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New format for FedEx Cup brings clarity and curiosity
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By DOUG FERGUSON
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  
  

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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B13

ATLANTA -- Justin Thomas has a two-shot lead, and the Tour Championship hasn't even started.

If that seems difficult to fathom, consider that someone could win this week without having the lowest 72-hole score.

And remember, such a radical change was to make the FedEx Cup finale easier to follow.

The first staggered start in PGA Tour history - Thomas begins at 10-under par, the bottom five players are at even par - unfolds at East Lake on Thursday, when 30 players who reached the final stage of the FedEx Cup playoffs chase the US$15-million prize, the biggest payout in golf history.

"I could see a scenario where come Sunday, 15 guys might have a chance to win the entire thing," Rory McIlroy said Wednesday. "It will be exciting. It will be different. But at the same time, you've just got to go out there and try to play some good golf and not look around at what other guys are doing, and trust that by the end of the week things will hopefully even out."

The idea behind the new format was to bring clarity to the FedEx Cup by having only one winner on Sunday.

Each of the past two years, one player won the Tour Championship and another player won the points-based FedEx Cup.

It was especially awkward last year, because while Justin Rose won the FedEx Cup, all anyone cared about was seeing Tiger Woods in his red shirt celebrating a two-shot victory, his first in five years.

"My bank manager didn't mind," Rose said.

One function of the FedEx Cup hasn't changed: It was designed to give an advantage to players who had the best season, and who played their best golf in the postseason when the points were valued four times higher.

Now, the advantage is strokes to par.

Thomas, who won the BMW Championship last week to become No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, tees off Thursday already at 10-under par. Patrick Cantlay is No. 2 and will start at eight under, followed by Brooks Koepka at seven under, Patrick Reed at six under and McIlroy at five under.

The next groups of five players in the standings will be at four under, three under, two under, one under and even par.

The leaderboards on the course, online and on television will show only the score to par, not what was shot each day.

"The FedEx Cup is not a tournament. The Tour Championship is now for the FedEx Cup," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. "So when you make that transition, you have to recognize there are 45 tournaments that precede it."

If nothing else, the new format eliminates the kind of math that would give even Bryson DeChambeau a headache, computing where players needed to finish to earn points to win. Last year, for example, Rose was the No. 2 seed and his birdie on the last hole gave him a three-way tie for fourth, enough points to win the cup. Dustin Johnson was the No. 4 seed and finished third.

If he had finished in a two-way tie for second, he would have won the cup.

Using this year's format, Rose would have won the FedEx Cup by one shot over Woods because as the No. 2 seed, Rose would have started six shots better.

Now it's time to see if it will work.

"I think it's hokey," Cantlay said. "It's weird to have a format no one has ever seen. And I think it's a shame we lose the Tour Championship. I haven't gone through it. No one has. I'm going to reserve final judgment until I've gone through the week."

Whoever finishes with the lowest score to par wins the FedEx Cup and gets credit for winning the Tour Championship, even if he doesn't have the lowest score in the Tour Championship. Meanwhile, the tour will keep track of conventional scoring - everyone will the first year - to award world ranking points.

"For all of us guys chasing, the first day will be important," said Rose, who is No. 17 and starts at two under. "You can't give up more shots."

Most curious about the format is how many players have a reasonable chance of winning.

McIlroy won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow in 2010 when he made eagle on his 16th hole Friday to make the cut on the number. He shot 66-62 on the weekend to rally from nine shots behind.

"And that was just two rounds," McIlroy said. "With two extra rounds, you can free-wheel it. There's a lot more volatility."

There have been a number of players who made the cut on the number and rallied from big deficits over 36 holes. Carl Pettersson shot 60-67 on the weekend to come from nine back in the 2010 Canadian Open. Brad Faxon rallied from 12 shots behind with a 65-61 finish in Hartford in 2005.

It could be wild on the weekend. Or maybe Thomas opens with a pair of 64s and makes it a runaway.

He is keeping it simple.

"I'm just going to have to try to play another golf tournament and act like everyone's starting at zero and try to shoot the lowest 72 holes," Thomas said. "Because I know if I do that, then I should be okay."

Associated Graphic

Rory McIlroy, practising before the Tour Championship in Atlanta, will tee off on Thursday at five-under par. The Northern Irishman is among 30 players competing for the biggest payout in golf history.

SAM GREENWOOD/GETTY IMAGES


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Woods calls on Presidents team to stay sharp
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As his season winds down, star golfer asks for commitment from prospective players
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By DOUG FERGUSON
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  
  

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B14

MEDINAH, ILL. -- Tiger Woods wants the eight players who made his Presidents Cup team and four more under consideration as captain's picks to play tournaments and stay sharp over the next three months leading to the December matches Down Under.

Left unclear was whether that applies to the captain if Woods decides to pick himself.

Woods said he told prospective Presidents Cup players at a meeting two weeks ago how important it was to be committed to the team and to the event.

"And that means playing and being prepared," he said during a conference call Monday evening.

"The only time we have ever lost the Cup was in Australia, and quite frankly, some of the guys didn't play or practise that much.

It was our off-season, and we got beat pretty badly."

The matches were held the first week of December in 1998 at Royal Melbourne, and the International team routed the Americans so badly it clinched the cup before lunch was served. It remains the only time the International team won since the Presidents Cup began in 1994. The teams tied in South Africa in 2003.

"It's something I try to reinforce to the guys, that it is important to be solid, be fresh and be sharp," Woods said. "We're going overseas and we're playing against an amazing team, and it's their soil. These guys are going to be tough to beat."

The Americans won in a return to Royal Melbourne in 2011 when it was held in mid-November.

This time, the matches end 10 days before Christmas.

Woods and Phil Mickelson were part of that first U.S. team that went to Melbourne, and only one of them was assured of returning 21 years later. Woods is a captain for the first time and eventually will decide whether to be the first playing captain of the Presidents Cup since Hale Irwin in 1994.

The Masters champion was not among the eight qualifiers after the BMW Championship, finishing 13th in the standings. And while he wants his players and potential picks to stay sharp, Woods has only one tournament on his schedule - the Zozo Championship in Japan from Oct. 24-27.

So does that rule him out when he makes his four picks a week after Japan?

"I don't know. That's up to myself and the vice-captains and eight guys," he said.

"I'm going to keep an open line of communication with my players and my vice-captains to find the four guys that they want to go down there with and who best fits the team."

The eight qualifiers are Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau. All but Cantlay and Schauffele have played in a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup. Cantlay played in the Walker Cup in 2011.

Among those needing a pick are U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Chez Reavie and Kevin Kisner - along with Woods and Mickelson, who has played on every U.S. team dating to the 1994 Presidents Cup.

All but Finau have won tournaments this year.

When asked if Mickelson would be a vice-captain if he doesn't warrant a captain's pick, Woods instead spoke of the experience of the three assistances he has - Fred Couples and Steve Stricker, who both were winning Presidents Cup captains, and Zach Johnson, who is part of the Ryder Cup committee.

Mickelson plans to play the Safeway Open in Napa at the end of September (which his management company runs) and the CJ Cup in South Korea, and said he might add a tournament depending on how he plays.

Woods has made it clear that the four picks will be a consensus of his assistants and eight qualifiers, though "ultimately it's going to be my call." He has played only six tournaments since winning the Masters. He missed the cut in three of them (two were majors) and finished a combined 39 shots out of the lead in the other three.

So how does he measure whether he's worthy of a pick?

"It's practising, it's playing, it's staying sharp," Woods said. "Obviously, I'm playing in Japan, and so that's going to help. I think it has to do with a lot of my competitions I'm going to have down here [in Florida]. I'll be playing with a lot of the guys here.

They're going to be getting ready for some of the fall events. We'll have some matches, and that's always fun because we're able to talk trash and have a great time.

"That will be something that I will definitely rely on, and obviously the event in Japan will be a big deal."

Associated Graphic

Tiger Woods is not among the eight qualifiers for his Presidents Cup team after he closed with an even-par 72 to tie for 37th at the BMW Championship in Medinah, Ill. It remains unclear if he will pick himself for the team.

ANDREW REDINGTON/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
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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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Williams, Sharapova to face off at U.S. Open
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The opening-round matchup in New York is a first for star players, who last met at 2016's Australian Open
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By BRIAN MAHONEY
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Friday, August 23, 2019 – Page B11

NEW YORK -- Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will finally meet in the U.S. Open, and they'll do it in their very first match.

A long-awaited Roger FedererRafael Nadal showdown could come only in the final.

Williams and Sharapova, past U.S. Open champions and two of the biggest stars in women's tennis, were scheduled for an opening-round matchup when the draws were conducted Thursday for the final major of the year.

Williams and Sharapova have met in the finals of three other majors and the 2012 Olympics, but have never played each other in the U.S. Open. Williams owns a 19-2 record in their WTA Tour matchups and has won 18 in a row, but that lopsided number shouldn't do much to dampen the hype around what will be the marquee match of the opening round at Flushing Meadows, which starts Monday.

Williams will begin another bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Sharapova isn't the same player she was when she won the 2006 U.S. Open championship - or beat Williams two years earlier in the final at Wimbledon - but remains one of the most popular players among fans in New York.

She was given a wild card into the tournament two years ago shortly after returning from a doping suspension and promptly scheduled for a match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she upset No. 2 seed Simona Halep. U.S.

Open officials kept putting Sharapova on the main court in her next couple of matches, drawing complaints from some players who felt an unseeded player wasn't worthy of such a prime position.

That shouldn't be a problem this time, as a Williams-Sharapova matchup is too big for anywhere other than Ashe.

They haven't played since the 2016 Australian Open. They were scheduled to meet last year in the fourth round at the French Open in what was Williams's first major tournament after returning to tennis following the birth of her daughter, but she pulled out of the match with a pectoral muscle injury.

The men's draw sent No. 3 seed Federer into the top half, meaning he could play top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

They met in a classic final at Wimbledon, where Djokovic won in a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Federer and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal have never played each other in New York, and could do so this year only if both work their way to the final.

Djokovic might have to beat both to repeat as U.S. Open champion - and could face a tough obstacle just to get there with a potential quarter-final against No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev upset Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open en route to the title, in what was his third straight week reaching a final.

Unlike some players, Djokovic said he does look at his draw beyond the next match to see his potential path. But he resisted the first opportunity to do it, declining an offer to peek at his bracket during an interview on ESPN when the draws were unveiled.

Nadal faces a potential firstround test against John Millman, the Australian who knocked Federer out in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year. Nadal could possibly face fourthseeded Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals.

Women's top seed Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in last year's final for her first major title, could face a third-round match against Coco Gauff, the 15year-old American who made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon and was given a wild card into the U.S. Open.

The potential women's quarter-finals: Osaka against No. 7 Kiki Bertens, Williams against No. 2 Ashleigh Barty, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova against No. 5 Elina Svitolina and Halep against No. 6 Petra Kvitova.

Vera Zvonareva, the 2010 U.S.

Open runner-up, and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova withdrew with injuries before the draw was conducted. With Amanda Anisimova's earlier withdrawal, the women's draw will feature three players who lose in qualifying.

Associated Graphic

Serena Williams, who competed in the Rogers Cup earlier this month, will continue her pursuit of a 24th Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. The American has never played against Sharapova in the New York tournament, but has in the finals of three other majors and the 2012 Olympics.

VAUGHN RIDLEY/GETTY IMAGES


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Keys, Medvedev earn biggest titles yet at Cincinnati
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By JOE KAY
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Monday, August 19, 2019 – Page B11

MASON, OHIO -- Two unexpected champions embraced their first Rookwood championship trophies, concluding a week that brought more questions than clarity to the coming U.S. Open.

Who's going to be healthy on the women's side? Will stumbles in the men's bracket at the Western & Southern Open carry over to New York?

And are Madison Keys and Daniil Medvedev capable of carrying their new-found momentum into a Grand Slam event? After winning the biggest tournament title of their careers, they were already getting asked about how it might transfer to the bigger stage.

Keys rallied late in both sets and beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5) on Sunday for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career. After flameouts in her past three tournaments and a tough draw for the week, she couldn't imagine the outcome.

Back on the court to receive the trophy, she told the crowd: "If you told me this is where I would be a week ago, I would have laughed in your face!"

Yet, there she was, back in the Top 10 on a surprising upswing heading to New York.

She'll move up to the No. 10 ranking after a gritty showing that was typical of her week. She broke Kuznetsova to pull even in both sets at 5-5 and then pulled them out with a steady serve.

Keys hadn't made it past the second round in her past three tournaments, including Wimbledon. Now, she's got a good feeling with her favourite Grand Slam event at hand.

"It's definitely a great building block," Keys said. "I want to do well in New York and have a good end to the season."

At 34, Kuznetsova was the oldest finalist in the Western & Southern Open's history. She beat three top-10 players in a tournament - Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty - for the first time in her 19-year career.

The 153rd-ranked player got a late start on the season as she completed a sevenmonth recovery from a knee injury. In her ninth tournament of the season, she got her game together and got her best result in two years.

"Honestly, I didn't expect to be so good at this tournament," she said.

After what happened in Cincinnati during the week, nobody knows what to expect in the women's bracket in New York.

Serena Williams dropped out of Cincinnati because of back spasms that also forced her to withdraw from the final in Toronto. Naomi Osaka, the defending U.S.

Open champion, withdrew from her semifinal match on Friday with discomfort in her left knee that left her worried about her condition heading to New York.

There's some intrigue on the men's side, too.

The bracket in Cincinnati was billed as a reunion of the Big Four - Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray back together for the first time since January. None of them made it to the final.

Nadal won the Rogers Cup last Sunday and withdrew from the Western & Southern, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. Seventime champion Federer was knocked out in the quarter-finals, and Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the semi-finals with the crowd cheering him on.

The Russian thanked the crowd for its support after beat David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-4 for his first Masters 1000 title Sunday. It was his third straight final, but the first time he'd won. Medvedev lost to Nadal on Montreal a week earlier, then went on to reach his sixth final of this season, most on the ATP tour. He's won twice.

"To finally lift the trophy this week is an amazing feeling," Medvedev said.

At age 23, he became the youngest Cincinnati champion since Murray at age 21 in 2008.

"Congratulations," Goffin told him, "and I think you're ready for New York."

Associated Graphic

Madison Keys of the United States hoists the Rookwood Cup on Sunday after defeating Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5) at the women's final of the Western & Southern Open. Daniil Medvedev won the men's title.

JOHN MINCHILLO/THE ASSOCIATED 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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GREEN BAY PACKERS NOT SURE WHETHER RODGERS WILL PLAY IN WINNIPEG EXHIBITION GAME THURSDAY
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B11

WINNIPEG The Green Bay Packers are making no promises that star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play during Thursday's NFL preseason game in Winnipeg against the Oakland Raiders.

When asked if Rodgers will play in the first NFL game in Canada since 2013 on Tuesday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur was noncommittal.

"That [Rodgers's status] is to be determined," LaFleur told reporters. "I want to wait and see. I'm not going to say one way or another right now. That will be a game-time decision."

Not having Rodgers on the field would be a big blow to game organizers, who had hoped a Week 3 preseason game would mean the most time for starters - as is traditionally the case.

Rodgers has not played yet during the preseason, but did return to practice on Monday after sitting out the Packers' second game with back tightness.

Another marquee player eligible for the game, Oakland receiver Antonio Brown, also remains a question mark.

Brown was back on the field for the Raiders on Tuesday after missing the previous practice as part of his dispute with the league and union over his helmet.

Brown took part in a walk-through without wearing a helmet and then went into the weight room as the rest of his teammates stretched. Brown came back out toward the end of the stretch but wasn't wearing a helmet like all of his teammates who were practising. The Raiders then held a brief practice out of view of the media.

Ticket sales have been slow for the game at 33,000-seat IG Field, with thousands still available.

Oakland is the home team. Canadianbased On Ice Entertainment Ltd. is the game organizer.

THE CANADIAN PRESS, WITH A REPORT FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


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Powell expected to stay the course on rates
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Fed chair is unlikely to change tack from July announcement that said rate cut was an adjustment, not a new direction
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By HOWARD SCHNEIDER, ANN SAPHIR
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JACKSON HOLE, WYO. -- U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell comes to this year's meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., caught between discord within the U.S. central bank over appropriate monetary policy and mounting outside pressure for more interest rate cuts.

In navigating that divide, Mr.Powell is unlikely to use his keynote speech on Friday at the Kansas City Fed's annual economic symposium to veer much from the message he sent last month after the Fed cut rates for the first time in a decade: that the move was a "mid-cycle adjustment" and not the start of a rate-cutting cycle.

He will likely nod to the possibility that trade tensions, which have escalated since the July 30-31 policy meeting, may worsen a global economic slowdown and ultimately make more U.S. rate cuts necessary.

But he is expected also to try to ensure he is not seen as bowing before repeated attacks from President Donald Trump for not easing policy further, or caving to a bond market where investors appear to be heavily betting the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will end up doing so.

"We cannot rule out this year's Jackson Hole being another fundamental shift in policy as it has been in years past," UBS economists wrote in a note earlier this week. "But more likely, Powell will give another speech on risk management to try to lean dovish without committing to bold actions that the committee may not ratify."

Since last August's annual central bank gathering in Grand Teton National Park, Mr. Powell has faced an increasingly difficult terrain both politically and economically.

Mr. Trump has steadily ratcheted up his criticism of the Fed and Mr. Powell, who was handpicked by the President in late 2017 to head the central bank.

Last week, Mr. Trump called Mr.Powell "clueless" and urged the Fed to reduce borrowing costs by a full percentage point to boost the economy, which is feeling the drag from the U.S.-China trade war.

Some Fed policy makers point to low U.S. unemployment, which is near a half-century low, strong consumer spending and other bullish data as reasons to hold the line on any further interest-rate moves.

But the economy has slowed as the stimulus from Mr. Trump's tax cuts and increased government spending have faded, and business sentiment and spending have declined amid mounting uncertainty over the outcome of the White House's trade policies.

As trade wars and other economic developments have slowed growth in countries from Germany to Turkey to Australia, central banks have responded by cutting interest rates, setting up an international trend the Fed may find it hard to buck.

Mr. Powell's colleagues inside the Fed are nowhere near a broad consensus on how to proceed.

The Fed chief mustered a majority among the current voting policy makers to back last month's rate cut, but the minutes of the meeting released on Wednesday showed a wider gulf inside the broader committee than was reflected in the decision.

Caught between these moving levers, Mr. Powell may opt to stand still.

Mr. Powell "does not want to surprise with a 100-basis-point cut ... [he wants to] telegraph it methodically and achieve the easing in a way that everybody around the world can see and anticipate and prepare for," said Julia Coronado, who runs the consulting firm MacroPolicy Perspectives and follows the Fed closely.

Mr. Powell faces other complications that have emerged since last year's Jackson Hole conference.

On trade, his conundrum is this: If he cuts rates to offset risks from uncertainties over Mr.

Trump's policies, the President may simply go harder at China, creating more uncertainty in markets and among businesses and making further rate cuts necessary. After the rate cut last month, Mr. Trump vowed to impose tariffs on an additional US$300-billion in Chinese imports on Sept. 1, although he later deferred some of the levies to December.

One index tracking world trade uncertainty has spiked recently, driving up overall global uncertainty that in the past has set the stage for downturns.

"If the Fed cuts rates as Trump demands, that will ease pressure on the stock market, which Trump may take as giving him a stronger hand in his trade spat with China," said Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University and one of the authors of the policy uncertainty index.

"Central banks can't really provide insurance against potential trade wars."

Markets are also creating a difficult-to-navigate feedback loop.

A yield curve inversion last week that reversed itself and then returned on Thursday underscores investors' fears that a recession may be around the corner, and while some Fed policy makers have cautioned against taking too much of a signal from falling longterm borrowing rates, others say they can't be ignored.

The feedback loop between the Fed and bond markets "might not be broken until the economic data signal very decisively that further easing is inappropriate," Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius wrote this week.

Last year at Jackson Hole, Mr.Powell tried to fundamentally reset U.S. monetary policy expectations toward a data-centric practice and away from theory-based models. This year, though, the challenge is that those very data are giving mixed signals.

"Part of the problem is that the Fed has raised transparency and guidance to such a level that when they are in a situation where things are really, literally, uncertain and it is hard to give that guidance, the markets don't know what to do," said Maurice Obstfeld, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "You don't know what is going to happen next."

Associated Graphic

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell holds a news conference in Washington on July 31 after the Fed's two-day policy meeting. Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have worsened since that meeting, at which the Fed lowered its interest rates.

SARAH SILBIGER/REUTERS


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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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Shaw, Quebecor join backlash against new CRTC wholesale-rate policy
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Large ISPs threaten to cut back investments for improving service in rural areas
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By CHRISTINE DOBBY
  
  

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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B2

Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. have joined other large internet providers in a chorus of complaints over a new CRTC policy reducing the wholesale rates they can charge smaller competitors.

By Wednesday, most of Canada's large cable and telephone operators had issued statements criticizing a decision last week by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, with the companies saying they are re-evaluating capital-spending programs and, in some cases, considering cutting investments to improve connectivity for rural residents.

The CRTC requires large internet-service providers (ISPs) to sell access to their networks to smaller players, which then sell service to their own retail clients. Last week's ruling lowered the prices competitors must pay to use the incumbents' networks, and also ordered most of the large providers to make repayments to their smaller counterparts retroactive to 2016.

The system is meant to increase consumer choice, but third-party providers have argued that high wholesale costs have made it difficult for them to offer customers an alternative while still turning a profit. One third-party operator, TekSavvy, said last week that the ruling "sets realistic final rates that will allow wholesale-based providers to effectively compete."

Collectively, Shaw, Quebecor, BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. have said they expect to incur $325-million in retroactive payments, and described the decision variously as "unexpected," "disappointing" and "short-sighted." Several statements pointed to a recent Competition Bureau report that said the wholesale regime is working well, but requires regulators to strike the right balance on costs to ensure network owners still profit. Atlantic Canada cable provider Eastlink has not put a dollar figure on its costs but also complained about the ruling, calling it "incomprehensible."

Such open critiques are unusual for the highly regulated industry, which has been careful to avoid public confrontation with federal authorities after a series of clashes five years ago over the rules of an airwaves auction and the possible entry of U.S. giant Verizon Communications Inc. into Canada.

But some pressure has been building in recent months as the federal department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development has made clear that it wants to see lower prices and more choice for internet and wireless customers, an issue that could become a talking point in the lead up to October's federal election.

"It feels a bit like an industrywide temper tantrum because [the large companies are] used to getting their way," said Laura Tribe, executive director of OpenMedia, which joined other consumer-advocacy groups in criticizing the large telecom companies for their reaction to the ruling, and some companies' suggestions that they will cut rural investment. "It's disappointing to see these companies using rural Canadians as a positioning tactic and holding their connectivity hostage."

TD Securities financial analyst Vince Valentini said in a report on Tuesday that the ruling "sets a bad precedent for investors regarding future regulatory policy," pointing to a CRTC hearing planned for 2020 that could impose a wholesale regime on the wireless industry as well.

"We believe it will be very detrimental to Canadians in the future if broadband network investment ... gets stunted by the regulatory regime," he said.

"This decision will impact our business in significant ways," Eastlink chief executive officer Lee Bragg said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

"This decision is incomprehensible when our governments have been actively promoting the importance of ensuring all Canadians, including those in rural areas, are connected," Mr. Bragg said, adding that Eastlink is reviewing its expansion plans "as well as our ability to continue to service certain existing rural areas."

That comes after BCE said on Monday that it will scale back plans to offer fixedwireless internet service to 1.2 million rural households. BCE said the ruling will cost more than $100-million in retroactive payments and that it is cutting 200,000 households from its plan.

"An unexpected $100-million regulatory hit means having to cut back. Keep in mind we're still bringing high-speed internet to a million new rural locations, a massive infrastructure project that is fully funded by Bell," spokesman Marc Choma said on Wednesday. The company said its cuts do not apply to projects for which it has government funding.

Rogers, which said it will incur $140-million in one-time repayments, was less specific but also said it is re-evaluating investments in rural broadband.

Shaw said the decision will cost it $10million, Quebecor said it will spend about $50-million and Cogeco estimated the cost at $25-million. All three said they are reconsidering investments, although they did not mention cuts to rural areas. Telus Corp., the major telephone operator in Western Canada, did not comment.

Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains supported the decision in a statement earlier this week, saying he was "deeply disappointed" with BCE's announcement, but that he believes his government's policies will encourage new competitors to invest.

Mr. Bains's office would not comment on the broader industry reaction on Wednesday.

The large providers have not commented specifically on potential next steps.

They have 30 days from the date of the ruling to seek leave to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal and 90 days to launch an appeal to the federal cabinet or to ask the CRTC itself to review its own decision.

The CRTC declined to comment on Wednesday on the industry's reaction. Its recent decision does not apply to rates for third-party access to higher-speed "fibreto-the-home" service. The regulator is still finalizing those rates.

Associated Graphic

Shaw Communications, whose Calgary office is seen above in April, is among several other large internet-service providers criticizing the CRTC's decision to reduce the wholesale rates they can charge smaller competitors.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS


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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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By JAMES BRADSHAW
  
  

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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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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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AGF shares jump 18.9% on British merger talks
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Potential deal between Tilney Group and Smith & Williamson - which Canadian fund manager partly owns - 'makes sense,' analysts say
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By CLARE O'HARA, DAVID MILSTEAD
  
  

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B3

Shares of Canadian fund manager AGF Management Ltd. soared Monday amid merger talks on the other side of the Atlantic.

AGF confirmed Monday that Londonbased Smith & Williamson, a private wealth-management firm of which AGF owns 33.6 per cent, is in "exclusive discussions" with Tilney Group Ltd. about a possible merger that would create one of Britain's largest wealth managers with £45-billion ($72.7-billion) in assets.

Investors drove AGF's share price to an 18.9-per-cent gain as analysts said the news of a potential deal "makes sense."

Tilney, a financial-planning and investment-management group also based in London, manages approximately £24-billion in assets with more than 300 financial planners and investment managers. The company also provides digital advice through its online platform Bestinvest.

"While these discussions are ongoing, there can be no certainty these will lead to a transaction," AGF said in response to media reports in Britain about a potential change to its investment in Smith & Williamson.

AGF declined to comment further when contacted by The Globe and Mail.

AGF first acquired an interest in Smith & Williamson in 2002, when the British financial-services firm merged with AGF's subsidiary NCL (Securities) Ltd.

Smith & Williamson manages £21.4billion in assets and focuses on highnet-worth and institutional clients. Recently, the firm's board has been in discussions to launch an initial public offering as early as 2020.

But while a climbing share price reflects the potential for an early monetization of AGF's stake in Smith & Williamson, the market still is not giving AGF enough credit for its British affiliate, said John Aiken, an analyst with Barclays Capital Inc.

"This is particularly surprising given Smith & Williamson's plan for an IPO next year, and the recently confirmed talks of an outright sale," Mr. Aiken added in a research note on Monday.

He said AGF's opening Monday price of $5.10 was a 61-per-cent discount to the midpoint of his estimates of the worth of the shares. In that scenario, Mr.Aiken assumes AGF's stake in Smith & Williamson is worth just less than $275million, or about $3.50 a share.

Similarly, CIBC World Markets analyst Paul Holden agrees that the current share price is not adequately capturing potential proceeds for AGF, which he predicts "would be predominately used to repurchase stock, reduce financial leverage and co-invest in infrastructure assets."

Mr. Holden says he believes AGF could realize $1 to about $1.50 more a share for its AGF stake than the $1.55-ashare value that is reflected on the company's balance sheet. He boosted his target price for AGF to $7.50 from $6 on the news.

The discussion between the two British firms comes two years after Smith & Williamson were in similar "exclusive" discussions with London-based Rathbone Brothers PLC - a deal that eventually fell through when both firms were unable to come to an agreement that was in the best interests of shareholders.

Tilney approached Smith & Williamson in 2017 with a counteroffer that was dismissed.

During that time, AGF's CEO Blake Goldring said he would "actively pursue alternatives to realize value in its investment."

Desjardins Securities analyst Gary Ho says the potential valuation could be above $267-million, and he would "not be surprised" to see other potential bidders emerge from Monday's news as "there are limited sizable private wealth managers in the U.K."

AGF MANAGEMENT (AGF.B) CLOSE: $5.41, UP 86¢


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Stenocare seeks probe in CannTrust pesticide use
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Medical-marijuana importer says it no longer trusts the grower's guarantee its products are free from such chemicals
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By MARK RENDELL
  
  

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B2

A Danish medical marijuana importer says it no longer trusts promises from CannTrust Holdings Inc. that its cannabis was grown without pesticides, another blow to the Canadian producer, which is under investigation by Health Canada.

Stenocare A/S, which is the only supplier of cannabis oil for the Danish medical market, said it has bought products from CannTrust with a guarantee that they were produced in pesticidefree environments. In a news release on Tuesday, Stenocare said it now doubts those declarations after learning more about CannTrust's growing practices.

"With the CannTrust move from indoor to greenhouse cultivation during Q4 2018, it now appears that CannTrust introduced a more general use of Health Canada approved pesticides in the new greenhouse where cultivation of medical cannabis plants is located. Stenocare is very concerned with this general use of pesticides that could potentially be in conflict with the strict Danish requirements [for] no use of pesticides," the company said.

Stencocare stopped selling CannTrust products after revelations in July that the Ontario producer grew thousands of kilograms of cannabis in unlicensed rooms in late 2018 and early 2019.

On Tuesday, Stencocare said that it has asked a special committee of CannTrust's board that is overseeing an internal investigation at the company to "fully investigate the validity of the declarations" about pesticide use. Stencocare also said it is seeking new import partners, and is contemplating legal action against CannTrust "for full compensation for losses incurred."

Stencocare did not respond to requests for further comment.

CannTrust spokeswoman Jane Shapiro said in an e-mail: "The declarations provided to Stenocare were signed by former board chair Eric Paul (when he was CEO) and former CEO Peter Aceto.

"The special committee demanded the resignation of Mr.Paul and terminated with cause the employment of Mr. Aceto in July. The special committee was not aware of the declarations given until just before taking action against Mr. Paul and Mr.Aceto." CannTrust is under investigation by Health Canada for cultivating cannabis in unlicenced rooms at its greenhouse facility in Pelham, Ont., and for other unlicensed activity at its manufacturing plant in Vaughan, Ont.

The company and several of its officials are also under investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission.

CannTrust has frozen all sales as it waits to hear whether Health Canada will suspend its cannabis licences. Federal regulators could also force CannTrust to destroy inventory that was produced in the unlicensed rooms, which CannTrust says is worth about $51-million.

On Monday, CannTrust said that the Ontario Cannabis Store, the provincial wholesaler, is returning $2.9-million worth of the company's products.

Associated Graphic

Stenocare stopped selling CannTrust products, seen at the company's Niagara greenhouse, after revelations the producer was growing cannabis in unlicensed rooms.

TIJANA MARTIN/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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Goldman arm to take stake in Toronto's Slate
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Monday, August 19, 2019 – Page B1

The asset-management arm of Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is taking a minority stake in Toronto's Slate Asset Management, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The investment, which is expected to be announced Monday morning, will see Goldman buy a minority interest in Slate, a real estate focused investment company with more than $6billion in assets under management. It runs a collection of office, retail and industrial properties in Canada, the United States and Germany, including a number of large office towers in midtown Toronto and plazas and malls across the U.S. South and Midwest.

Founded in 2005 by brothers Blair and Brady Welch, the privately owned company has completed more than $11-billion of transactions globally in both private equity funds and publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The company has listed two real-estate trusts on the Toronto Stock Exchange: the Slate Office REIT and the Slate Retail REIT.

The deal is being made through Goldman Sachs Asset Management's Petershill unit, which acquires stakes in alternative asset managers. In early 2018, Goldman raised US$2.5-billion for Petershill and has purchased minority interests in a number of investment managers, including Britain-based hedge fund firm LMR Partners, real estate investment company Westbrook Partners and venture capital firm Industry Ventures LLC.

Slate Asset declined to comment on the transaction, while Goldman Sachs did not return requests for comment.

Goldman has been aggressively growing through acquisition in its wealth-management business. Earlier this year it scooped up United Capital Financial Partners Inc. for US$750-million in cash, adding US$25-billion in assets under management and 220 financial advisers to its wealth business.

The deal will not affect any day-today operations, investment decisions or executive roles at Slate Asset Management, according to sources who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The financial details of the transaction are not expected to be disclosed. Earlier this year, one of Slate's investment funds acquired a grocery real estate portfolio in Germany for 31.5-million ($46.3million), while in 2017 another of Slate's investment funds acquired Calgary's Scotia Centre in 2017.

The Calgary deal was part of a $1.14-billion acquisition of a 97property portfolio in Western Canada, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces in a deal with Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust.

With a report from Tim Kiladze


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Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov to meet in first round in New York again
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By MELISSA COUTO
THE CANADIAN PRESS
  
  

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Friday, August 23, 2019 – Page B11

Félix Auger-Aliassime didn't have much time to savour his first career appearance at the U.S. Open.

Overcome with heart palpitations during his first-round match last year against fellow Canadian and good friend Denis Shapovalov, the Montreal teenager had his main-draw debut at a Grand Slam end abruptly when he was forced to retire in the third set.

While things are much different for Auger-Aliassime now - he's ranked No. 19 in the world, nearly 20 spots higher than Shapovalov - he still looks back on that match frequently.

"Even though I wasn't able to finish it, it was still a great memory," Auger-Aliassime said Thursday in a phone interview with The Canadian Press. "That's a dream I had since I was a kid to play in the U.S. Open, and my family was there to witness it.

"So in the end, I have great memories from it."

The two will get a rematch of that emotional night at Arthur Ashe Stadium with Thursday's draw revealing another all-Canadian first-round clash.

He's not worried about his heart condition getting in the way this time, though, after having offseason surgery to correct his symptoms.

"It sounds scary, but it's a pretty common procedure," AugerAliassime said nonchalantly.

"There's a lot of people that have this kind of problem. ... I was actually back really quickly, in a few days I had recovered."

Auger-Aliassime began the year ranked No. 108 on the ATP standings, but soared up to his career-high No. 19 this week.

That quick rise through the rankings - helped by a semi-finals appearance at the Masters 1000 Miami tournament in March, and a runner-up finish at the ATP 500 Rio Open in February - has surprised even him.

"I think if you had told me last year I would be in the top 20, I wouldn't have believed you," said Auger-Aliassime, who was ranked 117th at last year's U.S. Open and needed to get through three rounds of qualifying just to make the main draw.

"My goal heading into the season was to be top 50 before the end of the year, but I think making that final in Brazil at the start of the season really gave me a lot of confidence and I just felt like I had the ability to beat anybody."

Auger-Aliassime already has a win against Shapovalov this year - he beat the 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., in the first round of the Masters 1000 in Madrid - to even their career head-to-head record at 1-1.

Shapovalov spent this week competing at a 250-level tournament in North Carolina while Auger-Aliassime has been prepping for the U.S. Open in New York since Saturday.

"I've gone out for dinners here and there, but it's mostly been just practising," he said. "I'm just trying to prepare as best I can."

Auger-Aliassime's quick success this season - he's 31-18 heading into the U.S. Open - has also opened other doors for the rising star, who was featured in the latest issue of Vogue magazine.

The interview request initially surprised Auger-Aliassime, who said he never thought he'd have a story written about him in a fashion magazine, but described the experience as "a cool moment."

"We did a photo shoot with an amazing photographer at a few places in London, did a few different poses," he said with a laugh.

"I'm sure my parents will grab a couple copies [of the magazine].

"I haven't even see it yet. I've only seen it online."

For all his success this season, Auger-Aliassime isn't even the most accomplished Canadian star on this year's tennis scene. That distinction belongs to Mississauga teen and world No. 15 Bianca Andreescu with two WTA titles this season, including the Rogers Cup championship in Toronto earlier this month. While AugerAliassime couldn't watch all of her Rogers Cup matches - he was competing through the third round of the men's event in Montreal - he called her championship run impressive.

"What she's been doing is incredible, it's beyond incredible, I don't even have a word for it," Auger-Aliassime said about Andreescu, who will face American 17-year-old wild-card Katie Volynets in the first round. "It's inspiring for Canadian tennis."

Andreescu is one of two Canadian women in the main draw in New York next week. Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., will face 12th-seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the first round.

On the men's side, 21st-seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., will face Chile's Nicolas Jarry, Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., will meet France's Benoît Paire, and Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil will take on ninth-seed Karen Khachanov of Russia.

Auger-Aliassime said it's hard to think of himself as the highestranked Canadian men's player on the ATP tour currently. But it's a distinction that he cherishes.

"For me that means a lot," he said. "I've been watching Milos and Vasek for so long and they're such great players so for me it's an honour to be the top-ranked Canadian."

Meanwhile, Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., was knocked out in the second round of men's qualifying. He lost 7-5, 7-6 (0) to Sumit Nagal of India on Thursday.

Toronto's Steven Diez has advanced to the final round of qualifying on Friday. He'll face No. 3 qualifying seed Kwon Soon-woo of Korea.

Associated Graphic

Félix Auger-Aliassime, returning to Vasek Pospisil at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Aug. 6, was unable to face countryman Denis Shapovalov in their first-round U.S. Open match last year after experiencing heart palpitations.

MINAS PANAGIOTAKIS/GETTY IMAGES


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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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Buhai leading at Women's British Open
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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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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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Man U settles for tie with Wolves
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EPL match ends in 1-1 draw after Pogba misses penalty, but Solskjaer says United is 'a young team who will learn'
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B13

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND -- Paul Pogba pulled his jersey over his face when the final whistle sounded, his latest spot-kick failure costing Manchester United two points and casting doubt over the wisdom of the team rotating its penaltytakers.

The France midfielder saw his 68thminute attempt saved - his fourth penalty miss in the past year - as United had to settle for 1-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the English Premier League on Monday.

Pogba won the penalty after being tripped by Wolves defender Conor Coady and opted to take the kick himself after talking with Marcus Rashford, who converted a penalty in United's 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season.

"The two of them are designated penalty-takers," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. "It's up to them, there and then.

"Marcus scored last week, but Paul was also confident. I like players with confidence."

Rashford said Pogba "wanted to take it, it's that simple."

"Anyone can miss a penalty," Rashford said. "He has scored so many penalties and it is normal to miss one. I took one last week, so for me it's no problem that he took it. It's unfortunate he didn't score but that's football."

Anthony Martial put United into the lead at Molineux after running onto Rashford's pass and shooting first time with his left foot high into the net in the 27th.

United handed Martial the No. 9 jersey for this season, with Solskjaer demanding more goals from the winger he has converted into a striker.

It is two goals in two games for the Frenchman, who also netted from close range against Chelsea.

Wolves was overrun in the first half, but improved in the second half - mainly after the halftime introduction of pacy winger Adama Traore - and equalized through a superb strike from Ruben Neves.

The midfielder received the ball on the edge of the area from Joao Moutinho, took a touch and curled a shot in off the crossbar. The video assistant referee checked the goal for offside against Moutinho but the goal stood.

Wolves also drew its first game, 0-0 at Leicester.

"First half was a mature performance.

Second half was a bit sloppy," Solskjaer said. "We are improving. We are a young team who will learn. We learned on the pitch today."

Associated Graphic

Paul Pogba falls after being tripped by Wolves defender Conor Coady during their English Premier League match in Wolverhampton, England, on Monday. The incident resulted in a penalty kick, which Pogba opted to take himself.

DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES


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Australia salvages a draw in its second Ashes test against England
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Monday, August 19, 2019 – Page B10

LONDON -- Australia defied the absence of star batsman Steve Smith because of a concussion and more devastating spells of pace bowling by Jofra Archer to hold out for a draw in the second Ashes test against England on Sunday.

Set an improbable victory target of 267 off 48 overs at Lord's, the Australians quickly slumped to 47-3, but a fourthwicket stand of 85 between Marnus Labuschagne (59) and Travis Head (42 not out) helped push them to safety.

Australia lost three more wickets in a five-over stretch to keep the match alive as the light faded, but managed to survive to 154-6 at the end.

Australia retained a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Labuschagne had an interesting day. He only found out he'd be playing as test cricket's first concussion substitute when Smith was withdrawn from the team early on Sunday, after waking up with a headache and feeling groggy after being hit in the neck by an Archer bumper on Saturday.

Labuschagne came to the middle with Australia struggling on 19-2 after 5.3 overs and, off the second ball he faced, was hit on the grille of his helmet by another vicious delivery from Archer.

The batsman dropped to the ground, was checked out by medical staff and required a new helmet.

In a blistering spell by Archer, balls flew past Labuschagne, but he survived and looked more comfortable in the final session as England's hopes began to dwindle at the home of cricket.

He finally departed, somewhat controversially, when England captain Joe Root was adjudged to have got his fingers under a diving catch at midwicket from Labuschagne's sweep.

It was Labuschagne's second half-century in his sixth test and he could stay in the team for the third test starting on Thursday on Headingley, with Smith's availability in doubt.

With Australia currently holding the Ashes urn, the English need to win two of the final three tests to take it off its fierce rivals.

Archer's performance at Lord's on his test debut will give England real hope, though. He was a permanent menace, taking 2-59 off 29 overs in the first innings and then 3-32 off 15 overs in the second.


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Singers Jett, Underwood, to lead Sunday Night Football performance
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By JOE REEDY
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B11

Fred Gaudelli knew NBC would have to come up with something grand for this season's Sunday Night Football opener given this is the NFL's 100th anniversary.

It didn't take long for the show's executive producer to arrive at something as Carrie Underwood came up with the perfect idea.

This season, the show will open with the original Waiting All Day for Sunday Night song, but this time Underwood will be joined by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett. Jett's band, the Blackhearts, also performs.

Waiting All Day for Sunday Night was adapted from Jett's 1988 hit I Hate Myself for Loving You. Pink performed it first in 2006, followed by a country version sung by Faith Hill for six seasons and then Underwood, who did her own version from 2013 to 2015.

"It is a perfect way to celebrate the league's 100th season by going back to the beginning," Gaudelli said. "It is a perfect way to evolve and celebrate the song."

Gaudelli has known Jett and her manager, Kenny Laguna, for more than 20 years. Their first collaboration came when Gaudelli was working for ESPN and Jett did a cover of Real Wild Child for the first X Games. When Gaudelli moved to NBC in 2006 after the network acquired the Sunday night rights, he knew what he wanted as the theme song.

This is Underwood's seventh year as the featured performer for the opener. The seven-time Grammy winner sang Oh Sunday Night for two seasons and Game On last year. Oh Sunday Night was adapted from Somethin' Bad, Underwood's duet with Miranda Lambert from 2014.

"I have always been a huge fan of Joan's, and I'm thrilled that she's joining us for the Sunday Night Football open," Underwood said in a statement.

The open, which will debut before the Sept. 7 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots, was shot at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

It was the first time it has been shot at an NFL stadium instead of a sound stage.


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MONTREAL IMPACT, CLINGING TO PLAYOFF SPOT, FIRES COACH GARDE
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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B11

MONTREAL The Montreal Impact have fired head coach Rémi Garde and replaced him with Wilmer Cabrera.

The Impact announced the move Wednesday. It comes 27 games into the Garde's second season with the club, which is struggling to hang on to a Major League Soccer playoff spot.

Assistant coach Joël Bats and fitness coach Robert Duverne were also dismissed, while assistant coach Wilfried Nancy and goalkeeper coach Rémy Vercoutre join Cabrera's staff. Former Impact captain Patrice Bernier will also join the staff as an assistant.

The Impact have just one win in their past eight league matches (1-6-1) and are coming off a shocking 3-3 draw with FC Dallas at Saputo Stadium on Saturday that saw the visitors erase a 3-0 deficit with three goals in just more than 30 minutes. Montreal (10-13-4) has a precarious hold on the seventh and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, tied on points at 34 with Orlando City and Toronto FC but with one more win than the other two clubs. However, Toronto has played one fewer game.

"Because I have so much respect for Rémi as a person and as a professional, it was a very difficult decision to make and it was well thought, but our latest series of failures in the past couple of months and the way the team acts on the field led to that change," Montreal Impact president and chief executive Kevin Gilmore said in a statement.


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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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Trade war's losers include microchips, energy and banks
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U.S. companies with high exposure to China are most vulnerable, but they are not the only businesses at risk
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By STAN CHOE
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Monday, August 19, 2019 – Page B2

NEW YORK -- Looking across the stock market, it's hard to find a company that isn't vulnerable in some degree to the U.S.-China trade war.

Stocks of U.S. companies that do lots of business with China, such as chip makers and other technology companies, are obvious candidates for investors to sell when trade worries rise. They have fallen more than the rest of the market whenever President Donald Trump sends out a tweet or speaks about tariffs.

But investors are also looking beyond these first-order effects as they pick out which stocks look susceptible to the trade war.

Those picks now include many companies that have no significant ties to China but are still at risk.

That's why all but 2 per cent of the stocks in the S&P 500 fell on Aug. 5, when worries ratcheted higher after China let its currency devalue to its lowest level in a decade.

The damage has been widespread since Mr. Trump shocked investors on Aug. 1 by saying on Twitter he planned soon to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports.

The latest tariffs cover about US$300-million worth of Chinese goods, many of them consumer products that were exempt from earlier rounds of taxes.

Even though Mr. Trump has delayed some of the tariffs, they will ultimately raise costs for U.S.

companies bringing goods in from China. Those companies will then have to either pass higher prices on to their customers or give up some of their profits. That's a big deal for investors because a stock's price tends to track the path of its earnings over the long term.

One concern is that all the uncertainty on trade will lead businesses and shoppers to hold off on spending in hopes of waiting out the tumult.

Businesses say they have seen inklings of such behaviour, which, if it accelerates, could lead to a self-fulfilling cycle in which weaker sales for companies push them to cut back on hiring.

That could lead in turn to even weaker spending and do more damage to the economy. That's trouble for most companies, to some degree.

It's also why some of the hardest-hit stocks in recent weeks have little business, if any, in China but remain vulnerable to the consequences of the trade war.

Among the losers in the dispute: ENERGY Energy stocks in the S&P 500 have plunged 10.2 per cent since just before Mr. Trump sent his Aug. 1 tweet, the worst decline of the 11 sectors that make up the index.

National Oilwell Varco, for example, is based in Houston and gets most of its revenue from supplying drilling and other technologies in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Norway. But its stock has plunged nearly 22 per cent, seven times the loss of the overall S&P 500.

That's in large part because the price of oil has sunk on worries that the trade war will do lasting damage to the global economy. If that happens, countries around the world will have less need to burn oil.

The price of benchmark U.S.

crude plunged nearly 8 per cent on Aug. 1, its worst day in 41/2 years.

BANKS Financial stocks have been the second-worst performing sector in the S&P 500 in recent weeks as the prospect of less-profitable lending threatens banks' profits.

Comerica, for instance, has been sucked into an industrywide downdraft. It is based in Dallas and has bank branches mostly in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas and Michigan. It has some businesses operating outside the country, but in Canada and Mexico, not China. Its stock has sunk 16.2 per cent during the recent pickup in trade tensions.

The escalation in the trade war has led a growing number of economists and analysts to warn about a possible recession.

And those concerns have spread to the bond market, where interest rates have sunk sharply.

The market for interest rates has gone so haywire this month because of worries about a possible recession that long-term Treasury yields in some cases are lower than short-term yields.

That's trouble for an industry that relies on borrowing money at short-term rates, lending it out at long-term rates and pocketing the difference.

MICROCHIP COMPANIES Companies that make microchips that go into laptops and other electronics have been some of the trade war's biggest victims because of how dependent they are on China.

Consider Micron Technology, which got more than 57 per cent of all its sales from China in its last fiscal year. Not only that, it needs China for rare earth minerals found there, and it also has significant manufacturing operations in the country.

Micron sank 2.9 per cent on Aug. 1, when Mr. Trump announced he would extend tariffs to products that include laptops and mobile phones. That was more than triple the S&P 500's loss.

Since Mr. Trump's 2018 tweet that "trade wars are good, and easy to win," Micron is down 8.5 per cent, while the S&P 500 is up 7.9 per cent.

INDUSTRIAL COMPANIES Since Mr. Trump initiated the trade war with China in 2018, the reaction in the market has been to sell big industrial companies whenever tensions rise. The temptation makes sense given how global the companies are, but it may be misguided, said Stephen Volkmann, an equity analyst at Jefferies who covers machinery and industrial companies.

"Every time there's a tweet, I get a call and asked, 'How does this affect CAT?' " Mr. Volkmann said, using the ticker symbol for heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar. "CAT tends to make what they sell where they sell it."

That means many of its products do not have to cross borders before they are sold, which offers some insulation from the effect of tariffs.

Other industrial companies have also already absorbed tariffs and successfully passed the costs on to their customers. But "it's a little like shouting in the wind to get anyone to care," Mr. Volkmann said.

When asked if any of the industrial companies he follows is much more vulnerable than others because of this next round of tariffs, he struggles to name one in particular.

"The most important part is: Do we enter a recession because of them?" he said. "If that's true, that's true for all my companies."

Associated Graphic

Investors track the effect of trade tension on heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar, which has some protection from tariffs because many of its products don't cross borders before being sold.

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES


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U.S. retail boom eases economic fears
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Friday, August 16, 2019 – Page B2

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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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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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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S&P cuts SNC-Lavalin debt rating to junk status
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B1

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.'s credit rating has been downgraded to junk status by Standard & Poor's, which cited the potential for the company to lose more money on construction and engineering contracts.

The bond-rating agency on Monday lowered the rating on SNC-Lavalin's senior unsecured debt to double-B-plus from triple-B-minus and maintained a negative outlook.

The move, which could make it more expensive for the Montreal-based engineering company to borrow money, comes weeks after SNC reported a $2.1billion loss for the second quarter, prompting it to cut its dividend for the second time this year.

SNC-Lavalin's stock has been falling for months amid a political crisis over unresolved bribery and fraud charges.

The company has announced several strategic shifts, but its largest shareholder, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has called for cultural changes "across the board."

"The downgrade really reflects the losses that the company experienced over the past three quarters. We saw more risk going forward than we previously assumed," S&P credit analyst Alessio Di Francesco said in an interview.

"But the downgrade primarily reflects the losses on the lump sum turnkey contracts [LSTK], which we believe indicate weaker operating efficiency and a weaker financial risk profile."

SNC-Lavalin said that it will drop bids on LSTK contracts, which carry a higher risk of the company having to take responsibility for unexpected costs and budget overruns. The contracts, worth billions of dollars, include several Canadian infrastructure projects.

"This update follows our [second-quarter] results, however, we remain committed to maintaining an investment grade credit rating," SNC-Lavalin spokesperson Daniela Pizzuto said in a statement. "To that end, the company is pursuing a new strategic direction that will tackle the root cause of our short-term cash flow considerations - namely LSTK contracting, which we have exited.

"By exiting such contracting and splitting it off from what is otherwise a healthy and robust business, we expect to see more consistent earnings and cash flow."

S&P initially placed SNC-Lavalin on watch for a possible downgrade in July after the engineering company said that it expected weak second-quarter results, Mr. Di Francesco said.

But poor earnings results and potential problems with some remaining fixed-price contracts signalled even greater issues than expected, he added.

"The magnitude of losses that we saw recently leads us to believe that there is more risk in the remaining lump sum turnkey contracts that the company still has to work through," Mr. Di Francesco said. "We also see other risks for potential slower growth in the economy and unresolved fraud and bribery charges."

The troubled company has been trying to recover since it said in October that the federal director of public prosecutions had declined to negotiate a deal to defer bribery and fraud charges. Its attempt to get an agreement plunged the Trudeau government into political controversy. Former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould said she faced pressure from the Prime Minister, his key advisers and some cabinet ministers to overrule the director's decision.

Analysts expected the downgrade after SNC-Lavalin's warning of poor earnings, according to RBC Dominion Securities. SNC-Lavalin bonds have traded down in price since mid-July when the company announced a strategic shift that would see it stop bidding for LSTK contracts.

"We view today's news as largely neutral given the largely anticipated move by S&P and the fact that we see largely limited impact from the credit downgrade to non-investment grade," RBC analyst Derek Spronck said in a note, adding that the move could weigh on bonds but is "not likely to impact equity holders or operations."

The downgrade will move SNC-Lavalin's bonds to FTSE Canada High Yield Bond Index from the investment-grade FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index.

SNC-LAVALIN (SNC) CLOSE: $17.14, UP 42¢


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Hasbro to buy eOne in $4-billion deal
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U.S. toymaker plans to expand Toronto music, film and TV producer's brands to new formats, including streaming and music
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By STEFANIE MAROTTA, MEGAN DEVLIN
  
  

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Friday, August 23, 2019 – Page B1

Hasbro Inc. is purchasing Toronto-based Entertainment One Ltd. in a US$4-billion all-cash deal that brings together the maker of Transformers toys and the Monopoly game with the producer of children's shows, Peppa Pig and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

The Pawtucket, R.I., toymaker said the acquisition of the Canadian music, film and television producer will bring its brands to "to all screens globally" and enhance its infant and preschool products, a key growth segment for the company. The deal puts eOne's portfolio, including shows such as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, under the same roof as the toy and entertainment franchises My Little Pony, Transformers, PlayDoh, Nerf and Power Rangers.

Shareholders of eOne, which trades on the London stock exchange, will receive £5.60 per common share, a 31-per-cent premium of its 30-day average price.

Its shares closed at £4.42 on Thursday. Hasbro is funding the acquisition through debt financing and US$1-billion to US$1.25billion in cash from equity financing.

"The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro's portfolio and provides a pipeline of new brand creation driven by familyoriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro's [intellectual property]," said Hasbro chairman and chief executive officer Brian Goldner in a release.

EOne's Canadian TV and film operations - largely located in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal - will continue to operate as a Canadian-controlled business within Hasbro, the company said. EOne also has operations in London, Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Shanghai.

Hasbro said that it will retain eOne's senior executive team.

"Hasbro's portfolio of integrated toy, game and consumer products will further fuel the tremendous success we've achieved at eOne," said eOne's chief executive Darren Throop. "There's a strong cultural fit between our two companies; eOne's stated mission is to unlock the power and value of creativity which aligns with Hasbro's corporate objectives."

EOne has made a steady stream of acquisitions, including a joint venture with the Mark Gordon Company, which has produced shows such as Grey's Anatomy and movies such as Saving Private Ryan.

In 2013, eOne also bought Canadian movie-distribution company Alliance Films for $174-million, plus debt, in a deal that boosted eOne's profile as a major international independent film distributor, bringing aboard titles including The Hunger Games.

In 2015, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board took an 18-per-cent stake in eOne, thenvalued at $289.4-million, pledging to help the media company succeed in its global expansion plans.

Hasbro said that, with eOne, it plans to expand its brands to new formats, including streaming, music, location-based entertainment, augmented reality and virtual reality.

"EOne's brands and TV and film expertise, together with Hasbro's brands, toy and game innovation and licensing capabilities, position us to more quickly drive revenue and profit over the medium-term," Hasbro's chief financial officer Deborah Thomas said.

EOne says on its website its Canadian incorporation reflects its "beneficial Canadian heritage status" and its film and television business in the country.

Mr. Throop grew up on a farm northeast of Red Deer, Alta., and told The Globe and Mail in 2015 that eOne has largely flown under the radar in Canada "by design."

"We just haven't been pushing the story in the Canadian marketplace like some of our predecessors and our counterparts currently are. They're always doing whatever they can do to get their name in the press."

In 2015, eOne moved 500 of its Toronto employees into an office that is a stone's throw from the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival.


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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."

THESCORE (SCR) CLOSE: 53¢, UP 4¢


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Trans Mountain sets wheels in motion to restart construction
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Company gives contractors 30 days to prepare for work to begin, rehire workers for pipeline to be in service by mid-2022
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By SHAWN MCCARTHY
  
  

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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B1

OTTAWA -- Trans Mountain Corp. has given the green light to some of its contractors to rehire the workers and complete the detailed work plans needed to begin construction of the stalled pipeline-expansion project.

In a news release on Wednesday, the company said it issued work directives to some of its major contractors and gave them 30 days to prepare for actual construction.

"With today's announcement on the commencement of construction, I firmly believe that we are finally able to start delivering the significant national and regional benefits we have always committed to," Trans Mountain chief executive Ian Anderson said.

The company said it has all the permits needed to begin construction in Alberta, as well as at the Burnaby Terminal and the Westridge Marine Terminal near Vancouver. It expects to receive clearance of all outstanding regulatory approvals and permits for the remaining construction areas over the coming months.

The Liberal government reapproved the Trans Mountain expansion project two months ago, but the company needed time to reassess its work plan and prepare for construction. It said on Wednesday that it expects the expanded pipeline would be in service by mid-2022.

The federal government agreed to buy the pipeline from U.S.-based Kinder Morgan Inc.

in May, 2018, as the American company was ready to give up on the expansion because of continuing delays created by provincial officials and environmental groups in British Columbia. The stalling of the expansion - which would triple the volume of crude reaching Vancouver harbour - provoked a backlash in Alberta, as its oil industry remains hobbled by insufficient pipeline capacity to export its crude.

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the Liberal government's initial approval of the project last August, ruling it had failed to adequately consult First Nations along the route and fell short in its assessment of effects on marine life from increased tanker traffic.

The government reapproved the expansion project on June 18, promising to get construction started as soon as possible. However, the Federal Court ruling also quashed construction permits previously provided by the National Energy Board which had to reissue them this summer.

With an election due this fall, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who represents an Edmonton riding, said the Trans Mountain directive was "good news for workers and companies in the oil sector that we are moving forward on the Trans Mountain expansion in the right way." First Nations and environmental groups have challenged the second approval, arguing the federal government failed to meet the requirements laid down by the Federal Court of Appeal ruling. Indigenous leaders complained the consultations conducted after the court ruling were tainted because the government is the owner of the project and was determined to approve it regardless of First Nations' concerns.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement that the start of construction is an important milestone, but the process has taken far too long already and he won't celebrate until oil is flowing through the expanded pipeline.

He also called on Ottawa and local governments to ensure opponents are not able to block construction.

Associated Graphic

Steel pipe to be used in the construction of the Trans Mountain expansion is stored at a site in Kamloops, B.C. The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the Liberal government's initial approval of the project last August.

DENNIS OWEN/REUTERS


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Alberta extends quotas on oil production amid capacity concerns
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B1

The government of Alberta said on Tuesday it was extending mandatory curtailments on crude production by an extra year through 2020, because of uncertainty about when expanded pipelines may come online.

Alberta's previous New Democratic Party government imposed production limits in January to drain a glut of oil in storage that built up owing to congested pipelines. The curtailments have dramatically reduced a painful discount on Canadian heavy crude, but investor confidence remains shaken and energy stocks are trading around historic lows.

Premier Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party government, which took office in the spring, has steadily eased curtailments as inventories drained.

But Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said that with delays in pipeline approvals such as Enbridge Inc.'s Line 3 replacement, production levels could exceed rail and pipeline capacity by 150,000 barrels a day (b/d), and greater price discounts could reappear, unless the province extended curtailments.

"We're doing this because we have to. In the short term, we don't have the capacity to move the production," Ms. Savage told reporters in Calgary.

The government also said it would raise the exemption in the curtailment formula for all oil producers to 20,000 b/d from 10,000 b/d, effective in October. The move means that curtailment will apply to only 16 of Alberta's 300 oil producers, down from 29 companies currently. In October, oil production will rise slightly to 3.79 million b/d from 3.76 million in September, Ms. Savage said.

Ms. Savage said it was possible that curtailment might end earlier, depending on market conditions, but that extending it for now gave the province greater flexibility.

Pipeline projects have run into fierce opposition in Canada and the United States, causing regulatory and court delays lasting years.

Activists oppose pipelines as a way of strangling expansion of the Canadian oil sands, which they say are especially harmful to the environment. Alberta's biggest producers, including Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc.

urged the provincial government in July to allow expanded production as greater rail capacity to ship it became available.

Ms. Savage said she had not ruled out the idea, but was not ready to make a decision. She said she intended to announce monthly revisions to curtailment levels 60 days in advance, instead of 30 days previously, to help producers plan.

Alberta is not changing the overall methodology that it uses to determine each company's production limit.


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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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Thomas perseveres to win the BMW Championship
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American holds off competitors as they cut into his lead to claim No. 1 seed heading into FedEx Cup finale
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By DOUG FERGUSON
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Monday, August 19, 2019 – Page B11

MEDINAH, ILL. -- Justin Thomas had more stress than he wanted and answered with the shots he needed Sunday at Medinah to win the BMW Championship and claim the No. 1 seed going into the FedEx Cup finale.

Thomas watched a six-shot lead shrink to two in a span of three holes around the turn, until he regained control with two great wedges and two pivotal putts. One last birdie gave him a four-under 68 and a three-shot victory over Patrick Cantlay, who gave him a battle to the end with a 65.

"I was really nervous today. It's hard to play with a lead," Thomas said. "You don't know how often things like this will happen, and it feels great."

The victory, the first for Thomas since the World Golf Championship at Firestone last year, gives him a two-shot lead starting the Tour Championship next week as the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup chase the US$15-million prize.

The field will have a staggered start based on their position in the FedEx Cup, meaning Thomas starts at 10-under par.

The top 30 who advanced includes Lucas Glover, who went bogey, double bogey late in his round until finishing with a par to wrap up his first trip to East Lake in 10 years.

It will not include Masters champion Tiger Woods, the defending champion.

Woods was a long shot going into the final round to crack the top 30, and he closed with a 72. East Lake was his first victory in five years, capping his return from four back surgeries, a special moment replaced six months later by his Masters victory.

Hideki Matsuyama took the 36-hole lead with a 63 until falling back with a 73. He responded with another 63 to finish alone in third, making him one of three players who moved into the top 30 to reach East Lake.

The other was Jason Kokrak, but only after J.T. Poston made bogey on his final hole.

The U.S. team for the Presidents Cup didn't change, with Bryson DeChambeau holding down the final spot. Tony Finau would have needed to finish alone in third.

He closed with a 69 to finish fourth, unable to keep up with Matsuyama.

Nothing changed for the International team either, as Jason Day failed to earn one of the eight automatic spots.

Both captains, Woods and Ernie Els, will have four picks on Nov. 5.

Corey Conners (69) of Listowel, Ont., tied for seventh with Glover at 15 under over all. After starting the season with only a partial PGA Tour card, Conners has now earned a spot in all four majors next season, the World Golf Championships and, of course, a full tour card for 2020.

He was also well within the top 30 to advance to the Tour Championship.

Adam Hadwin (76) of Abbotsford, B.C., tied for 43rd at six under.

With so much at stake, the one certainty going into the final round seemed to be the winner. Thomas had a six-shot lead, and only seven players dating to 1928 had ever lost a lead that big on the PGA Tour.

Thomas didn't hit a fairway until the fifth hole. He still had a six-shot lead when his chip from across the green on the parfive seventh nearly went for eagle.

And then it turned quickly.

Cantlay made an eight-foot birdie on No.

7, followed with a 12-foot birdie on No. 8 and a six-foot birdie on No. 9. Thomas then helped out by hitting his second to the parfive 10th under a tree, hitting left-handed to get it out and making bogey. Cantlay made his fourth straight birdie, and the lead was down to two with eight holes remaining.

That's when Thomas came to life with a wedge to two feet for birdie.

He followed with two key putts, and the most important might have been for par.

He drove into the right rough and had to play about 65 yards short of the green, hitting wedge up to about 12 feet. Cantlay had a 15-foot birdie putt, and a two-shot swing would have cut the lead to one.

Cantlay missed. Thomas made his par putt, stepping forward with a fist pump.

Associated Graphic

Justin Thomas of the United States plays a shot on the 10th hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club on Sunday. Thomas's victory was his first since he took the World Golf Championship at Firestone last year.

SAM GREENWOOD/GETTY IMAGES


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Raiders' Brown practises with certified helmet
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By JOSH DUBOW
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B11

ALAMEDA, CALIF. -- Star receiver Antonio Brown practised in a certified helmet with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, two days after being given an ultimatum by general manager Mike Mayock to be "all in or all out."

"He's all in, ready to go," coach Jon Gruden said. "That's my understanding. Really happy to have him out here. He's a great player."

Brown didn't attend practice Sunday as he worked to find a helmet he was comfortable using and that met safety standards set by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. He lost a grievance last week in which he sought to be allowed to use the Schutt Air Advantage helmet he has worn throughout his career. But the helmet was too old to be certified as safe.

He had hoped to find a newer version of his preferred helmet that could be approved, but the one he submitted failed a safety test conducted by the league and union.

He filed a second grievance Monday seeking a one-year grace period, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because it wasn't made public. But he is back practising with the team while that gets resolved.

Brown was not wearing a helmet during the open portion of practice and spent some of the time during stretch in the nearby weight room. But he walked off the field after practice holding a new helmet and Gruden said he's running well after also missing time with frostbitten feet.

"He's really good," Gruden said. "He's shown great retention of what we're doing.

He didn't miss the off-season program."

Brown didn't take part in a full practice during the Raiders' entire training camp stay in Napa, Calif., which wrapped up Monday, missing time because of frostbite on his feet suffered in a cryotherapy accident in France and then over the helmet issue. That led to Mayock saying Sunday that the Raiders had supported Brown, but had "exhausted all avenues of relief."

Gruden said the drama surrounding Brown hasn't affected the team's preparation for the season.

"It's not been a distraction to me at all," Gruden said. "I hate to break it to anybody, but we've known what the status is regarding his feet. He just showed up with frost bite. I never had a guy show up with frost bite. Fortunately, we got that thing under control. This grievance thing is no laughing matter. It's something that's really important to him. There's nothing wrong in supporting your players on things they believe in. We also understand the league's position but I'm confident that he's going to be a heck of a player for us and be ready to roll."

Brown had 686 catches and 9,145 yards receiving the past six seasons in Pittsburgh, the best marks ever for a receiver in a six-year span. But he still wore out his welcome with the Steelers after leaving the team before a crucial Week 17 game last season and Oakland was able to acquire him in March for the small price of third- and fifth-round draft picks.

The drama that surrounded Brown in Pittsburgh didn't stop upon his arrival in Oakland, even though he was given a hefty raise with a three-year contract worth US$50.125-million.

He arrived at camp with the frost-bitten feet, sending him to the non-football injury list. He was activated on July 28 and participated in parts of two practices before leaving for more than a week to get treatment and deal with the helmet grievance.

Associated Graphic

Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown practised in a certified helmet with the team in Alameda, Calif., on Tuesday, after losing a grievance last week in which he sought to be allowed to use the Schutt Air Advantage helmet he has worn throughout his career - that helmet was too old to be certified as safe.

PHOTOS BY JEFF CHIU/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


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Williams-Ramos drama overshadows this year's U.S. Open
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By HOWARD FENDRICH
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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B11

As the start of the 2019 U.S.

Open approaches, the indelible image from last year's tournament does not involve a particularly remarkable shot or a champion holding a trophy. Instead, it is, and likely forever will remain, Serena Williams pointing her index finger at chair umpire Carlos Ramos while insisting that he owed her an apology after they clashed during the women's final.

The tenor of that match between Williams - who then was, and currently is, seeking a 24th Grand Slam singles trophy - and Naomi Osaka - whose terrific performance during a 6-2, 6-4 victory largely was ignored amid the chaos that enveloped Arthur Ashe Stadium that day - shifted after Ramos warned Williams for receiving a coaching signal from the stands and devolved from there. She eventually was docked a point and, later, a game - and afterward, was fined US$17,000.

Almost a full 12 months later, with first-round play beginning Monday at Flushing Meadows, the ramifications of that 1-hour 19-minute contest still reverberate, including this: Ramos will not officiate matches involving Serena Williams or her older sister, Venus.

Among the key story lines that carry over: Serena Williams, also the runner-up at Wimbledon each of the past two years, is trying to equal Margaret Court's mark for most major singles championships. Osaka, who added her second Slam title at the Australian Open in January, returns to New York ranked No. 1 - and dealing with knee discomfort that forced her withdrawal from a tuneup tournament last week.

What's more, the tennis world is filled with continuing discussions and debates about such matters as the proper role of chair umpires, the way the code of conduct is constructed and, maybe above all, whether in-match coaching should be permitted everywhere.

On that last subject, there are those who would like to see it, such as the USTA itself or Williams's coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, who acknowledged right after last year's final that he was attempting to communicate with his player and also noted, correctly, that surreptitious coaching happens all the time and goes unpunished.

Says Allaster: "I understand it's polarizing, but ultimately, we have to look at how tennis competes and is relevant. ... Access is a key part of it; engagement with fans that want to hear from the players and coaches."

Says Mouratoglou: "I have never understood why tennis is just about the only sport in which coaching during matches is not allowed."

There are others, such as Roger Federer or the person in charge of Wimbledon, who think it goes against the very fabric of the game.

Says Federer: "I'm of the opinion that we shouldn't have coaching in tennis. ... It's what actually makes our sport unique."

Says All England Club executive chairman Richard Lewis: "There's a lot of people - Wimbledon, as much as anybody - who feel that tennis is very special because it is a gladiatorial contest. ... You're on your own."

It's a topic that hangs over the season's past major, even if there are plenty of results-related questions for the hard-court tournament's two weeks: How healthy is Williams, who withdrew two events because of back spasms? Can Osaka make another deep run? Will Wimbledon champion Simona Halep get past the semi-finals at the only Slam where she hasn't? How will 15-year-old Coco Gauff follow up her run at Wimbledon? Can Federer, defending champ Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal make it 12 major titles in a row for the Big Three? Might a twentysomething man finally break through?

None of that, though, is fraught with the greater significance of a possible rule change. As things stand, there is nothing consistent about coaching, a reflection of the each-week-is-different situation in a sport without a commissioner or a single rulebook.

Associated Graphic

Serena Williams, left, argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the 2018 U.S. Open in New York.

SETH WENIG/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


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For some pros at Magna, Symetra Tour isn't too far out of focus
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By JEFF BROOKE
  
  

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Friday, August 23, 2019 – Page B10

AURORA, ONT. -- It's always a big deal for Canadians Maddie Szeryk and Maude-Aimée LeBlanc to play this week in the CP Women's Open, an LPGA Tour event and their national championship.

But it's not as important as the tournaments that lie ahead for them.

Szeryk, a rookie pro, and veteran LeBlanc are Canada's top performers on the second-tier Symetra Tour this season. They are both trying to get into the top 10 on the circuit's money list and thus earn a promotion to the LPGA Tour for 2020.

So while they're playing for a US$2.25-million purse this week - 10 to 20 times bigger than what they would see any other week - they're also looking ahead to the final five Symetra events.

Szeryk, a dual U.S.-Canada citizen whose Canadian base is in London, Ont., is in 13th spot on the Symetra money list but just US$5,000 away from 10th. LeBlanc of Sherbrooke is 20th.

"At least two of the [remaining] events have big purses and they are going to be key," said LeBlanc, 30, who has had LPGA Tour status for most of her eightyear pro career, but didn't keep her card last year. "I'm going to have to be able to play well those weeks to give myself a good chance to get in the top 10."

"If I have one strong week, I'm right there," Szeryk added.

They're both able to play in the CP Women's Open because the Symetra Tour has this week off.

This is Szeryk's fourth career appearance in the championship and LeBlanc's 11th.

Szeryk, 23, is an up-and-comer who played on Canada's national amateur team for four years and notched four collegiate wins, playing for Texas A&M, before turning professional last year.

She won a mini-tour event in her pro debut.

Her Symetra foray has gone well and has included four top-10 finishes, including one runnerup. "It was a little overwhelming at first but I've definitely kind of settled in and I'm excited," Szeryk said of her Symetra experience, speaking ahead of Thursday's opening round of the CP Women's Open. "It's gone really well and I feel comfortable out there."

LeBlanc has had five top-10s, including three in her past four outings. The 6-foot-1 player, also a national team member in her amateur days, is known for her long drives but it's her putting that has lifted her this season, she said.

About two months ago, she changed her putter, her grip, her stance and even her mental approach to golf's shortest stroke.

"My putting is definitely what has been keeping me away from getting to my potential or being more consistent on the LPGA," she said. "So I'm really happy I've figured it out this year."

Even if they don't quite reach the top 10 by season's end, they would still have another chance to earn their LPGA cards at the tour's qualifying school. They would join Q-school in the third and final stage in late October and each be competing for one of the 45 cards available.

But for another day at least, before they return to the Symetra Tour next week in Sioux Falls, S.D., they've got the chance to enjoy the LPGA Tour and its stop this week at Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ont. LeBlanc opened with a five-over-par 77 and like Szeryk, who shot a 78, will have her work cut out for if she wants to make the cut on Friday.

But as LeBlanc said before the tournament began, "I don't really have anything to lose out here this week. So I'll just try to enjoy it."


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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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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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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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Auger-Aliassime ousts Raonic as top Canadian men's player
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B12

Félix Auger-Aliassime is now the topranked Canadian in men's tennis after jumping into 19th spot in the latest ATP Tour rankings released Monday.

The 19-year-old from Montreal moved up two spots to become just the second Canadian to break into the top 20 since the ATP started publishing rankings in 1973.

Auger-Aliassime jumped past Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., who moved down two spots to No. 22. Raonic, the only other Canadian to crack the top 20, has a career-high ranking of No. 3.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., fell four spots to No. 38.

Auger-Aliassime's rise to the top of Canadian tennis comes despite the teenager putting up some mediocre results on grass and hardcourt.

He hasn't advanced beyond the third round of a tournament since reaching the semi-finals of a Wimbledon warm-up event in late June.

He was drummed out of the first round of the recent Masters event in Cincinnati after No. 58 Miomir Kecmanovic posted a convincing 6-3, 6-3 win.

He reached the third round of his hometown event the week before at the Rogers Cup, but was pushed to a third-set tiebreak by Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil - ranked No. 205 - then moved on to the third round when the ailing Raonic retired before the third set of their second-round match.

Auger-Aliassime was then beaten in three sets by No. 8 Karen Khachanov. However, with an injured Raonic unable to defend points and Shapovalov also struggling, Auger-Aliassime was able to take the mantle of top-ranked Canadian heading into the coming U.S. Open.

In women's rankings, Rogers Cup champion Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga fell one spot to 15th after sitting out the Cincinnati tournament.

Japan's Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty of Australia, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, Romania's Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine round out the top five.


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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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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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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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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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RBC Capital Markets chief to retire after decade of expansion
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By ANDREW WILLIS
  
  

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On Doug McGregor's 11-year watch as chief executive, RBC Capital Markets grew from a regional player into a leading global investment bank, navigating storms that swept away far larger institutions.

As the 63-year-old announced plans on Wednesday to retire in January, Mr. McGregor predicted his successors will continue to expand Royal Bank of Canada's capital-markets franchise, due to a combination of the firm's strong culture and its ability to overcome the structural issues that continue to bedevil many international rivals.

Derek Neldner, aged 46 and currently global head of investment banking, will take over as CEO of RBC Capital Markets in the new year.

"We did it the right way, we were careful, every step of the way, and we were fortunate to avoid major mistakes," Mr.McGregor said in an interview.

Over a decade, the investment dealer more than doubled its revenues, from $3.9-billion to $8.4billion in 2018, while assets increased from $340-billion to $576-billion. RBC shareholders earned a 12-per-cent average annual return from the capital-markets business over the past 10 years, which the bank says is the best performance of any global financial institution.

Mr. McGregor joined RBC in 1983 and took the top job at the investment dealer in 2008, in the midst of the global financial crisis. Most banks were forced to retrench at the time, but Canadian banks came through the downturn with relatively strong balance sheets. Mr. McGregor saw an opportunity for Toronto-based RBC to build client relationships, put capital to work and hire professionals in New York, London, Sydney and other international centres. However, the firm shied away from significant acquisitions, a growth strategy that Mr.

McGregor said typically creates culture clashes at investment banks.

Looking ahead, Mr. McGregor said a number of European banks, including Deutsche Bank, are expected to continue exiting capital markets and that will create opportunities for RBC to expand. He said: "The challenge is to keep building on our momentum and to keep managing the risks that come with investing globally, and Derek is more than ready for that challenge."

In a reflective moment for an executive who, by his own admission, is seldom given to introspection, Mr. McGregor said his only regrets in 37 years with RBC are "I didn't have a little more fun along the way, and didn't spend more time talking to the younger people at the firm." He said deal-making and trading, by definition, force executives to jump from one transaction to the next. As he contemplates the end of his career, Mr. McGregor said what he values most are memories of time with clients and colleagues.

Long-time clients said Mr.McGregor's strength is balancing the needs of Royal Bank with its customers' demands for loans and other support. "Doug is always about protecting the bank, but even when he said 'no' on a deal, it was always 'no, but we can do this,'" said Jon Love, CEO of real estate firm KingSett Capital Inc., who estimates he's done "tens of billions of dollars worth of business" with RBC.

"Doug is clear, he's decisive and he's loyal, and he's got a tremendous customer focus," Mr.Love said.

Mr. McGregor is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario's MBA program and former varsity wrestler who started his career in 1979 on an equity-sales desk, then moved to real estate banking in 1983 at a division of RBC. "I never thought I would work for a bank," Mr. McGregor said on Wednesday. "Frankly, I never put much thought into my career." RBC Capital Markets' CEO also said he has put little thought into retirement plans, but will likely keep busy in real estate as either an investor or an adviser to property companies.

RBC, like most public companies, tries to align the interests of shareholders and management by paying the executives a significant amount of compensation in the form of shares. Regulatory filings this spring showed Mr.McGregor owned a stake worth $73-million, nearly three times the holding of RBC CEO Dave McKay, who also joined the bank in 1983. Among active executives at Canada's big banks, only Toronto-Dominion Bank CEO Bharat Masrani and TD Securities Inc.

boss Bob Dorrance owned larger stakes, worth $76-million and $99-million respectively.


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HBC committee says Baker's take-private offer isn't rich enough
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By JEFFREY JONES
  
  

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Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page B1

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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Catalyst raises HBC stake to block privatization bid
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Purchase increases pressure on Richard Baker to boost $9.45-a-share offer
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By RACHELLE YOUNGLAI
  
  

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B1

Catalyst Capital Group Inc. has acquired 10.05 per cent of Hudson's Bay Co., giving the investment firm more leverage to block a $1-billion privatization offer from the retailer's executive chairman, Richard Baker.

The Toronto-based firm said on Monday it has bought 18.5 million shares worth about $187-million through an offer it made last month to minority shareholders. The new shares add to Catalyst's existing position in HBC, the company said without disclosing its total holdings in the retailer.

Mr. Baker, who has called the Catalyst offer coercive, is leading a coalition of shareholders representing 57 per cent of HBC's stock in a bid to take the company private. For the privatization to succeed, securities rules require the approval of a majority of the minority shareholders.

The Catalyst stake increases the odds that Mr.Baker will have to change his offer of $9.45 a share to win the investment firm's support. Catalyst and some of the other minority investors say HBC is worth more than the privatization offer.

"What it means is that the privatization in its current form is less likely to happen," said Alex Arifuzzaman, founder of retail real estate adviser InterStratics Consultants Inc. "They will have to raise the price or work with [Catalyst] to sell some assets or do something."

HBC, which owns its eponymous department store chain across Canada, along with Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States, is trying to survive a changing retail environment. Department store chains like Sears Canada and brands like Target Canada have gone out of business as competition from e-commerce grows.

The Catalyst offer of $10.11 a share expired on Aug. 16. After the news that the investment firm had obtained the 10-percent stake, the price of HBC stock rose more than 7 per cent to $10.09, outperforming the Toronto stock index and suggesting investors believe a higher bid will materialize.

It is not clear whether Mr. Baker will change his offer. A spokeswoman for the Baker group declined to comment.

Catalyst, led by financier Newton Glassman, said it is committed to working with HBC directors to "seek out every alternative" to maximize value for all shareholders, whether through a sale process, dividend distributions of the cash to be realized from the sale of the company's key European assets or otherwise."

Catalyst has not disclosed what it believes HBC is worth. A spokesman for Catalyst declined to comment.

Some of the dissident shareholders have publicly said that HBC is worth more than $20 a share and want Mr. Baker to fully divest the company's European operations, as well as sell or redevelop properties such as its Saks Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan.

Under Mr. Baker's leadership, the company has taken steps to revitalize its HBC chain, shuttered underperforming Lord & Taylor stores, divested part of its European operations, and sold some of its top real estate properties in Canada and the United States.

But that has not boosted HBC stock back to its 2015 levels of nearly $29 apiece.

"HBC's retail real estate manoeuvres have failed to surface value or put a floor under its stock," said Kathleen Wong, a senior analyst with Veritas Investment Research Corp. who is recommending that HBC shareholders sell.

So far, dissident shareholders have received some support from a special committee of independent HBC directors evaluating Mr. Baker's proposal. The committee called the offer "inadequate" in its initial assessment.

The executive chairman's plan is only a proposal at this stage. The special committee has to issue its final recommendation and the proposed bid must be formalized before shareholders can vote on it.

HUDSON'S BAY (HBC) CLOSE: $10.09, UP 71¢

Associated Graphic

Under executive chairman Richard Baker's leadership, the company has taken steps to revitalize its HBC chain.

CHRISTOPHER KATSAROV/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Shut of out China, canola farmers find opportunities in Europe
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Canadian sales expected to more than double after drought, pest attacks lead to EU's smallest harvest in 13 years
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By GUS TROMPIZ, ROD NICKEL
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WINNIPEG PARIS -- Crop-scorching drought in Europe is providing Canadian canola farmers a timely new opportunity to move supplies that have piled up since China stopped buying this year.

Rising European sales are taking some of the sting out of losing the Chinese market for Canadian farmers, although Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) canola futures prices are down 11 per cent from a year ago.

Beijing suspended the licences of Canadian exporters Richardson International Ltd. and Viterra Inc. this year and halted most other Canadian canola purchases, citing concerns about pests.

Meanwhile, drought that blighted planting, followed by pest attacks during the growing season, have put European Union rapeseed, as canola is known on that side of the Atlantic, on track for the smallest harvest in 13 years.

Canada and China have been locked in a diplomatic and trade dispute since December, when Canadian police arrested a Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive at the request of the United States. Canada is the world's biggest canola producer and exporter, and China is usually its biggest market, crushing the crop into feed for fish and pigs, and into vegetable oil.

"With the challenges the Canadian industry has going into China right now, the big carryout, a big crop coming, we're looking for market access as an industry," said Chad Molesky, merchandising manager at Viterra, which is half-owned by commodity trader Glencore PLC.

Canadian canola sales to the EU have climbed for several years.

But this crop year they could range between 1.3 million and 2 million tonnes, more than double the record high, Mr. Molesky said.

Canadian canola competes in the EU market with imports from the Black Sea region and Australia.

Canada exported 527,000 tonnes of canola to Western European countries from July, 2018, through June, 2019, according to the most recent Canadian Grain Commission data. Most shipments are to European crushers that process the oilseed into biodiesel, such as Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill Inc. and Avril SCA.

French consultancy Strategie Grains projects EU rapeseed imports to surge to a record 5.8 million tonnes in the 2019-20 season, up from 4.2 million in 201819.

"Canadian prices are ultracompetitive. They're looking to ship their supplies and need to sell to Europe," a European oilseed trader said.

Euronext rapeseed futures hit a one-year high on Thursday, factoring in the small crop.

Two vessels of canola left Canada this month, destined for France and Germany, according to Refinitiv data.

Four set sail from Canada to Western Europe in July, one of which took the roundabout way to France from the western Canadian port of Vancouver, showing how far Canadian exporters are willing to go to sell canola.

Cargill Ltd., Viterra and Saudi Arabia-owned G3 are the only Canadian exporters certified to supply canola for European biodiesel.

Sales to the European Union for biodiesel production require shippers and the farms they buy from to meet sustainability standards under the EU's Renewable Energy Directive.

Saskatchewan farmer Charlene Bradley said she would certify her farm to sell to Europe, but the country elevators that buy her crops are not involved in the program.

Canadian farmers can become certified by filling out paperwork through their grain handler, and most already meet EU criteria, said Brian Innes, vice-president of the Canola Council of Canada industry group.

A key requirement is that farmers are producing crops from land that has been in cultivation since at least 2008.

"Especially given what's going on with China, anything to increase the market would be a good thing," Ms. Bradley said.

Chinese buyers have lately made small purchases of Canadian canola, but shipping privileges of Richardson and Viterra remain suspended, Mr. Innes said.

Associated Graphic

Canada is the world's biggest producer and exporter of canola. It exported 527,000 tonnes to Western European countries for the year ended June, 2019.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS


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Trade tensions, economic woes cast cloud over bank outlooks
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Analysts predict steady third-quarter profit for the Big Six, but investors will be looking for signs of weakness in two key measures that could be hampered by global trends
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By JAMES BRADSHAW
  
  

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Rising trade tensions and weakening growth in major economies loom large as Canadian banks prepare to report earnings for the fiscal third quarter.

Several analysts are predicting that earnings for each share among Canada's six largest banks will increase by 6 to 7 per cent year over year - a steady but unspectacular rate - for the three months that ended July 31.

But investors will be watching for signs of weakness in two key measures of the banks' resilience in quarters to come: Provisions for credit losses, or the money banks set aside to cover bad loans, and net interest margin, which measures the spread between what banks pay on deposits and earn from loans. Both could be hampered by global trends such as tariffs and trade wars, U.S. interest-rate cuts and the inverted yield curve.

"We do not expect [third-quarter] results to resolve the conflict between the pessimism and optimism surrounding the macroeconomic environment," said Robert Sedran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets Inc. "If anything, we expect this conflict to be on full display as we see growth that is neither as strong nor as easily achieved as that of the last couple of years."

Royal Bank of Canada's results could be a bellwether, as Canada's largest bank by assets reports first on Aug. 21., Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce follows on Aug. 22, and the remaining four major lenders - Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, National Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank - will release their results from Aug. 27 to 29.

Analysts expect as many as three of the Big Six banks to raise their quarterly dividends: RBC, Scotiabank and CIBC.

Here are two themes to watch:

EXPECTED LOAN LOSSES Analysts are predicting a gradual uptick in provisions for credit losses in the third quarter.

If they are correct, it will be a function of anticipated losses reverting to something near their historical average, after a prolonged period of unusually low losses. The core consumer loan books that encompass debt from residential mortgages and credit cards still look healthy.

Propped up by strong employment rates, delinquencies on personal loans "remain well below their historical averages," said Rob Colangelo, a senior vicepresident at ratings agency DBRS Ltd., in a research note.

But many analysts will be watching to see how much each bank sets aside to begin building reserves against the possibility that performing loans might soon turn sour. Predictions of expected losses are required under fairly new accounting rules known as IFRS 9, and heavily influenced by changing economic forecasts.

"We believe many investors would prefer to see banks slowly build [anticipated credit losses] for conservatism so late in the economic cycle," said Darko Mihelic, an analyst at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. "We believe the action [or inaction] of many banks in [the third quarter] will be watched carefully by investors."

NET INTEREST MARGINS Banks got some reprieve last year from an extended period of rockbottom interest rates that squeezed profit margins coming out of the global financial crisis, as central banks in the United States and Canada began gradually raising rates. Now, the Bank of Canada appears to have put rate increases on hold, and the Federal Reserve has cut rates to try and nip signs of a slowing economy in the bud. Meanwhile, bond yields are falling as investors seek safe haven amid trade disputes, putting pressure on banks' lending margins - particularly for RBC, TD, BMO and CIBC, which all have substantial U.S. operations.

That, in turn, will make banks' constant efforts to cut costs and become more efficient even more important to their overall profitability. "We have flattened our net interest margin assumptions [and some pressure in the U.S. seems likely]," Mr. Sedran said, although that's "hardly catastrophic."

Associated Graphic

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Encana challenges pipeline fee tied to U.S. steel tariffs
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By MEGAN DEVLIN
  
  

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B1

Canadian oil and gas producer Encana Corp. is asking a U.S. energy regulator to throw out a proposed surcharge on a new Texas pipeline meant to recoup increased construction costs the pipe's owner says have ballooned because of U.S.

steel tariffs.

Encana along with ConocoPhillips Co., companies that both harvest shale oil from the Permian Basin that stretches across western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, filed a challenge Monday about the proposed 5-US-cent-a-barrel fee on the Cactus II pipeline.

They argue the pipeline that transports 670,000 barrels a day of crude oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast failed to demonstrate the fee is "just and reasonable."

That's because Plains All American, the pipeline's owner, has applied to the U.S. Department of Commerce for the third time to waive the 25-per-cent tariffs it paid on imported steel from Greece. The oil producers believe Plains should wait to see if it's exempt from the tariffs before getting a surcharge approved.

Plains estimates the steel and aluminum tariffs brought in last year by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration added US$40-million in construction costs to the US$1.1-billion pipeline. Plains commissioned the steel from Greece months before Mr. Trump implemented the tariffs, but didn't receive its first shipment until last summer - after the tariffs came into effect.

Plains chief executive officer and director Willie Chiang has argued the tariffs are unfair because the company couldn't find a domestic steel producer able to manufacture pipe to the specifications it needed.

Its first two waiver requests were denied, but if Plains wins an exemption on its third request, the company would "stop the surcharge and rebate it as appropriate," Mr. Chiang told investors on an Aug. 6 earnings call.

But Encana and ConocoPhillips are concerned that won't happen because Cactus II didn't put Mr. Chiang's promise in writing in its application for the surcharge to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The fee could bring in US$33,500 a day for Plains if Cactus II ships at capacity. At that rate, Plains would make back the additional construction costs in a little more than three years.

The steel and aluminum tariffs were meant to protect U.S.based producers, but this case suggests the tariffs could also be affecting domestic energy producers and transporters.

It's a clash of the Trump administration's goals of energy dominance and free trade, according to James Coleman, an energy law professor at the Southern Methodist University of Texas.

While a 5-US-cent-a-barrel surcharge doesn't seem like much, especially in a market where the price of a barrel of oil can swing by more than that in a day, it's an added fee producers will want to keep out, Mr. Coleman said.

"Transport costs really are the whole game, increasingly, in energy because cost of producing has fallen so far."

If FERC approves the Cactus II surcharge, it could set a precedent that would allow two other pipelines constructed after the new steel tariffs were implemented to add their own fees to recoup costs. FERC is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.

Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Gulf Coast Express natural gas pipeline and Epic Midstream crude oil pipeline could also pass tariff costs on to shippers.

Neither Encana nor ConocoPhillips responded to a request for comment.

ENCANA (ECA) CLOSE: $5.85, DOWN 5¢ CONOCOPHILLIPS (COP) CLOSE: US$52.71, DOWN US$1.22


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A tour to promote Japanese art
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The donor Tony Girardin
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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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Thomas loses cushion, shares lead at Tour Championship
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Schauffele and Koepka have caught up to Medinah winner, who started play at 10-under and with a two-shot lead
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By DOUG FERGUSON
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ATLANTA -- Xander Schauffele was six shots behind before he ever hit a shot Thursday in the new scoring format for the Tour Championship. His goal was to keep his head down, play good golf and see where he stood to par at the end of two days.

The TV cameras following his every move on the back nine at East Lake were the first hint it was going well. A leaderboard on the 18th green confirmed it.

"I saw I was in first," he said. "Happy with the day."

Schauffele didn't come seriously close to a bogey in a six-under 64 that was the best score of the opening round by two shots. It was only worth a share of the lead with Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka in a Tour Championship where players started with better scores to par than others, depending on their place in the FedEx Cup.

Thomas, who started at 10-under par and with a two-shot lead as the No. 1 seed, still led despite having trouble finding the fairway. That was the least of his problems on the back nine. He hit pitching wedge into the water for double bogey and missed a pair of three-foot putts for a 70.

Instead of being six shots behind Schauffele, who started at four under as the No. 8 seed, Thomas was tied for the lead. Koepka, the No. 3 seed who started three shots behind, birdied three of his last four holes for a 67 to join them at 10 under.

"It's weird on Thursday to be three back after a couple of holes," Koepka said of the start. "It's nice to close that gap on Day 1."

Rory McIlroy, five shots behind at the start as the No. 5 seed, had a 66 and was one shot behind at nine under going into the second round.

Over the next three days, it should look and feel like a normal tournament.

The score to par is all that matters in deciding who wins the FedEx Cup and the US$15-million prize. And after one day, it was setting up to be a shootout. The top five players were separated by five shots at the start, and that number was at 12 players by the end of the day.

That included Paul Casey, who felt a new kind of anticipation for a Thursday.

"After five holes, I wanted to see scores. I never usually care about what's going on after five holes," said Paul Casey, who shot 66. He started eight shots behind as the No. 16 seed and cut that margin in half after one round.

The concern was that Thomas, who won last week at Medinah, might post another low score and build a huge lead. It didn't work out that way.

"We've got a golf event now," Casey said.

"This is kind of cool. Looks like it's working."

There were a few other moments that indicated this Thursday was different from all others in golf.

Thomas made the turn at one under, and as the walking scorer brought the sign across the road and onto the 10th tee, one fan was shocked to see him at 11 under until he said, "That's right - he started at 10 under."

Schauffele was at 10 under when he approached the 18th green to face a six-foot birdie putt.

"I had a putt for 59 on the last hole," he said with a smile.

Patrick Cantlay, the No. 2 seed who began two shots behind, shared the lead briefly until two bogeys over the last five holes for a 70. It wasn't a good day, yet he still was only two shots behind.

Thomas missed a three-foot par putt on No. 12. On the par-three 15th, which played 60 yards shorter than usual, his wedge was right all the way and found the water. And on the 17th, he hit wedge to three feet, only to see his birdie putt spin 270 degrees around and out of the cup.

He salvaged the day with a good drive - only his sixth fairway of the round - that set up a two-putt birdie.

"It's fine," Thomas said.

"I'm tied for the lead."

Schauffele won the Tour Championship two years ago in a situation that led to this change in format. FedEx Cup points accrued during the regular season and quadrupled in the postseason were reset to give everyone a chance. The top five players only had to win the tournament to capture the FedEx Cup, and odds of winning the bonus were higher as the position in the standings got lower.

Schauffele, a rookie in 2017, was the No.

26 seed when he won the tournament.

The FedEx Cup went to Thomas, who was the No. 2 seed and finished one shot behind.

There were two winners that day and mixed emotions. Thomas had never been so irritated winning US$10-million.

Now, the reward for a good season and two playoff events is a lower score under par to start the Tour Championship, and the lowest score to par at the end of the week wins US$15-million.

"I think everyone needed help from J.T.," said Schauffele, a phrase usually only heard going into the final round, not on a Thursday. "If J.T. went out and shot a pair of 65s, I don't think the tour would be very happy and I don't think the rest of the field would be happy."

Associated Graphic

Xander Schauffele plays a shot at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Thursday. The American, who won the tournament two years ago in a situation that led to a change in format, finished the day with a bogey-free six-under 64.

STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES


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After World Cup disappointment, Sinclair eyes 2020 Olympics
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Veteran player says Canada is on solid footing despite its crushing quarter-final loss
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By DAN RALPH
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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B11

TORONTO -- The sting of Canada's World Cup disappointment has been replaced by the allure of another Olympic women's soccer medal for Christine Sinclair.

Sinclair said Wednesday that time has helped ease the pain of Canada's disheartening 1-0 World Cup quarter-final loss to Sweden on June 24 in Paris. The veteran team captain's focus now is on leading the squad into the 2020 Tokyo Games and chasing a third straight Olympic medal.

Canada has captured bronze medals at the past two Summer Games (2012 in London, 2016 in Rio). Sinclair said she'll ponder her soccer future after the Tokyo Olympics.

"I've thought about it," said Sinclair, in town promoting A&W's Burgers to Beat MS Day, campaign. "I'm just going to go the Olympics and see what happens from there.

"Obviously, we hear what Canadians expect from us, but we don't listen to it. It's about what we can achieve and what we know we're capable of achieving and if anything, we're good at bouncing back from World Cups."

Much was expected of Canada at the World Cup, given its Olympic success and No. 5 world ranking, but Sweden went ahead 1-0 late in the opening half.

Canada had a glorious chance to tie the score at the 68-minute mark on a penalty kick that Sinclair deferred to Janine Beckie.

But goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl made the huge stop to not only preserve Sweden's victory, but also spark debate regarding Sinclair's controversial move.

However, Sinclair, who'd missed a penalty against Lindahl at the Algarve Cup months earlier, has no regrets about her decision.

"There's a group of us that works on PKs after every practice and Hedvig had saved my last one," she said. "I'm proud of Janine for stepping up and taking it. Had we scored we wouldn't be talking about it.

"I'm more concerned that we didn't have a shot on goal. You can't rely on a penalty shot to win games in a World Cup and that needs to be the focus, I think."

Sinclair didn't have time to dwell upon the heart-breaking loss. After the World Cup she rejoined Portland Thorns FC of the National Women's Soccer League.

"For me, it was very important just to get back at it," said Sinclair, who's two goals shy of tying American Abby Wambach's all-time international record of 186. "You move on, especially for our team.

"We have the Olympics next summer, we have qualification in January. We can't dwell on the past too long."

Portland (9-3-6) is atop the league standings with 33 points entering action on Wednesday. Sinclair has a team-high eight goals, leaving her tied for second over all.

The A&W promotion, in its 11th year and having raised more than $13-million, is one that's near and dear to Sinclair's heart. Her mother, Sandi, was diagnosed 38 years ago with multiple sclerosis, which affects the central nervous system.

On Thursday, $2 from every Teen Burger sold will go to the MS Society of Canada.

"I've seen the toll it takes on a family and an individual," Sinclair said.

Despite Canada's World Cup result, Sinclair is adamant the national women's program is on solid footing and not in need of radical changes. The Canadian team is currently seventh in the world rankings.

"Knowing how the World Cup ended [with the Netherlands finishing second, Sweden taking third] we were right there," she said. "I honestly think we could've beaten both of those teams, so I don't think this is the time to panic and all of a sudden change everything ... just fine-tune a few things."

Sinclair feels Olympic gold is possible for Canada but acknowledges the World Cupchampion United States, which tops the world rankings, presents a huge challenge.

"They're the best team in the world for a reason ... the depth they have is incredible," she said. "I have a teammate in Portland, Lindsey Horan, who I think is one of the world's best centre midfielders and she didn't even see the pitch in the final.

"And when you look at the teams they beat to win the World Cup ... they deserved it. For us, it's kind of annoying that if you play them five times, you might lose four, but it's making sure that one time is at the right time and that's what we're aiming for."

Sinclair feels a domestic league is needed in Canada to help solidify the sport's future here. But because one doesn't exist, Sinclair and her national teammates must play abroad.

"I think it's something that needs to happen," she said. "You look at some of the professional teams that are now funding women's teams - Manchester City, Manchester United - and it's scary to think what might happen in four to eight years if we don't keep up."

Associated Graphic

Christine Sinclair, seen in Canada's World Cup game against New Zealand, says her team shouldn't dwell too long on its loss to Sweden.

FRANCISCO SECO/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


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Brees isn't sweating the numbers
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Record-setting Saints QB may be getting on in years, but says efficiency will lead to longevity
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By BRETT MARTEL
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B11

NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees sees discussions about his arm strength and recently declining passing yardage as moot points.

Efficiency is what wins, the 40year-old, record-setting Saints quarterback says - and that will be a driving factor in determining his longevity.

"I can't throw the ball 70 yards like some guys can. But last time I checked, I don't really need to throw 70 yards in order to be effective and win games. So I'm not worried about it," Brees said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Brees said being able to throw as deep as any NFL QB "would be a nice luxury, but I don't need to."

While Brees is in the final season of his contract - and said he has no plans to discuss a possible extension until after this season - he is less than a year removed from capping off possibly the most efficient campaign of his previous 18 NFL seasons.

He broke his own completion percentage rate for a single season in 2018, connecting on 74.4 per cent of his passes. He also passed for 32 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions, the second-best such ratio in the league.

Meanwhile, the Saints nearly went to last season's Super Bowl - and very well might have if not for league-acknowledged officiating mistakes near the end of regulation in the NFC title game. (Missed pass interference and helmet-tohelmet contact penalties committed by a Los Angeles Rams defender were seen as egregious enough to spark a rule change making such plays subject to video review.)

At the same time, Brees's 3,992 yards passing, which ranked 13th in the NFL, represented his lowest single-season passing total since he joined the Saints in 2006. Brees points out that he sat out the final game of last season, with New Orleans having already clinched the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed - meaning he likely would have wound up with more than 4,200 yards, based on his per-game average of 266 yards passing.

"That's still probably low, according to our standard," Brees conceded, but added, "To me, the yardage is kind of inconsequential. It's all about the efficiency of the passing game and running game and how they complement each other."

In addition to playing football, Brees is a father of four who gets involved in his children's activities and also has ever-growing business interests.

He owns nine Jimmy Johns sandwich shops in the New Orleans area, and spoke to The Associated Press while promoting a nationwide "Home in the Zone" contest that will provide money to help the winner acquire a home in one of the restaurant chain's delivery zones.

Brees, the all-time NFL leader in completions (6,586) and yards passing (74,437) , doesn't specify how much longer he intends to keep playing, but there is an active precedent. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is still playing at 42 and was 41 when he won last season's Super Bowl.

Brees's 520 TD passes puts him one ahead of Brady and leaves him 19 short of Peyton Manning's record of 539 - a mark Brees should break this season if he plays anywhere nearly as well as a year ago.

"I feel like I've got the right people in my corner ... so I feel like I'm getting the best information when it comes to how to prolong my career as long as possible," Brees said. "Most retired players that you talk to, especially quarterbacks, I think the consensus is: Play as long as you can, enjoy it as long as you can. It's nothing earthshattering."

Entering this season, the departure of running back Mark Ingram during free agency and the arrival of veteran receiving tight end Jared Cook begs the question of whether there might be an uptick in passing.

Since joining the Saints, Brees has averaged nearly 303 yards passing a game and has passed for at least 5,000 yards in a season five times.

Yet three times, the Saints have missed the playoffs when Brees passed for 5,000-plus yards in a season; he had to throw more in those years (2008, '12 and '16) because the Saints were often behind. So while Brees still sees potential for big games through the air, he doesn't concern himself with whether that might happen.

"From week to week, it might be a little bit higher or lower, depending on what's needed," Brees said. "Whether that's a lot of running, a lot of passing, a combination of both - I think at the end of the day, you want to be balanced.

That's when you're most effective because it keeps defences off balance, spreads the wealth, gives them a lot to worry about, gives you a lot of ways to win from week to week."

Associated Graphic

Saints QB Drew Brees, warming up for a preseason game against the Chargers in Carson, Calif., on Sunday, says most retired players advise him to play as long as he can and enjoy it.

KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/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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By JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL
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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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By ECE TOKSABAY
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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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Mariners blank Blue Jays in rout
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Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi throws just 96 pitches, strikes out eight in a complete-game shutout
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By TIM WHARNSBY
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Monday, August 19, 2019 – Page B10

TORONTO -- Even if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had been in Toronto's lineup, the Blue Jays likely would not have beaten Seattle Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi on Sunday.

The Japanese left-handed pitcher threw a complete-game shutout, struck out eight and retired his final 17 batters in a row in a 7-0 win against the Blue Jays.

Before Toronto's (52-75) third loss in four games, however, they received good news when Guerrero's MRI exam showed no serious damage after he left Saturday's game with left-knee pain. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Guerrero is a possibility for the opener of Toronto's threegame series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

"The MRI showed some inflammation, but he's not bad," said Montoyo, who has also been without Gurriel since Aug. 8 as the second baseman recovers from a strained quadriceps.

"[Guerrero] took a day, and we'll see how he feels on Tuesday."

Guerrero had tweaked his knee, cutting off a ground ball in the second inning of a 4-3 loss to Seattle. He had also suffered a left-knee strain that kept him out of the lineup in double-A last summer, but this ailment is unrelated.

"I didn't feel that uncomfortable, because I knew it wasn't that bad," Guerrero said before the game though interpreter Hector LeBron. "I just wanted to be cautious about it, and I just decided at that particular moment that I should stop and talk to the trainers, just to be safe." His teammates were relieved to hear the positive news.

"You don't want a guy like Vladdy going out right now, when he's making his mark in the big leagues," Blue Jays pitcher Thomas Pannone said. "He's got off to a really hot start, and he's a big piece of this team. It's great news he's not injured."

Without having to face Guerrero and Gurriel, Kikuchi (5-8) needed only 96 pitches for his complete-game victory.

The only time the Blue Jays threatened was a leadoff double to left field in the third inning from Guerrero's replacement, Brandon Drury. But Kikuchi coaxed Danny Jansen into a fly ball to left field. Billy McKinney then popped to short, and a line drive to short from Bo Bichette stranded Drury at second base.

"I've never actually thrown a complete game under 100 pitches in Japan, so I'm really happy that I was able to do that here," said Kikuchi, who, at 28, is in his first year in Major League Baseball. He was winless in his previous eight starts.

Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who hit the game-winning homer in Saturday's game, swatted his 16th to right field in the second inning off Toronto opener Wilmer Font (3-3).

Seattle checked in with three runs in the fourth inning off Pannone. Austin Nola led off the inning with a solo blast to right field and then catcher Tom Murphy smacked a two-run shot with Daniel Vogelbach aboard.

Mariners outfielder Keon Broxton added a homer to centre field in the seventh inning to increase his team's lead to 5-0. Broxton scored again in the ninth inning.

He drew a leadoff walk and was driven home on Dylan Moore's double down the right-field line.

Moore scored on a Tim Lopes single to centre.

Associated Graphic

Yusei Kikuchi of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch to a Blue Jays batter in Toronto on Sunday. Kikuchi retired the final 17 Jays batters in a row to finish his complete-game shutout.

MARK BLINCH/ GETTY IMAGES


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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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Canada's Thibault ready to soak up opportunity at CP Women's Open
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By JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – Page B11

TORONTO -- Brigitte Thibault is having the best summer of her young career, and it's only going to get better this week at the CP Women's Open.

Thibault, from Rosemère, Que., represented Canada at the Pan American Games in Lima winning bronze in the team event on Aug. 10.

She also won the Ontario Women's Amateur Championship on July 12 before earning an exemption into Canada's national women's championship for the second time.

"It's been huge. Golf Canada helps me get into these events, it's an amazing opportunity for me to even be in them," Thibault said.

"The CP Women's Open, as an example, is a tournament where I would normally have to qualify.

"To know I'm already in the field and to be able to get this experience for future opportunities, it's great."

Thibault, who has her sights set on representing Canada at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, finished ninth in the women's individual event at the Pan Ams, 14 shots behind American gold medalist Emilia Migliaccio.

The 20-year-old Thibault has been using her summer to improve her short game before returning to Fresno State University for her senior year this fall.

She won the Mountain West Conference Championship this spring to end her 2018-19 collegiate season.

"[Tournaments] are something I look forward to with an open mind," Thibault said. "Just really try to grab all information or things I can learn that week to really help me for the future.

"There's so much work to do all the time with golf. It never stops."

Competing at the Women's Open on Thursday is another opportunity to improve her game.

Thibault has only competed in one other LPGA event and relishes the opportunity to learn from the best players in golf again.

"The CP Women's Open has always been an important, special tournament for me," Thibault said. "That's the first LPGA event that I actually qualified for."


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U.S. to delay some China tariffs until stores stock up for holiday shoppers
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By DAVID SHEPARDSON, DAVID LAWDER
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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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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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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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Pembina to buy Kinder Morgan Canada, pipeline for $4.35-billion
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Purchase will boost its position in oil storage, transport as Houston company exits Canada
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Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B1

CALGARY -- Pembina Pipeline Corp. is buying Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. and the U.S. portion of a key condensate pipeline for $4.35-billion, a deal that will bolster its position in the high-demand oil storage and transport business.

For Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc., the sale marks its exit from Canada after it sold its largest asset - the Trans Mountain oil pipeline - to Ottawa last year for $4.4billion. It follows a formal process to seek buyers for the majority-owned Canadian operation that ended in the spring after failing to attract acceptable proposals.

Pembina, based in Calgary, is acquiring transport and storage operations, largely backed by long-term contracts that shield it from the vagaries of commodity-price swings. The midstream business has been a bright spot in an energy industry that has been under severe pressure because of tight capacity to move oil and gas to markets outside Canada.

Its stock is up 20 per cent this year against a backdrop of sharp declines throughout most of the producing sector.

Pembina shares dipped 18 cents to $49.09 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Kinder Morgan Canada surged 32 per cent to $14.45.

"This acquisition represents an excellent opportunity to continue to build out our low-risk, long-term fee-for-service business while also extending our reach into the U.S. through a highly desirablecross border pipeline," Mick Dilger, Pembina's chief executive officer, told analysts.

The acquisition will immediately boost cash flow, allowing Pembina to increase its dividend, the company said.

The deal includes the Edmonton terminals operation, which consists of pipeline and rail terminals around the Alberta capital; the Cochin Pipeline, a major import line for condensate; and the Vancouver Wharves, a bulk commodity import and export operation that Pembina says could eventually be integrated into its energy system.

Under the deal, Pembina will offer 0.3068 of one of its shares for each Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.

(KML) share, which translates into a value of $15.02 per KML share, or $2.3-billion in total, it said. That is a 38-per-cent premium over Tuesday's close. It will also assume $550-million of KML preferred shares.

Pembina will acquire the 2,900-kilometre Cochin pipeline for $2.05-billion. The line carries condensate to Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., from Riga, Mich., for blending with bitumen from the oil sands so it can flow in pipelines.

What likely clinched the deal after the unsuccessful formal sale effort was the inclusion of the U.S.

portion of the Cochin pipeline, said Chris Cox, analyst with Raymond James.

"I suspect Pembina was pretty adamant that they do include that and eventually there was enough pressure in the process," Mr. Cox said. "The valuation seems fair; they are definitely good assets."

A potential snag for Pembina involves one of the oil terminals, known as Base Line, which is jointly owned by Keyera Corp.

Keyera could exercise a right of first refusal on the terminal, one of five that are part of the package.

Officials with Keyera did not respond to a request to comment.

As 70-per-cent owner of KML, Kinder Morgan Inc. will get a stake in Pembina currently worth about $1.2-billion. Details of any agreement governing how long the U.S.

company must hang onto the stock were not immediately known, but Kinder Morgan said it planned to eventually sell them in an "opportunistic and nondisruptive manner." The company intends to use proceeds from the deal to reduce its debt, giving it flexibility to buy back stock and invest in new projects, Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean said.

The deal is the second instance in a week that shows heightened interest in Canadian energy infrastructure as the industry struggles to move supplies to the United States and other markets because of delays to major pipeline proposals. Inter Pipeline Ltd., a rival of Pembina's that operates a network of regional pipelines, said last week that it had been approached by an unnamed suitor, although it was not in talks to sell the company. It made the announcement after The Globe and Mail reported the approach, valued at around $12.4-billion.

The contentious expansion of Trans Mountain between Alberta and the B.C. coast - which Ottawa announced on Wednesday is resuming despite opposition from some West Coast Indigenous communities and environmental groups - is one of a few much-delayed projects aimed at allowing new access to markets. Kinder Morgan sold it to the federal government after years of legal and regulatory challenges to the expansion project.

Mr. Dilger did not rule out an eventual bid for the line, saying it would fit well with its strategy of getting its customers' products to end-markets. However, he said Pembina is wary of the likely controversy the $7.4-billion expansion would bring almost daily.

"Could we successfully own and operate that asset? I'd say we're uniquely qualified to do that, but we've got a lot of other things that are going our way and we don't want to submerge our entire management team, or subject our entire organization and reputation to all the noise that that entails. But strategically, for sure, it's in scope," he said.


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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 equiva