected to start at right tackle for B.C. this week.

Claybrooks, a former defensive co-ordinator for the Stamps, was already familiar with the Lions' latest addition and called Renfrow "a good kid."

"[He] plays hard, a former defensive lineman who's been converted and has a bunch of years under his belt over in Calgary. He brings in some toughness and that kind of thing," the coach said. "He's a great addition to our team and I think he makes our front better."

Now the Lions' star quarterback is hoping that an improved O-line will allow the team to open up the play book and try some new things.

Going through a tough stretch to start the season hasn't been without positives, however, Reilly added.

"The one thing I think it forced us to do is be better at the run game. I do think that we all had the expectation that we were going to be able to come out and stretch the ball down the field and things like that," he said.

"And then we had to make some moves, we were forced to re-evaluate how we were doing things in the run game.

"It's never fun going through that but I do think that if we can get things on track and start playing good football and get some wins, it will benefit us later in the year."

Associated Graphic

BC Lions QB Mike Reilly has been limited to 1,668 passing yards with six TDs and six interceptions this season.

MARK TAYLOR/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Former MLSE executive Hunter takes over top Wolfpack job
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By NEIL DAVIDSON
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B11

TORONTO -- Bob Hunter has overseen the growth of BC Place Stadium, Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field. Now he is looking to help take the Toronto Wolfpack to the next level.

The former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment executive has been named chairman and interim chief executive officer of the transatlantic rugby-league team. He succeeds majority owner David Argyle, who gave up both jobs in early June after finding himself embroiled in a racism scandal.

The 65-year-old Hunter left MLSE in January after 22 years and started his own consulting practice. He sees the Wolfpack job as his new full-time endeavour.

"It's a great opportunity to bring some of that 22 years of experience to a reasonably new organization. Even with the success they've had to date," Hunter said in an interview. "I've been really, really pleasantly surprised at the sophistication of the business and look at it as a great opportunity to try and help that team grow to a new level."

He inherits a club that has enjoyed great success on the field.

"Needless to say we've got a great team ... the playoffs [are] ahead of us, potential promotion ahead of us," he said. "A great time to join."

The Wolfpack (23-1-0) have already clinched the second-tier Betfred Championship regular-season title and are currently riding a 18-game win streak.

With three games to go, they are preparing for the promotion playoffs.

Toronto, which failed to gain promotion to the Super League in 2018 at the last hurdle in a 4-2 loss to London Broncos, can reach the top tier with two playoff wins this season.

But the franchise faces challenges off the pitch.

Toronto recently announced it would not televise two of its remaining home games to save money. The Wolfpack had been paying for production costs to air its games on Sky Sports in Britain. Toronto distributed the broadcasts elsewhere, including Canada, where the matches were shown on Game TV and only by CBC.

The Wolfpack are facing a lawsuit filed in Alberta by iLink Media Group, which handled TV production in 2018. The company argues the rugby-league team "defaulted on payment for a significant portion of last year's season to the tune of just over $300,000."

Argyle has said he is confident the dispute can be resolved.

The franchise itself is unique. While based in Toronto, there are no North Americans on the current roster and the team and its coaches live in England. When the Wolfpack play home games at Lamport Stadium, the team stays in temporary accommodations here.

Hunter started his career at Ontario Place in 1982 before heading west first to help open BC Place Stadium in Vancouver and then joining the Expo '86 Vancouver World's Fair management team.

In 1987, he returned to Toronto to work on SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), first as vice-president of operations and fan services and was then president and CEO. A year later, he became executive vice-president and GM of the Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Area) and also oversaw Ricoh Coliseum and an extensive renovation of BMO Field.

In 2014, he became MLSE's chief project development officer.

Hunter, who has already attended Wolfpack games, says he hopes to "enhance the fan experience" at Lamport Stadium.

"With Bob's experience and reputation in the Toronto sports market, I am confident that he is the right person to help build and increase our organization's foothold in the Canadian sports landscape," Argyle said in a statement. "One of our goals is to improve and reshape our fans' experience at Lamport Stadium and there is no one better than Bob to help lead us in that direction."


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On his way to the Jays, ace prospect Pearson won't be outworked
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By TOM REISENWEBER
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B11

ERIE, PA. -- Nate Pearson grabs his glove and jogs out to the visiting bullpen at UPMC Park on a hot but tolerable Saturday afternoon.

He goes through his normal off-day routine like the rest of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats pitchers.

The difference between Pearson and his double-A teammates, however, is noticeable.

It's not his 6-foot-6 frame that makes him stand out, but rather the effort the Toronto Blue Jays' top prospect is putting in during a routine pregame drill.

After a team stretch, Pearson grabs a teammate and starts playing catch. The rest of the team is playing a normal game of catch, but Pearson, 22, is pretending he's on the mound.

He comes to a set before each throw and fires it to his teammate, who starts to give him different targets, like a catcher.

Once both pitchers are done playing catch, it's on to short runs back and forth.

The rest of the players complete their runs and head back to the clubhouse.

Not Pearson.

Alone in right field, he gets in a few more runs.

It may seem like a small detail, but it's Pearson. His work ethic was praised at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School in Spring Hill, Fla., which led to an offer from Florida International University Pearson says he had hoped to be drafted out of high school, but he used the disappointment to work even harder in college.

Pearson's hard work led to him being taken in the first round (28th over all) of the 2017 draft.

He's hoping the hard work in Double-A leads to a shot in the big leagues.

"It's a lot of work, but I love it," Pearson said. "I've been working hard my whole life, and seeing my success because of the work fuels me even more. I want to work harder than everyone else."

All eyes are now on the young flamethrower in the Toronto organization. Now that Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are gone via trades and top prospect Bo Bichette has been promoted to the Blue Jays, checking on Pearson's progress is becoming a weekly activity for Blue Jays fans.

Pearson is listed as No. 14 on MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospects list.

"I don't really pay too much attention to the rankings and the pressure," said Pearson, who represented the Blue Jays at the Futures Game during all-star week in Cleveland last month. "I know with Bo getting promoted I'm the No. 1 guy, but I want to focus on handling my game and controlling what I can control."

Pearson's start on Sunday was another example of his growth. He cruised through the first three innings and retired 11 Erie SeaWolves in a row while hitting 100 mph several times.

"I've been following all of my friends as they get called up and it's an awesome feeling, and I know it's not my time right now," Pearson said. "I'm hoping to get up there at some point next year. I just need to stay healthy."

Associated Graphic

With the Blue Jays bullpen depleted by trades, all eyes are now on pitching prospect Nate Pearson, currently with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Canada routs Australia in FIBA warm-up
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Pangos leads jelling squad with 18 points; teams will meet again to tip-off the World Cup tournament in China
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page S2

PERTH, AUSTRALIA -- Canada never trailed and outscored Australia 23-13 in the final quarter for a 90-70 upset win over the home side in a FIBA World Cup warm-up basketball game Friday.

The Canadians (2-1 in exhibition play this summer) led 51-36 early in the third quarter, but Australia rallied to draw level before the visitors dominated the final period for an easy win. The teams meet again on Saturday night at the same stadium in Perth.

"When we can come out and play that aggressive and knock down shots like that, it's great against a tough team like Australia," said Canadian guard Kevin Pangos, who led the team with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

"We've just to continue and keep growing as a team."

Australia plays Canada in its first game of the World Cup on Sept. 1 in China.

Canada goes into the World Cup without most of its NBA stars. The Miami Heat's Kelly Olynyk became the latest big-name player to pull out after sustaining a knee injury. He joined Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray, R.J. Barrett, Tristan Thompson, Dwight Powell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Boucher and Nickeil Alexander-Walker as other top Canadian NBA players to miss the World Cup.

Pangos, from Newmarket, Ont., added six assists and four steals for Canada. The team is being coached by Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who led the team to the NBA championship this season.

"Within our locker room, we're focused on who is here," Pangos said. "I think that's the most important thing. When you think about all the other stuff, that becomes unnecessary and a distraction. We're excited with the group we have. We're going to try to grow the best we can ... and try to peak at the worlds."

Andrew Nembhard of Aurora, Ont., and Kaza Kajami-Keane of Ajax, Ont., added 12 points apiece.

Nembhard, entering his second year at the University of Florida, added a team-high 10 rebounds and four assists.

"He gets places easy and I'm not quite sure how he does it," Nurse said of Nembhard. "I'm trying to figure it out. He's got this head fake, he's in, he's out, he's over, he's around, and all of a sudden he's into some clear space. He's got a funky game a little bit, for a 19-year-old kid, a pretty good game."

Sacramento Kings point guard Cory Joseph of Toronto was not in the lineup for Canada.

Patty Mills led Australia with 20 points.

Canada stays in Australia to face New Zealand in a pair of exhibition games on Aug. 20-21 before wrapping up its pretournament schedule against the United States on Aug. 26 Canada split a two-game exhibition series against Nigeria in Toronto and Winnipeg last week before heading overseas.

Associated Graphic

Andrew Nembhard dribbles past Nathan Sobey during an exhibition game precedeing the FIBA World Cup in Perth, Australia on Friday. Nembhard, a sophomore at the University of Florida, has 'a pretty good game' for a 19-year-old, coach Nick Nurse said.

TONY ASHBY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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U.S. women's soccer team likely headed to trial as equal-pay talks break down
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Players looking forward to jury trial, representative says, as governing body accuses their counsel of aggressive approach
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By ANNE M. PETERSON
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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B12

Players for the World Cup champion women's national team say mediation talks with the U.S. Soccer Federation in their dispute over equal pay are over.

Molly Levinson, who represents the players in matters concerning the dispute, said in a statement Wednesday that the players look forward to a jury trial.

"We entered this week's mediation with representatives of USSF full of hope," Levinson said.

"Today, we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the federation's determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behaviour."

U.S. Soccer said it had hoped to reach a resolution, but accused the counsel for the players of "an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach."

"We value our players, and have continually shown that, by providing them with compensation and support that exceeds any other women's team in the world," the federation's statement said.

The players sued U.S. Soccer in March, charging institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation when compared with their counterparts on the men's national team. The federation countered that pay and benefits for members of the men's and women's teams, bargained by separate unions, can't be compared and said there was no basis for allegations of illegal conduct.

The two sides agreed to mediate the matter once the Women's World Cup in France was over. The United States beat the Netherlands to win the title last month, and afterward fans in the crowd chanted "Equal Pay!"

Federation president Carlos Cordeiro wrote U.S. Soccer members in late July claiming the women's team was paid more over all than the men's team between 2010 and 2018.

The letter stated that the federation paid out US$34.1-million in salary and game bonuses to the women between 2010 and 2018 as opposed to US$26.4-million paid to the men. The total did not include the value of benefits received only by the women, like health care, Cordeiro wrote.

The players have disputed the figures, claiming they are misleading.

"It is clear that USSF, including its board of directors and president Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men. They will not succeed," Levinson said Wednesday.

"We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world, and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial."

U.S. Soccer in turn took a swipe at the Levinson.

"Despite inflammatory statements from their spokesperson, which are intended to paint our actions inaccurately and unfairly, we are undaunted in our efforts to continue discussions in good faith," the statement said.

Associated Graphic

The U.S. women's soccer team and U.S. Soccer agreed to mediate the matter of equal pay after the Women's World Cup in France. The team beat the Netherlands to win the title last month and fans in the crowd chanted 'Equal Pay!' afterward.

RICHARD HEATHCOTE/GETTY IMAGES


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SHAPOVALOV TRIUMPHS OVER ROUGH FIRST SET TO BEAT SOUSA IN CINCINNATI
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B12

MASON, OHIO Canada's Denis Shapovalov roared back from a bad first set to post a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over lucky loser Joao Sousa of Portugal in first-round action Tuesday at the Western & Southern Masters 1000 tennis tournament.

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., won on his first match point when his forehand was sent into the net by Sousa.

It was the second tournament in a row that Shapovalov, ranked 34th in the world, won his first match. He had five-match losing streak - part of a 2-9 run dating back to March - heading into last week's Rogers Cup men's tournament in Montreal. He beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in the first round in Montreal to end his loss streak before falling to world No. 4 Dominic Thiem.

It looked as if Shapovalov's struggles might continue against world No. 43 Sousa, who beat the Canadian in the only other meeting between the players - a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win in Auckland, New Zealand, back in January.

Sousa broke Shapovalov in the match's first game and looked to be in complete control as he cruised to a 6-2 first-set win.

Shapovalov got back into the match with a confident second set. He won the first game with an ace, then broke Sousa to go up 2-0. He went up 3-0 after a nervy hold that went to deuce twice, and then held the rest of the way to even the match at one set apiece. He continued to apply pressure, breaking Sousa to open the third set. He broke Sousa again to go up 4-1, then won while serving for the match in the eighth game of the set.

Shapovalov hit 28 winners compared with seven for Sousa, who advanced into the main draw in Cincinnati after 10th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy withdrew.

Next up for Shapovalov is Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (6) win over American qualifier Denis Kudla. THE CANADIAN PRESS


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RAPTORS TO OPEN SEASON AGAINST WILLIAMSON AND THE PELICANS
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Page B12

TORONTO The Toronto Raptors will begin their 2019-20 season with a championship banner raising, and the festive atmosphere will continue with home games on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

The team announced its schedule for the coming NBA season on Monday, making official previously leaked highlights such as the Christmas game and the Dec. 11 return of former Raptor superstar Kawhi Leonard, now with the Los Angeles Clippers.00

Toronto will open its 25th campaign on Oct. 22 against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans, and the Raptors will celebrate their 2019 championship with a ring ceremony and banner raising before the game.

The matchup will feature the NBA regular-season debut of No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson, who began his NCAA career in nearby Mississauga last year when his Duke Blue Devils faced the Ryerson Rams in an exhibition game.

And once again, Toronto's schedule has affected an A-list artist who had previously booked Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors home opener will push back a concert featuring rock superstar Elton John from Oct.

22 to Oct. 24. A June 14 appearance by television star Oprah Winfrey was scrapped during the NBA Finals.

The Raptors will play their first ever Christmas home game when they play host to the division-rival Boston Celtics at noon ET. Toronto's only other appearance in the NBA's prestigious Christmas lineup was against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in 2001.

Prior to that game, the Raptors will play host to Leonard and the Clippers on Dec. 11. Leonard helped Toronto to its lone NBA title last season, winning Finals MVP honours in the process, before leaving for his hometown Clippers in free agency.

Toronto will play its first road game Oct. 25 at Boston.

The Raptors will have 13 back-toback games this season, one more than last year. Seven of those backto-backs will be entirely on the road.


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U.S. duties, slower housing starts hit B.C. softwood shipments
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Value and volume of exports fall but analysts say Pattison's Canfor bid takes long-term view of industry's tough times
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- The value of B.C. softwood shipments into the United States has plunged 25 per cent as American duties and lower-than-expected home construction south of the border reduce demand.

In the first half of this year, producers in British Columbia sent softwood worth $1.5-billion to the U.S., compared with $2billion in the same period last year, according to trade data compiled by the B.C. government.

The volume of lumber exports has also tumbled, with 6.9 million cubic metres of B.C. softwood sold into the U.S. in this year's first half, down 10 per cent from a year ago.

The slump in exports to Canada's largest trading partner underscores the tough times faced by B.C. lumber producers, including Canfor Corp. The company is the target of an unsolicited $981.7-million bid by Vancouver billionaire Jim Pattison to take it private.

The 90-year-old Mr. Pattison has a long history of investing for the long term and riding out the industry's downturns.

"Jim Pattison isn't just looking at 2019.

He's looking out to 2025, 2030 and 2050," RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Paul Quinn said in an interview on Tuesday.

"He sees lot of value and knows what's going on. He's fully cognizant and believes that we'll be in better markets and the value of Canfor will be higher."

In the first half of this year, Vancouverbased Canfor paid $81.5-million in softwood duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Those duties hurt the company in the first six months, when it lost $138.1-million, compared with a $282million profit in the same period in 2018.

Spring flooding in the U.S. South delayed residential construction and contributed to slower-than-forecast American housing starts. Industry analysts say U.S. duties on softwood from Canada are effectively incorporated into bills paid by American home builders, which in turn pass on the higher costs to consumers.

Analysts say that makes U.S. softwood more attractive to those builders, with American lumber producers gaining market share as a result of the Trump administration's ruling that Canadian softwood is being subsidized and dumped south of the border.

The combination of excess supplies and dampened demand has translated into lower prices for lumber products. The price for benchmark two-by-fours made from Western spruce, pine and fir averaged US$353 for 1,000 board feet in the first half of the year, down 36.5 per cent from US$556 in the same period last year, according to Random Lengths, a U.S.based company that monitors wood prices.

"It will not be until 2020 before a better supply/demand balance occurs to raise prices," Russ Taylor, managing director at wood research company Forest Economic Advisors Canada, said in an August report.

After slapping preliminary duties in April, 2017, the U.S. Commerce Department started in early 2018 to impose the highest final duties against three B.C.based producers: 23.56 per cent against West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., 22.07 per cent on Tolko Industries Ltd. and 20.52 per cent on Canfor. Most other Canadian producers pay the weighted average of 20.23 per cent.

In the long-running Canada-U.S. softwood dispute, the U.S. Commerce Department says most provinces provide subsidies by charging unfairly low stumpage fees to Canadian producers, which pay for the right to chop down trees on Crown land. Under the American system, most producers pay for U.S. timber rights on private land.

Canada vehemently disagrees with the U.S. position of injury to American producers, and hopes the duties will be cancelled under the North American freetrade agreement's Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism.

B.C. producers have been able to diversify by exporting softwood to China, but those shipments are down from record levels in 2013. In the first half of this year, B.C. saw $482.6-million worth of lumber shipped to China, up 6 per cent from the same period in 2018 but down 23 per cent compared with the first six months of 2013.

Canfor, Canada's second-largest lumber producer, is among the B.C. forestry companies keen to increase shipments to China. Others include West Fraser, Tolko, Interfor Corp. and Conifex Timber Inc.

West Fraser, Canada's largest lumber company, has the financial ability to mount a rival bid for Canfor, though analysts say that is unlikely.

Mr. Pattison, through Great West Capital Corp., owns 51 per cent of Canfor.

Great West has offered $16 a share in cash for the 49 per cent of Canfor shares that are widely held.

"Institutional ownership is quite widespread," CIBC World Markets Inc. analyst Hamir Patel said in a research note. "An organized effort demanding a higher bid may not emerge. With the offer not subject to financing or due diligence, we see little risk of the offer being withdrawn."

British Columbia is Canada's largest lumber exporter into the U.S., with a 48.3per-cent share of sales volume last year, followed by Quebec (19.2 per cent), Alberta (12.2 per cent), Ontario (9.3 per cent) and New Brunswick (7.4 per cent).

Associated Graphic

A worker moves lumber at the Partap Forest Products mill in Maple Ridge, B.C. Producers have diversified by exporting softwood to China, but those shipments are down from record levels in 2013.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada's second-largest lumber producer, Canfor, whose softwood is seen in transit in Alberta, is one of the B.C. forestry companies keen to increase shipments to China. Others include West Fraser, Tolko, Interfor and Conifex Timber.

BAYNE STANLEY/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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CHINA DEPLOYS YUAN IN TRADE WAR ESCALATION
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U.S. Treasury Department labels Beijing a currency manipulator as yuan's 1.4 per cent slide sends shiver through global financial markets
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By ANDREW GALBRAITH
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B1

The U.S. government has determined that China is manipulating its currency and will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate unfair competition from Beijing, U.S.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Monday.

The move brings already tense U.S.-Chinese relations to a boil and fulfills U.S. President Donald Trump's promise to label China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994.

The U.S. action follows China allowing its yuan to weaken past the key seven-per-U.S. dollar level on Monday for the first time in more than a decade. Beijing later said it would stop buying U.S. agricultural products, inflaming a trade war with the United States.

The sharp 1.4-per-cent drop in the yuan comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump stunned financial markets by vowing to impose 10-per-cent tariffs on the remaining US$300-billion of Chinese imports from Sept. 1, breaking a ceasefire in a bruising trade war that has disrupted global supply chains and slowed growth.

YUAN, B2

Mr. Trump on Monday accused Beijing on Twitter of manipulating its yuan currency.

"China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low. It's called 'currency manipulation.' Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!" Mr. Trump tweeted. He did not reveal any specific U.S. response.

Some analysts said the yuan move could unleash a dangerous new front in the trade hostilities - a currency war.

After Mr. Trump spoke, China's Commerce Ministry said Chinese companies have stopped buying U.S. agricultural products and that China will not rule out imposing import tariffs on U.S. farm products that were bought after Aug. 3.

The yuan's sharp slide sent a shiver through global financial markets. In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.62 per cent, for its weakest close since Feb. 22, and stock market losses spread rapidly around the world.

MSCI's main measure of global stock performance was down 2 per cent, its biggest drop since February, 2018.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 tumbled 2.98 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite slid 3.4 per cent, the largest daily losses since last December. The moves were emblematic of volatility that beset markets in May when tensions between the two superpowers flared up after China reneged on key elements of a deal that was then seen coming together.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) provided the early impetus for yuan bears by setting a daily rate for the currency at its weakest level in eight months, weakening a long defence that kept the yuan stronger than seven to the U.S. dollar.

The move was made with the blessing of policy makers to factor in market concerns around the Sino-U.S. trade war and its effect on China's weakening economic growth, three people with knowledge of Chinese monetary deliberations said.

PBOC governor Yi Gang, who has been a key player in U.S.-China trade negotiations, said in a statement posted to the bank's website that the yuan was now at an appropriate level given China's economic fundamentals. He said that China would not engage in a competitive devaluation and would maintain the stability and continuity of foreign exchange management policies.

In an earlier statement, the PBOC linked the yuan's weakness to the fallout from the trade war, but said it would not change its currency policy and that two-way fluctuations in the yuan's value are normal.

Some analysts said China had been propping up the yuan to avoid derailing trade negotiations with Washington, but with tensions escalating, currency may be added to Beijing's trade war arsenal.

"The fact that they have now stopped defending 7.00 against the dollar suggests that they have all but abandoned hopes for a trade deal with the U.S.," said Capital Economics senior China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard.

The central bank set the yuan's daily midpoint at 6.9225 per U.S. dollar before the market open, its weakest level since Dec. 3, 2018.

The onshore yuan finished the domestic session at 7.0352 per U.S. dollar, its weakest level since March, 2008. Monday marked the first time the yuan had breached the seven-perU.S. dollar level since May 9, 2008.

With the escalating trade war giving Beijing fewer reasons to maintain yuan stability, some analysts said they expect the currency to continue to weaken further, to as low as 7.3 to the U.S. dollar.

Indeed, the flare-up in trade tensions has renewed global financial market concerns over how much China will allow the yuan to weaken to offset heavier pressure on its exporters.

"It appears the Chinese authorities no longer see the need to limit the tools at their disposal and that the currency is now also considered part of the arsenal to be drawn upon," Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of research, Asia Pacific at ING, said in a note.

Associated Graphic

The sharp plunge in the yuan followed U.S. President Donald Trump's pledge to impose 10-per-cent tariffs on US$300-billion of Chinese imports by Sept. 1.

STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The People's Bank of China says the yuan is now at an appropriate level given the country's economic fundamentals. The central bank's governor says Beijing would not engage in a competitive devaluation against the U.S. dollar.

KIM KYUNG HOON/REUTERS


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Pattison bets on a lumber rebound with bid to take Canfor private
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison is betting on an upswing in the forestry sector as he offers $981.7-million to take full control of lumber company Canfor Corp., a bid that sparked a rally in beaten-down share prices of Canfor and other Canadian producers.

Mr.Pattison, through Great Pacific Capital Corp., owns 51 per cent of Vancouver-based Canfor.

Great Pacific announced late on Sunday that it is bidding $16 a share in cash for the 49 per cent of Canfor that it doesn't already own.

The unsolicited offer to take Canfor private sent ripples across the lumber industry on Monday as Canfor shares surged 73 per cent to $15.26 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Interfor Corp. saw its stock jump 7 per cent to $11.70; West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. shares gained 4 per cent to $48.05; and Western Forest Products Inc. stock rose 4 per cent to $1.29.

"The bid shines a big light on Canadian lumber names, but how lasting that effect is will be interesting to see.

I think the share prices will stay up this week and then probably drift lower unless something positive happens to lumber prices," RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Paul Quinn said in an interview.

Investors have taken notice because Mr. Pattison is "a long-term, strategic and very smart investor who sees value in this lumber space," he said.

While investors welcomed Mr. Pattison's bid, the Canadian lumber industry still faces uncertainty over exports to China and the pace of home building in the United States.

Russ Taylor, managing director at wood research firm Forest Economic Advisors Canada, doubts prices for spruce, lumber and fir (SPF) will stage a significant rally in the second half of 2019.

"SPF lumber prices continue to languish near or below cost. This has continued to cause ongoing Canadian mill curtailments and some closures, mainly in B.C.," Mr. Taylor said in an August report on wood markets.

But Mr. Pattison, who owns about 12 per cent of Vancouver-based West Fraser, has been a patient investor over the decades and says he stays calm during declines in commodity prices.

"You can control costs and production, but there's no sense in worrying about something you can't control," he said in an interview with The Globe and Mail in February, referring to the economic challenges faced by various industries.

"Things will be okay. I'm not predicting anything except that I'm optimistic."

He said it would be difficult to time when the lumber market might bottom.

"There are double bottoms," Mr. Pattison cautioned.

He added that consolidation isn't necessarily the solution when an industry such as forestry is ailing: "When times are difficult, you try to cut your costs. It depends how much synergy you can get out of consolidation. In some cases, you might only get savings from the switchboard operator. Other times, you may save hundreds of millions of dollars."

Mr. Pattison served on Canfor's board from 2003 until 2017, when he stepped down as a director. He sat at the back of the room at the annual meeting that he attended in 2017, listening to brief tributes to him, including one from Canfor's chief executive officer, Don Kayne.

RBC's Mr. Quinn is skeptical that a higher bid will emerge for Canfor. West Fraser has the financial clout to mount a rival offer, but Canada's Competition Bureau would likely intervene and B.C.'s NDP government would also frown on consolidation in a sector already reeling from mill closings across British Columbia, he said.

Last month, for example, Canfor announced the indefinite shutdown of its sawmill in Mackenzie, B.C.

In the second quarter, Canfor lost $48.6-million as low lumber prices and U.S. duties on softwood hurt the company, compared with a $169.8-million profit in the same period of 2018.

The company's share price is down sharply from its 52-week high of $32.32 in August, 2018.

Benchmark two-by-fours made from Western spruce, pine and fir sold recently for US$352 for 1,000 board feet, down 43 per cent compared with a record high of US$622 in June, 2018, industry newsletter Madison's Lumber Reporter said.

Mr. Pattison serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Jim Pattison Group. He started with one car dealership in 1961 and now oversees a worldwide privately held conglomerate, doing business in more than 90 countries, surpassing $10.6-billion in revenue last year.

Annual revenue is more than five times higher than two decades ago and the number of employees has exceeded 46,000 people, compared with 9,300 workers two decades ago.

Pattison Group's holdings are diverse, including: Guinness World Records; Ripley's Believe It or Not; Great Wolf Lodge; Sun-Rype fruit beverages; and the SaveOn-Foods supermarket chain and other grocery stores.

CANFOR (CFP) CLOSE: $15.26, UP $6.46

Associated Graphic

Canfor, whose sawmill in Houston, B.C., is seen above, has had its share price drop sharply from its 52-week high of $32.32 in August, 2018. The company lost $48.6-million in the second quarter owing to low lumber prices and U.S. duties on softwood.


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HOME-BUILDING JOBS FALL IN ONTARIO
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As starts for low-rise houses decline, employment shrinks for workers who specialize in framing and bricklaying trades
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B1

A drop in the number of low-rise houses under construction in the Toronto region has led to job cuts for workers who specialize in homebuilding trades.

The number of detached and semidetached houses under construction in the Toronto region fell sharply this spring, forcing companies in the home-building sector to cut staffing levels, especially in trades such as framing and bricklaying that feel the earliest impact of a slowdown.

"We started seeing it a bit at the end of the year last year, but it certainly hit in the spring," said Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, which represents home construction companies.

"The winter was still relatively busy because there was still some finishing work and closings, but certainly in the spring, framing took a hit and bricklaying took a hit."

His organization's statistics show a 25-per-cent drop in low-rise residential construction jobs between February and May compared with the same period in 2018. Mr. Lyall said there was an increase in construction employment in the stronger high-rise condominium sector, however.

Ontario posted a decline in residential construction employment in each month between March and June compared with the same months last year, according to data compiled by Statistics Canada for The Globe and Mail.

The largest monthly employment decline came in June, when the total number of residential construction jobs fell by 23 per cent to 88,600 from 114,800 in June, 2018. The employment data are available only for Ontario as a whole and do not break down activity in the Toronto region. However, Statscan said 49 per cent of the province's residential construction workers live in the Toronto area.

Mr. Lyall said some workers have shifted to other construction sectors to find work, but for others, their skills are not easily transferable.

Trades involved in the early stages of building, such as concrete pouring and house framing, were first to see their business fall, he said, while interior "finishing" trades have seen the impact later.

"We went from a point where we had a serious shortage of bricklayers to where we didn't have a bricklaying problem at all, and where we had a surplus of framers," he said.

Statscan warned that residential construction employment was near its record high in June last year, so the steep decline may not signal a trend that will continue.

The low-rise construction slowdown came after new home sales fell sharply in 2017 and 2018.

Data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. showed the number of detached homes under construction in June in the Toronto region was 42 per cent below the level in June last year, while the number of semi-detached houses under construction fell 38 per cent and row houses dipped by 10 per cent.

Condo and rental apartment units under construction were up 12 per cent, however.

Developers typically put new projects up for sale long before breaking ground, and major preconstruction sales declines in 2017 and 2018 laid the groundwork for the construction slowdown this year.

Sales of preconstruction lowrise homes in the Greater Toronto Area dropped by 58 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016, then fell a further 50 per cent in 2018 over 2017, according to data prepared by Altus Group.

David Wilkes, chief executive of the Building Industry and Land Development Association, which represents developers, blames much of the sales slump on the mortgage stress test that took effect at the start of 2018, which reduced how much buyers could afford to pay.

Mr. Wilkes said some buyers could not qualify for any mortgage, while many others opted for cheaper homes such as condos or townhouses, rather than detached houses.

"We've seen that the mix is changing and people aren't buying their preferred house, but one that would allow them to meet the stress test," he said.

He said builders have been adjusting by lowering their pricing and by launching a greater number of townhouses to match the shift in market demand.

A slowdown in housing starts this year suggests the construction downturn may continue in coming months. Housing starts which reflect the launch date of construction - fell by 50 per cent for detached houses in the Toronto region in the first half of 2019 compared with 2018, CMHC reported.

However, Mr. Lyall says he believes construction employment is stabilizing.

Moreover, preconstruction sales have picked up in 2019 from their low base in 2018, which could spur more construction activity this fall or in 2020 as new projects launch. Single-family home sales rose 127 per cent in June, for example, although still remain 30 per cent below the 10year average, according to Altus data.

"Certainly if demand continues to move up, I expect the market will respond to that," Mr.

Wilkes said. "We are seeing projects being launched in the singlefamily and the mid-rise or middensity areas."

Associated Graphic

Statistics from the Residential Construction Council of Ontario show a 25-per-cent drop in low-rise residential construction jobs between February and May, compared with the same period in 2018.

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Mounting signs of global downturn spark market sell-off
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B1

Heightened concerns about the global economy sent stocks skidding on Wednesday and pushed key government bond yields to new lows, after disappointing economic data from China and Germany signalled that a global downturn is brewing.

The S&P 500 fell 2.9 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst sell-off since October, 2018, tumbling 800.49 points or 3.1 per cent.

Canada's benchmark index, the S&P/TSX Composite, fell 1.9 per cent, also its biggest one-day decline since October and erasing $47-billion from the index's market capitalization, according to Bloomberg. But the bond market, which has been sending gloomy economic signals for much of this year, reflected some of the biggest concerns among many investors as the rush into safe holdings raised bond prices and lowered yields.

The yield on the Government of Canada 10-year bond fell to 1.14 per cent, a 31/2-year low and down from a yield of 2.6 per cent in October.

More ominously, the yield on the 30-year U.S.

Treasury bond sank to just 2.022 per cent, which is its lowest level in history. And the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond briefly yielded less than the two-year bond - an unusual flip known as an inverted yield curve that often portends an economic recession.

"There is no such thing as a sure thing. But this is as close to a sure thing as there is," David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, said in an interview.

Mr. Rosenberg added: "A recession isn't even close to being priced into the stock market right now."

The market volatility comes as the U.S. economy continues to look strong from some angles.

The U.S. Labour Department reported earlier this month that employers added 164,000 jobs in July while the unemployment rate held steady at a 50-year low.

Gross domestic product expanded by 2.1 per cent in the second quarter, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

As well, companies within the S&P 500 have reported a 2.8-percent gain in their year-over-year profits in the second quarter, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv - and 73 per cent of companies have beaten analysts' expectations.

But cracks are starting to appear. The U.S. Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point last month for the first time since 2008, amid weak inflation and a global economic slowdown that is being tied to a trade war between China and the United States.

Problems got even worse on Wednesday, after two of the world's foremost exporting dynamos, China and Germany, delivered more evidence that all is not well with their economies.

German GDP contracted by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter, reflecting uncertainty over trade and Brexit and suggesting that an outright recession is near. In China, employment and factory production numbers were disappointing.

German data "provides further evidence of the severity of the slowdown in Europe. A deteriorating global backdrop and gloomy business surveys for July suggest that the third quarter won't be much better," Melanie Debono and Gabriella Dickens at Capital Economics said in a note.

The pain in the stock market was severe and widespread.

The S&P 500 fell 85.72 points to 2840.60. All 11 sectors declined, as did 99 per cent of the stocks in the index. Economically sensitive sectors were hardest hit: Energy fell 4.1 per cent, financials fell 3.6 per cent and materials fell 3.3 per cent. All 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell.

The TSX fell 304.90 points to 16,045.94, suggesting that Canada is fully exposed to global volatility.

"In reality, we are nothing more than a torque on global growth," Mr. Rosenberg said.

"When the OECD's leading indicator is down for 18 months in a row, when the U.S. economy is clearly cooling off, when the U.K.

and German economies are on the cusp of recession and China's numbers are slowing down, that is not good news for trade-oriented economies like Canada's."

The energy sector fell 3.1 per cent after the price of crude oil declined 3.3 per cent to US$55.23 a barrel. Financials, a sector that is dominated by the Big Six banks, fell 1.9 per cent. And among cannabis producers, Canopy Growth Corp. fell 5.8 per cent and Aurora Cannabis Inc.

fell 8.2 per cent.

But at least the rising price of gold, now at six-year highs, offered some relief: Eldorado Gold Corp. rose 6.4 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 1 per cent.

Associated Graphic

A robot installs a windscreen at the Daimler factory in Rastatt, Germany. The country's manufacturing data for July indicate that new export orders are declining at the fastest pace since the financial crisis.

KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS


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BMO chair stands by his role in effort to secure deal for SNC
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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B1

Bank of Montreal chairman Robert Prichard is defending his involvement in the political and legal fracas over SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., saying he informed the bank he was joining the team at a Bay Street law firm that was hired to give advice to the engineering company.

Canada's fourth-largest bank was drawn into the controversy over the Trudeau government's handling of the SNC file after the federal Ethics Commissioner released a report Wednesday that found the Prime Minister broke the rules in directing government officials to find a solution to SNC's legal troubles that would safeguard its interests.

The report revealed two senior BMO officials, Mr. Prichard and vice-chair Kevin Lynch, made multiple attempts to lobby cabinet minister Scott Brison to help SNC avoid a criminal prosecution.

The two men met with Mr. Brison, who was Treasury Board president at the time, in October and November. Mr. Brison, in turn, conveyed their legal arguments and concerns over SNC to then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, and to senior members of the Prime Minister's Office.

In January, Mr. Brison announced he was quitting politics, and in February he joined BMO's capital markets arm, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.

The web of influential officials at the heart of the SNC-Lavalin affair highlights the governance challenges confronting some of Canada's largest companies as they navigate the myriad responsibilities borne by directors who have roles at different companies.

In pushing SNC's case for a legal settlement of the charges it faces, Mr. Prichard and Mr. Lynch sought to meet their obligations to SNC-Lavalin, rather than to BMO - Mr. Prichard as chair of law firm Torys LLP, which represents SNC-Lavalin, and Mr.Lynch as chair of SNC's board.

Under BMO's conflict of interest policy and director independence standards, directors are required to declare outside activities and interests to the bank, and to recuse themselves from certain board discussions.

"Under these policies, I have always declared my outside activities to BMO (including my joining Torys legal team advising SNC in the fall of 2018) and recused myself as appropriate," Mr. Prichard said in an e-mail. "The other boards on which I serve, like all public company boards, have similar conflict of interest policies."

BMO's policies apply to directors "in their roles on the board and in their outside activities," a bank spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "BMO's Code of Conduct is the ethical foundation for everyone in the organization. The Code guides our decisions, actions and the way we work."

The bank also confirmed that Mr. Lynch, who is not on BMO's board, is required to get bank approval for outside activities in advance, including his work for SNC-Lavalin.

Mr. Prichard is an experienced corporate director who is used to wearing several hats at once. A former law professor, university president and newspaper executive, he has served on BMO's board since 2000. He is chair of Torys LLP, a director of private equity firm Onex Corp.

since 1994 and of retailer and food company George Weston Ltd. since 2000, in addition to doing board work for non-profits such as the Hospital for Sick Children. He was also a director of mining company Barrick Gold Corp. from 2015 until January, 2019, and chair of public transit agency Metrolinx until last July.

"For most people, that would be too much," said Richard Powers, a corporate governance expert at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

But Mr. Prichard "has an amazing capacity for work" and "he's followed the rules," Mr.Powers said.

Mr. Prichard had perfect attendance at board and committee meetings for BMO, Onex, Weston and Barrick last year - a combined 77 meetings in 2018 - according to public filings. Last year, he earned $592,648 as BMO's chairman, in addition to a combined $718,500 for his director's roles at the other three companies.

Mr. Prichard intends to step down as BMO's chairman at the bank's next annual meeting, after 20 years on the board and at age 70 - both limits BMO set for directors who joined the bank before 2010. (Term limits have since been shortened to 15 years for directors who were first elected from 2010 onward.)

"I certainly can see people coming up with the perception of a conflict. But when you look past that, I would say that they [Mr. Prichard and Mr. Lynch] acted properly," Mr. Powers said.

BANK OF MONTREAL (BMO) CLOSE: $92.35, DOWN 35¢


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HBC committee says Baker's take-private offer isn't rich enough
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A contentious, $1-billion privatization offer for Hudson's Bay Co. from its executive chairman is too low, the special board committee examining the bid said on Friday in an unusual assessment weeks before its formal opinion on the proposal is due.

The five-director committee said it had engaged real estate appraisers and planning consultants to help evaluate the offer from executive chairman Richard Baker, whose group controls 57 per cent of HBC shares. The shareholder group announced the bid in early June.

"Based on initial analysis completed to date by its financial [adviser] and other factors, the special committee has communicated to the shareholder group that the price of $9.45 per common share offered in the shareholder group proposal is inadequate," the committee said in a statement on Friday.

The statement, which comes before it is due to issue its final fairness determination in September, backs up criticism by some of HBC's minority shareholders. They have complained the offer does not reflect the value of the chain's real estate holdings in Canada and the United States.

It could force New York-based Mr. Baker and his allies to rethink their plans for taking Canada's oldest corporation out of public markets - at least at the current bid price. If the board's special committee recommends that shareholders reject the offer, it would likely stymie the group, given the staunch opposition among the large minority holders.

For the bid to be successful, a majority of the shares not held by Mr. Baker's group must be voted in favour. His shareholder group said it had no immediate comment on the special committee's statement. Mr. Baker's partners are Rhone Capital LLC, office-sharing company WeWork Property Advisors, Hanover Investments (Luxembourg) SA and Abrams Capital Management LP.

The independent directors' statement adds a new wrinkle to an already acrimonious process.

Catalyst Capital Group Inc., Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC and Sandpiper Group are among dissidents calling the offer inadequate. Land & Buildings founder Jonathan Litt has called it "woefully" so.

Toronto-based Catalyst has launched a bid for about 8 per cent of HBC's outstanding shares in a move to control more of the minority shares in opposition to Mr. Baker's offer. It said it was encouraged by the committee's view of the Baker group's bid.

"This clear rejection by the special committee of the Baker group's undervalued offer represents a first, but important, step toward reinforcing the broader market's understanding of the value of HBC," it said in a statement.

Some minority shareholders have issued their own valuations putting the value of the real estate, much of it in prime urban locations, around $30 a share.

The company would be able to realize such value only by selling it.

There are also calls for the company to hold a formal auction.

Under Mr. Baker, HBC has generated healthy proceeds from asset sales, including its Lord & Taylor flagship building in Manhattan, N.Y., for $1.1-billion.

But the retail operations at its stores, including Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue, have struggled against a backdrop of changing consumer behaviour and intense competition from online retailers such as Amazon and discount stores.

Meanwhile, the special committee said it was not in a position to issue a formal assessment of Catalyst's offer of $10.11 a share, but it noted that it does not provide the legal protections of a full-blown takeover bid.

Mr. Baker has called it "coercive," as it could deprive investors of the opportunity to cash out for the price he is offering if it dooms his bid.

However, Catalyst, led by financier Newton Glassman, argued it is giving all shareholders the opportunity to tender to its bid.

It said it supports the rights of minority holders and is well-suited to be a long-term holder of HBC shares.

The committee said it intends to meet with various shareholders next week.

HUDSON'S BAY (HBC) CLOSE: $9.80, UP 1¢

Associated Graphic

Hudson's Bay's retail operations have struggled amid changing consumer behaviour and intense competition.

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Beyond Meat shares drop on new stock offering months after IPO
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B1

Beyond Meat Inc.'s shares tumbled on Monday on plans for another stock offering just three months after its IPO even as demand for its plant-based burgers and sausages prompted an increase in its full-year sales forecast.

Trading was volatile and shares fell more than 12 per cent after hours on news of a 3.25-millionshare offering that includes three million shares from selling stockholders.

Proceeds are earmarked to raise funds to expand its manufacturing facilities that are being stretched by booming demand for its meat alternatives. Executives on a call with analysts declined to comment on the offering.

Beyond Meat's shares have surged more than 780 per cent since the IPO in May as the company's meat alternatives entered the menus of restaurants such as Carl's Jr. and on shelves of grocers including Kroger Co.

Plant-based meat alternatives have seen booming interest from consumers and restaurants, supporting startups such as Beyond Meat and its competitor Impossible Foods, and even sparking interest from veteran meat companies such as Tyson Foods Inc. and Perdue Foods, which now offer meat protein products mixed with plants.

"For another growth stock, the top-line beat and raises would be enough to see a postmarket rally, but there are a lot of Beyond Meat investors out there looking for any excuse to sell a stock that has rocketed so much since its IPO," said Kamal Khan, analyst at financial markets platform Investing.com.

Beyond Meat products are now sold at more than 53,000 retailers and restaurants worldwide, with demand boosted by the grilling season under way, Beyond Meat's CEO Ethan Brown said on Monday.

At supermarket chain Morton Williams, which owns 16 locations across New York, some customers are buying Beyond Meat burger patties and sausages by the case, according to Victor Colello, the chain's director of meat and fish.

"Beyond Meat is really flying off the shelves. My business with it has almost doubled and we're sold out at times," Mr. Colello said.

The latest version of the burgers is made from peas, brown rice, sunflower seeds and mung beans.

Net revenue rose nearly fourfold to US$67.3-million ($88.6million) in the three months ended June 29, above Wall Street's estimate of US$52.71-million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

The company said it expects net revenue to rise more than 170 per cent to US$240-million in 2019, up from the prior US$210-million it had forecast just last month.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company reported a net loss of US$9.4-million, or a loss 24 US cents per share, compared with a loss of US$7.4-million, or a loss of US$1.22 per share in the year-ago period.

Karen Formanski, an analyst at Mintel who authored a consumer research report on plant-based protein, said there were no signs of the meat alternatives market slowing, with 38 per cent of U.S.

consumers trying to add more plant-based protein to their diet.

"But with growing competition, criticism over processed food and clean eating getting more important, companies will have to adapt and offer more variety than just burgers," Ms. Formanski said.

Mr. Brown on Monday rejected growing criticism over Beyond Meat's products being overly processed and unhealthy, saying it was not a question of whether they were processed but how.

The company seeks to further diversify its protein sources without relying on genetic modification, Mr. Brown said.

"There are an almost endless amount of crops you can pull from ... and it is really important that Beyond is leading the effort of bringing new proteins into the market," Mr. Brown said.

Analysts during Monday's call pressed Beyond Meat executives for details on looming supplychain bottlenecks as demand continues to surge.

Mr. Brown said the company would expand its in-house manufacturing facilities in Missouri, buy new equipment, while continuing to outsource the packaging of its products by adding new partners.

"That's not to say we won't have some periodic disruptions that may create temporary shortages," the CEO said.


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CannTrust stock surges amid scandal
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Shares in CannTrust Holdings Inc. experienced a wild ride on Friday, roaring back from early morning losses to close up more than 40 per cent.

The beleaguered pot producer's stock started the day lower after it announced an independent outside auditor had withdrawn its endorsement of the company's 2018 financial statements, the latest fallout from recent revelations about illicit grow rooms at the Ontariobased cannabis producer.

Shares ended the day up $1.22, 40.8 per cent, at $4.21. It was not immediately clear what prompted the surge. CannTrust did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment on Friday.

Friday's stock movements were notable, even for the notoriously volatile marijuana sector.

Earlier, CannTrust announced that accounting firm KPMG LLP had withdrawn its March 27 report on 2018 financial results and an interim report for the three months ended Mar. 31, 2019, and declared that the audited results can't be relied upon as accurate, the marijuana grower said on Friday in a statement from Vaughan, Ont.

The move is the latest in a string of woes for the Torontoarea company after it revealed a Health Canada probe found the company had grown cannabis in several rooms at its Pelham, Ont., facility in Niagara Region without government approval, and that employees had provided inaccurate information to regulators.

The Ontario Securities Commission said last week it has launched a joint investigation with the RCMP to examine unlicensed growing at CannTrust's greenhouse.

That came after an announcement from the company's board of directors that it had fired its chief executive and asked its chairman to resign after the board discovered new information during an internal investigation.

The board appointed the special committee's chair Robert Marcovitch as interim chief executive officer in the wake of the departures.

CannTrust said Friday that the auditor's decision to revoke its reports was prompted by the company's caution against relying on financial statements for those time frames, as well as the recent sharing with KPMG "of newly uncovered information from the special committee's investigation, including information that led to senior leadership changes."

CannTrust added that KPMG was not aware of the information recently shared by the company when the auditor issued its reports, and that it had relied upon representations made by individuals no longer at the company.

The company said it will cooperate with KPMG, which remains CannTrust's outside auditor, as well as authorities investigating the matter.

"We will continue cooperating with our auditor and regulators, and take whatever steps are necessary to restore full trust in the company's regulatory compliance. Our medical patients, customers, shareholders and employees deserve nothing less," Mr. Marcovitch said in a statement Friday.

The company has warned that it would likely miss its filing deadline for an interim financial report because of the significant uncertainty on the impact of the pending Health Canada decisions.

Health Canada's probe could result in the suspension or termination of CannTrust's cannabis licences and fines up to $1million.

CannTrust has disclosed that the production in five unlicensed rooms took place between October, 2018, and March, 2019, before it received licences for those rooms in April, 2019.

CANNTRUST HOLDINGS (TRST) CLOSE: $4.21, UP $1.22

Associated Graphic

The Ontario Securities Commission launched a joint investigation with the RCMP earlier this month to examine unlicensed growing that occurred at CannTrust's facility in Niagara Region between October, 2018, and March, 2019.

TIJANA MARTIN/ THE CANADIAN PRESS


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A tour to promote Japanese art
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page B2

The gift: Founding the Go-Somewhere! Japanese Art Tour The reason: To promote Japanese art in Canada A few years ago, Tony Girardin was on a world tour proA moting his documentary about a Montreal bicycle maker, Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame, when he made a stop at a film festival in Tokyo.

Mr. Girardin, who was born and raised in Montreal, had never been to Japan and was mesmerized. "I've never lived such a special experience in my life," he recalled from his home in Montreal.

"It was just beyond words." The film festival was held in association with a local art gallery, and Mr. Girardin got to know some of the artists.

Over time, the connections strengthened and, after a couple more trips to Japan, he invited five artists to visit Canada to show their work.

The event, the Go-Somewhere! Japanese Art Tour, has been under way for most of the summer, with stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Tadoussac, Que., Wakefield, Que., and Almonte, Ont. The artists are painters Tomoko Aso and Akiko Takeuchi, along with print maker Kurumi Wakaki, folk artist Mami Yonekura and silversmith Tsubomi Yonekura. None of them had been to Canada before or shown their work outside Asia.

Mr. Girardin received some financial support from the Japanese embassy, but he has covered most of the expenses. "It's been a good year for me and I'm footing the bill," he said, adding that the artists have been working in a Montreal studio between exhibits.

He said the tour is winding down this week and has been a big success. "When you are told that these people are happier than they have ever been in their lives, it's totally worth it," he said.

pwaldie@globeandmail.com


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'Cut from the same cloth,' coaching was always in the cards for O'Shea, Steinauer
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B11

Back when they were teammates on the Toronto Argonauts, Mike O'Shea and Orlondo Steinauer always figured they'd coach together.

After winning a Grey Cup as players with Toronto in 2004, O'Shea and Steinauer added another CFL title as Argos assistant coaches in 2012. But neither ever thought much about squaring off as head coaches.

That became a reality Friday night in Hamilton when Steinauer's Tiger-Cats defeated Winnipeg 23-15, handing O'Shea's Blue Bombers their first loss of the season after five straight victories.

With the win, Hamilton (5-1) remained atop the East Division, tied with Winnipeg for the CFL's best record.

"When we played, I think we were both cut from the same cloth," said Steinauer, in his first season as Hamilton's head coach. "I actually pictured us coaching together, which happened.

"Playing against each other? That never really crossed my mind until he took the path to go to Winnipeg."

O'Shea, 48, of North Bay, spent three years as Toronto's special-teams coach before becoming Winnipeg's head coach. He endured a rocky start with the Bombers, missing the playoffs his first two seasons while posting a 12-24 combined record.

But under O'Shea, Winnipeg has gone to the playoffs the past three years and registered a 33-21 overall mark.

"I'm just happy for Mike," Steinauer, a Seattle native, said.

"Everybody is looking at now, but there were some rough times, some losses in a row.

"It's special for [O'Shea] and I, it's fun to talk about. I think he's earned this type of recognition."

In typical fashion, the humble O'Shea played down the significance of facing Steinauer, 46, for the first time as CFL head coaches.

"I think it's a good angle for a lot of media stories, but it's the players on the field who are out there battling," O'Shea said.

"We'll talk before the game, wish each other well and then let our guys go at it."

O'Shea always saw himself continuing his football career as a coach with Steinauer.

"Why would we coach together?" he said. "We appreciate each other, we see the game the same way for the most part, we had a lot of good experiences together.

"I don't think it was a matter of talking about coaching. He was already a coach."

The two played together with Toronto (2001-08), O'Shea as a hard-nosed middle linebacker and Steinauer as a versatile performer in the secondary. In 2000, Hamilton acquired O'Shea from the Argonauts for a package that involved Canadian running back Eric Lapointe and the rights to Steinauer.

After serving as Toronto's defensive backs coach and defensive co-ordinator from 2010-13, Steinauer went to Hamilton as defensive co-ordinator (2013-16). After spending one season as Fresno State's defensive co-ordinator (2017) in the NCAA, he returned to the Ticats (2018) as assistant head coach under head coach June Jones before being promoted to the top job prior to this season.

O'Shea had a decorated CFL career, being named the league's top rookie in 1993 and outstanding Canadian six years later. He won three Grey Cups with Toronto (1996, '97, 2004) and retired as the only Canadian player ever to register 1,000 career tackles.

O'Shea was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

"We used to watch film together often and when we didn't, we'd come in and often have the same questions," Steinauer said. "I just always looked at [O'Shea] as a coach.

"He would've been great at whatever he chose to do. As a player next to him, I just think it was easy. He's just a leader by nature."

Steinauer was a five-time CFL all-star as a player. He won two Grey Cups (1999 with Hamilton, 2004 with Toronto) and retired ranked second over all in all-time interception-return yards (1,178).

"You felt good knowing he was behind you because it was all going to be right," O'Shea said of Steinauer. "It was going to be made to be right no matter how imperfect the play may have started ... you had this safety net behind you.

"With his guys, he always had them doing the right things.

On a play-by-play basis, to have that is pretty cool."

WINLESS ARGOS These are tough times for the Toronto Argonauts.

Toronto (0-6) remains the CFL's only winless team after dropping a 26-0 decision in Edmonton on Thursday night, capping a rough three-game road swing. It marked the first time the team had been shut out since 2009.

Shaquille Cooper, replacing the injured C.J. Gable, ran for 128 yards and a TD on 22 carries in his first start for Edmonton.

Once again, Toronto had trouble protecting the ball as Edmonton forced five turnovers. The Eskimos also had four sacks, boosting their league-best total to 23.

Toronto quarterbacks McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Dakota Prukop were a combined 14-of-31 passing for 158 yards with three picks.

The challenge doesn't get any easier. Toronto returns home on Thursday night to face the Blue Bombers.

ANOTHER QB HURT Jeremiah Masoli's season-ending knee injury on Friday night just adds to what's shaping up to be a brutal year for starting CFL quarterbacks.

The Ticats quarterback suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter of Hamilton's 23-15 home win over Winnipeg.

Masoli becomes the sixth starter to go down this season.

The others include Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell, Saskatchewan's Zach Collaros, Toronto's James Franklin, Ottawa's Dominique Davis and Montreal's Antonio Pipkin.

The timing of Masoli's injury could not be worse as the veteran quarterback is in the final year of his deal with Hamilton.

Backup Dane Evans, who came in relief against Winnipeg, is expected to be Hamilton's starter when it visits the Roughriders on Thursday night.

5-1 Both coach Orlondo Steinauer's Ticats and Mike O'Shea's Blue Bombers sit at 5-1 after Friday's game, in which Hamilton downed Winnipeg 23-15. The teams are tied with the CFL's best record.

7 Steinauer and O'Shea were Toronto Argonauts teammates for seven seasons, from 2001-08.

During that time, the two won a Grey Cup together, in 2004.


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Williams looks to build on her legacy at the Rogers Cup
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Monday, August 5, 2019 – Page B9

TORONTO -- The world's most famous female tennis star is competing in the Rogers Cup for the first time in four years. She's back in a city she adores, with a chance to do something special.

The 37-year-old superstar, Serena Williams, is looking for her first title since the 2017 Australian Open. If she emerges as champion in Toronto this week, she would join Chris Evert and Monica Seles as the only women since 1978 to win four Rogers Cup women's singles titles.

A lot has changed for Williams since she last played in Canada in 2015, losing in the final that year to Belinda Bencic.

Since then, she gave birth to daughter Olympia in 2017 and married internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.

"As a professional tennis player, I have different priorities now. I schedule my life around my daughter," Williams said as she met with the media on Sunday. "It's cool because I always have something really spectacular to look forward to whether I'm winning or losing a match. It's a whole different part of my life now."

The global superstar arrived at her news conference wearing an outfit that combined French couture with a nod to women's soccer. Her ensemble was part of a Women's World Cup-inspired collaboration between Nike and French designer Marine Serre - a lime-green soccer jersey over a white-and-black patterned bodysuit.

She has heralded the U.S. women's soccer team recently on Twitter, congratulating them for their fourth World Cup win, and reiterated Billie Jean King's support of their pleas for equal pay.

Williams trumpeted Wheaties for putting the champs on its cereal box.

Williams recently became the first athlete named to Forbe's list of the richest self-made women in the United States, estimating her fortune to be worth US$225million. She's been dropping money into startups. But she's very much still playing tennis, too.

"I love my job, I love what I do," Williams said. "It's fun to be a part of a group of people who go out and play, just two people in front of an amazing crowd. It's not much incredibly longer that I'm going to be able to do that.

There aren't many people who can do it, so I'm just really proud to be a part of that."

The 37-year-old 23-time Grand Slam champ has an impressive history at Rogers Cup. In her eight career appearances in Canada, Williams has made the semi-finals seven times - the outlier being 2005 when she withdrew in the third round because of a knee injury.

Williams has a 30-4 match record at the Canadian Open, and has hoisted the trophy three times - all of those in years when the WTA event was in Toronto.

"Whenever I come here I have so much fun; I know it really well," Williams said. "I'm here a lot, even without the tournament. I love being here. After so many years, I have so many different friends here."

Williams's history at the Rogers Cup underlines the longevity and adversity she's experienced in the sport.

She won her first Rogers Cup as a 19-year-old in 2001, overcoming top-seeded Jennifer Capriati in a three-set final. A decade later, she beat Sam Stosur to win the 2011 Rogers Cup - part of a remarkable comeback after missing 49 weeks with a foot injury and then blood clots in her lungs. In 2013 she breezed to a dominant win over Sorana Cirstea to grab her eighth title of the season after not dropping a set all week.

This time, Williams is fresh off the Wimbledon final, where a near-perfect Simona Halep dusted her in under an hour - 6-2, 6-2 - denying the American the 24th career Grand Slam singles title she needed to tie Margaret Court.

Williams is a No. 8 seed in Toronto this week in an event that will also help her to tune up for the U.S. Open. The world's No.

9-ranked player gained a bye into the second round when Petra Kvitova dropped out Friday with an arm injury. She opens play Wednesday against the winner of a first-round clash between Elise Mertens and Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The draw holds a potential quarter-final matchup for Williams against world No. 2 Naomi Osaka and maybe even a rematch in the semis with the No.

4-seeded Halep.

Associated Graphic

Serena Williams, playing here at Wimbledon in July, is seeking to win her fourth Rogers Cup trophy in Toronto this week.

BEN CURTIS/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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Alibaba co-founder Tsai takes full ownership of Nets
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By BRIAN MAHONEY
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page S2

NEW YORK -- In a record sale for a U.S. sports franchise, the co-founder of Alibaba agreed to buy the remaining 51 per cent of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center for about US$3.4-billion, two people with knowledge of the details said Friday.

Joe Tsai already had purchased 49 per cent of the team from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in 2018, with the option to become controlling owner in 2021.

Instead, he pushed up that timeline for full ownership of a team on the rise after signing superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in July. Terms were not disclosed, but those familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Tsai is paying about US$2.35billion for the Nets and nearly US$1-billion in a separate transaction for the arena. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreements are not complete.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of September and is subject to approval by the NBA's Board of Governors. It will surpass the US$2.2-billion that Tilman Fertitta paid for the NBA's Houston Rockets and that David Tepper spent for the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Tsai is the executive vice-chairman of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant. He already had purchased the WNBA's New York Liberty.

Prokhorov became the NBA's first non-North American owner in 2010 and oversaw the Nets' move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, N.Y., two years later. He spent big in the first couple years after the move in a quest to chase a championship, but the team soon became one of the worst in the NBA before rallying to return to the playoffs this past season.

He boasted of trying to win a championship within five years of his ownership, rapidly going through players and coaches in the first few years in Brooklyn. But he spent less time around the team in recent years while focusing on his interests in Russia - which at one point included a campaign for president of the Russian Federation - and remained in the background after hiring Sean Marks as the team's general manager in 2016.

"It has been an honour and a joy to open Barclays Center, bring the Nets to Brooklyn and watch them grow strong roots in the community while cultivating global appeal," Prokhorov said in a statement. "The team is in a better place today than ever before, and I know that Joe will build on that success, while continuing to deliver the guest experience at Barclays Center that our fans, employees and colleagues in the industry enjoy."

Prokhorov had invested US$200-million and made funding commitments to acquire 80 per cent of the team and 45 per cent of the arena project, after the team's planned move across the Hudson River had repeatedly stalled. He later bought the remainder of the arena, which quickly became a popular attraction for concerts, boxing and college basketball, as well as the home of the New York Islanders.

Tsai, a native of Taiwan, is positioned to take full control of the team by the time the Nets head to China to play two exhibition games against the Los Angeles Lakers in October. That comes at the start of a season of renewed excitement for the Nets, who just three seasons ago won an NBAworst 20 games but are set to make a big move up the standings after landing two of the best players on the market when free agency opened.

"I've had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago," Tsai said. "He hired a front office and coaching staff focused on player development, he supported the organization with all his resources and he refused to tank. I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail's vision, which put the Nets in a great position to compete and for which I am incredibly grateful."

Tsai, 55, graduated from Yale University and its law school. He figures to help the NBA extend its growth in Asia, where the Basketball World Cup will be held in China this year before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The league is staging preseason games in both countries along with India, the home country of Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, whose teams will play in them.

Brett Yormark, the CEO of BSE Global, which manages the Nets and its arena, will oversee the transition before leaving for a new role.


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Jays swing hot bats in rout of Rangers
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Page B13

TORONTO -- Brandon Drury hit a grand slam as part of an eight-run fourth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays cruised past the visiting Texas Rangers 19-4 on Monday night.

Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk and Danny Jansen also hit home runs as Toronto's (50-72) offence churned out 21 hits.

Blue Jays rookie sensation Bo Bichette stayed hot, improving his batting average to .400 with four hits, three runs and a stolen base.

Neil Ramirez threw seven strikes as the one-inning starter for Toronto. He gave way to Brock Stewart, who earned his second win of the season after pitching 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. Buddy Boshers and Justin Shafer each pitched an inning and a third, with Shafer allowing a run in the ninth inning.

Nomar Mazara, Willie Calhoun and Rougned Odor each had a solo homer for the Rangers (59-59).

Ariel Jurado (6-8) allowed eight runs on 11 hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings. Adrian Sampson, Brett Martin, Jesse Chavez, Rafael Montero, and catcher Jeff Mathis came out of the bullpen for Texas.

Mazara opened the scoring in the second inning, taking a 1-0 pitch from Stewart over the centre-field wall for his 16th home run of the season.

Drury replied for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the inning, stroking a single to shallow centre field, driving home Grichuk from second base.

Bichette added to that two batters later, cashing in Derek Fisher from third base with a single to right field. Bichette was thrown out at second on the play as he tried to stretch his hit to a double, ending the inning but giving Toronto a 2-1 lead.

Smoak piled on in the third inning, crushing the first pitch he saw from Jurado into the rightfield stands for a two-run homer.

He also scored Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had singled in the previous at bat.

Four pitches later Grichuk took Jurado to left field for a 5-1 lead, for Toronto's 10th pair of back-toback home runs this season.

In the next at bat Teoscar Hernandez hit a double to deep right-centre field, bringing the Rogers Centre crowd of 16,492 to their feet, expecting a third consecutive home run.

Those cheers turned to boos when a video review upheld an out call by umpire Adrian Johnson after Hernandez stole third base.

Guerrero tacked on another run in the fourth, hitting an RBI single to centre field to plate Jansen. That chased Jurado from the mound.

Smoak's bat continued to hurt the Rangers as his double advanced Guerrero to third and scored Bichette for a 7-1 lead.

In the next at bat, Grichuk's double over Calhoun's head in left field cleared the bases, bringing home Smoak and Guerrero to extend Toronto's lead to eight runs.

A pair of walks by Hernandez and Fisher loaded the bases and brought Drury to the plate for the second time in the inning. His high, arching moon shot almost made the second deck for the first grand slam of his career.

Smoak earned his fourth RBI of the game in the next inning, doubling to left field to score Bichette and give the Blue Jays a 14-1 lead. Grichuk added another run with a groundout to short giving Guerrero ample time to run home.

Toronto's offence kept rolling in the sixth inning, with Cavan Biggio's double to right field pushing Jansen and Bichette across the plate for a 17-1 advantage.

The Rangers struck back in the seventh inning, with Calhoun and Odor hitting solo home runs to make it 17-3. Odor was booed during each one of his at bats with Blue Jays fans not forgiving his role in a benches-clearing brawl in 2016 that began when he punched former Toronto slugger Jose Bautista in the jaw.

Jansen hit his 11th home run of the season in the eighth inning, bringing home Fisher and extending Toronto's lead to 16 runs.

A two-out single by Jose Trevino plated Mazara for the game's final score.

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jay Teoscar Hernandez is tagged out stealing third by Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Texas Rangers during the third inning at Rogers Centre on Monday.

FRED THORNHILL/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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First woman to referee Super Cup ready for historic moment in spotlight
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B11

ISTANBUL -- Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has hailed the appointment of France's Stéphanie Frappart as the first woman to referee a major UEFA competition final as a "historic moment."

Frappart will take charge of the Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea on Wednesday, and she vowed to prove female officials are just as effective as their male counterparts.

Asked for his verdict on the decision, Klopp gave it a resounding thumbs-up.

"Finally - it's time. I'm happy to be a part of this historic moment. It's a smart decision to have women referee a very, very important game. It's the first time, but I hope it's not the last," said the German, who guided Liverpool to its sixth European Cup title last season.

"Obviously, we're not smart enough to make all the smart decisions, but this is a smart decision. I'm really sure we will try to not make the game any more difficult than it will be [for officials]. I will show my best face if possible, otherwise my mum would be angry," he joked.

Frappart, 35, will be assisted by her French compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and Ireland's Michelle O'Neill.

The trio have worked together at bigger matches - they were in charge of this year's Women's World Cup final in France - but there is no doubt they will be in focus at Istanbul's Vodafone Park.

Asked if she was afraid of being "double criticized" for any mistakes made, Frappart said it was time for female referees to show they are as good as the men.

"We have to prove ourselves technically and physically that we are the same as the men. We are not afraid about [wrong decisions]. We are ready," she told a news conference.

Frappart, who in April became the first female referee in France's Ligue 1, also dismissed the idea that it was more difficult to officiate a men's game.

"I think there is not a lot of difference because football is the same. It's the same rules, so I will do the same as the women's game," she added.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said he was pleased to be part of a moment in history.

"I think the game has come on a long way in many ways, in terms of the women's World Cup, which we all watched this summer, in terms of how much respect the game's getting, how many people are watching it and the interest in the game," he said.

"I think we were very slow everywhere on this and now we are trying to make strides, and there's still a long way to go but in terms of tomorrow, I think it's a huge moment.

"Its a historical moment that is one more step in the right direction."

The Super Cup is an annual match played between the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League. Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final last season while Chelsea defeated Arsenal in the Europa League final.

Fourth official and Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir supported the trio, saying: "They are brave, they have courage, they don't hesitate to give unpopular decisions - you will see tomorrow."

UEFA said separately that it had also invited to the game two Italian female referees, Annalisa Moccia and Giulia Nicastro, who had experienced sexist behaviour at recent domestic matches.

"We strongly condemn any form of sexist, discriminatory, derogatory or abusive conduct towards female referees," UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.

Associated Graphic

'We have to prove ourselves technically and physically that we are the same as the men. ... We are ready,' referee Stéphanie Frappart said at a news conference in Istanbul on Tuesday.

UEFA/POOL VIA REUTERS


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Swedish female hockey pros boycott tournament over pay
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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B12

STOCKHOLM -- The top female hockey players in Sweden refused to attend training camp Thursday or play in an coming international tournament in Finland, the latest such move by a women's national team to get better compensation.

The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation said it had been informed of the looming boycott and was "surprised" at the decision.

A total of 43 national team players are involved in the boycott, which is seemingly about the lack of compensation they receive while on duty with the national team. The players were scheduled to attend a five-day camp starting Thursday outside Stockholm, ahead of the Five Nations Tournament - also involving Russia, Japan, Czech Republic and host Finland - beginning Tuesday.

A statement was posted on social media by Sweden player Erika Grahm, saying the action is being taken to "develop and create better conditions" in the national team to show "encouragement and respect" for current and future generations. It said the players' demands are not "unreasonable," but didn't disclose the specific issues.

The move is similar to what happened two years ago in North America, where the U.S. women's national team threatened to boycott the 2017 world championships on home ice, demanding more pay and treatment similar to what the men's team receives.

They reached a four-year agreement with USA Hockey that increased pay up to US$4,000 a month with the ability to make around US$71,000 annually and up to US$129,000 in Olympic years.

The World Cup champion U.S.

women's soccer team is also in a fight for more compensation, with that dispute likely headed to court.

Many of Sweden's players have full-time jobs away from the rink, so must fit games around work schedules and family needs.

Travel schedules for national team games can be tight, affecting preparation.

"Many of us have borne the frustration that led to today's decision for several years," the statement read. "Now it's all about the younger generation not having to do it."

The Swedish federation said it gives no compensation to players on the women's or men's national teams, and that it instead comes through a financial agreement between the leagues and the top clubs.

This agreement, the federation added, was renewed for the 2019-20 season and uses the "same model that applied to men's hockey for many years."

Calls to board members of the federation went unanswered Thursday.

Among those coming out in support of the Swedish players were U.S. Olympic champions Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, who tweeted: "Proud of Team Sweden and what this will mean for their program and the next generation of young girls in Europe!"

U.S. teammate Meghan Duggan added: "Sending strength to the Swedish National Team in their quest for more support and resources for their program."

The Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association said it stood with Sweden's players "in your fight for equality and respect your commitment to creating a sustainable future for yourselves and the next generation!"

In May, the National Women's Hockey League reached an agreement with the union to increase salaries, offer a 50-50 split of sponsor-related revenues and improve benefits. That move came after more than 200 of the world's top female players pledged not to play professionally in North America.

"Us players are prepared to take responsibility and do everything possible to take us back to where we belong," the players' statement read. "But only with the conditions, encouragement and respect that requires an attitude toward us as elite athletes.

"Until the governors in the ice hockey federation show that, the Damkronorna have an empty squad."


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Patriots willing to invest in aging pivot as Brady agrees to two-year extension
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By NOAH TRISTER
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B11

ALLEN PARK, MICH. -- Even with a new contract, Tom Brady faces some uncertainty about his future.

At his age, that's hard to avoid.

"I'm ready to go this year and that's really what matters. That's where my focus is," Brady said.

"It's a unique situation I'm in.

I'm in my 20th year with the same team. I'm 42 years old, so pretty much uncharted territory I think for everybody. I'm going to go out there and do the best I can this year and see what happens."

Brady agreed to a two-year, US$70-million extension through 2021 that includes an US$8-million raise in 2019, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the Patriots hadn't announced the extension. ESPN, citing an unidentified source, reported that 2020 and 2021 are void years, and that Brady and the Patriots would need to negotiate further on those if he plays beyond this season.

"There's a lot of guys who have one year left on their contract," Brady said. "I've got one year to go and we'll see what happens."

The Patriots are in Michigan this week, holding joint practices with the Lions in preparation for a preseason game in Detroit on Thursday night. Brady turned 42 on Saturday. Fresh off his sixth Super Bowl title, he's shown little sign of fading at this stage of his career.

He's said he wants to play until he's 45. He'd be one year shy of that at the end of the 2021 season.

"You've got to take care of your body. I wrote a book on it, literally. I live by it and I think it's given me pretty good results," Brady said. "I try to pass it on to the next generation so they don't have to go on through the same mistakes that I did, but everyone learns different ways. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration."

Brady's passer rating last season was 97.7, his first time below 100 since 2014. New England still went 11-5.

Both Brady and coach Bill Belichick referenced the team's poor performance at Detroit early last season, perhaps as a way of maintaining focus this week. The Patriots lost that game 26-10.

New England went just 3-5 on the road during the regular season, although the Patriots did win at Kansas City in the AFC title game. Then they beat the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.

"Coach reminded us of that this morning - we were 3-5 last year. I wanted to remind him we were 5-5," Brady said. "We won two important ones at the end, but I understand 3-5 for his argument's sake works. But yeah, we have to be better this year.

You've got to get into a routine.

You come here and it's a lot of things that are unfamiliar and you try to really focus on football, and our plays, and our techniques and our fundamentals."

For now at least, Brady's contract situation can be put aside, and the coming season can have his undivided attention.

"I love playing quarterback here. I love this team, this organization," Brady said. "The focus is this year and what we've got to do. That's where I'm focused.

That's all that really matters in the end. That's what this team expects of me - to put everything into it, like I always have - and I'm really excited for the year."


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Puerto Rico knocks off Canada in baseball at Pan Ams
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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page S2

LIMA -- The Canadian men's baseball team suffered its first loss at the Pan American Games on Friday, falling 8-5 to Puerto Rico in super round action.

Canada (3-1) carried a win into the super round. Teams carry records against other teams to advance out of preliminary play into the super round.

Canadian starter Ryan Kellogg of Whitby, Ont., didn't get out of the fourth inning, surrendering three runs on five hits.

Puerto Rico starter Miguel Martinez gave up one run on five hits in six innings, helping his team improve to 4-0.

Michael Crouse of Port Moody, B.C., hit a solo home run for Canada.

Puerto Rico broke the game open with a four-run eighth inning. Canada responded with its own four-run frame in the bottom of the inning, but couldn't get any closer.

Canada faces Nicaragua on Saturday.

The medal games are Sunday.

In badminton, Canada's Michelle Li beat her friend and compatriot Rachel Honderich to win her third straight Pan Am Games women's singles title. Li showed no mercy Friday with a 21-11, 21-19 victory over Honderich. Honderich has focused more on women's doubles over the past year in her pursuit of Olympic qualification. She won doubles gold with Kristen Tsai of Surrey, B.C., earlier in the day with a 21-10, 21-9 win over American duo Jamie Hsu and Kuei-Ya Chen.

They joined a parade of Canadian athletes to the badminton podium on Friday at Videna Sports Complex. Canada won four gold and three silver medals on the day.

In surfing, Lina Augaitis just missed the podium in the women's stand-up paddleboard race.

The Ottawa native finished fourth. On the men's side, Finn Spencer of Whistler, B.C., lost his Round 3 match to Colombia's Giorgio Gomez.

In racquetball, Canada's Samuel Murray and Coby Iwaasa posted wins in men's singles play.

Winnipeg's Jennifer Saunders lost 2-1 to Maricruz Ortiz of Costa Rica.

CANADIANS TO WATCH ON SATURDAY Samuel Murray (racquetball): The native of Baie-Comeau, Que., faces Argentina's Fernando Kurzbard in preliminary pool action.

Murray won the Canadian championship this year.

Meaghan Benfeito (diving): The native of Laval, Que., has won three Olympic medals. She'll go for gold in the 10-metre event.

Men's field hockey team: Canada looks to finish the first round at 3-0 with a win over host Peru. The home team is 0-2 at the Pan Ams.

Luke Ramsay (sailing): The Vancouver native won silver in the Sunfish class at the 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto.

Richard Mcbride (shooting): The 52-year-old native of Saskatoon has competed in eight world championships in skeet shooting since 2005.


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U.S. to delay some China tariffs until stores stock up for holiday shoppers
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Page B1

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday backed off his Sept. 1 deadline for 10-percent tariffs on remaining Chinese imports, delaying duties on cellphones, laptops and other consumer goods, in the hopes of blunting their impact on U.S. holiday sales.

The delay, which affects about half of the US$300-billion target list of Chinese goods - along with news of renewed trade discussions between U.S. and Chinese officials - sent stocks sharply higher and drew cautious relief from retailers and technology groups.

Mr. Trump's 10-per-cent tariffs will be effective from Dec. 15 for thousands of products, including clothing and footwear, possibly buttressing the holiday selling season from some of the fallout from the protracted trade spat between the world's two largest economies.

"We're doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers," Mr. Trump told reporters in New Jersey.

"Just in case they might have an impact on people, what we've done is we've delayed it so that they won't be relevant to the Christmas shopping season."

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office announced the decision just minutes after China's Ministry of Commerce said VicePremier Liu He conducted a phone call with U.S. trade officials. Mr. Liu agreed with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to speak again by phone within the next two weeks, the ministry said.

Mr. Trump has said the two sides may still meet in early September as scheduled.

The delay in tariffs on a substantial portion of a US$300-billion list of remaining Chinese imports sent U.S. stocks surging, after steep losses in the past week, with the Standard & Poor's 500 up 1.5 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite gaining nearly 2 per cent.

Shares of market bellwether Apple Inc.

soared 4.2 per cent on news that its core iPhone, tablet and laptop computer products would be spared from tariffs for the time being.

But the Trump administration still plans to impose 10-per-cent tariffs on thousands of Chinese food, clothing and other consumer electronics products beginning Sept. 1.

Among these are Chinese-made smartwatches from Apple and Fitbit, smart speakers from Amazon.com Inc., Google and Apple, and Bluetooth headphones and other devices, a category estimated at US$17.9-billion last year by the Consumer Technology Association.

Flat screen televisions from China, a category worth US$4.5-billion, also will face 10-per-cent tariffs on Sept. 1 after being spared from Mr. Trump's first round of tariffs more than a year ago.

Live animals, dairy products, skis, golf balls, contact lenses, lithium ion batteries and snowblowers will also get tariffs on Sept. 1.

Based on a Reuters analysis, the delay could extend to around half of the US$300billion list of remaining Chinese imports.

Chinese imports subject to the tariffs on Dec. 15 totalled about US$156-billion last year, according U.S. Census bureau data.

Most retailers would have stocked their holiday merchandise before the earlier September deadline, some might have faced the tariffs for fill-in orders late in the holiday shopping season.

Still, the Retail Industry Leaders Association said "removing some products from the list and delaying additional 10 per cent tariffs on other products, such as toys, consumer electronics, apparel and footwear, until Dec. 15 is welcome news as it will mitigate some pain for consumers through the holiday season."

The Consumer Technology Association applauded the delay on some items, but added: "Next month, we'll begin to pay more for some of our favourite tech devices - including TVs, smart speakers and desktop computers. The administration should permanently remove these harmful tariffs and find another way to hold China accountable for its unfair trading practices."

The 21-page list of products that will not get hit with tariffs until December also includes baby monitors and strollers, microwaves, instant print cameras, doorbells, high chairs, musical instruments, ketchup dispensers, baby diapers, fireworks, sleeping bags, nativity scenes, fishing reels, paint rollers and food products.

A separate group of products will be removed from the tariff list altogether, the USTR said, "based on health, safety, national security and other factors." It did not immediately identify these items.

Mr. Trump announced the Sept. 1 tariffs less than two weeks ago, blaming China for not following through on promises to buy more American agricultural products during talks in Shanghai at the end of July.

That move was met with a drop in China's yuan a few days later, prompting the Trump administration to declare Beijing a currency manipulator and sending markets tumbling for several days last week.

Since Mr. Trump's Aug. 1 tweets announcing the new tariffs, the U.S. benchmark S&P stock index has dropped more than 4 per cent.

The tariff delay, combined with renewed talks with China, suggests Mr. Trump may be willing to compromise.

In a sign the administration may be expecting something in return, Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "As usual, China said they were going to be buying "big" from our great American Farmers. So far they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!"

Mr. Trump's tariff delay comes amid growing concerns about a global economic slowdown. Goldman Sachs said on Sunday fears of the U.S.-China trade war leading to a recession were increasing and Goldman no longer expects a trade deal between the two countries before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Mr. Trump has also personally criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping for failing to do more to stem sales of the synthetic opioid fentanyl amid an opioid overdosing crisis in the United States.

The USTR office plans to conduct an exclusion process that could allow more items to be removed from the 10-per-cent tariff list.

Associated Graphic

The Qingdao free-trade port area in China's Shandong province is seen in May. U.S. President Donald Trump's recent tariff delay, combined with renewed talks with China, suggests he may be willing to compromise with Beijing.

AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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Sea-Doo maker BRP dives back into the sport-boat business
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Page B1

BRP Inc., the maker of Sea-Doo watercraft and Ski-Doo snowmobiles, is jumping back into boat manufacturing as it tries to capitalize on three acquisitions over the past 13 months and bring innovation to a multibillion-dollar industry.

But the company's timing might not be the best.

Boat sales in the United States, the world's largest market, have fallen in recent months.

And although dealers say it's more related to unseasonably wet spring weather, many investors have taken it as proof that consumers are starting to shy away from bigger-ticket purchases - the start of what could be a multiyear funk for discretionary spending.

"Is it the perfect timing? No," BRP chief executive Jose Boisjoli said in an interview.

"I think there is a lot of uncertainty in the economy that is creating some slowdown. ... But our move [with boats] is more a mid-term to long-term strategy."

Mr. Boisjoli, a bespectacled engineer who had his first Can-Am brand BRP dirt bike at the age of 12, led the powersports manufacturer to a spectacular 253-per-cent share-price increase from the start of 2016 to last September as he introduced a steady stream of new products that took market share from competitors.qu Now, as BRP stock comes off its highs - it is down 39 per cent from its peak last September - he's trying to convince shareholders that the party isn't over and that it can make money with recreational boating.

Roughly seven years after it exited the sport-boat business - a move that came after the Great Recession - BRP is getting its feet wet again. But this time, it isn't selling jetdriven boats used for pursuits such as waterskiing.

Rather, it is sticking to aluminum recreational boats, the kind used by anglers and outdoorspeople who would typically also use its all-terrain vehicles.

BRP last week closed its purchase of Telwater Pty. Ltd., Australia's biggest maker of aluminum boats, for an undisclosed price. The deal, its third acquisition in the marine sector since June, 2018, comes after the company bought St. Peter, Minn.based Alumacraft Boat, known for its aluminum fishing boats, for $80.9-million and Lansing, Mich.-based Triton Industries Inc., maker of Manitou pontoon watercraft, for $97.4-million.

Marine is a small segment for BRP at the moment, generating $492-million in sales for the year ended Jan. 31, 2019, or roughly 9 per cent of the company's total annual revenue of $5.2-billion.

That doesn't include the contribution from Telwater, which will drive the number higher and bring geographical diversity. Telwater's co-founder and managing director, Paul Phelan, is keeping a 20-per-cent ownership and will stay on with the company.

Controlling the three aluminum boat makers and having access to their more than 600 dealers is a way for BRP to sell more Evinrude engines, a key reason it decided to enter the industry.

But Mr. Boisjoli said the company has a much broader strategic rationale for the move: It wants to make a mark in the sector with new technology.

BRP is currently developing a new family of boats with a better integrated engine so that consumers can buy a package instead of buying the boat and engine separately, the CEO said. To achieve the goal, BRP had to buy enough boat companies for a critical mass of product and sales capability.

The three purchases have delivered that and no further acquisitions are coming in the short term, Mr. Boisjoli said. The new technology should be available in three years, he said.

Whether consumer demand will be strong enough by then to justify BRP's investment remains to be seen. Boats are big business, with sales of recreational boats, engines and accessories topping US$20-billion a year in the United States alone, according to information provided by BRP. Aluminum fishing boats and aluminum pontoon boats make up half of that total, Mr.

Boisjoli said.

But there are already signs the boat market is sputtering. Registrations of new powerboats in the United States fell 14 per cent from the year before in June and are down 6 per cent year to date, according to analyst Joseph Altobello of Raymond James.

"[This] appears to be more than weather," Mr. Altobello said in a recent research note, adding consumers might be showing increasing caution as a potential recession draws nearer. "We fear that the 'late cycle' concerns that have weighed on many marine stocks thus far in 2019 are also beginning to manifest themselves on the demand side, a dynamic which we believe is likely to continue."

Still, demand for aluminum boats tends to hold up better than for more expensive fibreglass boats, Mr. Altobello said in an e-mail exchange. "A lot are used for lake fishing. Hard core," he said.

That resilience is exactly what Mr. Boisjoli is counting on. People who fish are often passionate about it and pontoons are a family boat, he said. That gives them some added emotional resonance with buyers.

"Obviously they will be impacted if there was a major slowdown," the CEO said. "But we believe they will be the last two [categories] to be affected. ... Many investors, I believe, think that our products are purely discretionary. We don't necessarily agree."

Associated Graphic

BRP employees work on a Sea-Doo watercraft assembly line in 2014, at a plant in Valcourt, Que. Despite a dip in boat sales in the U.S. - the world's largest market - the company is shifting back to boat manufacturing.

RYAN REMIORZ/ THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Air Canada tables richer bid for Transat
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New takeover offer of $720-million a result of pressure from investors and rival bidder Group Mach
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By ERIC ATKINS
  
  

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Page B1

Air Canada has raised its offer to buy Transat A.T. Inc. by 38 per cent, to $720-million, buckling to pressure from some investors and a would-be rival bidder.

Air Canada's move to increase its price for the Montreal airline and travel company came after weeks of calls and meetings with investors, who said they would reject the takeover attempt unless they got more for their shares.

Montreal real estate developer Group Mach had also offered a higher price for a portion of the company in hopes of blocking the deal.

Air Canada and Transat said the new offer is worth $18 a share, up from $13, or $520-million.

The new bid now has the support of Transat's largest shareholder, Letko Brosseau and Associates Inc. - the Montreal money manager that controls almost 20 per cent of Transat's shares and had opposed the first bid.

The deal would give Air Canada control of a competitor on transatlantic flights as well as Transat's Airbus fleet at a time Air Canada is facing capacity and revenue constraints.

The squeeze stems from its Boeing 737 Max passenger jets that are grounded amid a global halt that came after two fatal crashes.

"After extensive consultations with Letko Brosseau and several other large shareholders of Transat, we agreed to materially increase our price to ensure the transaction receives the necessary level of support," said Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada's chief executive.

Peter Letko, a partner at Letko Brosseau, had told The Globe and Mail that Transat should not sell itself until it restores margins and profitability in order to fetch a better price.

In an interview on Monday, after the new offer had been announced, Mr. Letko said: "We're satisfied with the price.

"We thought that Air Canada was very thoughtful and sensitive to the fact that we were not pleased with the original price," he said of the meetings he held with the company.

Air Canada's takeover of Canada's third-largest airline requires support of two-thirds of Transat shareholders by Aug. 23. The deal is expected to close next year and requires approval from legal, regulatory and antitrust bodies in Canada and Europe. The combined companies would control at least 60 per cent of domestic flights over the Atlantic and most of the Montreal travel market, and are expected to face a rigorous review by the Competition Commissioner.

Transat has lost money in two of the past four years, and is expected to post a loss in 2019 as it tries to expand its sun-destination hotel operations. The company's share price in the past five years has rarely been higher than $9, and sank to less than $5 in March.

Transat said in April that it was in talks with "more than one" possible suitor, and soon entered exclusive talks with Air Canada. The two sides announced on June 27 that they had an agreement on a takeover at $13 a share.

Christophe Hennebelle, a spokesman for Transat, said the $13 offer the two sides first negotiated was deemed fair by Transat's outside advisers, National Bank and Bank of Montreal. "It was a good price and obviously now we have an even better price," Mr. Hennebelle said.

Montreal real estate developer Group Mach had offered - and later dropped - a conditional bid worth $14 a share. Mach recently took a new tack, offering $14 for up to 19.5 per cent of Transat and trying to collect vote proxies to block the Air Canada deal.

Quebec's Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal, in a ruling issued on Monday, sided with a Transat complaint and blocked the Mach offer.

Still, Alfred Buggé, vice-president of Mach, did not rule out another attempt to buy Transat, and took credit for spurring Air Canada to increase its bid by $200-million. "The shareholders of Transat owe us a great debt of gratitude," Mr. Buggé said. "If it wasn't for Mach, the shareholders wouldn't have this offer."

Transat shares closed at $16.75 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a discount of $1.25 to the revised offer that Mr. Buggé attributed to the deal's uncertainty.

PenderFund Capital Management of Vancouver, Transat's fifth-largest investor, opposed the initial price agreed to by Transat's board.

Amar Pandya, an analyst and portfolio manager with PenderFund, said other shareholders he spoke to also opposed the price initially agreed to by the Transat board of directors, but that the higher offer and Letko's support make it "almost a done deal."

"There was not a lot of support for the $13 offer," he said.

"With Mach instigating as well, that created more disagreement within the shareholder base," Mr.Pandya said in a telephone interview.

Patrick McQuilken, a spokesman for the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, which owns 12 per cent of Transat, said there were at least three meetings and phone calls between the labour-sponsored investment fund and Air Canada.

He said, as is typical for the fund in any investment decision, the Fonds focused on the offer price as well as the employment and economic effects of the takeover.

He said it is too soon to say whether the Fonds is supporting the new offer.

AIR CANADA (AC) CLOSE: $43.76, DOWN 74¢ TRANSAT A.T. (TRZ) CLOSE: $16.75, UP $4.96


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Germany's economy is in trouble. That's bad news for everyone
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Thursday, August 15, 2019 – Page B1

Germany is the world's fourth-largest economy. It's the third-largest exporter in the world, behind only China and the United States, and by far the most export-intensive economy in the G7. It's Europe's biggest manufacturer.

It's fair to say that Germany is a pretty decent proxy for the state of the globalized, interconnected world economy. And it's in trouble.

Data released Wednesday showed that the German economy fell 0.1 per cent quarter-over-quarter in the second quarter, battered by declining exports and slumping manufacturing. It's the second time in the past four quarters that the German economy has contracted; its growth over the past 12 months is an anemic 0.4 per cent.

The German GDP report shook global financial markets Wednesday, and rightly so. It's no exaggeration to say that Germany is on the brink of a recession. If you're pretty much anywhere else in the world that depends heavily on global trade - such as Canada, for instance - this should be serious cause for concern.

Germany's slump is definitive evidence that the trade worries that we have been wrestling with for months are now more than just "fears" or "risks" or "uncertainties" - whatever word you like to use to imply that they are something that may happen down the road, but haven't transpired yet. They've arrived.

After all, consider that Germany's unemployment is near a 30year low. Domestic demand held its own in the quarter, as solid private-sector wage growth continues to support consumer spending. The services sector continues to show growth. The deterioration in trade is overwhelming all of that.

What's more, Germany is a highly diversified exporter - this isn't a question of being dragged down by a single export market.

The two combatants in the U.S.China trade war account for a combined 16 per cent of Germany's exports.

No, this slump speaks - loudly - to just how bad the slump in world exports is becoming. Not only is the U.S.-China trade war no longer a "what if" in terms of its massive impact on global trade activity, but its effects are spreading in a highly interconnected global economy. Germany is Exhibit A in what the spillovers on global supply chains looks like.

And there's reason to think that things will get worse in Germany before they get better. The country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) for July, released earlier this month, indicated that new export orders are declining at their fastest pace since the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2009. The indicator suggests that demand for Germany's exports, which is heavily tilted toward manufactured goods, is deteriorating further in the third quarter. Given that outlook, it's only a matter of time before Germany's still lofty employment and consumer demand are caught in the downdraft.

The potential for an all-out recession has drawn calls for the German government to increase its spending, to inject a dose of fiscal stimulus into an economy that quite clearly needs help. But the government is bound by its own balanced-budget laws and already sounds defiantly resistant to moving away from that.

For now, about the best support its economy will likely get will be in the form of interest rate cuts from the European Central Bank - which now look to be a lock in light of the slumping German economic figures.

All of this should resonate if you're sitting in Canada. While the Canadian economy isn't as tilted toward exports as Germany's is (exports are equivalent to 32 per cent of Canadian GDP, versus 47 per cent for Germany), the global export market is nevertheless a critical contributor to Canada's economic growth outlook.

And remember that Canada has much closer direct trade ties to the trade-war combatants than Germany does: The United States and China account for 80 per cent of Canada's exports. This storm is destined to wash up on Canadian shores.

When it does, Canada arguably has less fiscal space than Germany to provide a spending stimulus to offset a global trade recession. Canada's federal government is already running a moderate deficit and has been for the past four years. In an election year - and with those deficits under attack from the opposition parties as evidence of the current Liberal government's financial mismanagement and broken promises - there may be very little room politically for the government to inject a spending stimulus.

Which means the ball may land with the Bank of Canada.

The bank has so far resisted the growing trend among central banks to cut interest rates, citing a still solid Canadian economy and repeatedly stressing that the U.S.-China trade war contains upside risks to the economic outlook (i.e. a deal could be struck to settle the dispute) in addition to the downside. But as we see more of the concrete economic carnage from these protectionist clashes, the Bank of Canada's lines of resistance may not apply for very much longer.


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Two indicators to help investors decide if they should hold firm or sell stocks
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By SCOTT BARLOW
  
  

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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B1

This week's inversion of the U.S. bond yield curve, a phenomenon with a strong track record of foreshadowing recessions, has forced equity investors to acknowledge that an economic slowdown is upon us.

Investors' main hope now is that central banks' moves to reduce borrowing costs will spur a recovery of growth in the short term.

Otherwise, a much deeper plunge in stock prices than this week's volatility is likely.

Equity markets on Thursday reflected anxiety over the dependence on central bankers: North American indexes seesawed between gains and losses, before ending with only minor moves.

But the bond market continued to send clear and ominous signals of slow growth, or possible economic contraction. The yield on 30-year U.S. Treasuries fell to less than 2 per cent for the first time ever, while the benchmark 10-year note dropped to a three-year trough.

"Investors must decide if the Fed can deliver the growth needed to justify current or higher [stock] prices," Morgan Stanley U.S. equity strategist Michael Wilson said in a recent note.

In Mr. Wilson's view, current growth levels for the economy and earnings do not support stock prices as high as they are now.

If a recovery doesn't materialize, market prices will adjust lower for deteriorating fundamentals for companies. He's predicting a drop of 10 per cent sometime this quarter.

"Given the very broad and steep decline in many leading indicators and corporate earnings growth, I've made the case that we are far from mid-cycle [stage of the bull market] and closer to end-of-cycle," he stated.

U.S. economic data released this week have been mostly positive, including a report released on Thursday on retail sales for July that showed a 0.7-per-cent monthly increase, more than double what economists had expected.

But elsewhere, the slowdown continues, judging by economic data released this week. In China, industrial production growth fell to the lowest level in 17 years, and Germany's numbers indicate that Europe's largest economy actually contracted in the second quarter.

For investors, portfolio risks will continue to rise until a better growth materializes. Here are two charts to help assess the investment backdrop.

The first chart depicts the yearover-year change in the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) and the U.S. PMI Manufacturing New Orders.

The JPMorgan index has provided a key indicator of global business activity and the annual change has been closely correlated to industrial metals prices.

Year over year, the index has been mired in negative territory since the summer of 2018.

Manufacturing new-orders results are among the most effective leading indicators of the U.S.

economy. The year-over-year growth rate for new orders has been declining since 2017.

PMI data are vital during periods of market volatility. Investors should tread cautiously until a clear uptrend is visible on both lines.

In a report released on Tuesday, UBS market strategist Francois Trahan used 20 years of market history to show that "buying the dip" strategies - adding to portfolio equity holdings when indexes decline significantly - are "a losing proposition" when PMI indexes are falling.

The second chart presents the MSCI Cyclicals minus Defensives Index, which measures the relative performance of U.S. economically sensitive stocks against those such as utilities and consumer-staples companies that are largely unaffected by changes in the economy. A rising line indicates that economically sensitive stocks - which includes commodity investments - are outperforming defensives, and implies optimism on future economic growth.

The trend on the chart has been generally positive for all of 2019, although with a steep downdraft in April and May. More recently, a significant decline has occurred as investors shifted money to the defensive stocks that benefit from rapidly declining bond yields.

As with the PMI New Orders index, equity price trends can be a leading indicator of economic growth.

Further declines in the JPMorgan index would cement pessimism on growth prospects for the United States and the limited number of other countries - such as Canada - where the economy remains resilient.

The consensus view, based on the average economist and analyst forecasts for the second half of 2019 and for 2020, is that the global economy, at least for now, is in the midst of a temporary slowdown. There's optimism that central banks will come to the rescue. More than 30 central banks around the world have already cut interest rates this year, and the U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut them again next month.

If this is the case, then profit growth will resume and investors have little to worry about. But Morgan Stanley's forecast suggests the imminent end of the market cycle and post-crisis market rally. This requires investor action to take profits, reduce risk and batten down the hatches for a sustained bear market. These two charts should help investors decide.


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Canada sees second straight trade surplus amid slump in imports
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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page B1

Canada posted its second straight trade surplus in June, but slumping imports and a reversal of recent export gains have raised questions about the country's trade momentum in a protectionist environment.

Statistics Canada reported a merchandise trade surplus of $136-million in June, down from a revised $566-million in May. It marked the first time since the end of 2016 that the country posted consecutive surpluses.

Economists had predicted a return to a small deficit, in the $300-million range, anticipating that exports would give back some ground after surging 4.6 per cent in May, a jump that was aided by one-time factors. And exports did indeed decline by 5.1 per cent in June, more than reversing May's gains, although much of the reversal stemmed from lower prices; export volumes, excluding price changes, fell a more modest 2.2 per cent.

The surprise surplus was mostly due to a 4.3-percent slump in imports, which fell to their lowest level in seven months - evidence of weaker demand in the domestic economy. On a volume basis, imports were down 3.6 per cent.

Total two-way trade (exports plus imports) was down 4.6 per cent from May, at $100.5-billion, a four-month low. And Statscan noted that the declines on both sides of the ledger were broadly based: 10 of 11 export sectors lost ground, while nine of 11 import sectors fell.

"It was a bit of a two-faced report," said Royce Mendes, senior economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

"The surplus was only the result of a drop in two-way trade.

That was not positive for the Canadian economy."

The slowdown comes as global trade flows in general have been deteriorating, with the U.S.-China trade war elevating uncertainty and weighing on global demand. The dispute between the world's two biggest trading countries sharply escalated in mid-May, when the U.S. increased tariffs on US$200billion of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, a move that was met with retaliatory tariffs by China at the beginning of June.

The U.S. merchandise trade report for June, also released Friday, bore the scars of the escalation: Exports declined 2.7 per cent and imports fell 2.1 per cent in the first full month under the tariff increases. Meanwhile, evidence is mounting that the trade hostilities are weighing increasingly on the world economy. Thursday's Markit global manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) - considered a key indicator of industrial activity and global demand - came in at 49.3 for July, its lowest since 2012, amid a deepening decline in new export orders. (Any reading below 50 implies an outright contraction in global manufacturing.)

"That's quite worrying for the future of export growth," said Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist for Capital Economics, an independent economic research firm.

Despite June's trade downturn, the month capped a generally strong quarter for Canadian exporters, with shipments up 5.1 per cent in value and 4.1 per cent in volume in the March-to-June period. With imports having dipped overall in the quarter, net trade will be a major contributor to secondquarter economic growth, which Statscan will report at the end of this month.

Coupled with the solid May gross domestic product report earlier this week (real GDP grew a more-than-expected 0.2 per cent from April), economists now estimate that real GDP rose at about a 3-per-cent annualized rate in the quarter, a strong rebound after growth all but stalled in the prior two quarters.

However, the slowdown in both exports and imports to end the quarter, coupled with growing global growth concerns, raise questions about the momentum of trade entering the second half of the year.

"It certainly tells us we shouldn't expect a repeat of the second quarter," Toronto-Dominion Bank senior economist Brian DePratto said. "I think we're looking at more modest growth, both in trade and the overall economy."

And with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening Thursday to further expand U.S. tariffs against China, there's now a serious risk that the global trade malaise will deepen in the coming months.

"What concerns us are the new tariff threats," Mr. Brown said, adding that they have the potential to affect a broader cross-section of the economy than the tariffs to date.

"The trade risk is more significant."


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Refinitiv deal would double value of Blackstone, Thomson Reuters stakes
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page B1

CALGARY -- Blackstone Group Inc. and Thomson Reuters Corp. will have doubled the value of their equity in Refinitiv Holdings Ltd. in just 18 months if a takeover of the financial data provider by London Stock Exchange Group PLC is completed.

LSEG and Thomson Reuters said on the weekend they were negotiating a deal that values Refinitiv at US$27-billion, including debt. Refinitiv was created in 2018, when Thomson Reuters sold a 55-per-cent stake in its financial and risk division to Blackstone, the U.S. private equity company. Blackstone and its partners were making the bet they could put more financial terminals on bank, tradinghouse and hedge-fund desks around the world in competition with Bloomberg LLC, the market leader. Thomson Reuters financial results show Refinitiv had debt and preferred shares of about US$14-billion at the end of 2018, leaving equity value in the potential deal of about $13-billion. Analysts say that pegs Thomson Reuters's equity in Refinitiv at US$6-billion, up from US$3-billion when it announced the deal with Blackstone and its partners in January, 2018.

Blackstone will have had a proportional gain.

Still, Thomson Reuters shares fell 3 per cent to US$68.30 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday after it confirmed talks to sell Refinitiv to LSEG in an allshare deal that would transform the exchange operator into a larger provider of financial data.

They had gained sharply on Friday in response to a report about the talks in the Financial Times.

The parties have since acknowledged they are close to a deal. It could be announced as early as this week.

Despite potential gain if the deal is done, Friday's price for Thomson Reuters above US$70 was overvalued, Canaccord Genuity analyst Aravinda Galappatthige said. Given a standard 13.5times multiple of enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, its Refinitiv interest would have to be worth US$11.5-billion to get to the current stock price, he wrote in a research note.

Meanwhile, a deal faces regulatory risk, including antitrust concerns. "And there is uncertainty associated with the transaction from a timing, currency and financial perspective," Tim Casey, analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns, said in a note to clients. Mr. Casey lowered his rating to "market perform" from "outperform."

Thomson Reuters shares are up about 50 per cent since the company announced the deal with Blackstone and its partners, which include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd. Refinitiv cashed out of part of its divisions in April with a US$1.1-billion initial public offering of its Tradeweb electronic exchange.

Thomson Reuters is more than 65-per-cent owned by Torontobased Woodbridge Co. Ltd., the Thomson family holding company that also owns The Globe and Mail.

The Refinitiv partners would own 37 per cent of the company and have 30-per-cent voting control, LSEG said. Thomson Reuters would own about 15 per cent. The combined operation would have had annual revenue of US$7.4-billion in 2018.

LSEG shares jumped 15 per cent in London as investors welcomed the acquisition focus on financial data after failed attempts to acquire other exchanges around the world, including the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2011 and Deutsche Boerse in 2017. The latter deal, which was valued at US$31-million, fell apart after Britain voted to exit the European Union.

Rather than expanding trading capacity, the takeover of Refinitiv would allow it to capitalize on a digital transformation taking place in securities and commodities markets and rising brisk customer demand for advanced data and analytics.

"A successful deal here, subject to regulatory approval, would move the LSE into the position of being a market leader in market data and financial information and the revenues that would generate, enabling it to take on the likes of Bloomberg, which has a huge presence in this area and little in the way of direct competition," said Michael Hewson, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in London.

It had already been moving in that direction, buying Russell Investments, an index provider and asset management company, for US$2.7-billion in 2014. Three years later, it acquired a fixed-income analytics and indexing business from Citigroup for US$685-million.

BLACKSTONE GROUP (BX) CLOSE: US$48.65, DOWN 64 US CENTS THOMSON REUTERS (TRI) CLOSE: $89.89, DOWN $2.85


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Callidus investors told to accept go-private bid
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page B1

Callidus Capital Corp.'s second-largest shareholder has agreed to take the struggling alternative lender private at a fraction of what the shares were worth when financier Newton Glassman took it public five years ago.

In a statement, Callidus's special committee of directors examining the deal said Braslyn Ltd.'s offer for the minority shares, worth about $5.3-million, could be the only option left to stave off insolvency by next year. It urged minority investors to accept the deal, warning that they could be left holding shares with no value due to Callidus's high debt obligations and worsening financial position if they do not. Under the deal, Bahamas-based Braslyn will offer 75 cents for each share not owned by Mr. Glassman's Catalyst Capital Group Inc., majority owner of Callidus.

The shares closed at 41 cents on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Late last year, Braslyn, owned by Tavistock Group founder Joe Lewis, proposed to buy out the minority for $2 a share but did not make a formal bid.

Since then, Torontobased Callidus has reported losses owing to underperforming loans and weak financial results at companies it acquired when their owners defaulted on their debt. This week, it reported a second-quarter net loss of $79.7-million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $40.8-million.

The outcome will be a bitter pill for investors who had hoped for a privatization deal that Mr. Glassman, Callidus's executive chairman, had previously said could be worth at $18-$22 a share, based on a 2017 valuation by National Bank Financial. Callidus began a search for suitors in September, 2016, but no other would-be buyers emerged.

Since then, the company became embroiled in an epic legal battle against short-sellers, former borrowers and reporters from The Wall Street Journal, whom Mr. Glassman has accused of conspiring to make and publicize false whistle-blower claims to the Ontario Securities Commission regarding the company's accounting. The legal battle, which has involved some of Bay Street's most prominent personalities, has only served to cloud investors' view of Callidus's performance.

The defendants, including Greg Boland, founder of West Face Capital Inc. and a rival in numerous other court disputes with Mr.Glassman, have denied the charges. Mr. Boland has countersued.

At Braslyn's offer price, Callidus shares will have fallen nearly 95 per cent from the company's initial public offering in 20. Braslyn, whose founder is the owner of English soccer's Tottenham Hotspur as well as one of the world's most valuable private art collections, has a 14.5-per-cent stake in Callidus.

Catalyst has a 73-per-cent interest. Jason Callender, a representative for Mr. Lewis, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Officials with Callidus and Catalyst had no comment on Friday, spokesman Dan Gagnier said.

Catalyst's funds have provided debt financing and guarantees. This year, Catalyst extended a US$250-million bridge loan to Callidus, among other assistance. That lifeline appears to be growing short.

The board committee noted in the statement that Callidus owes Catalyst $421-million and it cannot repay the debt.

Catalyst informed the directors that it will not grant any extensions beyond September, 2020, if the Braslyn deal falls through, the committee said.

"Inevitably, that would lead to the insolvency and/or liquidation of the company," it said.

"In such circumstances, the special committee considers it unlikely that the Callidus shareholders (including Braslyn) would receive any value for their common shares."

As part of the deal, Braslyn would be entitled to 15 per cent of the proceeds of asset sales Callidus makes in the year after the transaction is completed. Braslyn's bid requires the approval of a majority of the minority shareholders at a meeting, as well as court approval. It would get a break fee of $2-million in certain circumstances if the deal does not close.

Callidus shares rose 75 per cent to 72 cents on Friday.


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Manchester United's woes help illustrate English Premier League's rise
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By CATHAL KELLY
  
  

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Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page S1

In order to see how far the English Premier League has risen, it helps to look at how far Manchester United has fallen.

The club remains one of the most profitable ventures in the history of sport.

Last year, United turned over revenues of nearly $1-billion. Its brand is still king - one of a handful of teams that are watched and admired in every corner of the planet.

But between the frugality of its American owners and the fickleness of the market, United cannot figure out how to put together a roster suitable to the club's stature. It is as though the New York Yankees had to draw their players exclusively from the Arizona Fall League.

The club finished sixth last year and took no trophies - one of its worst results in 30 years. Paul Pogba, far and away the best player on the squad, made it clear he wanted to leave. After an excruciating summer of push-pull, he didn't get his wish.

One imagines Pogba will return refreshed and happy to continue working with a bunch of colleagues he neither likes nor rates.

United did add one major player - galumphing centre back Harry Maguire, who is now the most expensive defender in history.

Rather than prove United's bona fides (no other truly top team was interested in Maguire), it showed that both teams in Manchester have to pay a hidden tax in order to acquire talent. Only one of them can afford it.

On Thursday, United's sophomore manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, announced he'd experienced a "great feeling of relief" when the transfer window closed. That is loser talk.

Poor Solskjaer. He was brought in to save United's 2018-19 season and, for his sins, was given a permanent position. He now looks like he ages a month for every day he's in the job. By April, the ratio may be up to a year-per.

The Premier League kicks off in full on Saturday. If you plan on watching, remember that cable TV is now a zombie medium. As of this year, Canadians can only view EPL games on an internet streaming platform, DAZN.

If you choose to be cheap, here's a précis of how things will go. Manchester City or Liverpool will win it. Over the summer, City used its bottomless Emirati wallet to pad a squad already bursting with quality. City's bench might now qualify as one of the 10 best teams on Earth.

Liverpool made no significant changes, either an indicator of enormous confidence or the dithering that presages the imminent end of the fun times.

Other teams will be either good (Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea) or interesting (Everton, Wolves). A few will be bad in an interesting way (Crystal Palace, Newcastle).

And some will be flaming disasters (Sheffield United, Norwich).

Which is also interesting.

United will likely be a smorgasbord - occasionally good, often bad, eventually a disaster, all of it interesting.

Not so long ago, the Premier League lament was that the Big Four could not be cracked. At that point, United was first among a very few equals. Then the makeup of the Big Four began to shift.

Eventually, it became the Big Six.

Now it's no longer clear who counts as a member from year to year.

All the while, the economics of world soccer were shifting at hyper-speed. Ten years ago, the most paid for a soccer player was the £80-million Real Madrid forked over to United for Cristiano Ronaldo (in retrospect, the first of what would become a steady series of surrenders). At the time, Ronaldo was 24 and arguably the best soccer player in the world.

This summer, four players went for at least that much. The most expensive of them, Joao Felix, is a teenager who has played only one season in Portugal's Primeira Liga. Atletico Madrid paid $180-million for what is effectively a flyer. That's what now counts as budget-conscious shopping.

Everyone has had to radically reconsider what qualifies as affordable. The biggest spenders of all remain Spain's royal couple - Real and Barcelona. Both clubs are owned by fan-controlled trusts. They spend what they earn, giving their eminence equilibrium. But, thanks to its enormous broadcast contracts, the Premier League is the only one in the world in which just about everyone can afford to splash out big numbers. In all, 20 teams spent $2.25-billion this summer.

That amount does not include salaries, which are rising like an out-of-control hot-air balloon.

Two events of recent years have emboldened the herd. United's long fall from prominence proved nothing lasts forever. In 2015-6, 5000-to-1 long shot Leicester won the Premier League, proving miracles do in fact happen.

The two black swans taken together flipped the internal calculus of every club. The good ones could no longer afford to take a financial breather for a season or two and still feel certain of earning a Champions League place.

The mediocre ones could no longer convince fans that good enough was good enough.

A stable ecosystem of buyers and sellers became a chaotic one made up entirely of buyers. United hasn't just been squeezed out of the market by the Bayerns and Paris Saint-Germains of the world. United is now now competing with the West Hams and Watfords.

Now everyone believes they can win. If not a title, then at least enough to better their station. Every competitor is all in, all the time.

In North America, we've grown used to the dreary up-down, contend-rebuild cycle that sports franchises have convinced us is inevitable. The advantage to business is obvious - teams can tightly control costs while simultaneously feeding fans a line about needing to lose in order to win (see under: Toronto Blue Jays).

Premier League teams have no such luxury. Their contending moment is right now, year in, year out, an absolute constant.

The relegation model gives the whole thing a Hunger Games feel.

One awful month won't just ruin your year. It might kill your club for a decade.

A while back, the superlative most often applied to the EPL was that it was the most watched sports league in the world.

Thanks to the intruding hand of the market, and to a disastrous chain of decisions by Manchester United, it is now indisputably also the world's best.

Associated Graphic

Man United finished sixth last year and took no trophies - one of its worst results in 30 years. Paul Pogba, centre, the club's best player, made it clear he wanted to leave but didn't get his wish and is set to return the club, Cathal Kelly writes.

PAKAWICH DAMRONGKIATTISAK/GETTY IMAGES


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With a meltdown looming, the spotlight is squarely on the Leafs
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Saturday, August 17, 2019 – Page S1

TORONTO -- If the Toronto Maple Leafs managed anything significant last season, it was proving they know how to play the Spartacus game.

After the whole thing had imploded again, everyone was in a great rush to stand up and take their licks. It was widely agreed that the pivotal error was allowing William Nylander's contract negotiation to bleed into midseason. That needless drama unsettled everyone and everything.

"The blame for the situation going that far has to go to me," general manager Kyle Dubas said afterward. "I just wish that I had been here from the beginning," Nylander said.

Unfortunately, they were not in the same room as they said it, so could not do so while hugging each other and weeping softly.

Once those cathartic moments of responsibility taking were over, it was on to Mitch Marner and doing the exact same thing all over again.

What's up with Marner, the team's standout individual last campaign? Who knows? He isn't signed. He cannot currently be signed, owing to his own demands and the limitations of the salary cap. He may be signed on Day 1 of the season once space is cleared by pushing broken pieces of the roster off the books, but that's not certain. This could be Nylander Redux, albeit with a more important player in a far more important season.

In April, after they'd been shrugged off by the Boston Bruins, the Leafs had finally used up all of their rebuilding mulligans - and they'd taken a few. No more easy rides in the media. No more pulling a sad face and expecting fans to forgive them.

Their options for the 2019-20 season were reduced to three: a) win something meaningful; b) lose and start pushing bodies overboard; or c) lose and return to the cycle of excuses and decline that was once the operating principle of this organization.

In June, the Raptors won an NBA championship and it got worse.

In terms of unlikely accomplishments, this was like flying a hang-glider to the moon. An NBA team labours under essentially the same regime as an NHL club - 30-or-so competitors, salary cap, draft system.

But compared with the Leafs, the Raptors have several structural disadvantages - no top picks; no pull with free agents; no widespread local affinity for the game (and if you're throwing up a corrective finger on that last one, we won't know if things have really changed until next spring).

Despite these disadvantages, the Raptors won anyway. And so it should now be asked, why can't the Leafs do that, too?

In July, Kawhi Leonard left. That was bad news for the Raptors. It was a nightmare for the Leafs.

In another world - the one in which Leonard stays - the Raptors soak up all the attention next April. The Leafs will always be the Leafs in this town, but deep in their tortured sports souls, Torontonians are front-runners.

They'd have stuck with the proven winner.

Last June, the Leafs PR department visited an NBA Finals game at Scotiabank Arena. They were trying to get a feel for the logistics of the occasion.

"Can you imagine how crazy it would be if both teams were in a final right now?" one of them said to me.

Not any more, I can't. The Leafs are the only championship-calibre outfit left in town. Just as expectations shot off the charts, the Leafs lost the only other team that was out there running interference for them.

So based on nothing but feel, how is Toronto doing this off-season?

The team has made some moves, throwing out expired or defective materials (Patrick Marleau, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, et al.)

and returning some top-end defensive help (Tyson Barrie). That's an aggregate good.

These should be boom times. With less than a month to go before the beginning of training camp, we should be hearing a lot of excited chatter about next year. Mostly, what you hear out there is a nervous silence.

A few things are dampening enthusiasm - history, both recent and ancient; the Raptors hangover; the pervading sense of doom that is as much a part of Leafs mystique as Stompin' Tom or Bill Barilko.

But the big problem is the Marner situation and its echoes of the Nylander fiasco. It is the sense that even when the Leafs get things right, they eventually find a way to turn them wrong.

As yet, there's no rush to blame Marner for wanting to