Teen Shapovalov roars in event debut
Seventeen-year-old, who just recently won the junior Wimbledon title, rides hometown crowd to win over less-than-stellar Kyrgios
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- As they get their earliest experiences on the ATP Tour, most young players are scheduled to play on a back court, and they nervously muddle through a loss to some world-class pro before a handful of observers.

That was the exact opposite of what happened to intriguing 17year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov in his maiden Rogers Cup match Monday night.

Just more than two weeks after winning the junior Wimbledon title, the teen from Thornhill, Ont., made a roaring Rogers Cup debut in a night-time match on Centre Court, where he shocked a less-than-stellar world No. 19 Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3.

"We were asked at one point if he was given the opportunity to play a night match on Centre Court in his first Rogers Cup, would he like that, and Denis answered: 'Yes,' " Adriano Fuorivia, Shapovalov's coach, said earlier on Monday. "He was asking for the big stage. He's been brought up to go for it."

The win propels the fascinating Canadian teen into the second round, where he will face world No. 40 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

Shapovalov was backed by a huge hometown crowd at York University's Aviva Centre, which is located about seven kilometres from Tessa Tennis, the academy where he grew up being coached by his mother, Tessa Shapovalova, a former national team player in the old Soviet Union. She and his father, Viktor, were at Monday's match, along with his brother Evgeniy and some kids from the academy.

"Nick is an incredible tennis player, top 20, maybe even a future No. 1, so obviously I didn't expect to win, but I thought I'd just go fight for every point and that's what I did," an exuberant Shapovalov said after the match.

"I thought it would be fun with all the fans [on Centre Court]. I love playing on a big stage; I love impressing people, so it was very fun for me."

Since winning the junior Wimbledon title two weeks ago, he's had a brief taste of life on the ATP Tour. He made his maindraw debut at an ATP World Tour tournament last week, suffering a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 loss to Lukas Lacko of Slovakia at the Citi Open in Washington.

When arriving for the Rogers Cup, the player largely unknown before his junior Wimbledon title was asked to do several TV interviews and was repeatedly surrounded by autograph-seeking kids. He played in a ball hockey exhibition on Centre Court alongside players such as Novak Djokovic and NHL stars Connor McDavid and Tyler Seguin. He got the opportunity to practise with world No. 8 Tomas Berdych.

Monday's match seemed like a mere measuring-stick opportunity, a chance to see how far off Shapovalov might be in this brief encounter with ATP talent. Kyrgios had also been a junior Grand Slam champ just three years ago when he took the boys' Australian Open title.

Centre Court was about twothirds full for the Monday night match. A few fans held up a large cardboard cut-out of Shapovalov's head. Others tried out a sing-song "Let's go Shap-O." It felt like the youngster's coming-out party, and the Canadian fans were enamoured with the fairhaired and athletic newcomer.

Twice in the first set, Kyrgios was on the verge of breaking Shapovalov, but both times the youngster clawed his way out of it to remain on serve. The Canadian saved four break points.

At times, the enigmatic Australian seemed to be loping around the court as if distracted or disinterested. The more experienced player was suffering with double faults and unforced errors early on. At one point on his serving motion, his racquet flew completely out of his hand.

The Canadian couldn't earn a break point of his own, but he kept surviving. The two played to a first-set tiebreak.

A chant of "Go Denis Go" began late in the tiebreaker as the Canadian won it on big serves, winners and letting Kyrgios make his own mistakes. Shapovalov punctuated the win with a fist-pumping holler and the crowd that filled the stadium a little more than half full roared with a mix of joy and surprise.

At times, Shapovalov delivered stunning cross-court backhand winners or beautifully placed aces. In other moments, his inexperience was glaring as he scrambled to keep up with Kyrgios's pace. But it was obvious the world No. 19 was not at his best.

The Australian went up a break early in the second set and cruised to a 6-3 win as the Canadian began to commit several mistakes of his own. In the third, however, the Canadian went up 2-0 and let Kyrgios choke on unforced errors. The winning game went to deuce before Shapovalov smashed an ace for advantage and then sealed the match with a cross-court forehand winner.

Associated Graphic

Denis Shapovalov, from Thornhill, Ont., celebrates his win against Australia's Nick Kyrgios during the first round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Monday. Shapovalov won 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3.


Froome gives emotional speech after Tour win
The Associated Press
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

PARIS -- After the beer and champagne celebrations, Chris Froome delivered a sobering and emotional message from the Tour de France winner's podium on the ChampsÉlysées.

Ten days after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people, Froome - a Kenyan-born British rider who often trains on the French Riviera - reminded everyone what the Tour stands for.

"These events put sport into perspective, but they also show why the values of sport are so important to free society," Froome said on Sunday in a prepared speech. "We all love the Tour de France because it's unpredictable, but we love the Tour more for what stays the same - the passion of the fans for every nation, the beauty of the French countryside and the bonds of friendship created through sport.

These things will never change.

"Thanks for your kindness in these difficult times," Froome added, switching to French as he addressed the local fans. "You have the most beautiful race in the world. Vive le Tour, Vive la France."

Cheered on by thousands of fans undeterred by the recent spate of violence across Europe, Froome celebrated his third Tour title in four years. He finished safely at the back of the main pack in the final stage, arm in arm with his teammates during the mostly ceremonial leg ending on the cobblestones below the Arc de Triomphe.

Immediately afterward, Froome was greeted by his wife and infant son, whom he took in his arms.

"To Michelle, my wife, and my son, Kellan, your love and support make everything possible.

Kellan, I dedicate this victory to you," Froome said, also thanking his teammates and coaches.

Andre Greipel of Germany won the 21st leg in a sprint finish.

Antoine Duchesne of Saguenay, Que., finished his first Tour in 107th spot.

At the start of the stage, Froome dropped back to his Team Sky car to collect bottles of beer and distributed them to each of his eight teammates for a celebratory round. Then it was time for the traditional flute of champagne.

Froome rode a yellow bike to go with his yellow jersey, helmet, gloves and shoes. His teammates had yellow stripes on their jerseys and yellow handlebars on their bikes. Froome also still had bandages on his right knee and elbow, the result of a downhill crash two days ago.

Froome finished with an advantage of 4 minutes 5 seconds ahead of Romain Bardet of France, while Nairo Quintana of Colombia placed third over all, 4:21 back.

Only four men - five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain - now have more Tour victories than Froome.

"I've definitely grown to appreciate this history of the sport a lot more," Froome said. "Being in the position that I'm in now, I'm understanding how tough it is to win a race like the Tour de France. To win back-to-back editions and now to be a three-time winner is incredible. It's beyond what I've ever dreamed."

While other big riders of his generation such as Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali have all three Grand Tours - the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta - Froome plans to keep his focus on the Tour.

"It would be my dream to keep coming back to the Tour de France for the next five, six years," he said. "I've already won it three times and I wouldn't say the novelty is wearing off. ... It's the biggest event we have on our calendar and to be here in the yellow jersey, it's every cyclist's dream."

Compared with his wins in 2013 and 2015, Froome has become more adept at handling speculation that he is doping. After facing constant accusations during last year's race - including a spectator yelling 'doper!' and hurling a cup of urine at him - Froome released some of his training data at the end of last year.

"I think I've put that to rest now," he said. "I've really done a lot in terms of offering up my physiological data and trying to be open to people as much as I can while protecting a competitive advantage at the same time."

Froome took the yellow jersey with a daring downhill attack in Stage 8, padded his lead with a late breakaway in Stage 11, and overcame a motor bike crash on the legendary Mont Ventoux and a fall on a slippery descent in the Alps with two stages to go.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme complimented Froome for showing "panache" after his downhill attack in the Pyrenees, and the fans have treated him better, too. "The atmosphere on the roads has been fantastic," Froome said. "The French public, they make this race what it is."

Out of respect for the Nice victims, Froome refused to discuss race details the day after the attack. But he lauded Tour organizers for deciding to keep the race going.

Associated Graphic

Christopher Froome celebrates on the podium in Paris on Sunday after winning the 2016 Tour de France, his third title. L


Hometown crowd buoys Bouchard
The Westmount, Que., native has the fans behind her as she beats higher-ranked Safarova in the first round in Montreal
The Canadian Press
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

MONTREAL -- Eugenie Bouchard reconnected with her hometown fans with an impressive first-round victory at the $2.4-million (U.S.) women's Rogers Cup.

A large crowd at Uniprix Stadium was solidly behind the Westmount, Que., native throughout her 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3) win over Lucie Safarova, the prematch favourite ranked 28th in the world to Bouchard's 41st.

They roared as Bouchard came back from a 3-1 deficit in the tiebreaker with six straight points, taking the win on Safarova's 10th double fault of the match.

Bouchard was not immediately available for comment because she had an early evening doubles match with partner Carol Zhao of Richmond Hill, Ont., but there looked to be extra satisfaction in her victory.

Her public image has taken a hit of late. Three local newspaper columnists had criticized Bouchard in recent days, mostly to do with losing touch with her home fan base since her spectacular 2014 season when she reached the Wimbledon final and rose to No. 5 in the world.

It did not go over well last week when, after losing her first match in Washington, she talked about visiting museums in the U.S. capital rather than go home to the "craziness" in Montreal.

Bouchard clearly had a change of heart because she not only headed north right away, but participated in off-court events with fans and ended uncertainty over her Olympic plans by saying she will represent Canada at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Then she pulled off a thrilling and unexpected win on centre court.

Bouchard dominated the opening set, completing her second service break with a pinpoint backhand down the line, only to see Safarova find her service range and turn the tables in the second.

They held serve through the third, although Bouchard let three match points slip away while leading 6-5, 40-0, giving Safarova momentum going into the tiebreaker.

Bouchard will next face the winner of a match between Dominika Cibulkova and Mariana Duque-Marino.

It did not go so well for Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., who lost 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Italy's Sara Errani.

Errani, ranked 25th in the world, posted four service breaks in the first set of the centre court battle of 29-year-old baseliners.

Errani, coming off a quarter-final on clay in Sweden last week, led 4-2 in the second, when Wozniak had her best moments battling back to force a tiebreaker.

Wozniak was ranked 21st in 2009, but has slipped to 465th after a series of injuries, including major shoulder surgery. She lost in the first round for a second week in a row, having fallen to Jessica Pegula last week in Washington.

"I think it was a close match, playing the No. 25 in the world," Wozniak said. "I thought I played well.

"I had some opportunities to turn it around. But I'm happy with the performance going forward after this long period of time [during] which I didn't play such a high level of tennis."

Errani's next opponent is 14th seed Karolina Pliskova, who got past Kateryna Bondarenko 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

The third Canadian in the 56player draw, Françoise Abanda of Montreal, went up 6-1, 4-1 on Chinese qualifier Saisai Zheng, but then had to battle to take the second set 7-5. The 19-year-old Abanda, ranked 272nd to Zheng's 66th, posted her first Rogers Cup win in three tries. She will face 17th seeded Elina Svitolina in the second round.

Abanda's match was moved to centre court after French Open champion and third seed Garbine Muguruza withdrew with a digestive illness. Her scheduled opponent, British qualifier Naomi Broady, instead was matched against lucky loser Varvara Lepchenko in the second round.

"Even though [Monday] I couldn't play because of the rain, I kind of didn't feel well," said Muguruza, who plans to stay on and get over what is considered a minor illness. "Call the doctor and everything - I don't feel well.

"Today I went to the court to warm up, but I didn't really feel 100 per cent. At the last moment of the match, I start to warm up again and I'm like, 'Okay, no, no, I don't feel [well enough] to go on the court and give my best.' " A battle of the Madisons looms as 10th-seeded Madison Keys breezed by Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-0 and will face fellow American Madison Brengle in the second round. Keys has won all three previous matches between them.

Lucky loser Christina McHale of the United States posted a 6-4, 3-0 win over qualifier Shuai Zhang, who retired in the second set. McHale will next face 16thseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

Bouchard unsure about Rio Olympics
The 41st-ranked player is entered in the Summer Games, but says she has concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S4

MONTREAL -- Milos Raonic has already pulled out of the Olympics, and now Tennis Canada is awaiting final word on whether Eugenie Bouchard will play at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Bouchard, ranked 41st in the world, is entered in the event, but no one is sure if Canada's top women's singles player will go.

"I'm kind of a last-minute person, so I'm going to make a decision next week, I guess, the week before," Bouchard said after her first-round loss to Camila Giorgi at the Citi Open in Washington. "I really don't know what to do at this point."

Bouchard said she had concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is known to cause birth defects and is currently active in Brazil.

"I am trying to learn as much as I can about [Zika], obviously," she said.

"I don't know if anyone knows enough about it to really give a good opinion on whether, as athletes, we should go or not. I just don't know if the health of my future babies is worth it, so that's what I'm trying to decide in my head. I'm truly undecided, and you see more and more people pulling out as kind of the deadline gets closer.

"It's just unfortunate because it would be my first Games, and to have a problem like this kind of dampening the excitement of potentially your first Olympic Games, it really sucks, to be honest."

Tennis Canada president and CEO Kelly Murumets acknowledged that health issues have made the decision tough for Bouchard.

"I know that she wants to play the Olympics and she's been part of our campaign and she's wearing the Canadian flag on her heart," Murumets said Tuesday at a news conference to announce that National Bank has extended its sponsorship for another six years.

"I think the health concerns in Rio are scaring her a bit, so I think she's a little bit on the fence.

"She's signed all the papers and we have hotel and flights for her, but I think she's a little nervous."

Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa, Canada's top doubles player, may be even more nervous.

She's scheduled to team with Bouchard in Rio, but if the Westmount, Que., native pulls out, Dabrowski won't go either.

Murumets, who spoke to Bouchard at a photo shoot in Toronto last week, expects that Bouchard will talk to Dabrowski before making her decision.

Both are to play at the women's Rogers Cup in Montreal next week.

Seventh ranked Raonic announced this week he will not go to Rio due to concerns over health, including Zika.

Murumets said the Thornhill, Ont., resident will focus on the men's Rogers Cup in Toronto and the U.S. Open at the end of August instead.

"Milos is a very intense, intelligent man and I respect his decision," she said. "He does not take this lightly.

"He has represented Canada all over the world with great pride. I really do think it was about the health concerns in Rio and he just didn't want to take any chances."

The women's Rogers Cup expects a full field of the world's top players except for Victoria Azarenka, who has taken a break because she is pregnant. It's an ideal preparation for the Olympics, which will also be played on hard courts.

The men's Rogers Cup saw its field get severely depleted over the past two days with the world No. 2 Andy Murray, No. 3 Roger Federer and No. 4 Rafael Nadal.

Murray, coming off a win over Raonic in the Wimbledon final, pull out this week because of fatigue, which didn't surprise Tennis Canada vice-president Eugene Lapierre.

"Murray's had a long season," Lapierre said. "He's been doing good in almost every tournament he played - finals, winning events, winning Wimbledon.

"It's tough. The guy was hurt.

In the final match, if Milios could have taken that third set, I don't think Murray was there any more."

The Canadian Press, with files from The Associated Press.

Associated Graphic

Canada's top women's singles player, Eugenie Bouchard, seen playing at Wimbledon on July 2, is worried that going to the Rio Games might affect 'the health of my future babies.'


Pressure is on for softball - and its players - to prove sport's lasting appeal
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

VANCOUVER -- Ace pitcher Lauren Bay Regula last played elite-level softball at the 2008 Olympic Games, when Canada fell just short of a medal. It was also the last time softball was at the Games.

The sport had joined the roster in 1996, but softball and baseball were voted out by the International Olympic Committee in 2005, losing by a single vote. The Beijing Games was their last Olympics hurrah.

Now, however, women's softball and men's baseball are on the cusp of a return to the Games. In early August, the IOC is set to vote on sports to add to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Softball and baseball appear certain to make it back.

But it is only a reprieve for one Olympics - in a country, Japan, that loves and excels at softball and baseball - putting pressure on the sports to prove themselves in the longer term.

The political machinations are casting a spotlight on the Vancouver suburbs, where Surrey is host to the 2016 Women's World Softball Championship. A record 31 countries are at the tournament, which began on July 15 and culminates this weekend.

When softball and baseball lost their Olympics berth, the IOC was looking to include new sports in the Games. Rugby sevens and golf made the grade for this year's Games in Rio de Janeiro.

A decade ago, baseball suffered from the taint of steroid use.

Softball, meanwhile, was seen as not being played widely enough around the world - and dominated by only a few countries.

The United States, Japan and Australia, from 1996 through 2008, won 11 of the 12 medals awarded in softball.

But softball has evolved. More countries are playing - and the game is more competitive.

It's on display in Surrey, and it's a challenge for Canada, ranked No. 4 in the world. Canada was upended 6-1 by Venezuela on Monday.

Bay Regula, who retired from softball after Beijing, rejoined the national team this year. She pitched in a key victory on Wednesday, 10-0 over Puerto Rico.

On Friday, Bay Regula was on the mound again against China, ranked No. 6 in the world, and Canada won 4-3, avoiding elimination. Canada has to win two games on Saturday and one midday on Sunday to reach the goldmedal game on Sunday evening.

A return to the Olympics would bolster softball, said 34year-old Bay Regula, from Trail, B.C.

"To train to be an Olympic athlete has a special power," she said. "I would love to see softball get back in."

Canada's challenges on the field in Surrey come after success at last year's Pan American Games, when the Canadian team upset the United States for gold.

At the world championship, lower-ranked countries, such as Mexico, are playing well.

"The game is changing," said Glen Todd, a long-time organizer who led the building of Softball City, where the 2016 world championship is being played.

"There are more powers than ever, which is good for the game.

People were tired of the U.S. dominating."

Canada has been an important backer of international softball.

When softball lost its place in the Olympics, Softball Canada led the push to stage the sport's world championship every two years, rather than every four.

Canada backed the idea by hosting the 2012 event in Whitehorse and then this year in Surrey.

The Surrey tournament used an open format for the entry of countries, rather than requiring prequalification. It attracted countries new to softball, such as Ireland and Kenya. There has been an air of camaraderie at Softball City. "This tournament is not big money. It's not big TV rights," spokeswoman Laura Ballance said.

The shot to get back to the Olympics first emerged in 2013, but softball and baseball lost a vote to wrestling. Wrestling had been threatened with expulsion.

The IOC then came up with the idea of allowing sports in on an Olympics-by-Olympics basis.

Other new sports for Tokyo in 2020 are expected to be karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

Gaining a permanent spot will be a challenge. The World Baseball Softball Confederation will have to convince the eventual hosts of the 2024 Olympics that their sport is deserving.

"We'll work to put on a great show in Japan," said Hugh Mitchener, chief executive officer of Softball Canada.

Associated Graphic

Lauren Bay Regula

Indy race favourite learns to enjoy the roller coaster ride
Defending Toronto winner Josef Newgarden, who returns nursing broken bones from a previous race, knows he has his work cut out
The Canadian Press
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S4

TORONTO -- It hasn't always been good times and checkered flags for IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden.

The defending Honda Indy Toronto champion overcame low points during his 2012 rookie season when he started 14 races and led for only one lap the entire year.

He didn't have a teammate, was dealing with a new car and was part of a small team.

"About halfway through that year it got really difficult at certain points to have faith and motivation in what you were doing," Newgarden said Friday.

"I just remember thinking, 'What is going on? I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know what we need from a big picture, whether that's a team thing or a car set-up standpoint.' There was a lot going on.

"If you can imagine loving something so much, more than anything else in life and then losing your love for it. It's kind of an odd thing to happen, and then you regain it."

The 25-year-old said things really started clicking in 2014 and continued into last year when he captured the Indy Toronto.

"You learn the ups and downs," he said. "You learn the emotional roller coaster of racing. ... it's up and down all year."

Newgarden enters this weekend's race on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place as a favourite. He's not only the defending champion but is coming off a win at last week's Iowa Corn 300, where he led for 282of-300 laps.

"I think that's racing," he said.

"You have one weekend where you're like the biggest jerk on the planet and everyone hates you and then the next weekend you have an amazing weekend and you're like the messiah again.

"To me, that's just racing in a nutshell."

The Hendersonville, Tenn., native is currently second in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings with 336 points, behind France's Simon Pagenaud.

Newgarden, who competes for Ed Carpenter Racing, was 16th after the first day of practice on Friday, finishing in 1 minute 2.7942 seconds. Pagenaud was fastest in 1:01.7081 with Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves, second (1:01.9091) and Will Power, third (1:02.0573).

Although there was a crash involving Pagenaud's fourth teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya - which left him unscathed - the Frenchman is a fan of the modified track this year.

"It's better for the fans because it looks more sketchy and will bring a better show."

James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., turned it around from a slow first practice to finish the day in fifth with a best lap of 1:02.1867.

Newgarden was sporting a wrap on his right hand as a result of a broken hand and right clavicle caused in a crash at Texas last month.

He said he's been downgraded from a brace because it took up too much room in his car and he couldn't grip the wheel. But he says the hand still hurts.

"The hand is really what's bothering me, it's going to be a problem," Newgarden said. "It's healing. I just went and got X-rays this week." Despite the ailing hand, Newgarden thinks he and his team have a good street-course car.

His best finish on a street course this year was fourth in the second leg of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on June 5. Newgarden struggled to a 22nd-place finish to start the season in St. Petersburg, was 10th on Long Beach and 14th in the first leg of the Detroit event.

He doesn't necessarily fell he's the man to beat this weekend despite last year's victory and the win in Iowa.

"I don't think we're going to walk away. [The] goal this weekend is to finish in [the] top six," Newgarden said. "If we can do that then we just need to have a clean race and then we'll fight for a podium or a win."

Canadian golfers aim to attract new fans
Homegrown pros hope that memorable moments at the RBC Open and Rio Olympics will have positive impact on young players
The Canadian Press
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

OAKVILLE, ONT. -- David Hearn said yes with a smile every time.

Hearn signed every hat, tee flag and ticket handed to him. He took off his sunglasses and put them behind his cap for every photo and asked the name of every young fan as he made his way off the 18th green at Glen Abbey Golf Club on Wednesday at the pro-am tournament ahead of the RBC Canadian Open.

The PGA Tour regular from nearby Brantford, Ont., takes the time because he remembers what it was like to be on the other side of the rope.

"As a young kid I used to come to Canadian Opens and I remember waiting for a lot of golfers I admired," said Hearn, who looked up to Fred Couples, among others. "I would've been so disappointed if none of them stopped to speak to me."

Hearn finished third at last year's Canadian Open, two strokes back of eventual winner Jason Day of Australia and a shot behind American Bubba Watson.

The Canadian caught fans' attention with a 64 in the second round and had a two-shot lead after shooting a 68 in the third.

A 72 and the solid play of Day and Watson in last year's fourth round put the PGA Tour win just beyond Hearn's reach. Still, he remembers the ovation he got from fans as he approached the 18th tee after Day's three consecutive birdies had won the event.

He hopes moments like that can help grow the game in Canada.

"At the time I was just in the moment," Hearn said. "But looking back, I hope I inspired some young golfers, some junior players across the country."

Hearn believes that memorable moments such as his near win last year at Glen Abbey or the approaching Rio Olympics - where he, Graham DeLaet, Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp will represent Canada - are an opportunity to create new fans.

Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., is also playing in the RBC Canadian Open this week and has seen the impact his Canadian Golf Hall of Fame career has already had on younger players.

"I know Graham DeLaet has talked about it, that I was somewhat of an inspiration for him," said Weir, who has eight career PGA Tour wins including the 2003 Masters. "I guess when you're going along you just don't think about those kind of things, but at the same time, hopefully, some of the younger guys can draw inspiration and know that you can be from a winter country a lot of the year and still make it."

Hearn, Weir and DeLaet are the three biggest Canadian names playing at the tournament, but they'll be joined by more than a dozen other players from across the country: Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor, Adam Cornelson, Corey Conners, Brad Fritsch, Dave Levesque, Branson Ferrier and amateurs Blair Hamilton, Hugo Bernard, Garrett Rank and Jared du Toit.

A Canadian hasn't won the tournament since Pat Fletcher in 1954, with Hearn and Weir (runner-up in a 2004 playoff) coming the closest.

This year's field also includes world No. 1 and No. 2, Dustin Johnson and Day, as well as former champions such as Brandt Snedeker (2013), Jim Furyk (2006, 2007), Sean O'Hair (2011), Carl Pettersson (2010), Chez Reavie (2008) and Vijay Singh (2004).

Also on Wednesday, the PGA Tour, Golf Canada and the Heritage Classic Foundation jointly announced that RBC has signed six-year extensions as title sponsor of both the RBC Canadian Open and RBC Heritage, held annually in Hilton Head, S.C. The new agreements take effect in 2018 and run through 2023.

The 2016 Canadian Open runs at Glen Abbey from Thursday to Sunday.

Associated Graphic

Aside from the Canadians in the field, the biggest draw at Glen Abbey this week is 28-year-old Jason Day of Australia, who is ranked No. 1 worldwide and is the defending Open champion.


As our gender spectrum blurs, some brands fight to keep the lines
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B4

Editorial director at Pilot PMR communications agency

We're good now, right?

Canada's national anthem appears set to go gender-neutral, along with Ontario's driver's licences. The federal government has introduced legislation to guarantee legal and human-rights protection to transgender people, and suddenly non-gendered washrooms are everywhere (okay, maybe not in North Carolina.)

North America is entering a new, postgender era. Identity is no longer limited to male/female binary options thanks in large part to LGBT culture. Facebook now lists more than 50 genderstatus options that place users on a spectrum that includes "bi-gender," "neither" and dozens of choices in between. And as identities become less rigidly defined, our traditional notions of male and female behaviour are crumbling. Women don't have to wear heels and dresses. Men can stay home and cook gazpacho.

Given this tectonic upheaval, you might be tempted to think we'll soon see an end to genderbased marketing. After all, who can be bothered developing marketing plans that target gender, when, according to some LGBT advocates, the spectrum may include as many as 71 identities?

But if you're driven as crazy as I am by unnecessarily gendered products such as Bic For Her pens and Bounce for Men fabric softener sheets (these actually exist), prepare for more insanity.

Research suggests as society moves away from gender poles, some consumers and marketers work harder to preserve them.

Want to sell a new yogurt that's basically, you know, yogurt? Slap a black label on it, call it "Powerful," encourage media to refer to it as "brogurt," and you've got the perfect, low-fat, probiotic breakfast for men who object to all that societal gender-muddying.

As the lines blur, we need our objects to send clearer "gender marker" signals, said Jill Avery, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School who has studied consumer resistance to brand gender-bending. Paradoxically, him-and-her products may become more, not less, important to consumers as we move toward a more fluid understanding, Dr.Avery said. "It becomes harder to establish one's gender identity through actions" - so products become signifiers.

Gender-based stuff makes sense on one level, at least to marketers.

If you're trying to sell soap in an aisle of identical products, call them "beauty bars" and you start differentiating. Package a similar product as Dove Men+Care, and now you're selling twice the product. And as traditional roles continue to shift (more than 80 per cent of Canadian men say they participate in housework and a growing percentage of Canadian women are becoming primary breadwinners), gender-based labelling offers comfort and security to those who feel threatened by societal change.

In most cases, those people tend to be men. In a 2012 research paper, Dr. Avery studied consumer response to the 2003 launch of the Porsche Cayenne SUV - a controversial move for a brand that many hyper-masculine consumers viewed as an embrace of "soccer moms." Analyzing comments in the brand's online community, Dr. Avery identified a phenomenon that she called "gender contamination." Male Porsche owners unleashed a torrent of disgust designed to reaffirm the masculinity of other Porsche models and denigrate the Cayenne and its drivers. "Hopefully I will see a competent-looking driver [in the Cayenne], but I know I'll see a soccer mom," wrote one.

The men needed to protect their masculinity, and gender-branded identity helped them do that, Dr.Avery said. So do products such as Mansize Kleenex, French Meadow Bakery Men's Bread and Planter's Men's Health nut mix. On a broader level, the fight over gender-identified products may also reflect the greater battle some men are fighting to maintain a dominant position in the social hierarchy, Dr. Avery wrote.

So gender-based marketing isn't going away for now. It may even become more prevalent as women and LGBT community members make more social gains. But surely it's time to question how and why we reduce consumers to X and Y chromosomes.

I don't object to brands targeting men or women, but I do object to those that explicitly market to them as only for men or women, with a one-size-fits-all notion of what those labels mean.

When Honda released a new women's model of the Fit sedan in 2012, guess what colour it came in? Shallow connections create shallow brand relationships and, these days, brands want lifelong loyalty. Gendered marketing that relies on conventional stereotypes doesn't forge a strong connection, and it impoverishes the human landscape at a time when individuals are experiencing the freedom to be more complex, more nuanced, more individual, more interesting.

Gender identities are becoming richer, yet the marketing world is still dabbling in stereotypes. This year's Gandalf Group study of consumer attitudes toward advertising shows that fewer than 50 per cent of Canadians perceive ads as less sexist now than they were a decade ago.

Still, Dr. Avery sees hope that what we're seeing is just a blip.

While marketers continue to push "him" and "her" buttons, many consumers want to ditch the labels.

At the very least, here's hoping gendered brands will eventually begin acknowledging the diversity of our lives. When High Heel Brewing, a new craft brewery making beer for women, adds a "Birkenstock" to complement its initial release, "the Slingback," I'll be the first to buy a two-four.

Olympic sponsor Sport Check ditches the 30-second spot for 'sizzle reels'
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The excitement of high-profile sports events is often cited as a bright spot in television advertising. Sports is a rare example these days of "appointment viewing," which draws in live audiences who will actually sit through commercial breaks.

But during the approaching Olympic Games in Rio, a brand owned by one of Canada's biggest Olympic sponsors is taking its traditional TV advertising budget to zero.

Athletic retailer Sport Chek will have a television presence during the Games: It has inked a paid-partnership deal with the CBC that will allow it to produce "sizzle reels," which will run during the network's broadcast at least once a day. During the Sochi Winter Games, Sport Chek ran seven different television ads; by comparison, this summer the 60- to 90-second reels will use CBC-produced videos to highlight the best Canadian stories from the Games, running during regular programming and sponsored by Sport Chek.

Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., which owns Sport Chek, has been a Canadian Olympic Committee sponsor since 2013 and splits its Olympic advertising between the Chek brand and the parent company brand. There will be Canadian Tire ads during commercial breaks for Rio, but the parent company is also doing an "integration" deal with the CBC. Spending nothing on TV ads for its sports retail division represents a major change in strategy.

The shift represents not just a change in thinking for Sport Chek, but a larger push among marketers toward what is known as "native" ad content.

This shift is under way most urgently in digital media, where users' tolerance for ads has been slipping, and advertisers have responded with attempts to integrate their messages more seamlessly with videos, photos, social media content and articles that people want to see. But it applies to TV as well.

"I'm not interested in a 30-second brand sell," said Frederick Lecoq, senior vice-president of marketing for FGL Sports, the division of Canadian Tire that includes Sport Chek. "TV has to change the way they sell their media to better integrate brands within their programs. ... I used to talk to the guy who was selling ads; now I'm talking to the production guys."

This means that TV will make up a significantly smaller portion of Sport Chek's Olympic ad spending. Digital spending will make up about 80 per cent of its entire advertising budget - a major jump compared with the Sochi Games, when only about 40 per cent of its budget was in digital. And more than 60 per cent over all will be devoted to mobile - particularly visual and video content on Facebook and YouTube.

This is indicative of a larger marketing shift at Sport Chek beyond just the Games. The brand is currently in talks with mobile app Snapchat to build some kind of sponsored content within the app for later this year.

For the Olympics, Sport Chek is shooting its videos in a vertical format to more naturally fit a mobile-phone screen rather than the horizontal format that is optimal for TV. An example of that format could be seen in a video that Sport Chek released on Thursday to congratulate trampoline gold medalist Rosie MacLennan on being named Canada's flag bearer in Rio.

Videos such as this will be produced on the fly, in a "war room" within CBC headquarters, to focus on compelling stories as they happen. The reels that will be broadcast on TV will also be distributed throughout the day on Facebook and YouTube and targeted to mobile audiences.

"I can't compete with [Procter & Gamble Co.], I can't compete with Visa. I can't compete with brands that are going to throw hundreds of millions in there," Mr. Lecoq said. "If I own the moment, I believe I can own a share of the conversation. ... The whole strategy behind the campaign is to be native in the way you advertise. That's what we're looking for now."

Canadian Tire (CTC.A) Close: $139.51, up 42¢

CIBC joins rush to negative rates in Europe
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has become Canada's first bank to benefit from Europe's rush to debt with subzero yields.

CIBC sold 1.25-billion ($1.79billion) worth of six-year covered bonds - with a yield of negative-0.009 per cent - on Monday. According to a person familiar with the transaction, investor demand was so strong that the value of orders roughly doubled the deal size.

Not only is CIBC the first Canadian bank to issue such debt at a negative rate, it is also the first non-European bank to do so. In March, Germany's Berlin Hype was the first lender to borrow at negative rates, cashing in on a hunger for quality debt, coupled with Europe's unique fixed-income markets.

At the start of this month, nearly $12-trillion (U.S.) worth of government debt carried negative yields. As CIBC's latest foray into the market highlights, the phenomenon is now spreading to other types of bonds, as investors search for securities that pay at least a tiny yield - or cost less to own than sovereign bonds.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, some of the world's biggest central banks have unleashed multiple rounds of quantitative easing, or bond buying, designed to keep bond yields low.

The central banks' heavy demand for debt, combined with stubbornly low global growth that continues to sink inflation expectations, has helped dramatically lower the cost of borrowing for many governments and companies around the world.

As a result, bond yields - particularly in Europe - have plunged to levels few thought possible.

Germany's 10-year debt, for example, now carries a negative-0.016 yield. Covered bonds, such as those issued by CIBC, are secured by mortgages on a bank's balance sheet and have existed in Europe for years, but they only grew popular among Canadian banks in the past decade. Investors like them because their buyers have a claim on the assets, or mortgages, should the issuing bank ever default, offering two layers of security. Because there is such strong protection, most issues are rated Triple-A, a category of debt that is hard to find from corporate issuers.

As for the banks themselves, covered bonds are popular because they provide the financial institutions with a cheap source of funding, relative to selling traditional senior unsecured debt. Because investors are given extra security, they accept lower yields - or now even pay - to own these bonds. "Covered bonds are obviously ultrasafe or tend to be at or near a Triple-A rating," explained Terry Carr, head of Canadian fixed income at Manulife Asset Management, adding that "if anything is going to be pushed toward zero or pushed through to negative, it's going to be something like this."

Whether that continues on to corporate debt is a little less certain. "It's a little hard to get your head around," he said of corporate debt with negative yields, because "there would be tremendous resistance from the investor base."

Normally, corporate bond yields lag sagging sovereign debt yields, he said. If government debt quickly pays less, corporate debt often doesn't fall as fast because investors like to keep a decent return on riskier bonds.

While the benefits of negative yields are clear for bond issuers because they get paid to sell debt, it can be difficult to appreciate what motivates investors to buy such bonds. Jim Keohane, who runs the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, which manages $64-billion (Canadian), called it an "irrational thought process" in a recent interview.

Yet, some of Canada's largest asset managers justify such purchases by arguing there has been a paradigm shift within bond markets - from searching for returns to simply preserving capital. As frustrating as it can be to have to pay to do that, the broad asset allocation strategies set out by their boards often prevent them from switching gears and investing more in the likes of equities.

CIBC (CM) Close: $98.47, down 2¢

Husky spill shuts down plant
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Crude oil that spilled from a Husky Energy Inc. pipeline into a major waterway has forced the city of North Battleford, Sask., to shut the intake for its watertreatment plant to guard against contamination.

As much as 250 cubic metres, or roughly 1,600 barrels, of heavy oil leaked from the pipeline onto the land near Maidstone, Sask., on Thursday, with an as-yet-unknown volume polluting the North Saskatchewan River, Husky said. Maidstone is about 85 kilometres upstream of North Battleford.

The cause of the rupture has not been determined. Husky said it had deployed booms in efforts to prevent the oil from floating downstream.

But an oil slick was expected to reach North Battleford on Friday afternoon, said Susanne Abe, a spokeswoman for the city of 14,000 people.

With the main plant shut down, residents are getting water from a backup system that taps underground supplies. The city had also filled up its water tower and reservoir as a precaution.

"We're asking our residents to conserve water by not watering their lawns," Ms. Abe said.

Crews from Husky were scheduled to arrive in town on Friday to build a berm around the water plant's intake, she said.

A Husky executive said on Friday that the company is working with authorities to make sure that municipalities are informed and able to deal with any waterquality issues.

"We've got a water-quality and sampling program that we're going to be doing," Rob Peabody, Husky's chief operating officer, said during a conference call to discuss the company's second-quarter results.

Husky is still determining the age of the line, which carries crude from production fields to Husky's heavy-oil upgrading plant in Lloydminster, Mr. Peabody said. He said the system is tested regularly.

The shutdown of the pipeline will have minimal impact on Husky's production because it has other conduits in the region, he said.

Husky's second-quarter results reflected the sharp downturn in oil prices in the period.

It had a net loss of $196-million or 20 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $120-million, or 10 cents a share.

The most recent loss included $105-million in one-time charges related to asset sales, propertytax impairment, and exploration and production write-downs.

Husky said it closed the $1.7billion sale of its oil and gas gathering and processing assets to Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. and Power Assets Holdings Ltd.

All three companies are controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing.

That sale, and others of oil and gas assets producing nearly 26,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, in recent months, have allowed the company to reduce its debt by about $3-billion, chief executive officer Asim Ghosh said.

Mr. Ghosh said Husky's moves to concentrate on fewer, but higher-margin, assets will allow the company to operate at break-even levels, with U.S. crude averaging less than $40 (U.S.) a barrel by the end of this year.

One big uncertainty lingers, however: the state of talks with China's CNOOC Ltd. over a dispute about prices for natural gas the two produce at the Liwan project in the South China Sea. As reported in April, CNOOC wants Husky to accept a lower price for the gas sold into the Guangdong, China, market.

Husky has said it has a legally binding take-or-pay contract in place.

Mr. Ghosh said on Friday that discussions have been productive and the partners have developed a "framework for resolution."

He provided no other details, however.

That issue, and questions about when the company's dividend might be reinstated, remain the biggest factors affecting Husky shares, TD Securities Inc. analyst Menno Hulshof said in a note to clients.

Husky Energy (HSE) Close: $15.89, up 47¢

A brave new Britain, full of political contradictions
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

LONDON -- A while ago I asked a senior executive at a big Canadian pension fund why the fund was investing so much money in Britain.

The answer is today laden with irony: Britain is a politically stable society with a strong, growing economy that is part of the European Union.

It's probably too late for the fund manager to shift into reverse gear.

And the bigger problem is that we just don't know which way Britain is heading, other than away from Brussels. Indeed, so much has changed that there is a risk that important signals are being ignored while we stare gobsmacked at the earthquake.

For example, a Tory government is back in Downing Street with a sharp bias to the right in its cabinet ministers. You might think that this new Brexit administration would be libertarian in inclination, in favour of lower taxes, lower spending and a deregulated economy.

But listen to Theresa May, the new Prime Minister: She has pitched her tent slap bang in left field.

Her leadership campaign manifesto could have been written by the Labour Party, with impassioned promises to help "ordinary, working-class families," the ones "who made real sacrifices after the financial crash" in putting up with lower wages and job insecurity.

More astonishingly, this provincial, small-town Tory lady talks about going after "unscrupulous bosses." She wants employee representatives on the boards of public companies and she wants to curb boardroom pay with mandatory binding shareholder votes on bosses' remuneration. If that wasn't enough to scare the plutocrats, she wants to bring back state economic planning.

It's not quite Soviet, but she wants a "proper industrial strategy to get the whole economy firing." This will direct infrastructure spending, housebuilding, research and development and energy policy.

Canadians may not find this astonishing - Justin Trudeau has been using similar language about a plan for manufacturing - but this kind of talk has been anathema in Britain for decades.

Since the Thatcher revolution in the 1980s, no British government, including Labour, has dared to suggest that government has an active role in the economy, other than in setting taxes and public spending.

This is, potentially, a big change in direction, and Ms. May even fired a broadside at foreign investors - not just those who don't pay their taxes but corporate predators who might have their eyes on British assets.

"Transient shareholders - who are mostly companies investing other people's money - are not the only people with an interest when firms are sold or close.

Workers have a stake, local communities have a stake," she said, promising that her industrial strategy would mean an active policy of defending economic sectors that were important to Britain.

In France, such talk would be considered normal, but political meddling in corporate takeovers is a revolutionary idea in Britain. And it is interesting that there was no attempt by Ms.

May's new government to block SoftBank Group Corp.'s proposed acquisition of ARM Holdings PLC. No doubt the extensive undertakings to maintain ARM's Cambridge headquarters and massively increase employment and investment were considered adequate.

Still, this brave new Britain is now full of political contradictions. The Prime Minister's pitch to the left and social justice is at odds with the romantic libertarians in her cabinet, such as Boris Johnson and David Davis, who made Brexit happen and who dream of a free-trading, low-tax Britain, a Singapore offshore of Europe that's open for business to anyone and everyone.

But Ms. May knows that the millions of ordinary struggling people who voted for Brexit don't want that high-risk Britain of economic freedom. They want social justice; they want the bosses to pay; and they want Ms. May to make it so.

The Canadian pension fund may be in for an exciting ride.

Oil sputters as production builds, demand weakens
Some of Canada's bellwether energy stocks take hits as crude drops to $43 (U.S.) from $51 mark in June
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Oil's recovery has stalled on sputtering demand, dashing hopes of a sustained rebound in energy shares and the broader economy.

Since surging past $51 (U.S.) a barrel in early June, U.S. benchmark crude has fallen 16 per cent.

Some analysts are concerned that crude could dip below $40 again before reversing course.

West Texas intermediate (WTI) oil fell more than 2 per cent to settle at $43.13 a barrel on Monday, its lowest since April 25. The Toronto Stock Exchange's oil and gas subindex, which includes shares of oil producers, integrated oil companies and oil-field service providers, slid more than 3.7 per cent.

Strengthening crude prices in the spring were a function of slowly depleting supplies, as U.S. shale oil output began to decline amid a massive pullback in drilling, and as Alberta wildfires reduced oil sands output by more than a million barrels a day.

Now, with the U.S. rig count edging up and oil sands production largely back to prefire volumes, the focus has shifted to weak demand for crude.

"There are a lot of things working against the market right now," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "We've kind of peaked in the summer driving season. People keep talking about this glut of gasoline and we have a questionable economic outlook."

For the industry, crude's market moves in recent months are eerily similar to those of 2015, with strength in the early summer giving way to a sharp drop as North American refineries headed to fall maintenance season, when demand dropped.

By January, WTI had tumbled by nearly half to a 12-year low just above $26 a barrel.

Morgan Stanley, the U.S. investment bank, warned that the widely expected rebalancing of global oil supply and demand could be delayed from estimates of late this year or early next year to the middle of 2017. It said a "refinery-driven correction" is at hand, pointing to a big buildup in U.S. gasoline stockpiles.

"With inventories above fiveyear highs in almost every region, [petroleum] product margins have been falling sharply. This product overhang will weigh on crude oil markets as well, just with a lag," Morgan Stanley said in a report. "As refinery margins continue to fall, refiners will look to cut back on utilization, leading to lower crude oil demand."

The global macroeconomic picture is also cloudier after the Brexit vote in Britain to leave the European Union, which showed the vulnerability of demand, Mr. Flynn said.

"And now, with concerns about China slowing down, or India being a little shaky, the uncertainty is driving this a bit lower, and now it's starting to impact the stock market," he said.

Indeed, some of Canada's bellwether energy stocks took big hits on Monday, including Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., down 4.4 per cent, Encana Corp., down 5.5 per cent, and Suncor Energy Inc., down 3.3 per cent.

A few oil patch companies have over the past few days reported second-quarter results marked by sizable losses. However, some executives have expressed optimism, noting that heavy cost-cutting over the past 18 months is paying off in efficiency gains.

Precision Drilling Corp. chief executive officer Kevin Neveu told analysts last week that "green shoots" were appearing in the market, with exploration and production companies adding a few more dollars to drilling plans. One bright spot has been natural gas prices, which have jumped owing to power demand to meet increased air-conditioning loads in major markets.

Weaker oil prices are taking their toll on Canada's commodity-influenced currency. The loonie fell 0.6 per cent to 75.6 cents (U.S.), its lowest level in more than four months.

Miners unearth new prospects
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

After four years of hard times and grinding retreat, Canada's junior mining sector is once again attracting fresh capital and new investors.

The recent outburst of enthusiasm is centred on gold miners, says Michelle Grant, senior vicepresident at consultants Ernst & Young and leader of its mining and metals transactions team in British Columbia.

She expects acquisition activity in the sector to pick up speed in the months ahead as companies look for ways to ride the upswing in precious metals prices.

"There's a new fear of missing out," she says. She has talked to several mining executives who already regret not bidding more for potential acquisitions last year, given the big run-up in gold miners' shares since the start of the year.

Their abrupt shift in attitude demonstrates - once again - the tendency of miners and mining investors to jump from despair to euphoria, and vice versa.

Until January, miners had been trapped in a vicious down market for years. Ms. Grant chronicles the extent of that slump in a report published this week.

At the height of the commodity supercycle in 2011, miners listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange enjoyed a market capitalization of $426-billion, she writes.

By the end of 2015, the market value of those companies had shrunk to a mere $180-billion.

Last year alone, 172 mining and metals companies delisted - that is, stopped trading on the two exchanges. The wave of delistings covered roughly 12 per cent of publicly traded miners in Canada.

To be sure, much of the delisting was strategic.

The single most common reason was a merger or acquisition that combined two companies into one.

Tough times in the industry prompted many companies to join forces and pool cash, Ms. Grant says.

In other cases, acquirers with access to cash saw the opportunity to snap up other miners at bargain prices.

She expects to see to see even more acquisitions ahead, but for different reasons.

"People want to invest in a market that's going up," she says. "They don't want to catch a falling knife."

Ego and a desire for scale will drive some transactions, she says.

In other cases, mid-tier or larger companies with operations in risky locales will be looking to acquire rivals with properties in safer political jurisdictions.

Ms. Grant points to Centerra Gold Inc.'s deal to acquire Thompson Creek Metals Co. as an example of this trend. The transaction earlier this month was motivated in large part by Centerra's desire to balance the uncertainties surrounding its mine in Kyrgyzstan with Thompson Creek's more stable operations in British Columbia.

As acquisition activity across the mining sector picks up, investors appear to be once again willing to take a flyer on a junior miner with a promising story.

In May, the most recent month for which figures are available, $282.7-million in private placements was raised by miners listed on the juniordominated Venture exchange compared with only $199.5-million on the more stately TSX.

"That means juniors and midtier miners raised more capital than the larger players," Ms. Grant notes.

Six of the top 10 financings on the Venture Exchange in May were done by mining and metal companies.

The largest was a $44.1-million capital raise by Gold Reserve Inc. and the smallest was a $10.3-million deal by IDM Mining Ltd.

Miners on both exchanges have raised $4.8-billion in equity capital so far this year, well ahead of the $4.1-billion reached at the same point last year.

The influx of capital is building up bankrolls that can be used for many purposes, including new acquisitions. "More deals are coming," Ms. Grant says.

Facing probes, Fiat Chrysler changes how it counts sales
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV announced changes in the way it reports U.S. vehicle sales on Tuesday amid an investigation by U.S. authorities into claims of inflated sales figures.

The maker of Jeep and Dodge vehicles said earlier this month that it was co-operating with investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The probes, including a criminal investigation, stem from claims by some dealers that they were forced by Fiat Chrysler officials to falsify sales reports.

A Globe and Mail investigation last year raised questions about the reporting methods used by Chrysler's Canadian division, the country's sales leader. Several dealers across Canada were purchasing vehicles themselves and counting them as sold, in order to tap a sales bonus system. They would then market the vehicles as second-hand, even though they had just a few kilometres on the odometer. The Canadian practice is not illegal.

In its statement Tuesday, FCA said monthly U.S. sales reports in the past have had no impact on its reported revenue or financial statements issued quarterly.

But it said it was revising its sales reporting methods in a bid to be more transparent and consistent about its monthly results.

FCA, like other major U.S. auto makers, books revenue when vehicles are sold wholesale to dealers, not when sales are made to retail customers.

The company, which has reported U.S. year-over-year sales gains every month since April, 2010, stopped short of admitting any wrongdoing. But it said that winning streak would have ended nearly three years ago under the reporting methodology it is now adopting.

"Annual sales volumes under the new methodology for each year in the 2011-2016 period are within approximately 0.7 per cent of the annual unit sales volumes previously reported," FCA's statement said.

One of the key changes is that the company will streamline the way its reports "fleet" sales each month to be at the time of delivery from FCA. In the past, FCA says now, arbitrary measurements of sales to some fleet customers were made, often when a vehicle was being tailored after the factory sale to meet customer specifications.

LouAnn Gosselin, a spokeswoman for Fiat Chrysler in Canada, said some of the new U.S. sales reporting methods will "likely" be used when the company reports August's Canadian sales in September.

Ms. Gosselin said it was too soon to say whether any adjustment to past sales would be made, nor whether that would result in the company losing its title as the 2015 sales leader. "I can't speak to that. The U.S. announcement just went out today," Ms. Gosselin said by phone.

Reuters, with files from The Globe's Eric Atkins

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) Close: $7.00 (U.S.), up 12¢

Russian track athletes disappointed, angry with ban
The Associated Press
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S4

LONDON -- Now that Russian track and field athletes have failed in their effort to have their Olympic ban overturned, it's up to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to decide whether to kick the entire Russian team out of the Games that begin in Rio de Janeiro in 15 days.

In another blow to the image of the sports superpower, the highest court in sports on Thursday dismissed an appeal by 68 Russian track athletes of the ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) following allegations of systematic and state-sponsored doping.

Sports officials in Moscow condemned the ruling as "political," and said some athletes might take their case to civil courts.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva said the Rio Games will be devalued, with only "pseudo-gold medals" available.

In its ruling, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found that track and field's world governing body, the IAAF, had properly applied its own rules in keeping the Russians out of the Games that begin Aug. 5.

The three-person panel ruled that the Russian Olympic Committee "is not entitled to nominate Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games considering that they are not eligible to participate under the IAAF competition rules."

The Russians had argued against a collective ban, saying it punishes those athletes who have not been accused of wrongdoing.

The IAAF praised the decision, saying: "Today's judgment has created a level playing field for athletes."

IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who has declared the ban is crucial to protecting the integrity of the competition, said it was "not a day for triumphant statements."

"I didn't come into this sport to stop athletes from competing," he said. "It is our federation's instinctive desire to include, not exclude."

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko suggested Russia could take the case to a civil court. CAS general secretary Matthieu Reeb said the Russians have the right to appeal to the Swiss federal tribunal within 30 days, but only on "procedural grounds," not the merits of the decision. Olympic bodies and athletes sign up to CAS jurisdiction, and its rulings have very rarely been overturned.

Reeb said the ruling is not binding on the IOC, which has the final say as the supreme organizer of the Games. However, the IOC last month accepted the IAAF decision to maintain its ban on the Russian athletes.

"The door is open for the IOC to decide, to determine even on a case-by-case principle whether these athletes are eligible or not," Reeb told reporters outside the court headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

While the ruling clears the way for other individual sports federations to apply similar bans on Russians, it also increases pressure on the IOC to take the unprecedented step of excluding the whole Russian team. The IOC has never banned an entire country from the Games for doping, and the last time Russia missed the Olympics was in 1984, when the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), along with many national anti-doping bodies and athletes groups, have called on the IOC to impose a total ban on Russia following fresh allegations of state-orchestrated cheating across dozens of Olympic sports.

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who was commissioned by WADA, issued a scathing report Monday that accused Russia's Sports Ministry of orchestrating a doping system that affected 28 summer and winter Olympic sports. Officers of Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, were also involved in the cheating, which included swapping of doping samples at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, McLaren found.

On Tuesday, the IOC executive board said it would "explore the legal options" for a possible total ban on Russia but would wait until after the CAS ruling before making a final decision.

The IOC executive board is scheduled to hold another emergency meeting Sunday via teleconference to consider the issue.

In a statement Thursday, the IOC said it "takes note" of the CAS ruling upholding the track and field ban.

"We will now have to study and analyze the full decision," the IOC said. "The IOC decision on the participation of the Russian athletes will be taken in the coming days."

Former WADA president Dick Pound, an IOC member from Canada, accused the IOC of dithering and said the committee does not show the appetite to apply a total ban.

"You've got the power to simply withdraw the invitation and say, 'Sorry, your country has not demonstrated any understanding or respect of rules for clean competition. You're not welcome,' " Pound said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Pound, who authored a WADA report last year that detailed cheating in Russia and led to the IAAF ban, criticized the IOC for suggesting that individual federations could decide whether to exclude Russian athletes in their own sports, rather than imposing a complete ban itself.

"Why is the IOC not acting in the face of incontrovertible evidence of government interference?" he said. "What else do you need?" A group of 14 national anti-doping agencies sent a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach urging a complete ban "to uphold the Olympic Charter and the integrity of the Rio Olympic Games."

Among the countries represented in the letter were the United States, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Austria.

Germany's Olympic committee president Alfons Hoermann said the CAS verdict was a "clear signal to the IOC."

"Where we have systematic cheating, we also must have systematic punishment," he said.

As it stands, the IAAF has approved just two Russians to compete, as "neutral athletes," after they showed they had been training and living abroad under a robust drug-testing regime. One is doping whistle-blower and 800metre runner Yulia Stepanova; the other is Florida-based long jumper Darya Klishina.

Mutko said a Russian government committee will be formed to examine the McLaren report.

He added Russian athletes will continue to "defend their honour and dignity" even though any legal proceedings may not be held before the games begin.

Russia cancelled a ceremonial send-off Friday for its Olympic athletes heading to Rio.

Isinbayeva, the pole vault world-record holder who is the face and voice of Russian track and field, told the state news agency Tass that the ruling marked "the funeral" of her sport.

She had been aiming for her fifth Olympics and was a leading voice in calling for the ban to be overturned, even speaking at Tuesday's CAS hearing.

In comments on her Instagram page, Isinbayeva suggested that some of her foreign rivals could be doping and wanted Russia banned to make the competition easier.

"Let all these pseudo-clean foreign athletes breathe a sigh of relief and win their pseudo-gold medals without us," she said.

"They've always been frightened of strength."

Bans for individual dopers are fair, but not the exclusion of a whole team, hurdler Timofey Chaly argued.

"It's dishonest," he said. "There are people who decided for themselves that they can dope and maybe somehow they'd get away with it. That didn't happen and they got bans. That's fair."

Vera Rebrik, who won gold in the javelin for Ukraine at the European Championships before switching her allegiance to Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, was left out by the ruling.

"I don't know whether to laugh or cry. ... I can't find the words," she told Russian state broadcaster Match TV.

Associated Graphic

Russian athletes prepare to compete in the Russian Athletics Cup on Thursday, the same day the country lost its appeal against the Olympic ban on its track and field athletes. The decision to keep the ban could add pressure on the International Olympic Committee to exclude the country entirely from next month's Games in Rio de Janeiro.


Jackson contributing to Ottawa's success
Veteran defensive back was left to sit on sidelines for months before landing a spot on RedBlacks' practice squad
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

Last month, Tristan Jackson seriously wondered if he was done with football.

Released in December by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Jackson spent six months patiently waiting for another CFL club to call. He even took matters into his own hands, giving Ottawa RedBlacks head coach Rick Campbell a shout, but no contract was forthcoming.

That is until last month, when Ottawa added the 5-foot-8, 185pound defensive back to its practice roster. On Wednesday night, Jackson thanked the RedBlacks for the new lease on his football life with a 75-yard punt return that broke a 20-20 tie and led them to a 30-20 road win over the Toronto Argonauts.

"Scoring touchdowns and helping this team win, I need to do that," Jackson said. "They brought me here, they believed in me.

"I was sitting at home three weeks ago; nobody wanted to give me a chance. I have to show every team in the CFL they should've given me a chance."

Jackson was appearing in just his second game with Ottawa when he scored the third-year franchise's first-ever specialteams TD.

"That will be good for my kids when they get older," Jackson said. "They'll know their dad had that first return."

Playing football certainly beats Jackson's off-season gig of working in the Alberta oil fields. But it still means being away from his six-year-old daughter, Kailyah, and one-year-old son, Caleb.

"That's hard, that's very hard," Jackson said.

Ottawa not only has a proven returner in Jackson but a nineyear defender who appeared in 115 career games with Edmonton (2008-10) and Saskatchewan (2011-15). Jackson registered a club-record 1,167 kickoff return yards with the Eskimos in '09 and helped the Riders win the 2013 Grey Cup.

This season Jackson has 10 punt returns for 142 yards, his longest being 85 yards. Jackson said he felt obligated to come up big after allowing Lirim Hajrullahu's punt to bounce on the BMO Field grass before picking it up.

"I should've caught the ball in the air so I told myself I had to make a play," he said. "The guys were telling me they [Argos defenders] were overcommitting to the middle.

"When I looked up I tried to get to the corner but they were pursuing real hard. I cut back and my guys gave me a couple of great blocks. I broke a tackle and it was off to the races from there."

Jackson actually broke four tackles as no less than six Argos all had a shot at bringing him down.

"I can't take it all myself. The guys up front gave me great blocks," said Jackson. "I have the easy part, I catch the ball and run."

The RedBlacks (3-0-1) remain the CFL's only unbeaten squad with all three victories coming on the road. The last time an Ottawa franchise began the season with three straight wins away from home was 1976 when the then Rough Riders went on to capture the city's last Grey Cup title.

After reaching last year's Grey Cup game - losing 26-20 to Edmonton - this year's goal, naturally, is to win the CFL crown.

"When you play football, regardless of the goals and accolades, you just want to win," Jackson said. "The ultimate goal is to win the Grey Cup and we're just one step closer.

"We still have a long season ahead of us. The win feels good but we just have to get back to work and get ready for the next game."

And that will be a big one for Jackson as Ottawa visits Saskatchewan on Friday night. It will be Jackson's first trip to Regina since being released by the Riders.

"I am looking forward to playing those guys but I'm not mad at [Riders' coach/GM Chris] Jones," Jackson said. "That's just the business part of it.

"It's like if you have a house and you want new walls, you paint them and that's what he did. ... I'm still playing football so let's go have fun."

Quarterback Trevor Harris, meanwhile, enjoyed a record performance against his former team last week.

The Ottawa quarterback completed 28-of-31 passes for 392 yards in the RedBlacks 30-20 road win over Toronto on Wednesday.

It was Harris's first game against the Argonauts, who he spent four seasons with before signing with Ottawa as a free agent.

Harris's completion percentage of 90.3 was a CFL record with a minimum of 30 pass attempts.

And through four games, Harris has completed 104-of-126 passes (82.5 per cent) for 1,475 yards and nine TDs with a passer rating of 143.3.

Harris had a CFL-high 33 TD strikes last season with Toronto, compiling a 9-7 record as the starter while incumbent Ricky Ray recovered from off-season shoulder surgery. Ray holds the league single-season records for completion percentage (77.2) and passer rating (126.4).

But last week's top passing performance belonged to Edmonton's Mike Reilly, who threw for 465 yards and two TDs in the Eskimos' 20-16 road victory over Winnipeg.

Around the league, home field continues to be anything but an advantage so far this season.

Last week, all four road teams won their games, boosting the visiting squads' record to 12-3-1 this season.

Ottawa (3-0-1) is the CFL's three wins come on the road, including a 30-20 decision Wednesday versus the Argonauts.

Toronto, Hamilton and B.C. are all 2-0 on the road. However, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Argos and Ticats are all 0-2 at home.

B.C., Calgary and Edmonton are the lone teams to win home games this season.

Associated Graphic

Tristan Jackson's 75-yard punt return for a touchdown - the RedBlacks' first-ever special teams TD - broke a tie with Toronto and led Ottawa to victory last week against the Argos.


Pospisil wins first set before Chardy has to retire
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- In a year when everything that could go wrong mostly did go wrong for Vasek Pospisil, finally something went right for him on Tuesday night in first-round action at the Rogers Cup.

Playing on a familiar centre court in front of a largely partisan home crowd, Pospisil eliminated the No. 39 player in the world, Jérémy Chardy of France, after Chardy retired with what was believed to be a foot injury two points into the second set.

Pospisil, who won the seesaw opening set in a tiebreaker, advanced to play the mercurial, entertaining Frenchman Gaël Monfils in the second round.

For someone who has yet to win back-to-back main-draw singles matches this season, and slipped out of the top 100 this week for the first time in more than four years, the result - no matter how it was achieved - was dearly welcome. It was just Pospisil's sixth match win of the season against 18 losses.

But after a rocky start against Chardy, in which he opened with a double fault and lost his serve in the first game, Pospisil was extremely sharp on serve the rest of the way.

In all, Pospisil won four of his service games at love and dominated in the tiebreaker, firing an ace to go up 6-2 before finishing off the set by clobbering a forehand winner off of a Chardy serve.

The chance to play at home, Pospisil acknowledged, made a difference to him. And it was clear the crowd was solidly behind him, coming to life ahead of the tiebreaker - Pospisil fed off that energy to win the set going away.

Over all, his performance followed closely the game plan he outlined to reporters prior to the tournament, when he noted that he would try to use his serve and forehand more effectively as weapons.

The challenge will be to carry all that positivity into the match against Monfils, who is 27-9 on the year and coming off a title in Washington last weekend. Monfils, sporting a new, sleek coif, made short work of Portugal's Joao Sousa Tuesday, winning in straight sets.

Pospisil was the only Canadian involved in singles play Tuesday, with Milos Raonic, the world' s No. 7-ranked player and the fourth seed here, set to play his first match Wednesday evening against Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei. Lu upset the young German sensation, Alexander Zverev, in the first match of the day on Centre Court.

With three of the top four players in the world - Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - not playing here this week, one of the perceived attractions of the event was to see how the tour's Generation Next fared. So far, it hasn't gone too well. Of the six players aged 21 or under ranked in the Top 200, five - Zverev, Borna Coric, Nick Kyrgios, Taylor Fritz and Kyle Edmund - have already been eliminated. The sixth, American qualifier Jared Donaldson, managed a win over Australian John Millman.

Zverev, the youngest player to crack the top 25 since France's Richard Gasquet 11 years ago, defeated Federer at Halle earlier this year. But he had an erratic time of it on the Aviva Centre's hard courts, where Lu's consistency won the day.

It was also a good day for the ad hoc Canadian doubles team of Philip Bester and Adil Shamasdin, who received a wild-card into the tournament and made good use of it. Playing against the world's No. 1 singles player, Novak Djokovic, and Daniel Nestor's former doubles partner, Nenad Zimonjic, Bester and Shasmasdin pulled out a three-set victory, 7-5, 4-6, 10-2.

Bester and Shasmasdin easily won the super tie-breaker after a couple of double faults by Bester permitted the Serbs to grab the second set.

"I wanted to keep things interesting for the crowd," explained Bester afterward. "That's just sport. That's tennis. That kind of stuff happens, not just to me, but to everyone."

Bester and Shasmasdin next meet the seventh seeds, Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram, in the second round.

"We're not just here to win one match and make some headlines that we beat a former No. 1 doubles and the current singles No. 1 in the world," said Bester. "I don't know about him. I plan on keeping winning."

Pospisil is in the same half of the doubles draw as Bester and Shasmasdin. He is playing here with the ageless Daniel Nestor instead of his regular partner, Jack Sock, so the two Davis Cup stalwarts can regain some familiarity with each other's games ahead of the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Pospisil expressed the obligatory sadness at the fact that Chardy couldn't complete the match because of an injury ("It was unfortunate the way it ended"), but then wryly acknowledged: "I'll take it for sure."

Well, why not? When you're in the sort of slump Pospisil is in, you clutch at every straw - try anything to change your luck, boost your confidence and correct your course. For one night anyway, this was a step in the right direction.

Follow me on Twitter: @eduhatschek

Associated Graphic

Canada's Vasek Pospisil returns the ball to France's Jérémy Chardy during first-round action at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Tuesday. Chardy retired, and Pospisil will next play Gaël Monfils.


Defence is key to grounding RedBlacks
The Canadian Press
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

Now it's Chris Jones's turn to try and ground Trevor Harris and the Ottawa RedBlacks' high-powered offence.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach will have his hands full with Harris and his dangerous complement of receivers when the RedBlacks visit the Roughriders on Friday.

Since replacing injured incumbent Henry Burris in Ottawa's season-opening win over Edmonton, Harris has been nearly unstoppable. He's leading the CFL in passing yards (1,475), completion percentage (82.5), touchdowns (nine) and passing efficiency (140.1) while throwing just one interception.

For three games, Chris Williams was Harris's favourite target. He was the CFL's leading receiver heading into last week's action with 25 catches for 493 yards and six TDs.

But on Wednesday night, it was James Ellingson who stepped from Williams's shadow.

The lanky receiver had nine catches for 218 yards and was a key figure in Ottawa's 30-20 road win over Toronto, which left the RedBlacks (3-0-1) as the league's top team and its only unbeaten squad.

Williams continues to lead the CFL in receiving (31 catches, 556 yards, six TDs) with Ellingson (25 catches, 439 yards, one TD) standing second.

Harris completed 28 of 31 passes (league-record 90.3 per cent) for 392 yards against the Argos, his former team. He also ran for a TD, set up by a 77-yard completion to Ellingson to the Toronto one-yard line.

Harris has no shortage of weapons at his disposal. Williams and Ellingson are just two of four Ottawa receivers who surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau last season. The others were Brad Sinopoli - the CFL's top Canadian in 2015 - and Earnest Jackson. And all four are back with Ottawa this year, again creating coverage nightmares for opposing defences.

The Riders (0-3) are still seeking their first win under Jones, hired to rebuild a 3-15 Saskatchewan squad this off-season after leading Edmonton to a Grey Cup title. What's more, quarterback Darian Durant left Saskatchewan's 40-27 loss to the B.C. Lions with a sprained ankle.

Durant had suffered season-ending injuries in each of the past two years for the Riders.

Compounding matters is Ottawa's road prowess this season.

All three of the RedBlacks' wins have come away from TD Place.

The Riders, on the other hand, are 0-2 at Mosaic Stadium.

Pick: Ottawa

Calgary Stampeders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Thursday) It's the second meeting in three weeks between the two as Calgary (1-1-1) captured a 36-22 home decision July 1. The Stampeders have been off since a 2626 tie in Ottawa on July 8. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was 29-of-43 passing for 268 yards and two TDs in that contest.

Winnipeg (1-3) is coming off a hard-luck 20-16 loss to Edmonton as Eskimos starter Mike Reilly threw for 465 yards and two TDs. Bombers' starter Drew Willy will remain under centre after completing 25-of-38 passing for 299 yards and a touchdown but also throwing two interceptions.

Pick: Calgary.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday) Reilly might be the one to make the Eskimos (2-1) go offensively, but receivers Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker are both key cogs. Bowman, the CFL's top receiver last year, had 10 catches for 185 yards in the win over Winnipeg while Walker, the league's outstanding rookie in 2015, added seven receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown.

After allowing an average of more than 40 points over the club's first two games, the Eskimos' defence forced three fumbles and had two interceptions against the Bombers. Hamilton (2-2) is coming off a 31-7 road win over Montreal to boost its record away from Tim Hortons Field to 2-0.

Pick: Edmonton.

Montreal Alouettes at Toronto Argonauts (Monday) The Argos (2-2) haven't exactly enjoyed home-field advantage at BMO Field. They're 0-2 at their new home venue after dropping a 30-20 decision to Ottawa last week. Toronto started off well, surging into an early 13-0 lead but Tristan Jackson delivered the decisive blow for the RedBlacks with a 75-yard punt return TD that broke a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter. Montreal (1-2) is coming off a 31-7 home loss to Hamilton after being outscored 26-3 in the second half, thanks in part to Brandon Banks's 86-yard punt return TD.

Starter Kevin Glenn didn't play because of an inflamed eye.

Pick: Toronto.

Last week: 3-1 Overall record: 5-10-1.

Associated Graphic

Trevor Harris has been nearly unstoppable as the RedBlacks' QB since taking on the role earlier this season.


Du Toit reflects on 'the best week' of his life
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

'I t's not about how hard you can hit," Jared du Toit tweeted earlier this month, "it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

That appeared to be du Toit's mantra at Sunday's RBC Canadian Open, where he started the final round tied for second with Dustin Johnson and behind Brandt Snedeker.

His remarkable ascent over the weekend from a virtually unknown amateur to a legitimate contender for the country's top professional golf title had Canadians, deprived of a homegrown winner since 1954, wondering: Could this be the one?

Not yet, it turns out.

The 21-year-old du Toit (whose surname American broadcasters first had trouble pronouncing) plummeted seven spots and finished tied for ninth at nine under after a final round of 71. He struggled at the start of Sunday's round with two early bogeys, but birdied 16 and 18 to finish two shots ahead of world No. 1 Jason Day, earning the Gary Cowan Award for low amateur.

"I think it's safe to say this has been the best week of my life so far," du Toit told a cheering crowd after the tournament. "I got to meet some guys that I really looked up to growing up. I'm very honoured to be here."

Making his breakout performance even more impressive, du Toit learned on Saturday night that he had bronchitis after what he initially thought was a cold grew worse over the past seven days. Coach Derek Ingram drove du Toit to nearby Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and the young player only got five hours sleep ahead of Sunday's final round.

"We're going to take care of this bronchitis a little bit, probably hold off the celebration a little more," du Toit said.

Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas won the championship, his second PGA Tour victory, birdieing the final three holes at Glen Abbey Golf Club for an eight-under 64 and one-stroke victory.

Vegas pocketed $1,062,000 (U.S.), which du Toit would have had to turn down as an amateur, and will advance to the PGA Championship next week at Baltusrol in New Jersey.

Vegas also received a two-year tour exemption and a spot in the Masters next year.

The Glen Abbey galleries in Oakville, Ont., erupted in cheers Saturday when du Toit sank a 40foot eagle putt at the 18th hole, the highlight of a weekend performance that stunned players and fans.

"For a 21-year-old kid to be playing golf here is awesome, let alone to do it in your national open," Snedeker said. "I mean, I can't imagine the nerves this kid has to be playing as great of golf as he has."

As du Toit, who wore Golf Canada national apparel, walked back to the official scorer's trailer after his putt, sections of the crowd belted out O Canada. Spectators in the galleries, who didn't know his name, called du Toit "the young Canadian," reports said.

"Unbelievable," du Toit said at the time. "The atmosphere out here has been unbelievable.

Walking to each green, each tee box, everybody hooting and hollering 'Go Canada!' "Du Toit was born in Calgary and grew up in Kimberley, B.C., where he won the 2015 B.C. Amateur and the 2013 B.C. Junior Boys title.

He spent two seasons with the University of Idaho, where he earned freshman of the year honours for the Western Athletic Conference, before transferring to Arizona State University. He has eight top-10 collegiate finishes.

Du Toit said he plans to finish his senior year at Arizona State, play more amateur tournaments and "just have some fun. Be a 21year-old."

Pat Fletcher was the last Canadian to win the open at Vancouver's Point Grey Golf Club. An amateur hasn't won since 1956, when Doug Saunders, an American, won at Montreal's Beaconsfield Golf Club.

Associated Graphic

Canada's Jared du Toit high-fives fans as he makes his way to the second tee box during the final round at the 2016 Canadian Open in Oakville, Ont., on Sunday. Du Toit finished two shots ahead of world No. 1 Jason Day, earning the Gary Cowan Award for low amateur.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Woods still trying to recover from back injury
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- Tiger Woods has shut it down for the rest of the PGA Tour season, bringing into question his playing future after being away from the sport for more than a year and missing all four major championships in 2016.

Woods, who is recovering from multiple back surgeries that have kept him out of action for nearly a year, hinted earlier this year that he might not play this season, but it was finally made official on Tuesday.

The PGA Championship announced that Woods had withdrawn from the July 28-31 event at Baltusrol, marking the first time he will miss all four majors in a calendar year, while his agent confirmed his client is done for the season.

"Not going to play in the '15/ '16 season. We will assess this Fall when to come back and play for the '16/'17 season,"

Mark Steinberg said in an e-mail to Reuters after Golf Channel had first reported the news.

The 2016-17 PGA Tour season starts in mid-October in Napa, Calif., which marks the start of a seven-tournament run through November before the schedule resumes in January.

No one, not even Woods, can possibly know how the former world No. 1 will fare when he makes his PGA Tour return after an absence that dates back to the Wyndham Championship in August, 2015, where he tied for 10th.

Woods, famously, used to say he would never tee it up in a golf tournament unless he thought he was capable of winning and he is clearly being cautious about rushing his return to a game that has since seen a handful of young stars crowd the top of the world rankings.

Woods, who made 11 starts on the PGA Tour last season and just seven the season before, had his first back surgery in early 2014. A second microdiscectomy was performed last September, with a follow-up procedure six weeks later.

In late February, in an effort to shoot down reports that suggested he endured setbacks during his rehabilitation process, Woods posted a video of himself swinging a golf club in front of an indoor golf simulator, seemingly without discomfort.

A week later, the 14-time major champion said he was feeling "a lot better" and still had intentions of playing golf "at the highest level."

In mid-May, Woods said he was "progressing nicely," but then hit three balls into the water on a short par-three hole during an exhibition to promote a tournament he hosts.

Last month, Woods indicated that he might not return to competition this year, saying he needed to be patient during his recovery.

A winner of 79 PGA Tour titles, Woods was world No. 1 a record total of 683 weeks, but his form has slipped dramatically in recent years due to injuries and the mastering of a new swing, while his ranking has plummeted to a mind-boggling 628th.

"It's been a long road," Woods said in April after playing his first stretch of holes since last August, at a golf course opening in Montgomery, Tex.

"To actually be able to play soccer with my kids again, to do something like this, to be able to live life, that's what's been nice. Five months ago, I couldn't."

The 40-year-old Woods has not won a tournament since 2013 and last won a major at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Hinchcliffe gunning for hometown win
One year after a near-fatal accident at the Indianapolis 500, Ontarian seeks his first victory of the season
The Canadian Press
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- A year removed from a neardeath experience at the Indianapolis 500, Canadian James Hinchcliffe is back home and searching for his first victory of the season.

The Oakville, Ont., native will aim to pick up career win No. 5 at this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto, which takes place Sunday at Exhibition Place.

Although this season has been inconsistent so far, the 29-yearold is feeling good entering his hometown race.

"The craziest thing about it is I'm healthier, fitter now than I've ever been," Hinchcliffe said on Wednesday. "When you're in a position like that, you start paying a lot for attention to yourself, to your body. And now I know a lot more about myself personally and physically.

"Like I said, I'm fitter than ever, more prepared than I've ever been to get into an Indy car and do some damage, figuratively speaking."

Hinchcliffe was rushed to hospital during the practice session of the 2015 Indy 500 after his car spun hard into the wall. The car briefly slid on its right side and almost flipped before coming to rest upright.

Hinchcliffe's left thigh was pierced by the car's right front rocker and the piece of equipment needed to be removed, sources told The Associated Press. The injury required surgery on his left thigh and pelvic area to stop massive bleeding.

Hinchcliffe missed the rest of the 2015 season and has yet to win so far this year.

The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver does have five top-10 finishes entering the Indy Toronto - highlighted by a thirdplace finish at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.

He followed that up by taking the pole position at May's Indianapolis 500 before finishing seventh.

"It's been a roller-coaster ride," Hinchcliffe said.

"We're proving the paces week in and week out, we just need luck to fall our way a little bit.

Not something that's traditionally been in my cards at this race, but hopefully we can buck the trend this week."

After a series of poor finishes following his strong Indy 500, Hinchcliffe finished ninth at last weekend's Iowa Corn 300.

Hinchcliffe said good qualifying is going to be key if he's to win this weekend.

"This track, although you can pass, it's a street course, it's still tough," he said. "But the big focus for us is going to [be to] make sure we're quick over the lap, get a good qualifying position, and that usually helps a lot in trying to get that first victory."

A win at home would also be a sweet feeling for the 2011 IndyCar series rookie of the year.

"I mean, short of winning the 500, this is as exciting as it gets for me to bring home a victory here," Hinchcliffe said.

Associated Graphic

Oakville, Ont., native James Hinchcliffe says good qualifying is going to be key if he's to win at this weekend's Honda Indy in Toronto: 'That usually helps a lot in trying to get that first victory.'


Raonic to skip Rio over health concerns
Canadian Wimbledon finalist joins a growing list of star athletes to take a pass on the 2016 Olympic Games
The Canadian Press
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic won't be participating in this summer's Olympic Games.

The resident of Thornhill, Ont., announced on Friday his decision to not participate in the Rio Games over health concerns.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my withdrawal from participation in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," he said on his Facebook page. "After much deliberation with my family and coaches, I am making this decision for a variety of health concerns including the uncertainty around the Zika virus.

"This was a difficult, personal choice and I do not wish for it to impact the decision of any other athlete heading to the Games. I would like to thank Tennis Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee for their ongoing support. I am very proud to have competed for Canada at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, and on the world stage at several Davis Cup events. I look forward to cheering on Team Canada this summer."

Raonic, ranked No. 7 in the world, isn't the first high-profile athlete to withdraw from the Games amid concerns about the Zika virus. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott were among a host of golfers to decide against competing because of health concerns.

The women's world No. 5 tennis player, Simona Halep of Romania, also pulled out of the Games.

"We fully respect Milos's decision as we are sure this is not one he made easily," Tennis Canada president and chief executive officer Kelly Murumets said in a statement. "Milos represents Canada proudly week after week around the world and we look forward to future opportunities for him to join Team Canada again on the court."

Tennis Canada said, pending invitation by the International Tennis Federation and Canadian Olympic Committee approval, it will nominate veteran Daniel Nestor of Toronto to replace Raonic in the men's doubles draw to partner with Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver.

"We understand and respect Milos's decision. He is an amazing athlete, who competed strongly in London 2012 and we look forward to seeing him compete for Canada again in the future," the Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement.

On Sunday, the 25-year-old Raonic lost to Britain's Andy Murray in straight sets in the men's Wimbledon final. Raonic defeated Swiss star Roger Federer in a five-set semi-final match to become the first Canadian to reach the men's final.

In the fourth round, Raonic rallied from a two-set deficit to beat Belgium's David Goffin and advance to the quarter-finals, where he beat Sam Querrey in four sets.

Raonic's Wimbledon final appearance was the best-ever singles performance by a male Canadian tennis player at a Grand Slam tournament.

Associated Graphic

Milos Raonic, seen after losing Wimbledon's men's singles final against Britain's Andy Murray, said concern over the Zika virus influenced his decision not to compete for Canada in Rio de Janeiro.


Canadian athletes pan decision on Russia
Olympians criticize IOC for leaving it up to individual federations to pick who can compete in wake of drug scandal
The Canadian Press
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

Canadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser said the International Olympic Committee missed an opportunity to take a stand against corruption in sport by delegating the decision on banning Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics to individual sport federations.

The IOC decided Sunday against a complete ban on Russian athletes from the Olympics, leaving it up to global federations to decide which Russian athletes to accept in their sports.

Wickenheiser, a six-time Olympian and a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, expressed her disappointment with the decision on her Twitter account.

"We missed a moment in time to honour the world's clean athletes and send a bold message to the world that corruption, cheating and manipulating sport will not be tolerated," Wickenheiser said.

"We matched a lion's roar with a kitten's purr."

"I ask myself if we were not dealing with Russia would this decision to ban a nation been an easier one? I fear the answer is yes," Wickenheiser added.

The World Anti-Doping Association had called for a ban of all Russian athletes from Rio after Canadian lawyer and WADA appointed investigator Richard McLaren released a scathing report on Monday, alleging the existence a complex state-sponsored doping system in Russia.

IOC president Thomas Bach defended the decision not to ban all Russians from the Olympics by insisting clean athletes should not be punished, but Wickenheiser, as well as former Olympic freestyle skiing champion JeanLuc Brassard, said putting the decision in the hands of individual federations is not the solution.

"Just 12 days before the Games, the IOC is just throwing a hot potato to the federations, who do not necessarily have all the data to do all the cleaning that needs to be done," Brassard said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press.

"And the federations will wonder, 'What do we do with that?' In other words, nothing has changed. They voluntarily decided to do nothing. I feel like the Olympic movement is not doing very well lately.

"When you look at some federations, who voluntarily closed their eyes on doping in the past, you have to wonder if they really can clean things up.

Brassard's concerns were echoed by Canadian kayaker Adam van Koeverden.

"Did Bach pass the buck?

There's obviously no easy decision here, but there is still no resolution," the 2004 Olympic champion heading into his fourth Games posted on Twitter.

Two-time Olympic champion speed skater Catriona Le May Doan was also critical of the IOC's decision, but hoped the doping controversy would be overshadowed by athletic achievement.

"Disappointing decision by the IOC. However let the clean athletes and sports continue to show that drug-free sport will win," Le May Doan posted on Twitter.

Radwanska knows repeat win in Montreal won't be easy
The Canadian Press
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

MONTREAL -- Agnieszka Radwanska wants to make it two in a row at Uniprix Stadium.

The fourth seed from Poland was back on Friday looking to repeat her winning performance from the last time the women's Rogers Cup was held in Montreal in 2014.

"It's not easy," Radwanska said at the draw for the $2.7-million (U.S.) hardcourt event. "The tournament is strong, as always.

I'll have to play my best to repeat."

The top eight seeds have a bye to the second round, where Radwanska will take on either Monica Niculescu of Romania or a player she has never faced - Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Canada has three players in the main draw so far, with another 11 that will try to get in through the qualifying tournament Saturday and Sunday.

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., is set to face veteran Lucie Safarova in the first round, a match that is to be played Tuesday afternoon. The Czech left-hander won their only previous meeting on carpet in Quebec City in 2013. If Bouchard survives that, she could face 11th seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the second round.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., who has slipped to 472nd in the world after a succession of injuries, has a tough task in 25th-ranked Italian Sara Errani. Wozniak has won both times they met, but both were in 2009.

The winner will likely meet 14thseeded Karolina Pliskova in the second round.

Promising teenager Françoise Abanda of Montreal takes on Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

The tournament lost its 2010 champion when Caroline Wozniacki withdrew Friday. The Dane had retired from a match this week in Washington with a left arm injury. Victoria Azaerenka had announced earlier she was taking a break from the sport because she is pregnant.

There was also concern for Australian Open champion, Wimbledon finalist and Rogers Cup second seed Angelique Kerber, who withdrew from a second round match this week in Bastad, Sweden, with an elbow injury. Kerber said she hoped it would heal in time to play in Montreal.

Associated Graphic

Agnieszka Radwanska will face either Jelena Ostapenko or Monica Niculescu in the second round of the Rogers Cup.


Time is now for auto workers' head
Jerry Dias National president, Unifor
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B3

TORONTO -- If there is ever a good time to go on strike against one of the Detroit Three auto makers, this might be it.

North American vehicle sales are torrid, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (Chrysler) are reporting their longest sustained run of profitability in years and the Canadian dollar is well below par with the U.S.buck, keeping labour costs lower in Canada than at the companies' U.S. plants.

So, as Unifor president Jerry Dias gears up to make sure GM's assembly plant keeps operating in Oshawa, Ont., save a Ford engine plant in Windsor, Ont., and win a promise of new investment at a Chrysler factory in Brampton, Ont., he has those bargaining chips in his pocket.

"If we can't solidify our footprint in this economic climate, then we'll never solidify," Mr.Dias says. "That's why I have no option. We have to fix it now.

It's not going to be sunnier three years down the road."

Dissecting the coming labour talks is only one reason for our lunch at Watermark Irish Pub on Toronto's waterfront, but the 90-minute conversation keeps veering back to that topic - in part because the negotiations that begin later this summer will represent the most significant challenge for Mr. Dias since he became Unifor's first president. The talks are critical to the future of the Detroit Three in Canada and, thus, a key segment of Unifor's membership.

The union is the product of a 2013 marriage between the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers, whose ranks Mr. Dias climbed.

(Editorial, advertising and circulation employees of The Globe and Mail are now members of Unifor.)

As he sips the first of two glasses of an Argentine malbec - paired with a rogan josh curry that he calls "my comfort food" - he reveals that he grew up in the 1960s and 1970s in the eastern Toronto suburb of Scarborough. To my shock, I realize that it was around the corner from the street where I lived until the age of 7.

"You've got to be freaking kidding me," he says when I mention the name of the street. He responds with the names of families that are still familiar.

We're a year apart in age, but it turns out we attended the same elementary school before my family moved across town.

Mr. Dias was born in Toronto after his parents left Guyana in the 1950s in the classic saga of families from impoverished countries seeking a better life in Canada. His father discovered the working part of that life at what was then de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (now a Bombardier Inc. factory) and eventually became the head of Local 112 of the Canadian unit of the United Auto Workers.

It was a natural progression for that generation of workers to have their sons follow them into the factory and the union.

Mr. Dias eventually went to work at de Havilland, but he took a detour first. As graduation approached from Toronto's Neil McNeil High School, Mr.Dias decided he wanted to become a physical education teacher and study at the University of Windsor.

That did not go over well with his father. "He's not the world's most diplomatic man and he's not very shy to make his point, so he said to me: 'Have you lost your mind? We don't have any money. You're not going to Windsor and why would you even think about going there?' " So, he went to York University in Toronto instead, but stayed just one year. After working the following summer at de Havilland, he decided to stay.

He eventually followed in his father's footsteps in the union as well, but that journey also came in fits and starts. He was laid off by de Havilland in 1982 and joined the Metropolitan Toronto Labour Council, setting up unemployment help centres.

His mother was also a labour activist. His parents inspired in him a social conscience that he has extended beyond the union through his membership on the board of directors of Halton Women's Place. Every year, he participates in the shelter's high-heels walk, in which men walk in women's shoes to raise money and increase awareness of violence against women.

While still on layoff from de Havilland, he went to work at the General Motors of Canada Ltd. large van assembly plant in Scarborough and ended up on strike in the 1984 labour dispute that led to the Canadian division of the UAW splitting off and forming the CAW.

"I had the worst job in the plant. I had to put in the two front bucket seats, fasten the shoulder harnesses and put on the rear-view mirror. I busted my ass."

In the middle of the strike, he was recalled by de Havilland.

"When I got recalled, I swore that I'd be their best employee ever."

That vow aside, he became the union's plant chairman, then joined the national union and later became an assistant to CAW president Buzz Hargrove.

He ran for president of Unifor when CAW president Ken Lewenza, who followed Mr. Hargrove, decided that he didn't want to remain president long enough to manage the merger between the CAW and the CEP.

Following in their footsteps, Mr. Dias fires up union members easily at public events. He laughs hardly at all during our lunch, but he has such a deadpan delivery that it often takes a few seconds to realize that he's joking.

At the launch of the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan earlier this year, he got to the podium and told workers to move to the front and take the seats of management personnel who were sitting down. As the managers moved to give up their seats, he had to tell everyone that he was only joking.

The new union has flexed its muscles under Mr. Dias, encouraging its members last year to vote for anyone but Stephen Harper and the federal Conservatives. Unifor was also central to the campaign to turf Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti in favour of Hassan Yussuff.

"We're on a roll as an organization," he says.

Perhaps, but can Unifor stop the downsizing of the Detroit Three's Canadian operations?

Mr. Dias's job is to convince the companies that investing in this country makes sense even though Mexico offers rock-bottom wages, more than 40 freetrade agreements and a geographic position in the middle of the hemisphere with logistics advantages that Canada cannot match.

The answer to the question will come in September when the agreements with the companies expire and Mr. Dias learns whether Ford has a new engine program for Windsor or GM agrees to allocate vehicles to Oshawa and whether Fiat Chrysler will pony up new investment at its large-car plant in Brampton.

"I believe that Ford, GM and Chrysler are all listening to us very carefully because we are out there saying we need to find a solution or there's going to be a problem," he says.

"We're going to have a solution or we're going to have one hell of a fight."

He says he is "completely convinced" that GM is preparing to permanently halt vehicle production in Oshawa, where one plant is scheduled to close next and the other assembly plant has no new or replacement vehicles in the pipeline. He says he is equally convinced that he can change that plan.

It will be an intense two months of negotiations, with Unifor choosing one of the companies as the target for an agreement that will serve as a template for the other two auto makers in a process known as pattern bargaining.

Mr. Dias will manage to get a break from that intensity.

He owns a 13-metre power boat that is moored at a marina on the Toronto Islands. He can reach it in seven minutes via a tender that heads to the island from a spot next to where we're having lunch. The boat will serve as an escape during the talks - as it does now when Mr.Dias needs to get away.

"More than anything else, it's the atmosphere," he says. "I find it very peaceful and it's about as tranquil as you can get. When I'm over there for about half an hour, I completely decompress."

Even if the contracts are settled without a strike, he is likely to need some time for tranquillity once the talks end.


Age: 57 .

Education: Graduate of Neil McNeil High School in Toronto; one year at York University, also in Toronto .

Family: He won't discuss his family because of threats he has received.

First Job: Car jockey at Alex Irvine Motors Ltd. in Toronto's Scarborough community .

Drives: White 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe .

Reading: 5th Horseman, James Patterson; Shopping for Votes, Susan Delacourt .

Chances of a strike this fall: "Hopefully, not at all. I've been saying for 21/2 years if we don't have a solution, we're going to have a fight. I can't be any more crystal clear."

State of the union: "We're going to continue to be that voice for working-class people. It's been a hell of a three years, but it's been a good start."

Associated Graphic


Clean tech strikes chord with CEO
Leah Lawrence CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B2

CALGARY -- Leah Lawrence is touring a shop in Calgary that sells limited-edition guitars, many of them handcrafted in Canada.

For even a recreational player such as Ms. Lawrence - chief executive officer of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, the federal Crown corporation that funds promising environmental technology - it's easy to be drawn in by the craftsmanship and artistic details of the instruments. She has agreed to meet at Kickaxe Guitars, rather than the more conventional restaurant setting for this feature.

She asks Jay Kee, Kickaxe's proprietor, to explain the finer points of a Quebec-made acoustic-electric hybrid model. He walks her through the technology that ensures the neck stays straight and the electronics are neatly hidden inside the body. She plays a few chords on another, a straight acoustic one. It sounds bright.

When not at work in Ottawa, leading an agency now in the spotlight following the country's climate-change commitment in Paris, Ms. Lawrence finds respite playing classic rock tunes on her own electric guitar. Lately, she's been working on a number by Poison, the 1980s-era hair metal band. Connections between SDTC's quest for clean-tech breakthroughs and musical-instrument innovations are closer than you might imagine, she says.

"I think it's the beauty of the idea. We just learned all about Canadian technologies in the guitar.

How they're leading in different ways globally," she says as she strums. "There's an appreciation of how it comes together and delivers magic."

An industrial engineer and economist by training, Ms. Lawrence has been at the helm of SDTC for a little more than a year.

Its mission is to seek out earlystage technology in energy, water treatment, carbon reduction and other fields, then put a portion of the funding in place behind the developers so they can commercialize their ideas. Over the past 15 years, SDTC has funded about a third of the clean technology developed in Canada. That's about $1-billion directed to 320 projects.

Now, though, the push to incubate a few Canadian clean-tech versions of Tesla Motors or Apple Inc. has been amplified.

Since Ms. Lawrence took over as CEO in mid-2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals have come to power, promising a new era when it comes to the environment. Mr. Trudeau has pledged to make Canada a leader in the fight against climate change, partly by harnessing the country's brain power. It came into sharp focus following the United Nations' COP21 climate-change summit in Paris last year, where Canada committed to an ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. He pledged to work closely with the provinces to do it.

In a subsequent meeting with Canada's premiers, Ottawa set up working groups, including one that focused on innovation, jobs and clean technology in which SDTC is a participant. It had already worked closely with Alberta's Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. to co-ordinate efforts to cut greenhouse gases in the oil sands and other energy developments. Under Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, the province is also aiming for environmental breakthroughs as her New Democratic Party government proceeds with its emission-reduction policies, which include a cap on greenhouse gases from the oil sands.

Now, expectations are high for breakthroughs and commercial routes to get them to market.

Some companies in the SDTC stable are poised to get there, Ms. Lawrence says.

"We have a significant critical mass of companies that might be on the verge [of commercial success]," she says. "So what the new policies and the federal government and provincial governments are focusing on is how to accelerate the scale-up of those ideas, those technologies."

The agency is now backing 120 companies, including some that are employing information technology, such as net metering - systems that allow customers to sell surplus renewable energy back to a utility - and smart-grid inventions. Many of those are located in the Ottawa-TorontoWaterloo, Ont., high-tech triangle.

They include Solantro Semiconductor Corp., which makes power-processing chip sets for the solar industry, and Morgan Solar Inc., which has developed highly efficient photovoltaic panels. The latter recently garnered $10-million in private equity funding from ArcTern Ventures.

Ms. Lawrence refers to such players as racehorses. There are also warhorses - innovations aimed at improving the performance of traditional energy industries in Alberta, B.C. and elsewhere. They include Pure Technologies Ltd., which develops high-tech leak-detection devices for utilities, and oil sands producer MEG Energy Corp., developer of a field upgrading plant designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent compared with conventional bitumen processing. The idea behind these is to move traditional sectors into a new, low-carbon era.

When SDTC uncovers a promising innovation, it typically funds a third of the development costs, with provincial sources and venture capitalists providing the remainder. In fact, Ms. Lawrence says the corporation's involvement has now become a seal of approval for other financiers to get involved.

"Our money usually helps what would otherwise be a challenged investment - from a rate-ofreturn perspective in the private sector - meet the hurdle."

The Alberta-born, Saskatchewan-raised executive is no newcomer to the nexus between environment and business, having first worked in solar generation for remote oil and gas sites.

She did her master's thesis studying stock-market returns for companies that made environmental investments. In Calgary in the 1990s, the era of the Kyoto Protocol, she made some of the country's first emissions trades. It was a heady time, but it took years for real action dealing with climate change to translate into major business opportunities.

"I had the privilege of working with a lot of companies across the country and consortia to think about what that would look like in the absence of policy and regulation, so it was a very creative time," she says. "The evolution of public policy just took a little longer than we expected back then."

Besides music, Ms. Lawrence has an affinity for motorcycles.

She and her partner, Chris Biegler, take long trips on their BMW bikes, a hobby they picked up when they lived in Calgary. She was recently preparing to motor down to a gathering of enthusiasts in the Adirondacks in New York State.

Motorcycling and music force her to take her mind off the future - her usual stock-in-trade - to concentrate, however briefly, on the moment, which is important, she says.

"Guitar, for me, is really an escape. I usually don't play for anybody else unless somebody's little girls beg me, which they occasionally do. It's about being able to separate from the challenges of the day to day," she says.

"When you come back, your mind's refreshed and you can see things in a different way."

Seeing things from a fresh perspective will be a necessity as Canada's clean tech sector prepares for performance on the climate-change front.


Age: 47

Place of birth: Edmonton, moved to Regina at age 7

Education: Master of economics, University of Calgary; bachelor of applied science in industrial engineering, University of Regina

Family: Chris Biegler, common-law spouse; together 24 years

Guitar: Fender Stratocaster electric

Favourite music: "Rock of my vintage." AC/DC tops her list of favourite bands.

Drives: BMW 700 GS motorcycle

Reading: Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry, by Jacquie McNish and Globe and Mail reporter Sean Silcoff.

(Jim Balsillie, former co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry's predecessor company, Research In Motion, is SDTC's chairman.)

"Mostly, this book is just a great read. It is important because it shows that starting and building, not just a Canadian, but a globally successful business isn't about charts, graphs and MBAs, but about combined genius and chutzpah and a willingness to go into the corners with your head up and elbows out. And that even the disruptors can be disrupted."

Best advice received: "'Don't confuse activity with achievement.' I later learned this was first said by UCLA basketball coach John Wooden."

Associated Graphic


Fort McMurray set for building boom
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Fort McMurray's fire-ravaged housing market could see the largest building boom in decades as work begins on restoring thousands of homes, Canada's federal housing agency predicted.

However, industry experts say it's more likely to take several years before the community returns to normal.

Housing starts could soar to 2,500 as large-scale efforts get under way to rebuild little more than two months after wildfires swept through the country's energy heartland in Alberta, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in a new report.

"This is expected to be the highest new home construction activity Fort McMurray has seen in 20 years," CMHC market analyst Tim Gensey wrote. He added that much of the rebuilding isn't likely to start until next year.

Wildfires in May destroyed nearly 10 per cent of the structures in Fort McMurray, an estimated 2,400 buildings. Of those, nearly 1,800 were single-family homes, many of which were concentrated in three of the community's more established neighbourhoods: Beacon Hill, Abasand and Waterways.

The rebuilding effort could do much to reverse the sagging fortunes of Fort McMurray's housing market, which had suffered from the drop in oil prices that began in late 2014.

In the months leading up to the fire, sales had plunged to half the five-year average while average resale prices in the first quarter were down 17 per cent from the same period two years earlier. Builders had started construction on just 13 new residential units. The community's rental vacancy rate had soared to nearly 30 per cent.

Most of the city's rental stock was spared the worst of the blaze and CMHC said it expects returning homeowners to rent while they wait to see when - or if - their homes can be rebuilt, helping fill the glut of empty apartments.

Little more than two months after the wildfire forced 88,000 residents to evacuate the community, about 72,000 have returned, said Jordan Redshaw, public information officer for Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which encompasses Fort McMurray.

Municipal crews have also repaired much of the damage to underground infrastructure such as sewage systems and have restored water services to most neighbourhoods. Those most affected by the fire remain under a boil-water advisory and a moratorium on development until they can be deemed safe by the province's chief medical officer of health.

A large-scale effort to begin cleaning up the neighbourhoods where most homes have been destroyed was rolled out late last week. So far, 600 homeowners have signed up for the service, which was organized by groups of property insurers. The municipality said it hopes to have the most heavily affected areas cleared by the end of September.

The wildfire is considered the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history, costing insurance companies more than $3.5-billion, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said. Insurers have received nearly 23,000 claims from the fire, most of that related to smoke and water damage.

Crews have removed about 12,000 fridges and freezers, which were taken to landfill to be degassed and crushed. The cleanup alone is a complex exercise as many houses were so badly damaged that crews will even have to demolish the basements.

"Literally, you're taking it down to almost a greenfield site again and beginning to rebuild, in some instances, entire subdivisions," said Bill Adams, vicepresident of the Western and Pacific region of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The Fort McMurray fire wrought far more devastation than the fire that swept through Slave Lake in 2011, destroying more than 400 homes, which took more than a year to rebuild.

Fort McMurray's rebuilding is expected to be lengthy and complex. Recovery efforts will likely be compounded by the economic downturn, given that many home builders and construction workers had already left town before the fire, said Jim Rivait, chief executive of the Alberta office of the Canadian Home Builders' Association.

Mr. Rivait estimates capacity to build between 500 and 600 homes a year. "We've never seen this scale before, so you're charting new territory all the way," he said.

The province is also aiming to avoid some of what officials call the "chaos" of the Slave Lake fires, where some homeowners were devastated twice: First, when they lost their homes to the fire and then when the developers they hired to rebuild their properties absconded with their money, leaving behind halffinished homes and unpaid bills.

Alberta has required eligible builders in Fort McMurray to register and provide detailed information about their business history and finances. So far, seven builders have registered, according to the government's website.

Associated Graphic


The surprise bull: natural gas
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Natural gas is the bull market everyone but energy geeks seems to be missing.

Since the end of May, prices in Canada and the United States have surged with demand, and some analysts believe that inventories could be winnowed down in the coming months to levels resulting in much richer markets this winter.

That would spell a big shift from the past two years, when consumers enjoyed a break in heating costs because of recordhigh stockpiles. One big unknown is: At what price do gas producers increase drilling to the point where supplies are quickly replenished?

Early this month, gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled just below $3 (U.S.) per million British thermal units for the first time in more than a year. They have taken a breather, with the August contract settling for $2.72 per MMBtu on Monday. Still, that's 65 per cent above the price in late May, with strong demand for air conditioning owing to U.S. summer heat.

Canadian prices have also jumped, largely because oil sands projects in Alberta - which are major gas consumers - have increased operations following the wildfires in the Fort McMurray region that forced extensive outages.

Alberta spot natural gas sold for $2.33 (Canadian) per gigajoule on Monday, up 94 per cent from late May, according to the NGX electronic exchange.

"I have no reason in general not to be bullish on gas, especially looking at the U.S. side of the equation," said Martin King, analyst at FirstEnergy Capital Corp. "It's gone sideways this past week, but it's still probably outperforming a lot of people's guesses by 30 or 40 cents."

Oil has dominated the energy conversation as the global downturn has dragged on, pulling prices to $26 (U.S.) a barrel from more than $100 in 2014, owing to slowing economies and oversupplies of crude.

Meanwhile, the massive change in the North American gas market brought about by the shale revolution, coupled with some mild winters, had meant weak gas pricing and reduced interest.

"The way I see it, we're going to be running into a major structural deficit in supply during the winter, and I see very few people talking about this. I just don't think people's head space is there quite yet," Mr. King said.

Inventories in the United States are still above last year's levels and the five-year average, but forecasts calling for more hot weather in major markets such as the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, as well as Southern Ontario, will quickly cut the surplus, Raymond James analyst Jeremy McCrea said.

Indeed, in March, the volume of gas in U.S. storage facilities was more than one trillion cubic feet above year-earlier supplies.

As of the latest weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration report, it has been reduced to about 500 billion cubic feet.

Demand from U.S. power generators has increased in the past week after a brief cooldown, pointing to the likelihood of a large draw on inventories in this week's data, Mr. McCrea said.

"As gas supply continues to trend lower than last year and storage levels improve, speculation on winter weather has begun to put a bid back into NYMEX and [Alberta] prices," he said.

There are also longer-term fundamentals that stand to drive prices higher this winter, much to the relief of producers and the Alberta government, which is struggling with a massive budget deficit because of the collapse in energy revenue.

One factor is that U.S. production has yet to respond to higher prices.

Output from the Marcellus shale deposit in the U.S. Northeast has been expected to rebound quickly as drilling becomes more profitable, Mr. King said. There is not evidence of that yet.

Meanwhile, demand is on the rise owing to increasing exports to Mexico from the United States, and with the recently started liquefied natural gas project in Sabine Pass, La.

Shipments from the site started early this year and a second phase is due to start up this year.

"If we get a colder-than-normal winter, or even a normal winter, we're going to eat through a lot of gas in storage, and that doesn't seem to be capturing a lot of headlines yet," Mr. King said.

Streaming strikeouts, goals and touchdowns: Twitter's latest sports play
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Twitter Inc. has struck a deal to livestream free weekly baseball and hockey games with Major League Baseball's technology arm, adding another key piece in an expanding strategy to remake social media as a place where fans watch live sports on the same screen where they talk about them.

The pact announced Monday lets the social-networking company stream MLB and National Hockey League contests once a week, and launch a nightly highlight show covering multiple sports, though Canadians will once again find their access choked by local restrictions.

Exclusive rights agreements with Canadian broadcasters, notably Rogers Communications Inc., mean NHL games and Blue Jays games won't be streamed in Canada, though out-of-market baseball games will be allowed.

Twitter's partnership with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) greatly expands the social network's nascent experiment in bringing live, televised sports online.

The company known for its 140-character messaging already has agreements to livestream 10 Thursday night National Football League games in the coming season - also blocked from Canada due to a rights agreement.

Twitter also has an agreement with the National Basketball Association to stream behind-thescenes video and original shows, as well as with the Pac-12 college sports conference.

Slow user growth at Twitter has translated into slower revenue growth. Analysts project the company's revenue will grow 22 per cent to $2.7-billion (U.S.) this year, compared with top-line growth of 58 per cent last year.

That slowdown has left the social network searching for ways to broaden its appeal and deepen existing users' engagement, for fear of being left behind by rivals such as Facebook Inc., which now pays users to broadcast on its live video platform, and Snapchat Inc., which recently surpassed Twitter in daily users. That means Twitter is fighting to maintain its status as a place where users gather to follow live events as they unfold.

"This shows the importance of the social conversation around these live events, and how in-themoment conversation has almost become a destination, and now a portal," said Christopher Doyle, head of media for Twitter Canada.

Mr. Doyle cites Twitter's recent livestreams of some Wimbledon tennis matches, with tweets attached to add context, as an early example of the plan, though the company has made forays into politics, livestreaming Donald Trump's Republican National Convention speech last week.

Viewers can watch the livestreams whether or not they are logged into Twitter in most countries worldwide, which is crucial for sports leagues hoping to expand their fan bases outside North America.

"For Twitter, it's a way to distinguish themselves and have something that Facebook doesn't have," said Tom Richardson, president of Convergence Sports & Media and a professor of sports management at Columbia University.

A spokesperson for Twitter Canada confirmed that NHL and Blue Jays streams won't be available in Canada, nor will The Rally, the nightly highlight show.

"Canadian sports fans already have lots of ways to watch all this content," said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL properties at Rogers, in an interview.

Mr. Moore said he would "never say never" to partnering with a social network to livestream games, but added, "We in the broadcast and cable world pay large sums of money for rights fees, and so far we've not seen the partnership that would make sense for us to share those rights."

Even U.S. users will only be able to stream out-of-market games in an effort to protect local broadcast rights. But Twitter's efforts to expand free access to prized sports broadcasts online further loosens traditional TV's grip on the lucrative live sports market, which has been a bastion of stability for cable and satellite providers under threat from new online rivals such as Netflix Inc.

In recent months, league executives have been entertaining pitches from digital-first bidders at events such as last month's Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Late last month, Walt Disney Co. bought a one-third stake in MLBAM, valuing the business at $3.5-billion (U.S.).

Financial terms of the new partnership were not disclosed, but Twitter will make revenue by selling ads on the live baseball and hockey broadcasts, either through preroll inside the livestream or promoted tweets accompanying it.

Diverse voices a plus for oil sands industry panel
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The roster of the Alberta government's new oil sands advisory panel has sent the province's far right into conniptions.

The panel's 18 members were introduced last week. They are charged with developing ideas for Premier Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party about how to move forward with its new climate change policies. For the oil sands, that means capping emissions and determining which projects fit under the cap. It's no easy job.

The government put some high-profile environmentalists into the group along with oil industry folks, and that's got the NDP's detractors in a lather.

What's surprising about the outrage emanating from the most militant boosters of oil and pipelines is just how little confidence they appear to have in the industry's brightest minds to contribute to effective policy.

That is, when there are also greenies at the table.

To say the group is diverse is an understatement.

The panel is co-chaired by David Collyer, former head of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Melody Lepine, director of government and industry relations for the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and - most galling to those on the right - Tzeporah Berman, the noted environmental campaigner formerly with Greenpeace and ForestEthics.

She had spent years opposing pipeline projects and taking shots at oil sands developers, arguing that crude should be kept in the ground.

In the past week, an ill-advised and clumsy comparison of the oil sands to the fictional hellscape of Mordor from The Lord of the Rings came back to haunt her.

Her involvement on the panel has triggered a chorus of demands from anti-New Democrats, conservative pro-oil groups, the Opposition Wildrose Party and provincial Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Jason Kenney that she be sacked.

Why, there's even an online petition (though, should it be successful, who would actually act on it is not clear).

Yet, a more crucial group of individuals not calling for her head is even more fascinating: the chief executive officers of Suncor Energy, MEG Energy, Cenovus Energy, Canadian Natural Resources, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Statoil. All of them have representatives on the advisory board.

They are not exactly amateurs when it comes to the oil sands and what the industry faces seeking new markets as the world's carbon appetite shrinks.

Taken together, these companies produce more than 1.3 million barrels a day of oil sands-derived crude - more than half of the total.

Other panel members include representatives from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, site of most of the oil sands deposits; other green groups, including the Pembina Institute; and First Nations and Métis communities in the region.

The oil companies have clearly concluded that previous efforts over the years to build pipelines that would allow them to sell their crude to new markets have failed against a backdrop of rising expectations of environmental performance and regulatory quagmires.

Indeed, being at the table to help forge policies that will have major impact on their businesses is better than having to deal with surprises later on.

Any shareholder would expect nothing less from these companies, with their very future as profitable, growing enterprises at stake.

The environmentalists, too, are showing new pragmatism and a willingness to move away from previously polarized battles that produced nothing but ill will.

Ms. Berman herself had numerous meetings with Suncor CEO Steve Williams behind the scenes, and said at a British business conference recently - seated beside Mr. Williams - that she has changed her perspective.

It's not about keeping oil in the ground as much as cutting emissions.

That's the point here.

Carbon pricing and a cap on greenhouse gases, now being put into force, provide incentives for companies to develop the technology needed to boost efficiency.

In fact, under its own technological group, the oil industry had already started collaborating on the work.

It stands to reason that getting a room full of people with divergent views will boost the credibility of the results, as was the case with Ms. Notley's recent energy royalty review.

Of course, there's a large contingent hoping for it to become a dysfunctional mess.

Whatever the outcome, at least the panel's varied roster is bound to provide some new thinking at a time when it's badly needed.

Gold producers' big test: Time to end the restraint?
The metal's 25% rise is causing some firms to look again at growth projects
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

MINING REPORTER -- It's showtime for the hottest sector of the Canadian stock market.

After markets close on Wednesday, four major gold producers - Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., Barrick Gold Corp., Goldcorp Inc. and Kinross Gold Corp. - will roll out their second-quarter results within minutes of one another.

The flurry of reports will indicate how the industry is coping with an unexpected outbreak of prosperity and offer important clues about whether Canada's biggest gold producers are prepared to open their wallets and start spending again.

Gold and gold stocks had stagnated for years before suddenly reversing course in January and reaching for the stratosphere.

Each of the four big Canadian producers has gained at least 50 per cent since then. Barrick and Kinross have more than doubled, thanks to improving operations and a firmer gold price.

Gold is up about 25 per cent on the year, closing just below $1,325 (U.S.) an ounce on Friday.

And investors' outburst of enthusiasm for the sector presents miners with an intriguing dilemma.

Until recently, they swore they had learned important lessons from the previous boom, when gold prices quintupled between 2003 and 2012. Miners failed to turn those enormous gains into lasting value for shareholders, largely because of out-of-control spending and foolish acquisitions.

The big producers vowed to never again get caught up in a spending war. Most said they would focus on patiently reducing debt, selling off non-core assets and slashing costs.

That sounded eminently sensible - until January. The sudden revival of interest in precious metals has cooled the austerity rhetoric. Producers now have a tempting rationale for returning to the far more exciting business of boosting output - if, that is, they're willing to bet on the staying power of this gold rally.

"With improving options, companies are reassessing projects and have started to recommit to formerly deferred growth opportunities," Jorge Beristain of Deutsche Bank wrote in a note this past week.

Those growth opportunities include Kinross's decision in late March to go ahead with an expansion of its Tasiast mine in West Africa, and Goldcorp's acquisition in May of Kaminak Gold Corp., a promising junior miner, for $520-million (Canadian).

In part, the expansion moves reflect a belief that precious metals are destined do well because of shrinking mine supply. David Garofalo, chief executive of Goldcorp, is among those who argue that global production of gold has peaked as new deposits become more and more difficult to find.

Mr. Beristain agrees that "contracting mine supply may provide another tailwind" for gold.

He adds that an uncertain global economy provides important support for the metal's price.

Skeptics retort that gold's big run this year has been more about falling interest rates than fading supply or incipient global panic. They say the rally could peter out quickly, especially if fickle investors decide to cash in gains.

Bullion's rise in recent months "has stemmed almost entirely from investor demand" rather than jewellery buying or central bank purchases, according to Helima Croft of RBC Capital Markets. All the new gold bugs who have rushed into the sector could just as suddenly decide to exit, she says.

The industry's sky-high valuations leave it vulnerable to any retreat in the prevailing optimism around precious metals.

All four miners trade for 30 or more times their earnings.

Despite his generally upbeat take on the sector, Mr. Beristain of Deutsche Bank has a "sell" recommendation on Goldcorp and "hold" recommendations on Barrick and Kinross. (He doesn't cover Agnico.)

In contrast, Anita Soni of Credit Suisse puts Agnico and Barrick into the "outperform" category, but has "neutral" ratings on Goldcorp and Kinross.

Associated Graphic

Trucks drive in the Fimiston Open Pit mine, which is partially owned by Barrick Gold Corp., in Kalgoorlie, Australia, on Aug. 3, 2015. Barrick, and three other gold producers, will release Q2 results Wednesday.


GM Canada faces pension gap
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The financial health of General Motors of Canada Ltd. pension plans improved in 2015, but the auto maker still faces a deficit of $3-billion and retirees are worried about how their pensions will be financed if the company closes its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plants.

The combined deficit in GM Canada's salaried and hourly pension plans improved to $3-billion as of Sept. 30, 2015, from $3.6-billion a year earlier, the annual valuations of the plans show. The plans cover retirees from existing plants in Oshawa, St. Catharines, Ont., and a parts warehouse in Woodstock, Ont., as well as former employees of factories in Oshawa, Windsor, Ont., Sainte-Thérèse, Que., London, Ont., and Toronto. The state of the pensions will be an issue in negotiations on a new contract between the company and Unifor, which represents hourly workers in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock, union president Jerry Dias said.

But the key issue will be ensuring that GM allocates new autos to Oshawa so that it continues to operate once production of the cars made there now ceases later this decade, Mr. Dias said.

At stake in the talks are 2,500 direct jobs at the Oshawa complex, which is a key source of revenue for GM Canada that helps finance the pensions of more than 36,000 retirees.

The negotiations begin next month.

GM Canada's public position on the future of Oshawa is that no decisions will be made until after an agreement on a new labour contract is reached with Unifor, and the auto maker has assessed how the government's Automotive Innovation Fund and other federal policies might affect the company's competitive position.

"We're quite comfortable with how our pension is funded and how we're progressing on that," GM Canada president Stephen Carlisle said in Oshawa last month as the auto maker announced the hiring of 700 new engineers. "We're fully committed to fully funding it according to the [regulations]."

Ontario regulations require an annual solvency deficiency in the pension plans to be eliminated within five years.

But retiree Chris White noted that the combined solvency deficiency still stands at $3-billion, despite an increase of 11 per cent in the assets of the plan for hourly workers in 2015. The solvency deficiency in the hourly plan, if it were to be wound up, stood at $2.6-billion.

The good news, Mr. White said, is that if the plan were wound up, pensioners would receive 78 per cent of what they were promised, up from 72 per cent a year earlier. But that still means they would be subject to losing almost one-quarter of their pensions.

"A real concern for me is, without the Oshawa plant, would GM Canada have enough revenue to support the ongoing payments to the plan?" he asked. "Would this be a deciding factor to wind down their Canadian operations?" One possibility is that its Detroit-based parent would take over responsibility for the pension payments.

The auto maker's assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., is operating on three shifts and overtime to crank out hot-selling crossover utilities that are among its most popular vehicles in Canada and the United States.

One salaried retiree said he's holding off on purchasing a new vehicle until the future of the Oshawa plants is decided.

"No Oshawa production, no GM vehicle," the retiree said.

The two Oshawa plants produced 203,183 vehicles last year, but output will decline this year at what is called the flex plant because production of the Chevrolet Camaro was shifted to Lansing, Mich., last November.

The other plant, known as the consolidated plant, is scheduled to cease production in 2017, although that closing date has been extended five times.

GM Canada (GMM.U) Close: $31.47, up 42¢ General Motors (GM) Close: $31.49 (U.S.), up 24¢

Fast-track tech visas, firms urge
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Canada's emerging tech sector is stepping up pressure on the federal government to speed up the immigration process so firms can more readily recruit top foreign talent.

The Council of Canadian Innovators - a lobby group that represents about 50 fast-growing Canadian tech firms - met last Friday with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains at the Toronto headquarters of Wattpad, an online publishing-platform firm.

The group pressed its case for shortening visa approval times for in-demand foreign tech programming and executive talent to as little as three weeks from what is now a drawn-out, bureaucratic process typically lasting six months to a year.

"CCI is advocating a madefor-Canada fast-track visa program for tech, ideally in a less than two-month time frame to keep Canada's technology scaleups competitive with other countries" that have such programs, including Britain, Australia and Ireland, CCI executive director Benjamin Bergen said.

The CCI is set to deliver a similar message to Immigration Minister John McCallum during two round tables in September.

Several of the roughly three dozen attendees said they were pleased with the reception from Mr. Bains. "I have not seen this much note taking in a meeting with a federal cabinet minister listening to CEOs before, so that was quite encouraging," said J. Paul Haynes, CEO of digitalsecurity firm eSentire Inc., based in Cambridge, Ont.

"It was a very constructive and meaningful dialogue," Wattpad CEO Allen Lau said. "I'm very positive that our voice will be heard and the government would be able to understand the challenges we are facing."

In an e-mailed statement, Mr. Bains called the conversation "very candid and thoughtful."

He discussed immigration and other concerns raised by the group, including their difficulties in getting government contracts, "in depth with the goal of how we can best work together to address them." In an interview with The Globe and Mail last week, Mr. Bains indicated that changes to immigration policy favouring domestic tech employers were coming.

"To make Canada a global centre for innovation, immigration will be key," he said.

Mr. McCallum's department is reviewing what is known as the "express entry" system, which has been plagued with delays.

Under current rules, employers must show, when seeking to hire a foreign worker, that they have first made every effort to fill the job with Canadians.

Many tech employers say this is a waste of time, money and effort when those they are looking to hire come from a very small pool of experienced global talent.

"We are acutely concerned about our ability to attract the best and the brightest around the world," Mr. McCallum said recently. "Those are the people we want to attract."

Canadian tech employers in the "scale-up" stage say they often lose out in the race to hire top global talent because many in-demand programmers or executives aren't willing to put their lives on hold for the better part of a year to wait for a visa when they have multiple opportunities.

"Those key staff hires are critical to the success of the business," Mr. Haynes said.

"To make it so difficult to bring these folks in seems at odds with us trying to transform into a high-tech services economy, which everyone agrees is our long-term future. We have to take a big step now. If the government wants an innovation economy, it has to try to get into lockstep with the way an innovation economy works."

Canadians will hear some cheering
Though guarded about health and safety issues in Rio, family and friends are still looking forward to attending events there
The Canadian Press
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

EDMONTON -- Doug Bishop read recent reports of police unrest in Rio with a close eye.

Outraged over unpaid wages, police officers had gathered at Rio's airport, greeting passengers with a banner that read "Welcome to hell. Police and firefighters don't get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe."

It was just latest in an avalanche of bad news to come out of Rio. From graphic pictures of horribly polluted water, to warnings about the Zika virus, and reports of violent crime and police protests, it's been tough for family members of Olympians to ignore the negative buzz around Brazil's host city.

But Bishop and his wife Alison wouldn't be anywhere else but in Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium when their daughter Melissa runs for a medal in the 800 metres. They're cautiously optimistic they'll be safe.

"You hear about the police not being paid, and think, 'Hmm.' [The crime] is in the back of your mind," Doug Bishop said.

"But at this point, you don't want to think about it because you want to support your daughter. You have to look at it and say: 'She's going, why can't we go?' " Hilary Stellingwerff is headed to Rio to race the 1,500 metres in her second Olympic appearance, but won't stay there any longer than she has to. Stellingwerff and husband Trent - a sport scientist who will be working with the Canadian team in Rio - have a two-year-old son, Theo, who will stay home in Victoria with grandparents.

But the two plan to have more children. So Hilary says she will fly into Rio four days before she races - three rounds, if she makes the final - and fly home the day after.

"I've especially been talking to our medical doctor [Paddy McCluskey] who over the last six months has become a real expert on Zika and dengue," Trent said. "So we know that the transit times, or the residual times of Zika. There's also a Zika blood test you can get. The major issue with Zika is you can be a carrier and by asymptomic."

And, as Stellingwerff pointed out, Zika isn't confined to Brazil - a man died of the disease last week in Utah, the first confirmed Zika death in the United States.

On Wednesday, Angelo Que of the Philippines became the 20th golfer to pull out of the Olympics. He cited concerns about the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects in babies.

Then there's the threat of crime, which Mayor Eduardo Paes, in an interview with CNN last week, called "the most serious issue in Rio and the state is doing a terrible, horrible job.

It's completely failing at its work of policing and taking care of people."

Among recent ominous events: Australian Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch was robbed at gunpoint in Rio when she was out on a bike ride. The robbers knocked her to the ground and took her bike. Earlier this month, a couple dozen armed men stormed a Rio hospital to free a suspected drug trafficker.

Thieves hijacked a German TV broadcast truck at gunpoint and made off with more than $400,000 (U.S.) worth of equipment.

The police protests came amid slashed budgets, a product of Brazil's worst recession in decades.

But Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani said Tuesday the government is granting the armed forces an additional $24-million for security. The military will begin patrolling sports venues July 24, and about 85,000 police and soldiers are to be deployed during the Games - roughly double the number at the 2012 London Olympics.

Still, some athletes are taking special precautions to keep their loved ones safe. American swim star Michael Phelps is paying for a private security company to protect his family, while other U.S. families were looking into booking armoured vehicles, according to a New York Times report.

But Canadian family members call those extreme measures.

"Maybe we're naive," admitted Lynn Lalonde, mom of Geneviève, who made the Rio team in the 3,000-metre steeplechase.

Lynn will travel to Rio with husband Mark and Geneviève's boyfriend John Rasmussen.

Because track and field goes late into the night, they've booked accommodations close to a metro line, to minimize walking time - especially when the sun goes down.

"And we've travelled a lot, you just have to really take precautions," Lynn said. "We'll take precautions as far as our credit cards, those types of things. We'll wear long sleeves at night [to ward off mosquitoes]. Maybe we won't wear our Canada gear on the metro, blend in with everybody else."

Gathered at Edmonton's City Hall on Monday to watch Canada's track and field team introduced, parents and loved ones said they'll be careful. But none sounded too concerned.

"It's just street smarts," said Beverley De Grasse, mom of sprinter Andre.

World decathlon silver medalist Damian Warner has a group of about a dozen loved ones and coaches travelling to Rio, including girlfriend Jen Cotten, a 400metre hurdler who didn't make the Olympic team.

Cotten plans to wear a money belt and stick with the group when travelling back and forth from the stadium. Otherwise, she's not "too worried."

"I actually went to the Francophone Games in Lebanon in 2009, and people turned down that team saying it was too dangerous," she said. But my dad is in the military and I feel like if he knew of something he would tell me not to go. It seemed relatively safe. We'd hear gunshots off in the distance once in a while when the sun went down.

"But there's so much security, I think anywhere in the touristy areas should be somewhat safe."

Trent Stellingwerff has been to Rio several times on site visits as part of the Canadian Olympic team's support staff. He said it comes down to making smart choices.

"It's South America, so there is wealth disparities and when you get wealth disparities there can be issues. If you're well-travelled, and I am, it wasn't a huge stressor," he said.

"I'm just going to not flaunt anything, and be more vigilant and aware. If you're in the [athletes] bubble, you're okay. If you're outside the bubble, you just need to be more aware, and be aware of the neighbourhoods you shouldn't go in. If you're going to go into some slums, you've probably made a poor decision."

The Canadian Olympic Committee will have "family and friends officers" available to help at Canada Olympic House, where loved ones can also stock up on mosquito repellent.

Associated Graphic

Melissa Bishop crosses the finish line during 800-m Olympic trials in Edmonton on Sunday. Her parents, Doug and Alison, are well aware of the crime in Rio, but her father said that he had to ask himself: 'She's going, why can't we go?'


Mickelson maintains lead at Troon
Lefty shoots two-under-par 69 in second round but Sweden's Stenson is just one stroke behind after shooting a six-under 65
The Associated Press
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TROON, SCOTLAND -- Phil Mickelson wore a black rain suit that he didn't need until he approached the far end of Royal Troon and already had stretched his lead. Henrik Stenson opened the curtains at his house expecting to see rain coming down sideways and was pleasantly surprised by the calm.

Good golf and the good end of the draw is tough to beat in the British Open.

Mickelson hit a wedge that spun back toward the cup until it stopped about two postage stamps away on the par-three eighth hole, the signature shot in his two-under 69 that allowed him to back up his record-tying start and take the 36-hole lead in a major for the first time in three years.

"I thought it was a good round to back up the low round yesterday," Mickelson said. "I played kind of stress-free golf again. I made one or two bad swings that led to bogeys. But for the most part, kept the ball in play."

He just couldn't shake Stenson, who timed his birdies perfectly.

The Swede made three straight birdies before the wind showed up and the clouds began to spit rain. He added two more during lulls in the increasingly bad weather. And he wound up with a Friday-best 65 that enabled him to close within one shot of Mickelson.

"I was five back of Phil from yesterday, so of course I was hoping to gain a little," Stenson said. "And the way it turned out, I gained quite a lot. It's still early in the tournament, though. We're only halfway through. But so far, so good. I'm happy with the way I played the course. It's not easy out there."

Try telling that to the players who had to endure an afternoon of gusts that topped 45 km/h and rain so heavy at times it was hard to see.

"Some draws go your way," Rory McIlroy said, "and some draws don't."

Just look at the leaderboard.

Mickelson was at 10-under 132, the best 36-hole total ever to lead at Royal Troon. Stenson, a runner-up to Mickelson at Muirfield in 2013, was one shot behind. Soren Kjeldsen and Keegan Bradley each shot 68 and were three shots behind.

The top 14 players going into the weekend all played Friday morning. Of the 26 players still under par, only four of them played in the afternoon.

The nature of links golf, and this championship, is getting the good side of the tee times.

Mickelson was soaked when he walked off the course, though he managed to get in eight holes before the rain arrived. On the ninth hole, he had his caddie hold the umbrella over his ball on a 10-foot par putt, walking away at the last minute to watch his boss roll in into the cup, like he's been doing all week.

Jordan Spieth? He was lucky to still be playing.

Spieth battled through the worst of the elements to play the final six holes in even par for a 75 to finish at four-over 146. Two hours before he finished, that looked as if it would earn him a trip back to Texas.

Instead, he made the cut on the number.

"It's tough when we all realize before we go out that you're kind of what would be the bad end of the draw before you even play your second round," Spieth said.

Then again, he wasn't sure it mattered the way he was playing.

"But at 4-over par, my game is not major championship-winning calibre those first two rounds," he said. "It just made it pretty interesting and actually somewhat nervous on the last five, six holes because I'd really like to play the weekend."

McIlroy got within five shots of the lead until the weather and a few bad shots gobbled him up, and the four-time major champion dropped four shots in five holes. He had to settle for an even-par 71 and was eight shots behind, along with U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson (69).

Jason Day, the world's No. 1 player, had a 70 and was among three players who broke par in the afternoon.

"I felt like I shot a low-career round out there today with just how tough the conditions were," Day said.

Mickelson's made his first bogey when he pulled an iron off the tee into the rough, missing a gorse bush by about two paces. He dropped another shot on the 15th when he pulled his drive into the rough and couldn't reach the green. Those were the mistakes, offset by a 25-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole when he played his tee shot off the back side of a bunker and let it feed toward the hole.

He looked like a links specialist the way he used the ground.

Then again, his name is on the silver claret jug for a reason.

And he wouldn't mind seeing it there again.

"I don't feel the pressure like probably a lot of players do to try to win the claret jug because I've already won it," he said.

"The desire to capture that claret jug puts a lot of pressure on.

The fact I've done it relieves some of that. I would love to add to it, but having already done that was big."

Only two other players have started a major with rounds of 63-69. One was Raymond Floyd, who went on to a wire-to-wire victory at Southern Hills in the 1982 PGA Championship. The other was Greg Norman, who shot 78 in the final round of the 1996 Masters and lost a six-shot lead.

Associated Graphic

American Phil Mickelson prepares to putt during the second round of the 145th British Open.


With Bautista back, playoff run gains momentum
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- Boisterous children had overtaken the Toronto Blue Jays' clubhouse several hours before the first pitch Monday night against the San Diego Padres, which was not surprising given the decided lack of parental guidance.

With their adult supervisors were sequestered in a meeting room getting the lowdown on what to expect from the Padres pitching staff over the next three games, four rambunctious lads busied themselves playing what appeared to be a makeshift game of soccer.

It was hard to tell, though, because it was a blue oversized baseball that was being hoofed around the player's empty locker chairs. Body checking, gut punches and head slaps were apparently part of the rules.

Not to point fingers, but three of the participants were outfitted in Edwin Encarnacion jerseys.

The fourth was advertising Ezequiel Carrera.

Soon, the hitters' meeting was over and the players started filing back into the clubhouse and playtime abruptly came to a halt.

The foursome had been cavorting for the most part near the spacious double-locker occupied by Jose Bautista, which would have been fine over the last several weeks while the Toronto slugger was injured, nursing a nasty case of turf toe.

But now Bautista was back, returning to the lineup after a 30game, five-week absence and taking his rightful place in rightfield, batting leadoff.

The fun and games are over.

With a lineup that finally bears more than a passing resemblance to the one from a year ago that came within two victories of a World Series berth, the Blue Jays now have some serious work to do in order to get back to the post season.

With Aaron Sanchez (11-1) continuing to pitch like a Cy Young candidate, the Blue Jays (56-44) welcomed the Padres first-ever visit to Toronto with a tightly contested 4-2 victory at muggy Rogers Centre.

Sanchez shutdown the Padres over seven superb shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven while Bautista went 1-for-3 with a walk in his return.

Bautista, for one, believes Toronto has the jam to at least replicate the 48-23 second half explosion from 2015 that propelled the Blue Jays to the American League East title and into the playoffs.

"Nobody can tell the future but we're definitely capable of winning just as many games, if not more," Bautista mused as he met with a gaggle of reporters in the Blue Jays dugout prior to the game against the Padres. "I think we're capable of, in this season, being a playoff team again."

From his vantage point on the sidelines, Bautista said he has liked what he has seen from the Blue Jays, who hardly missed a beat during his absence, going 1713 to remain just three games back of first place in the AL East heading into Monday's play.

"I think over all just the way we're playing the game," Bautista said. "Offence really picked up, starting pitching has been our staple since day one. The bullpen has had its ups and downs but defence has been outstanding.

Base running has also been pretty good.

"Just good overall consistent play, that's what good teams do.

They figure out how to win games on any given day using their arsenal. And I think we've figured out how to do that."

In fact, with the Aug. 1 trade deadline less than a week away and many of the opinion that the Blue Jays brass are in desperate need of adding some starting pitching ballast, Bautista feels confident in the maintaining the status quo.

"We have a great team," Bautista proclaimed. "I don't see the necessity to do anything."

Toronto manager John Gibbons, for one, is not so certain that the roster, as it is currently constructed, might not need an addition or two from general manager Ross Atkins, especially in the starting pitching department.

"I don't know what you can do to improve it [the lineup] much to be honest with you," Gibbons said. "I don't know who you could bring in. It would have to be a big impact guy I would think.

"But yeah pitching, everybody needs pitching. You could always use some reinforcements."

And Gibbons said from what he is hearing, the Blue Jays executive is plenty busy working the phones as the trade deadline fast approaches.

"Something could happen, something could not," Gibbons said. "I know [Atkins] talking to all the guys, all the guys you hear about whose names are floating about."

While Bautista dispels the notion that he will be extra motivated to finish off the season playing hot to prove he is worthy of another fat contract as he heads into free agency, Gibbons said that carrot can't hurt.

"You know one thing, we've never had a problem with motivation with Jose," Gibbons said.

"He's just wired that way, probably more than most. He's always pushing, he wants to be the best at whatever he does.

"I don't think you get more of that now, because he's been gone for so long. But he is a free agent ... so that can only help us."

Associated Graphic

The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista slides safely into third base despite Yangervis Solarte's attempt to tag him during Monday night's game at Rogers Centre in Toronto.


Stenson's search for perfection doesn't end with a major
Swedish veteran and freshly minted British Open champion has fulfilled a dream, but is still working for more
The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Henrik Stenson was baking in the hot sun of Baltusrol, chipping out of the thick grass in the short-game area until the bag of golf balls was nearly empty.

One chip dropped into the cup on its last turn.

"I would have thought that's the perfect way to end," caddy Gareth Lord said to him.

Stenson looked over at him with those ice-blue eyes, finally cracking the slightest smile, and then reached over for a fresh bag of balls.

Nine days later, nothing has changed.

The only difference now from when he last competed at a major is that Stenson's name is on the oldest trophy in golf, and he gets to keep that silver Claret Jug until he returns it at the British Open next July.

He is a major champion, fulfilling a boyhood dream. Asked the first drink he poured from the jug, Stenson replied, "It was champagne ... and it was champagne ... and it was champagne."

He knows how to celebrate.

On the golf course, he knows only hard work. That doesn't stop.

"I think golf is a game you're never going to be finished," Stenson said. "You're never going to get to the point where you're maxed out in your ability and how you're playing, so there's always that strive to become better. I got a little perfectionist in there that's always been pushing me forward, and that can both make me and break me at times, when you're striving to be your best.

"But no," he added, "I don't think I'm going to sit back and just say, 'Okay, that was it. I'm finished.' If I look at my career, to win a major championship, that was pretty much the only thing I had not managed to achieve, and now I have that. But then at the same time, you can look ahead and try and win another one."

The trap facing the 40-year-old Swede is his age.

Eight other players did not win their first major until 40 or older, and only two of them won another major. Mark O'Meara won the 1998 Masters at 41, and he added the British Open that summer at Royal Birkdale. The other was Old Tom Morris, who won all four of his British Opens in his 40s back in the 1860s.

Stenson is a different breed.

This is the guy who won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2013, and two weeks later was so frustrated during a rain-delayed finish at the BMW Championship that he snapped off the head of his driver and then smashed up a locker at Conway Farms.

The following week at the Tour Championship, he was asked how he could be on top of the world in Boston and lose his mind in Chicago in the span of two weeks.

"You don't have much experience with Swedes, do you?" he said.

He has a wicked temper and a dry sense of humour, and both can show up without warning.

Through it all, there is an endless search to get better.

Stenson had to endure two significant slumps in his career, the first one that led him to swing coach Pete Cowen. He doesn't think this is anything special because other players over a course of two decades are certain to go through bad times.

"I've shown more than once I'm not a quitter," he said.

Still to be determined is how the quick turnaround between the final two majors - 11 days - affects him. It may be good to tee it up so soon after such a majestic performance at Royal Troon, where he set the major championship record of 264 and needed it to hold off Phil Mickelson.

He was inundated with interviews when he got home to Sweden, though he managed to squeeze in a few days of quiet time with his family before he came over to the PGA Championship. It won't be long after the final major that he heads to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics.

"I've just got to try and get back into my game and pay attention to all the little things that's important to play good golf for me," Stenson said.

"Exactly how to do it, I haven't been in this situation before. But I've still got to focus on my game.

Because if I don't do that, then that little form and that little edge is sure to be disappearing.

It's still important to play golf and get the practice done, so that's still my priority."

He is not one to get the big head, and it helps that his next major is in New Jersey.

"On the fourth today, I had this long putt and I left it way short," Stenson said. "And someone in the stands shouted, 'Does your husband play golf?' Shows you're not up there on that pedestal for very long."

Associated Graphic

Always looking to improve, Henrik Stenson gets in some practice Tuesday prior to the PGA Championship in New Jersey. 'I think golf is a game you're never going to be finished,' he says.


The Matthews deal was done the Toronto way
In spite of the controversy surrounding a delay in signing, the No. 1 draft pick has inked his contract
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- It took 27 days. Twenty-seven days that Auston Matthews didn't have a contract as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, which was long enough that it furrowed a few brows around the NHL.

Unusual? Well, a little bit. Although it's worth noting that the Edmonton Oilers made Nail Yakupov wait into late July, and the Florida Panthers didn't have Aaron Ekblad put ink to paper on his first contract until early September.

Typically, when NHL teams win the lottery and pick first over all, the contract is a formality. There simply isn't much to negotiate. When the league first put in a salary cap in 2005, it also included very tight restrictions on what players could make in their first three years, and the first overall pick typically gets the max.

In recent years, the maximum base salary for draft picks has been $925,000 (all figures U.S.). Players can then earn additional bonuses of up to $2.85-million, with $2-million of those requiring the player have a truly outstanding season (i.e. finish in the top 10 in scoring in the league or top five in voting for a major award such as the Hart Trophy).

That's the contract Connor McDavid signed with the Oilers last summer. That's the one that Matthews signed with the Leafs on Thursday afternoon. It's the norm.

But the fact it took four weeks to get done led to plenty of speculation in the press and online that Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello was the one holding up the deal. Lamoriello has, in the past, been a stickler for giving out those entry-level bonuses. Most notably, defenceman Adam Larsson - Lamoriello's fourth overall pick with the New Jersey Devils five years ago - didn't get a single cent in performance bonuses on his first contract, an anomaly for a player drafted that high.

NHLers who played for Lamoriello in New Jersey have joked that he would prefer to pay all of them the same amount, if he could. It's part of an old-school philosophy focused on putting the team before the individual.

Performance bonuses - most of which are only given to the highest draft picks - are an obvious way of singling out the individual.

But both Lamoriello and Matthews's agent, Pat Brisson, strongly denied that the bonuses had caused any kind of holdup.

"The agreement took place within, I would say, 10 minutes of the first conversation that Pat Brisson and I had when we talked about Auston's contract," Lamoriello said. "This was never an issue at any point. ... He's earned this."

"There were no issues at all getting it done with Lou and the Leafs," Brisson echoed.

Negotiating these contracts isn't anything new for Brisson.

Including when Sidney Crosby entered the league in 2005, as the first No. 1 pick to sign under the NHL's 2005-12 collective agreement, Brisson's firm, Creative Artists Agency, has had six of the most recent 12 first overall picks. They have all signed almost identical deals.

This negotiation wasn't anything different.

"I don't know why people were panicking," said Brisson, who explained that discussions about the contract hadn't even started until last week. "We were in agreement right away."

"What was the rush?" Lamoriello added.

One thing the kerfuffle over Matthews's contract did was offer the Scottsdale, Ariz., teen an early glimpse of the mountains that can get made out of molehills when it comes to the Leafs.

Brisson, however, had explained in detail to Matthews how straightforward his first contract would be right after he was drafted No. 1 at the end of last month.

The message: He didn't need to worry that it wouldn't get done.

"Honestly, he was more focused on the prospects camp and all of that," Brisson said.

What the mini-controversy also led to was Lamoriello rather bluntly explaining on a conference call after the deal was announced that he will not necessarily enforce all of the hardball stances he took with the Devils.

It's not his way or no way in Toronto, he said - not with head coach Mike Babcock and president Brendan Shanahan there to offer their opinions, too.

"I don't like the thought process sometimes [in the media] that because something was done somewhere else there are a lot of assumptions made [that it's happening here]," Lamoriello said. "This is maybe a good time to bring this forward: When Mike, Brendan and I got together, we said we would not be operating the New Jersey way or the Detroit way. We would be doing it the Toronto way."

And the Toronto way got Matthews's deal done in minutes.

Associated Graphic

Auston Matthews was selected first over all by the Maple Leafs during the NHL draft in June, but it took four weeks for him to get a contract as a member of the team.


Giovinco still struggling, scoreless in eight games
Reds star has suffered as opponents swarm him while teammate Altidore has been injured
The Canadian Press
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- Sebastian Giovinco always wears his heart on his sleeve. Scoreless in eight MLS games, the Italian star's frustration has been plain to see lately.

Toronto FC officials say Giovinco is just being hard on himself.

"If a player hasn't scored in a number of games, it's going to impact their psyche, I don't care who you are," general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said. "You're going to be perceived as frustrated and maybe that comes across to some people as not happy.

"But I tell you what, Seba's committed to Toronto, he's committed to TFC. He just wants to score goals. I mean, that's why he's here and his standard for himself is so high that when he's not scoring a goal or game or something like that, he's unhappy. But I wouldn't say that's anything more than an MVP who wants to be MVP again."

Coach Greg Vanney was on the same page when asked about Giovinco's dry spell.

"I think he's human," he said after practice Tuesday. "Before, he was doing some things that would awe us all and at some point, he's going to become human for a bit. I think he's having a hard time in terms of finding good looks for himself. He's having a tough time sometimes for us helping him to find looks.

Sometimes we're forcing some things that maybe we don't need to quite force. We need to be a little more patient with some things.

"He's a striker and a goal scorer who prides himself on scoring goals and it's just not going his way right now for different reasons. ... I see him putting a lot of pressure on himself to try to make a difference. I can respect that. I just think he's got to allow us to help him, and vice-versa and he'll be able to help us.

"But I think he's frustrated, obviously. He's frustrated that he hasn't been scoring goals. And so we're here to support him and we're going to work with him, he'll work with us. We'll get this sorted out."

Since scoring twice against Vancouver in a 4-3 loss May 14, Giovinco has launched 54 shots in league play, 15 of which were on target. In his past two games, the Atomic Ant has been accurate on just three of 23 attempts.

Without the injured Jozy Altidore to occupy defenders, opposition teams have swarmed Giovinco in recent weeks. He has resorted to long-distance shots which, as Vanney notes, can go in, but not that often.

Giovinco has eight goals and seven assists this season with all but two assists coming in the first 10 games. The numbers don't do his playmaking skills justice.

Bezbatchenko says Giovinco is happy at the MLS club and has no plans to leave.

As for interest in the Italian, Bezbatchenko says: "There hasn't been any hard offers for Seba but there's always interest in the background."

Giovinco isn't the only TFC player out of sorts. Goal keeper Alex Bono's gaffe gave nine-man San Jose an unlikely 2-1 win Saturday night.

"Just a lapse of focus," said Bono, who took full ownership of the error.

Bono, filling in for injured No 1 'keeper Clint Irwin, was rooted to the spot on the 70th-minute winning goal from distance by Simon Dawkins. And Toronto was unable to break down a determined San Jose team, which had men sent off in the 42nd and 53rd minutes.

Toronto, without four key starters in the injured Michael Bradley, Will Johnson, Altidore and Irwin, has just one win in the past six games (1-3-2).

On the plus side, Toronto (67-6) stands fifth in the Eastern Conference and is still in the thick of the playoff picture. Altidore, sidelined since mid-May with a hamstring injury, is expected back this Saturday against D.C.

United (5-7-7) in the first of four straight games at home. In all, 10 of Toronto's remaining 15 matches are at BMO Field.

To climb the table Toronto will have to do better at home, where its 3-1-3 record currently ranks 11th in the league.

Toronto, tied for 16th in the 20team league in goal-scoring at 1.11 a game, could use some goals.

Thanks in large part to a solid defence, TFC has proved to be an effective front-runner this season with a 6-0-1 record when scoring first. But it is 0-7-4 when it concedes the first goal.

Associated Graphic

Sebastian Giovinco reacts to a missed shot on goal against the Columbus Crew during their matchup in Toronto on May 21. Giovinco has eight goals and seven assists this season.


Raonic positioned for Rogers Cup win
Wimbledon finalist could be first Canadian singles champion on home soil since 1958
The Canadian Press
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- Less than a month after becoming the first Canadian man to appear in a Grand Slam singles final, Milos Raonic is in a good position to make more history at next week's Rogers Cup.

World No. 5 Stan Wawrinka thinks so, anyway.

Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., is seeded fourth at the Rogers Cup tournament because of withdrawals from three of the top five men's players. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer all withdrew from the event over the past week.

A win at the Masters 1,000 event would make the 25-year-old the first Canadian singles champion on home soil since 1958, when Robert Bédard beat American Whitney Reed in the thennamed Canadian Championship.

"If you look, Milos is getting closer and closer," Wawrinka, the tournament's second-seed, said after the official draw was revealed Friday at Rogers Centre. "He just played the final at Wimbledon, I think he's trying everything to improve. He's giving himself a chance to beat them and hopefully maybe win a Grand Slam soon.

"It's going to be interesting to see how they [opponents] are going to play because Milos has improved a lot. He's a really dangerous player."

Raonic, who's coming off a loss to Murray at the Wimbledon final, came close to winning the Rogers Cup in 2013, when Nadal beat him in the championship match.

Raonic could meet World No. 1 Novak Djokovic - the only seed higher than he is in his half of the draw - no earlier or no later than the semi-finals.

The 25-year-old Raonic may have to get through two other Canadians on his way to the semis, though. Frank Dancevic, of Niagara Falls, Ont., and Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil are also in Raonic's quarter of the draw.

Dancevic is slated to play American Sam Querrey in the first round while Pospisil will face Jeremy Chardy of France. Querrey made headlines earlier this month at Wimbledon when he upset Djokovic in the third round.

On the other side of the bracket, Steven Diez of Toronto will play Kyle Edmund of Britain and 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., plays Australian Nick Kyrgios.

Shapovalov is making his Rogers Cup debut after winning the Wimbledon boys' title.

Wawrinka and third-seed Kei Nishikori of Japan are both in the other half.

Associated Graphic

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, seen at the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, thinks fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic could win the Rogers Cup.


The evolution of a central banker
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney came home to Canada on Friday to throw his considerable credibility behind making climate change a business priority.

It's a campaign that speaks to two things: Growing awareness of the need for real-world solutions for the issues that come with a warmer planet and the ongoing evolution of Mr. Carney as central banker-cum-rock star.

How many other financiers are introduced with a reference to their recent time in the London Marathon; an impressive three and a half hours?

Sharing a podium with Canada's Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in a packedto-the-rafters breakfast in a cavernous Toronto ballroom, Mr.Carney had a message to deliver: Climate change is real, it carries staggering risks and costs for business and corporate leaders, and politicians need to take action.

An ominous message delivered with humour, as Mr.Carney deadpanned: "Making obvious points is a central banker specialty. But obvious points are made very seriously."

Now, some in the crowd may wonder why a central banker, whose responsibilities, narrowly defined, would start and stop with setting interest rates, chooses to make climate change his issue.

In the same vein, Mr. Carney took heat from British politicians who felt he exceeded his mandate by weighing in on the dangers of Brexit during the highly partisan runup to last month's referendum.

That narrow definition of central banker as dutiful civil servant is not for Mr. Carney. He clearly aspires to far more influence at the Bank of England, as he did in his turn as head of the Bank of Canada. That ambition, that drive to make a difference, is so apparent that parlour games playing out in the press table as Mr. Carney spoke included taking a drink each time someone said Brexit - just three mentions - and speculating on what the 51-year-old financier will do as a follow-up to the top job on Threadneedle Street, that currently only runs for two more years and features a brand new boss.

On climate change and other economic issues, Mr. Carney clearly intends to use the pulpit he enjoys as England's central banker and head of the Group of 20's Financial Stability Board to ensure banks, insurers and other financial institutions are strong and resilient in the face of unexpected events; the neardeath experience of the global financial crisis remains top of mind. In his remarks Friday, Mr.

Carney said: "What keeps central bankers up at night is the threat of a sudden change in risk, such as the one we saw in 2008."

The central banker is not planning to tackle climate change solo. Mr. Carney nonchalantly but tellingly dropped the names of allies in finding solutions to global warming, mentioning that Michael Bloomberg is on board, along with Larry Fink of BlackRock; the corporate A-list.

There was recognition Friday from Mr. Carney and Canada's Ms. McKenna that spurring corporate players into action on climate change will not be easy.

Ms. McKenna spoke of a recent meeting with energy companies that revealed that those who went above and beyond on disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions believe their image and stock price suffered compared to rivals with minimal GHG disclosure, an investor attitude that she and Mr. Carney agreed was in need of adjustment.

On the issue of what the future holds for Mr. Carney, the central banker was understandably discreet on Friday. There's nothing but downside for a civil servant to speculate on what's coming in the wake of Britain's decision to quit the European Union; Mr. Carney exited the event Friday without giving interviews, off for a brief vacation with his brother; he has two, and all three Carney boys went to Harvard University.

There's been persistent speculation that Mr. Carney harbours political ambitions in Canada.

Born in the Northwest Territories, he flirted in the past with the federal Liberals Typically, retired central bankers write memoirs, or join global financial firms to pad their bank accounts. Neither option suits Mr. Carney's interest in save-theplanet issues such as global warming.

As someone who has crossed paths with Mr. Carney across two decades - he worked for Goldman Sachs prior to going to Ottawa to work in the Finance Department and Bank of Canada - I saw something telling in Friday's presentation. In the past, Mr. Carney was not averse to demonstrating he was the smartest guy in the room; his disdain for press questions he deems dumb is legendary. On stage Friday, he made a point of talking about complex issues in simple folksy terms: Think Bill Clinton, without that need to be adored.

And the central banker only needed to look at the crowd Friday to know a call to action on climate change resonates. In a sea of suits at a downtown hotel, a significant portion of the audience had bike helmets on tables, or under chairs: They rode to the event, rather than drive. Mr. Carney is a banker in touch with the times.

Rogers pins cable turnaround hopes on IPTV
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Rogers Communications Inc. is hoping that a long-awaited launch of its new television platform late this year will help to spur a "turnaround" in its cable TV business.

Over the past two years, the Toronto telecom and media company has made inroads in tackling customer-service problems and has revamped many of its products - emphasizing network quality and speeds and including content perks in data packages - and its second-quarter results, reported on Thursday, showed positive momentum in wireless and Internet subscribers.

Now, Rogers plans to upgrade its television service and says it is targeting the very end of the year for the launch of its IPTV (Internet protocol television) product, an initiative the company has been developing inhouse for several years.

"A significantly enhanced video product is an important element in our strategy to own the home," chief executive officer Guy Laurence said in a conference call with analysts. "With IPTV, we will introduce a differentiated product, positioning us well to reverse the trend of TV subscriber losses.

"We are confident we can start to make a turnaround in cable in 2017."

Telephone companies - including Rogers's main rival in Ontario, BCE Inc. - started introducing IPTV over the past decade, taking a bite out of the monopoly over television subscribers that cable operators had enjoyed.

In recent years, cable companies have looked to introduce similar IP-based services that can offer modern features that cable does not. The advantages of IPTV include sleek search interfaces that seamlessly integrate video-streaming services, such as Netflix, as well as the ability to switch between devices and pause and restart programming in different rooms or on tablets or mobile phones.

But the technical challenges of launching IPTV over cable infrastructure are steep and since 2014 fellow Canadian cable companies Cogeco Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. both scrapped plans to develop their own IPTV solutions, licensing technology from U.S. companies instead. Rogers has persevered, but it has pushed its IPTV launch date out several times (in February, 2014, the company predicted that it would launch in 2015).

"We will launch it when it's ready," Mr. Laurence said on Thursday in a separate call with reporters, noting that the end-ofyear date could be pushed back as well if necessary. "IPTV as a platform is not a simple product to bring to market and it's not just the product itself. You've got the service, you've got the settop box, you've got changes to the network. And we wanted to line up all of those together.

We're close now."

He declined to provide specifics on the features, but analysts were largely impressed after receiving a private demonstration of the product in June.

"Its functionality very closely matches the advantages of online services including search (content-focused with ability to mix sources), usability (cloudbased, any device, anywhere) and flexibility (personalized [user interface] such as viewing time and content control for kids)," Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd. analyst Greg MacDonald wrote at the time.

As Rogers approaches its IPTV launch, analysts are also pleased that it will be investing less capital in its development, which has sprawled out over the past several years.

"We believe the implementation of the new TV user interface starting by the end of 2016 will provide Rogers with a competitive advantage over its IPTV competitor and should help the company on the cable subscriber net additions front," Desjardins Securities Inc.'s Maher Yaghi said on Thursday.

Rogers's shares gained as much as 4.6 per cent on Thursday, its largest intraday increase since October, according to Bloomberg, after the company reported its profit grew 8.5 per cent to $394-million, or 77 cents a share, in the three months ended June 30.

Wireless-service revenue increased by 5 per cent as Rogers attracted 65,000 new-contract customers, ahead of the 35,000 analysts predicted, and subscribers continued to sign up for premium smartphone plans.

Rogers also reported 15-percent growth in Internet revenue in the quarter while adding 12,000 customers.

Yet, analysts continue to highlight profit margins as a concern.

Wireless equipment costs and subsidies increased as Rogers added customers and at the cable division, the loss of 23,000 television customers and 5,000 home-phone subscribers offset gains on the Internet side.

The media business reported better results in the second quarter, with revenue up 6 per cent to $615-million and operating profit flat at $90-million.

That was largely because of the success of the company's sports properties, particularly the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Raptors, and Mr. Laurence said sports now accounts for almost two-thirds of revenue at the division.

Rogers's total consolidated revenue for the second quarter increased by 1.5 per cent to $3.46-billion, slightly below analyst estimates.

Rogers (RCI.B) Close: $55.67, up $2.07

Small business aims to catch Olympics buzz with mosquito traps
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Small businesses typically do not have millions of dollars a year to spend on sponsorship with the Canadian Olympic Committee. So what are startups to do when they would like to be part of the activities around the Olympics?

This week, Toronto-based Greenlid Envirosciences is promoting a product it hopes to launch soon in Canada: biodegradable mosquito traps. One of the claims its product, Biotraps, has going in its favour is that it will be used to help protect Canadian athletes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where the threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus is a major cause of concern.

Greenlid has four employees and very little marketing budget, but it has donated roughly 100 traps to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, the registered charity affiliated with the COC. The traps will be placed around the Canadian Olympic House - which acts as a COC home base during the Games - as well as Canada's "performance centre," where some COC staff will be staying, the team will be outfitted and some training space will be available to Canadian athletes.

However, these types of inkind donations can be tricky to use for advertising purposes: The COC stresses that they do not count as sponsorships, and companies are limited in how prominently they can advertise the link to Team Canada.

"They're not supposed to be promoting it like a marketing partnership," said Erin Mathany, director of strategic partnerships for the COC, who has been working with Greenlid on its donation and helping the company work out how it can talk about it.

However, the timing is good: Greenlid is kicking off an Indiegogo campaign this week, asking people to contribute money to pre-order the traps for themselves, and the product website says that "Biotraps are being used to protect our athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics."

With attention focused on athletes pulling out of the Games over the Zika virus, Greenlid will be using public relations and social media to promote its presence in Rio, including videos of the company deploying the traps there.

The COC also plans to issue a news release with a list of companies that have donated products that will be used to protect athletes and will include Biotraps on that list.

"That is a form of marketing," said Adil Qawi, partner and head of global strategy at Greenlid.

"For us, PR plays a very strong role, perhaps more so than mass advertising. ... We are certainly hoping to get media attention and people noting us as a result of our presence in Rio, but we are not looking to advertise or market with the Canadian Olympic team or leverage any of their resources to do so."

The company already sells compost bins made of biodegradable material, and the founders appeared on CBC's Dragons' Den. The mosquito traps use small biodegradable buckets similar to those used for the compost product. Users then add water to activate an insecticide, and mosquitoes drawn to the standing water are poisoned.

In some places, similar traps made of plastic are already used; Greenlid says the advantage of its traps is that they break down on their own and are also designed to leach water when the insecticide becomes ineffective, so that the standing water does not become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Greenlid is working on getting the product approved by Health Canada for sale, and by authorities in other countries such as the United States. After a test with the Queensland government in Australia, the company says, its traps will be distributed there to fight the spread of dengue fever.

The Indiegogo campaign is designed to attract funding that it will need for further trials and approvals in other countries.

(Those who pledge will receive traps, likely next year or as soon as approvals are secured in their countries.) The campaign pledge is that purchases of the traps will be automatically matched with donations of more traps to countries in need, currently focusing on 10 countries in Central and South America.

Greenlid has partnered with non-profit organizations Direct Relief and International Medical Corps to distribute the traps to communities in need. (Donations often require different approval processes than securing approvals for sale.)

The company has also been contacting existing Greenlid compost-bin customers to let them know about the initiative through its Facebook page and e-mail.

"We needed to get the word out and try to make some kind of global impact," Mr. Qawi said.

"... Small businesses need to get scrappy and do things in any way they can."

Associated Graphic

Greenlid Envirosciences is promoting a product it hopes to launch soon in Canada: biodegradable mosquito traps.

BlackBerry's tough call over Android ambition
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

As speculation about BlackBerry's next Android phone launch bubbles, there are signs it is looking to China's fastest-growing smartphone brands for inspiration and possibly partnership.

At a security summit the company hosted in New York this week, CEO John Chen firmly pushed aside discussion of a new device, though he has previously suggested three new products are in the works.

"We believe the company held off announcing new devices to avoid overshadowing the event's focus on software," Paul Treiber, RBC Capital Markets analyst, wrote in a research note. "Management suggested that new device announcements are possible in the next 1-2 weeks."

BlackBerry's first Android device, the Priv, is widely seen as a sales flop. In its June earnings update, the company recognized revenue on fewer than 500,000 smartphones, and its average selling price hit $290, missing targets of $308 or more; the higher target was predicated on a larger volume of the high-end $800-range Privs being sold. Also, on July 5 the company discontinued sales of the BB10-based Classic - a throwback-looking device Mr. Chen had great hopes for when it launched 18 months ago.

BlackBerry filings with the Wifi Alliance and the U.S. FCC indicate Chinese smartphone company TCL is manufacturing a BlackBerry device, prompting speculation of a partnership for a new Android BlackBerry phone.

TCL has released phones under the Alcatel brand name since 2013, but is relatively unknown in North America.

TCL/Alcatel is one of a handful of Chinese phone brands - with Huawei, Oppo, ZTE and Xiaomi - that have managed to take some of Samsung's Android market share in their home territory and are now increasingly expanding to international markets. Gartner expects TCL will sell 13 million to 15 million devices in the second quarter, just behind ZTE.

Competition for Android smartphone sales is fierce as growth slows, and consumers are demanding more features at lower price points.

"In the [global] Android market, the highest growth rate was in 2011, 46 per cent growth year over year. The first half of this year [growth has hovered] around 6 per cent," said Lixin Cheng, president of ZTE North America and chairman and CEO of ZTE USA.

"The high-end market growth has stopped. The consumer has become smarter, and we're providing more value. From 2013 to 2015 the innovation in the segment between $200 to $400 is quite significant in terms of screen size, camera quality, battery life, computing power, connectivity speed and all those things. ZTE's share of that segment tripled from 11 per cent to 30 per cent."

Gartner analysis pegged ZTE at about 3.1 per cent of global smartphone sales and expects it will sell 14 million to 16 million phones in the second quarter of 2016.

ZTE's neighbours are also roaring along.

"Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2015, and represented 11 per cent of the market. In the first quarter of 2016, there were three Chinese brands - Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi - and they achieved 17 per cent of the market," wrote Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, in May. That adds up to 59.9 million phones out of 349 million sold in the quarter.

Those are numbers Mr. Chen can only dream about. With just 0.2 per cent of the global smartphone market, reaching the three to five million phones John Chen has suggested BlackBerry needs to sell annually to make handsets profitable is a tough target.

Mr. Chen has pegged the company's turnaround on growing the security and services software business, but has recently suggested there are some software customers who also demand BlackBerry-branded hardware as a complement to their enterprise security needs.

"Hardware is the front door in many situations to the software.

That is why it's still important," says Collin Gillis, analyst with BGC Partners.

In the past, Mr. Chen has said that if he cannot make the hardware unit profitable on its own he would abandon it, perhaps during the company's current fiscal year. That puts BlackBerry in the position of trying to sell, at a profit, devices into one of the most brutally competitive markets just so it has a complementary offering for some clients.

"It's a wild-card option. ... Certainly not the reason to invest in the company," says Mr. Gillis.

BlackBerry (BB) Close: $9.05, up 9¢

Enron's ghost returns to haunt Alberta power market
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Yes, Alberta, there is an Enron clause.

And by fighting it, the New Democratic Party government is gambling big as it sells its ambitious climate plan to a populace that could be on the hook for costly upheaval in the electricity market.

On Monday, the NDP announced it is taking several companies to court to stop them from using that ominously named provision to offload up to $2-billion worth of money-losing contracts onto consumers.

It contends that the language was inserted into the contracts, known as power purchase arrangements (PPAs), at the behest of Enron, on the sly. The company was among the first bidders for a contract.

That was 16 years ago, when then-premier Ralph Klein's Progressive Conservatives first deregulated the electricity market, and it has come back to haunt the current government.

Several holders of those contracts have used the language to walk away from them since Premier Rachel Notley began upping a carbon levy on big emitters last year just as power prices went into a deep funk. The companies are livid over the court action, saying they have followed the rules.

The very mention of Enron, symbol of malfeasance and trickery in the energy business, evokes skepticism in a skeptical world.

The Houston-based company infamously gamed the California power market during a time of painful shortages and rolling blackouts, then in 2001 descended into what was at the time the largest corporate bankruptcy in the United States after revelations of deceptive accounting.

Having the name attached to a tiny, but potentially crucial, part of government policy makes it instantly worrisome to the casual reader.

It is one more battle for the Notley crew as it implements massive change it says is aimed at improving the fossil-fuel-heavy province's global reputation in the carbon-reduction arena. The outcome is very uncertain.

The whole mess boils down to one word - "more" - and how it found its way into PPAs, the arrangements that allow companies to buy juice from generators and resell it into the market.

After broad consultation under the Klein government, the PPA fine print stated that companies could back out of the 20-year deals if government policies made them unprofitable. According to the NDP, the phrase "or more unprofitable" was added after "unprofitable" the day before the first auction of PPAs in August, 2000, in a "backroom deal" with no consultation or public disclosure.

University of Calgary law professor Nigel Bankes wrote in a blog post that the Enron clause could allow a PPA holder to bail when weak market conditions are erasing profitability and then a government move makes the contract even slightly less profitable.

The government says the arrangement allowed PPA holders to pocket profits as long as they could generate them, then offload any losses on consumers when market conditions weakened and government policy changes affected them. The contracts are then assumed by the Balancing Pool, a public body.

Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman contends companies that cited the clause are ignoring years of previous profits when they say the PPAs will be unprofitable between 2016 and 2020, as carbon levies increase.

The government's court action names Enmax, which is the City of Calgary's power utility; TransCanada; Atco Ltd.; and Capital Power, all of which relinquished PPAs. It also names the Balancing Pool and its own power regulator as defendants.

Enmax was most vocal in its displeasure, saying the government is "retroactively challenging fundamental aspects" of a longheld policy to which the company has adhered. It was the first to relinquish a PPA early this year, citing a doubling of the financial hit from the carbon levy this year and tripling next year.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi chimed in, calling the NDP's move outrageous and chiding it for somehow being ignorant of its own policies. Indeed, many of the NDP's harshest critics charge the government cannot read the contracts it is in charge of enforcing.

None of that, though, answers the fundamental question about the legality of how the Enron clause came to be in the first place. That's what the government intends to argue in what promises to be a complicated and headline-grabbing court battle.

In its favour, it would have a slightly tougher time making its case if it had decided to name the clause after a charity that takes in orphaned puppies and kittens.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


On Wednesday, Atco Ltd. was incorrectly identified as one of the companies that relinquished power-purchase arrangements to an Alberta agency, but it is a respondent in an Alberta government lawsuit because of its role in providing electricity to a holder of a power-purchase agreement.

Eyeing expansion, Element deals for SPAC
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Specialty lender Element Financial Corp. plans to take over special purpose acquisition corporation (or SPAC) Infor Acquisition Corp. to add firepower and connections to Element at a time when the company has ambitious plans to expand into credit markets the banks are exiting.

Element's friendly offer, the first deal for a Canadian SPAC since the sector sprang to life in 2015, is a share exchange that values Infor at $220-million. That's how much cash Infor holds after an initial public offering last year, and Infor's founders say the best way to put this money to work is to combine forces with a growthoriented finance company.

In a separate but related transaction, Element announced in February that it plans to split into two companies. There is an auto fleet finance business with $19billion in assets that will keep the Element name. And there is a specialty lending company with $8-billion in assets that announced Monday it will be known as ECN Capital Corp. The split is expected to take place by the end of the year. It's ECN Capital, headed by current Element chief executive Steven Hudson, that is offering to acquire Infor.

The Infor deal, which requires approval from the SPAC's shareholders, will see two executives with a track record for successfully competing with the big banks join ECN Capital.

Infor CEO Neil Selfe will become ECN Capital's executive vice-chairman and Infor cofounder William Holland, chairman of CI Financial Corp., will join the ECN Capital board.

Mr. Hudson said the Infor takeover will give ECN Capital both cash and management depth as the company works on acquisitions of North American specialty loan portfolios from European and North American financial institutions that are streamlining operations and exiting niche credit markets, in part a result of higher capital requirements imposed by regulators.

The ECN Capital team has a solid track record for this sort of acquisition, including the purchase of an arm of GE Capital for $8.6-billion last year.

When it debuts as an independent company, ECN Capital will manage funds for clients that invest in loan portfolios, including $3.5-billion of aviation loans, $2.2-billion of rail-car loan and $2.4-billion of vendor financing assets.

Acquisitions are expected to expand the business, and Mr. Hudson said in an interview that while ECN Capital could not give details on potential takeovers: "It is worth noting that we've never raised capital in the past without a specific target in mind."

Mr. Hudson said if the Infor acquisition is successful, ECN Capital will have the cash and management depth needed to target $1-billion to $2-billion acquisitions.

From Infor's point of view, Mr. Selfe said in an interview: "We looked at more than 40 transactions and ECN Capital is by far the most compelling opportunity we found." "When we created Infor, we said our holy grail was targets that were carve outs from public companies, that were market leaders, with strong management teams, based in Canada, and ECN checks all those boxes," Mr. Selfe said.

Infor was one of six SPACs launched in Canada last year, when the sector raised a total of $1-billion from investors.

SPACs must invest within two years of their launch, or return capital to investors, and Infor is the first SPAC to do a transaction.

SPACs are common in U.S. capital markets, and came to Canada in the wake of new regulations.

Mr. Selfe said the major criticism of SPACs is that founders tend to receive more upside than other investors when deals get done, and the sale to ECN Capital is structured to ensure Infor founders forgo 80 per cent of their potential gains to ensure the transaction wins approval from shareholders.

On the other side of the table, Mr. Hudson said the cost of acquiring Infor is approximately equivalent to the cost of raising money through an ECN Capital share sale, with the added benefit of adding management depth at a time when the company expects to expand.

The Infor acquisition is expected to close by the end of October, 2016.

In addition to joining ECN Capital, Mr. Selfe remains CEO of boutique investment bank Infor Financial Group, which he co-founded in 2015 after working at investment bank GMP Capital Inc. and money manager Diversified Global Asset Management Corp.

Shell paid $7.8-million to Alberta First Nations
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC paid more than $7.8-million (U.S.) in fees last year to five First Nations in Alberta, including some vocal opponents of oil sands expansion, the company revealed in its first filing under Britain's publish-what-you-pay regulations.

As part of a global anti-corruption initiative, Shell outlined its payments of royalties, taxes and fees to national, regional and local governments around the world - including First Nations in Canada. Shell, BP PLC and other British-registered extractive companies released their payment lists for the first time this year, while companies listed on exchanges in Canada and the United States will have to follow suit in the coming years.

All told, Shell paid $21.8-billion in taxes and fees to governments, including $4.9-billion in Nigeria and $4.4-billion in Malaysia. It remitted $150-million to various Canadian governments, with 80 per cent of the revenue going to Alberta.

BP said it also made payments to First Nations in Alberta, but the individual amounts fell below the £86,000 ($125,000 Canadian) threshold for reporting.

Canadian resource companies will have to report what they pay this year to foreign and domestic governments, but Ottawa provided a two-year reprieve for reporting payments to First Nations in order to allow time for consultations. In an e-mailed statement, Natural Resources Canada said the consultations are now under way, and that the government remains committed to the transparency policy.

Aboriginal leaders have resisted the publication of business arrangements between resource companies and bands.

Two years ago, the Assembly of First Nations passed a resolution condemning the plan, saying payments to aboriginal communities by resource companies are the result of "private, commercial agreements that contain sensitive, confidential information."

Forcing the publication of payments would jeopardize relations between industry and First Nations and undermine what support there is for development, the AFN warned.

"The fear is the [federal government] will identify it as ownsource funding and bands will be penalized" by having federal payments clawed back, Craig Makinaw, the AFN's regional chief in Alberta, said in an interview on Tuesday. "You're trying to move ahead, but you get penalized for it, so it makes it tougher on the bands."

Shell supports the global effort on transparency, as well as the consultations being held by Natural Resources Canada to include aboriginal communities, company spokesman Cameron Yost said, adding that its inclusion of those payments in its 2016 report is in keeping with the British law.

"Some Canadian indigenous groups would be considered as governments under these regulations, and as a result, Shell was required to report those payments," Mr. Yost said.

Shell paid $3.9-million (U.S.) in fees into a trust account for the Woodland Cree First Nation, which in 2007 sought a halt to the company's Carmon Creek oil sands project - though band leaders later described it as a "significant economic opportunity" for the community. Shell announced last November that it was halting work on the Carmon Creek project, which is near Peace River, Alta.

The company paid $2.1-million - also into a trust account - to Fort McKay First Nation, which is based in the hamlet 50 kilometres north of Fort McMurray and is surrounded by oil sands mines. Fort McKay expected to earn $30-million (Canadian) last year from its band-owned businesses that primarily work for the oil industry, and from impact benefit agreements with companies.

Shell also paid a total of $1.15million in fees to the Mikisew Cree First Nation, based in Fort Chipewyan, 225 kilometres down river from Fort McMurray. The Cree band recently warned that expanding oil sands development was threatening Wood Buffalo National Park, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Despite concerns raised by aboriginal leaders, there is no indication that Ottawa will remove from the legislation the requirement to report such payments, said Claire Woodside, director of Publish What You Pay-Canada.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission published its final rules at the end of June.

It exempts companies from reporting payments to U.S. states and local governments, including tribal councils, but does require reporting of payments to foreign aboriginal governments, said Calgary lawyer Anthony Cole, a partner at Dentons LLP.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) Close: $57.02 (U.S.), down 38¢

Demographics at play behind lagging growth
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Maybe the problem behind Canada's weak business investment in the current economic recovery isn't one of confidence, or credit access, or capacity. Maybe it's our age.

The Bank of Canada raised this notion in last week's Monetary Policy Report, in which it slashed its 2016 economic growth forecast - citing in part the disappointing dearth of capital spending from businesses outside the distressed energy sector.

The central bank was quick to point out that non-energy exports have risen to near their prerecession peaks, helped in no small part by the slump in the Canadian dollar over the past two years that has made Canada's non-commodity exports highly competitive in foreign markets.

Yet, that's doing little to inspire the exporters who are enjoying the ride to open their wallets and expand their operations.

And it's not as if there isn't a need, in many export sectors, to expand.

The manufacturing sector's capacity utilization in the first quarter of 2016 was its highest in a decade.

Some segments - notably forest products and transportation equipment - are running at very close to their limit.

Yet, despite this increasingly tight capacity, capital spending in manufacturing is expected to go down this year, by nearly 11 per cent, according to Statistics Canada estimates. The Bank of Canada's recent quarterly Business Outlook Survey showed decidedly muted spending plans among exporters over the next year, "even those unaffected by commodity prices."

"Capacity pressures have increased in much of the manufacturing sector, and financing conditions remain favourable," the central bank said in its quarterly Monetary Policy Report.

"As both foreign and domestic demand increase, industries outside the resource sector will need to invest to expand production."

In that report, the bank suggested that investment is being held back by "uncertainty over future demand prospects," and that certainly looks to be a factor.

But it raised another possible contributor to the lack of an investment recovery in response to the export gains and capacity constraints: The country's aging population could be holding back spending.

"There are a lot of smaller and medium-sized companies that have owners, and people who have developed the company, who are getting older and may be thinking of retiring," Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said in the press conference after the release of the MPR.

As the huge baby-boomer group moves increasingly into retirement territory, the implication is that a growing number of the country's business owners and entrepreneurs probably are not thinking so much about committing time and money to expanding these businesses - they are looking to cash in and ease out.

Canadian government statistics show that, in 2014, more than 60 per cent of Canada's small and medium-sized companies were owned by people who were over the age of 50. Just a decade earlier, it was less than 50 per cent.

The country's entrepreneurial base is aging fast.

It's similar to the demographic impact that many economists have noted in the labour market.

It's no coincidence that labour force participation rates have been in decline - to their lowest in 16 years as of June - at the same time as the leading edge of the boomer generation has crossed over the 65 age threshold. The population of Canadians aged 55 and older has increased 17 per cent in the past five years alone. The population aged 25 to 54 - the so-called prime working years - has risen a tiny 1.3 per cent.

One solution to combat the aging of the work force is for people to keep working longer and, indeed, that is already happening: The participation rate among those 65 and over has nearly doubled in the past decade, to about 14 per cent. Similarly, perhaps more business owners will be willing to keep minding the shop for a few more years.

But it's a very different question to ask them to invest more money, or to take on more debt, to expand their businesses when they have their retirement nest eggs to think about - especially after years of weak investment returns that have stunted savings. That's why the demographic puzzle for business investment, at the grassroots level, may prove to be a very difficult one to solve.

Wildfires to take toll on oil patch earnings
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Second-quarter earnings for many Canadian energy companies will be coloured by one major event: The wildfire that tore through the Fort McMurray region.

The massive blaze that began in early May took six weeks to be contained, forced the evacuation of 88,000 people from Fort McMurray and cut oil sands production by about half at the disaster's peak.

According to analysts, the outages played a part in lifting global prices for oil to around $50 (U.S.) by the end of May, as well as lessening the discount paid for the bitumen blend of crude from Western Canada. But details about the specific impacts to individual operators will come out only with the second-quarter results - many of which will be released starting this week.

Although most oil sands facilities escaped the worst effects of the blaze, Canadian producers, including Suncor Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd., Husky Energy Inc. and Athabasca Oil Corp., were impacted by shutdowns or reduced production, air-quality issues and precautionary evacuations.

"For individual companies, we don't know exactly what the production losses and costs will be," said Jackie Forrest, vice-president of energy research at ARC Financial Corp.

While everyone is aware the numbers will be substantial, there could still be some surprises, she said. For instance, additional costs for evacuations, production shut-downs, startups, and sheltering employees and even Fort McMurray evacuees will add up. "I mean, you had some operators flying people who don't work for them out of the area," Ms. Forrest said. "It will be interesting to see if the costs are a bit higher than what people might have imagined."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said the Fort McMurray wildfire led to an average 800,000 barrels a day of supply disruption in May. On the worst days, the fire that swept through northern Alberta took as much 1.1 to 1.4 million in daily barrels offline, according to various estimates. RBC Dominion Securities Inc. estimates that Suncor's production will be down 45 per cent, when the second quarter is compared with the first quarter. For Imperial Oil, the drop in the second quarter is predicted to hit 20 per cent.

Husky reported on Friday, saying that its total production for the second quarter fell 6 per cent to 316,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, compared with the same period in 2015, reflecting planned maintenance, reduced volumes from the Liwan gas project and production interruption at its steam-driven Sunrise oil sands project because of the Fort McMurray wildfires. Sunrise was restarted in June, Husky said, and production continues to increase.

At the same time, rising global oil prices as well as higher prices for heavy crude - skewed higher in part by the fire - benefited oil sands players. The EIA reported that along with rising oil demand and falling U.S. production, disruptions in Canada and other countries contributed to a month-over-month $5 a barrel increase in Brent spot prices in May.

FirstEnergy Capital Corp. said Canadian oil prices were up significantly compared with the first quarter. And the differential, the difference between discounted Western Canadian Select crude compared with the North American benchmark, West Texas intermediate, narrowed in May as the fire raged. In June, the differential began creeping up as more oil sands production resumed.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. might benefit from May and June's higher prices. The oil sands company had to fly out some workers in the early days of the disaster, but its Horizon site was distant enough from the fire that operations remained stable throughout.

Shutdowns in the oil sands meant that demand for significant volumes of natural gas in Western Canada disappeared overnight. Already depressed prices for gas plummeted. On one day in May, wholesale gas at the AECO storage hub in southeastern Alberta hit 48 cents a gigajoule, its lowest since 1985, according to FirstEnergy.

With the fire in the rearview mirror, investors are already looking out to the third quarter as oil sands production resumes and the effects of increasing production, with limited pipeline capacity, plays out in prices.

Opposite bargaining tactic leaves Bautista in the same bad spot
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

Back in February, Jose Bautista took a large, unnecessary risk.

Instead of saying what good players on the cusp of free agency usually say - something about loving the organization, wanting to stay and leaving the tax implications in God's hands etc, etc. - the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder went hardball.

"I don't think there should be any negotiation. I think I've proved myself. The question has been asked - 'What will it take?' - and I've given them an answer," Bautista said. "It shouldn't be pulland-tug about a few dollars here or there ... They either meet it, or it is what it is."

Nobody's sure where the "pulland-tug" over dollars starts exactly, but it was something in the five-year, $150-million (U.S.) range.

That scrum outside the Blue Jays clubhouse in Dunedin remains peak Bautista. This wasn't an off-the-cuff outburst. It was an act of calculated defiance. Sensing the weakness of a new, unpopular management regime, Bautista was attempting to put them in a public-relations headlock.

It didn't work. Rather the opposite. Thus far, it's backfired spectacularly.

The key question about any major Bautista extension is, 'Will he hold up?' A great deal is made of his physical conditioning, but apparently no amount of exercise can stave off the combined effects of everyday baseball and imminent middle age.

Over half a season, it is impossible not to notice how much the 35-year-old has declined. He's missed nearly a third of the Jays' games through injury. His offensive numbers are reduced across the board. Even when healthy, he is a much less effective fielder.

Bautista remains an elite talent, but it's clear that staying at that level isn't going to get more difficult. It's already very difficult.

Having recognized that fact himself, Bautista changed tacks.

It's no longer about baseball, per se. It's about his value to the franchise as a brand.

"Going back to being an asset, we generate revenue. How much of that does a team want to share with a player? And for a player like me, I'm also in a unique position where I truly believe that's not going to stop when I take the uniform off," Bautista told Sports Illustrated last month. "I'm there in all the offensive record categories for the team, and I like to think I'm one of those players who's not just intellectually but also baseball savvy and can bring something to the table postcareer. Having all those things in perspective, I just don't see how our organization would not see me as an attractive piece."

Apparently, Bautista wants to be treated as a shareholder rather than an employee. Call it the Derek Jeter model.

That might work were it not for Edwin Encarnacion.

Both men are fundamentally the same player at the same stage of their careers. Both are impending free agents. The Jays can only realistically afford to keep one. As such, the pair have been in competition for the entire year. Encarnacion is winning, on every level.

Unlike Bautista, Encarnacion didn't say much in spring training. The Blue Jays first baseman/ DH went the safe route - "Of course I want to stay with this team. I love this team, I love this city, but it [doesn't] depend on me." He showed no obvious distress when a new deal wasn't done before opening day.

He hasn't talked about it since.

Instead, he's put up huge numbers and allowed other people to act as his hype men.

"The Red Sox know they need to bring [power] to the middle of the lineup," retiring Boston legend David Ortiz told reporters at last week's All-Star Game. "And sorry Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?" That, right there, was the tipping point. That was the market stepping into the middle of a domestic bother and telling Toronto what's what.

Imagine someone asks you, "Which would you prefer to keep - Object A or (very similar) Object B?" You'll weigh both of them in your hands. You'll dither.

At the point when someone else shows up and says, "I'll take Object B if you don't want it," you'll forget all about Object A.

You don't determine the value of things you already possess. The market does. And in a business based not in smart choices, but in choices that look smart, you'll adapt your desires to whatever it tells you.

We can argue over which of the two players is the better longterm choice, but we've now decided which one is the safe bet.

It's the one other people want to take away.

Things could change over the next three months. Bautista could return and go on an unholy tear. Encarnacion could get badly hurt.

But it is now hard to envision a circumstance in which signing Bautista over Encarnacion can be sold to the fans as the wisest choice. It doesn't matter how much people love Bautista (and they do). They love winning more.

If Bautista had gone the Encarnacion route back in Dunedin, he'd have some wiggle room. But we know roughly what his number is. He's already said he won't negotiate it.

Someone will still want Bautista. He's going to make a lot of money in the off-season. But it's not going to be in Toronto, and it's not going to be anywhere close to the starting figure.

He's made it easy for the Jays to shrug their shoulders and say something like, "We would've loved to have kept him, but he made it impossible for us."

Of course, Bautista could always climb down south of nine figures.

Having observed the man over the years, that is more unlikely than any other scenario.

If he'd waited a year before doing his current deal, he'd be about $100-million richer right now. But he refused to gamble on himself. That is the key fact driving all current considerations.

It may be that sense of having lost out that drove Bautista to come at his next contract so aggressively. Ironically, by employing a diametrically opposite tactic this time around, he's ended up in the same losing position.

Associated Graphic

Jose Bautista isn't hitting like he used to; he has missed part of this season with an injury.


What about Sanchez?
Shapiro and Atkins appear to have their first big decision ahead of them in figuring out what to do with their 24-year-old starter
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- On Thursday, Blue Jays' catcher Russell Martin began feeling woozy while in a sauna.

In the midst of a cold shower, he blacked out. In the process of going to ground, he twisted his knee. Martin blamed the lightheadedness on not eating enough.

A subsequent MRI revealed no structural damage. Before Friday's game, Martin wasn't noticeably limping or in any obvious distress. He will be rested over the weekend in the hope that he can avoid going on the disabled list.

"You gotta stay healthy [in order to succeed]," manager John Gibbons said. "Fans don't want to hear it, but it's a fact. Certain guys get hurt ..." Gibbons left the idea dangling.

Martin is one of those certain guys.

At some positions, the Jays would take a dip in quality if they had to go to their back-ups fulltime. At catcher, they'd fall into an abyss.

For now, let's call this one a small base-balling disaster avoided. It's also an instructive reminder of how fragile the competitive balance of a bigleague team can be at the precise moment of the season when most teams are considering changing it.

Almost a year ago to the day, Toronto began the deadline roster overhaul that turned this outfit from a phony contender into a real one. Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Mark Lowe, et al. That was addition by addition.

This year, there's a strong element of subtraction in the mix.

The Jays are buyers in search of starting pitching and middle relief help in an extreme sellers' market.

"There's just nothing out there," team president Mark Shapiro said. "You don't want to change something just for the sake of changing it. You want to get markedly better."

The most obvious way the Jays can get better in the next couple of months is to continue on with something they figured to lose - 24-year-old starter Aaron Sanchez.

The decision to move Sanchez to the bullpen once he hits a stillunannounced innings limit has gone from "No doubt about it" to "A considerable amount of doubt. Like, enough doubt to make us all sick." Blame Sanchez himself for being so good, so effortlessly.

On Friday, Gibbons laid out both cases, more, it seemed, for his own benefit than for ours.

You could almost hear him arguing with himself.

"Nobody wants to move to him to 'pen. Nobody in here [the clubhouse], up there [in the executive offices] or anywhere in baseball. But [significant pause] it may be best for the kid in the long run. We want to win this year, but you still have to be conscious that the kid has a chance to be a good one for a long time."

It was revealing that Gibbons - a man not usually given to hyperbole - would later say he didn't want "blood on my hands" if Sanchez were to be injured while pitching a full season. It speaks to how fraught this decision is.

For one, everyone involved knows without being told how this will go.

When Sanchez is shut down - with the Jays still standing in a playoff spot - most of the fanbase will applaud their caution and long-term thinking. If Toronto goes on to make the playoffs, that impression of prudent professionalism will linger. Everybody wins.

If, however, the rotation then collapses and the club falls out of the playoff picture, the same guys who were getting applauded in August will be slaughtered in September. Suddenly, they're a bunch of cowardly helicopter parents ruining what could have been a championship year for the sake of a guy who said all along that he wanted to keep starting.

Everybody loses.

It's one of those rare decisions that is totally binary - a win or a loss.

Thus, this choice is the first real fork in the road for the Mark Shapiro/GM Ross Atkins era.

"It could become a monster," Atkins said Thursday of the decision. "I'm not saying that it won't."

Shapiro pointed out that there's still more than a week until the non-waiver trade deadline: "Things can change fast."

Also, the Jays have what he called the "financial flexibility" to do deals in August - meaning Toronto could absorb some overpriced high-end talent if it was required to make a push into the playoffs.

That sense of urgency was eased somewhat by the return of Marco Estrada from the DL on Friday. He pitched well. His Seattle counterpart, James Paxton, pitched better. Toronto lost the opener of the weekend series, 2-1.

That's the tight view of where the Jays are just at the moment.

The just-a-bit wider one gives you the strong sense of two things on horizon - a Blue Jays team going into the last quarter of the season without their best rotation performer, and no real help coming at the deadline.

Those are both reasonable decisions. Sanchez won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season.

That's four cheap years of a player who's already working at an elite level. Why would you risk breaking your most valuable and yet most reasonably priced toy?

On the shopping list front, there is no sense in buying just to buy. All of last year's additions were massive upgrades made when the farm system was full.

It is difficult to see an as-yet available player like that out there this year. In order to get the sort of B- and C-level player who's on the market, you'll be giving up prospects from a now denuded minor-league system.

This wouldn't be mortgaging the future. It'd be straight-up giving it away.

But ... But if you don't do either or those two things and it goes wrong ... well, God help you.

And if you go the other way, and Sanchez falls apart ... you see what I'm saying here. It only looks like an easy choice if you don't have to make it.

Last year, an expectation was created. Despite the tumult in the manner of their arrival, Shapiro and Atkins have ably carried that mantle forward.

But it won't be until they make the Sanchez decision that they really start earning their salaries.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

The Blue Jays' Devon Travis misses tagging out the Mariners' Norichika Aoki during the second inning of Friday's game at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Seattle won 2-1.


Golf Canada announces four players headed to the Games
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

OAKVILLE -- A steady parade of the world's top male golfers have blown off the chance to play in the upcoming Summer Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro, but members of Canada's team say they are honoured to compete.

In a ceremony at Oakville's Glen Abbey Golf Club on Tuesday, Golf Canada introduced its four-player Olympic squad - David Hearn, Graham DeLaet, Alena Sharp and teen sensation Brooke Henderson.

Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, when, in what was then an allmale competition, George S. Lyon, a 46-year-old amateur from Toronto, won individual gold in St. Louis, Mo. (The United States won the team event.)

"Part of being Canadian is having that pride, and it should be a privilege to represent your country, not a chore, and I wouldn't miss it for anything," said DeLaet, currently 140th in the world golf rankings. "Up until a few years ago, I never thought I'd have a chance to be an Olympian. It's a special opportunity."

But the top four male players in the world - Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith and Rory McIlroy - are among the more than 20 golfers who have pulled out the Games, most citing concerns about the Zika virus and possible birth defects.

But the mosquito-borne virus is only one thing taking some shine off this Olympic golf tournament.

For the men, it's an extra event jammed into a too-busy part of the season. It's being held on a newly built course in Rio that most players haven't seen, and doesn't have the cachet of a major championship.

DeLaet, from Weyburn, Sask., says he and his wife had twins this past year and are done having children, so that helped alleviate his worries about Zika and the possibility of birth defects.

"If you look down the list, there are still some top players there - it's not some college golf event," DeLaet said.

"It would have been better for the game if all the top players went, but that's their decision.

I'm going, I'm proud and I'm going to go try to win a medal."

When Canada's Milos Raonic withdrew from the Games' tennis tournament last week, many wondered if any of Canada's golfers would opt out too.

Henderson may have been forgiven had she wanted to decline: The World No. 2 and recent winner of two LPGA titles, including the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, has just completed a hectic part of her schedule - nine tournaments in nine weeks. And the 18-year-old will be in England next week for the Ricoh Women's British Open before heading to Brazil.

"It's always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to be an Olympian, but I didn't know what sport," said Henderson, the Smiths Falls, Ont., native who joined the ceremony via satellite from Calgary, where she was hosting a junior golf event. "I've had a great season on the LPGA Tour, and I'm hoping to cap it off with a gold medal in Rio."

Most LPGA golfers jumped at the chance to play in the Olympics. An Olympic gold medal offers glory comparable to that of winning big LPGA events. And unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA built a three-week break into its schedule to accommodate the Games.

"There was no chance to be an Olympian in golf, and then, when it was announced, it became something very important to me to be able to represent Canada in Rio," said Sharp, No. 85 in the women's world rankings.

"Growing up, I always watched Olympic hockey and in Canada, we're really known for hockey," the Hamilton native added.

"Well I think it's time to show the world we're also known for golf."

The Canadians said they've done thorough research on Zika, and will be vigilant about protecting themselves with appropriate clothing and bug spray on the course.

"The Canadian Olympic Committee and the International Golf Federation have kept us up to date, and I feel the risks are very minimal, and I'm not too concerned about it," said Hearn, of Brantford, Ont., who's ranked 130th.

"I want to appreciate the other sports and I'll soak in the culture. I plan to do the opening ceremonies and have a few days to take in some other events."

The Olympic tournaments in Rio will include 60 women and 60 men competing over 72 holes of stroke play.

The men's event will run Aug. 11-14, while the women's is Aug. 17-20.

Associated Graphic

Canadian Olympic golf team members Graham DeLaet, left, Alena Sharp and David Hearn pose on Tuesday with the Olympic golf trophy won in 1904 by Canada's George S. Lyon. DeLaet, Sharp and Hearn will be joined in Rio by No. 2-ranked Brooke Henderson.


Expected to add pitching, Toronto GM acquires an outfielder from San Diego
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

Monday night Melvin Upton Jr. was a member in good standing with the San Diego Padres, who just happened to be kicking off a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

Over the next 12 hours, Upton learned he had been dealt from the fourth-placed National League West team, where the postseason is all but a pipe dream, to the Blue Jays, who are in the thick of the battle for first place in the American League East.

But before he could cross the diamond at Rogers Centre on Tuesday and take a seat in the home dugout for the first time, he had to take a quick drive down the highway to cross into the United States at Queenston, N.Y.

"I guess I had to get a working visa," the still-shell-shocked outfielder explained to reporters just after he returned from his cross-border round trip and was preparing for the game against his old mates. "About an hourand-a-half ride there, sat at border patrol for a little while, jumped in the car and came back. But it all went pretty smoothly."

Upton, who will turn 32 next month and has the reed-thin build of a world-class runner, can only hope the rest of his time in Toronto, for however long it may be, will be a little bit less hectic than his first day at the office.

"This is all where it started, in this division," said Upton, who first broke into Major League Baseball in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Rays. "I definitely know the cities, and it's a tough division. But this is a really good ball club all around. It's definitely not uncomfortable, and I'm definitely looking forward to it."

With the MLB trade deadline less than a week away and keen observers anticipating that the Blue Jays would try to bolster the roster by adding a starting pitcher, general manager Ross Atkins crossed people up by nabbing an outfielder.

And he still may try for that pitcher.

In the meantime, the deal for Upton, whose stalled career has been on the upswing since arriving in San Diego last season, was just too good to pass up.

A proven defender in the outfield with base-stealing speed and dangerous pop in the bat - he's hitting .256 this season with 45 runs batted in, 16 home runs and 23 stolen bases - the asking price was surprisingly low.

All Toronto had to give up was Hansel Rodriguez, a 19year-old pitcher who signed with the Blue Jays as an international free agent in 2014; he was playing rookie-level ball at the time of the trade.

The loss of Rodriguez hardly depletes the precious minorleague ranks that were tapped heavily last season when former Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos positioned the Blue Jays for their successful push into the postseason with a series of deft megatrades.

Better yet, the Padres were so intent on cutting costs that they reportedly agreed to pick up about $17-million (U.S.) of the $22-million that Upton is still owed on the remainder of his contract, which runs through 2017.

Atkins would not comment on the financial aspects of the trade, but he was clearly delighted by the result.

"It just got to the point where the acquisition cost was right," said Atkins, who said he had been pursuing a deal for a fourth outfielder since last month, when Jose Bautista injured his toe.

"The defence at all three [outfield] positions, speed, base running, base stealer, power, versatility and depth," Atkins said when asked what attracted the Blue Jays to Upton in the first place.

Also, with outfielders Bautista and Michael Saunders heading into free agency after this season, having Upton around for at least another year will guarantee that one of those potential roster holes will be easy to fill.

Toronto manager John Gibbons said for the time being he will use Upton in a secondary role in the outfield, primarily against left-handed pitching, which he handles very well.

That will ultimately cut into the playing time of first baseman Justin Smoak, Gibbons said.

Upton said he's open to having his role altered to that of a parttime player.

"You know what, man? I'm here to help this team win," he said. "And whatever capacity I might be in, I'm ready for it."

Associated Graphic

The Blue Jays' newest outfielder, Melvin Upton Jr., takes batting practice before a game against his old team, the San Diego Padres, at Rogers Centre on Tuesday.


Duel in the Sun was great, but Nicklaus says Stenson and Mickelson were better
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TROON, SCOTLAND -- Turnberry had the bigger stars. Troon had the better golf.

That, along with 32 kilometres of Ayrshire coastline, may be all that separates two of the most compelling duels in 156 years of the British Open.

To compare anything with the 1977 British Open used to be sacrosanct. For the past four decades, the "Duel in the Sun" was the gold standard for head-to-head battles in a major championship, which are rare. Jack Nicklaus was the best in golf with 14 majors, nearing the end of his prime at the age of 37. Tom Watson was the emerging star, 10 years younger, who won his second major earlier that year by holding off Nicklaus to win the Masters.

For two days, they put on a spectacular show.

Both shot 65 in the third round and shared the lead. Nicklaus finished with a 40-foot birdie putt for a 66 and a 269, a score that would have won any major in history to that point. That lasted only as long as it took Watson, who hit a 7-iron to about two feet on the final hole at Turnberry, to tap in his birdie for a 65 and a 268.

"This is what it's all about, isn't it?" Watson said to Nicklaus on the 16th hole when they were tied.

Turnberry entered the conversation Sunday at Royal Troon after four holes, when it was clear Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson had something special going.

Mickelson began with an approach that danced near the cup for a tap-in birdie.

Stenson answered with two straight birdies from 15 feet to regain the lead. Stenson hit his approach on the par-five fourth hole onto the green for a two-putt birdie.

Mickelson carved a long iron into eight feet for an eagle, and they were tied again.

It never stopped the rest of the way.

The greater the pressure, the better the golf - until Stenson had broken one record, tied three others and won his first major.

Nicklaus doesn't watch a lot of golf on television, but he considers himself fortunate to have watched "every second" of this one.

"Phil Mickelson played one of the best rounds I have ever seen played in the Open, and Henrik Stenson just played better - he played one of the greatest rounds I have ever seen," Nicklaus posted to social media. "Phil certainly has nothing to be ashamed of because he played wonderfully. ... Henrik was simply terrific."

And how did it measure up with his duel at Turnberry?

"Our final round was really good," Nicklaus said, "but theirs was even better."

On his own, Stenson could have claimed the greatest closing round in a major. He made four birdies over the last five holes for a 63, the same score Johnny Miller shot in the final round when he won the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Miller came from six shots behind. Stenson played in the final group over the last two rounds.

Stenson played such a perfect round that he putted for birdie on every hole, three-putting from 80 feet just off the first green and three-putting from 40 feet on No. 11. Even so, he made 10 birdies amid relentless pressure of trying to win his first major.

"We'll never see perfection on a links like that ever again in our lives," Nick Faldo said. "There's no way."

Stenson, however, had company.

Without Mickelson there to push him, there's no telling how this final round would be remembered. Mickelson made six birdies against no bogeys for a 65. Even when Stenson took a two-shot lead by rolling in a 50-foot birdie putt across the 15th green, Mickelson answered with a 3-wood up the narrow front in the green to 30 feet. His eagle putt just turned away at the right, and he ran out of holes.

Their better-ball score - remember, they were in the final group - would have been 59. Their worstball score would have been 69.

Small wonder that Mickelson calls it the "best I've played and not won."

Imagine if this had been Mickelson and any of the Fab Four a generation or so behind him.

That's what Turnberry had. Stenson is a popular champion, though his career has been slowed by two slumps, and the 40-year-old Swede had never won a major.

Pospisil aims for ranking rebound at this year's Rogers Cup
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- The hashtag #AnythingsPospisil became a Twitter sensation in the summer of 2015, as Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil made an unlikely run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Those were heady days - and elite company - for the unseeded Canadian.

He'd been solidly ensconced in the world's top-60 for going on three years; he'd won the 2014 Wimbledon men's doubles crown with American Jack Sock; and he has been as responsible as anyone for Canada's continuing presence in the World Group of Davis Cup competition.

Even if Pospisil hasn't exactly pushed Milos Raonic for the rank of top Canadian, his presence on the international scene has given Canada an admirable one-two punch.

But Pospisil has fallen on hard times of late, and on Monday, when the ATP released its updated weekly rankings, he had fallen out of the top 100 for the first time since July, 2013.

A match record of 5-18 in the calendar year will do that for you.

Pospisil's loss to Yuichi Sugita in Washington last week dropped him to 101st in the world, but the more precipitous decline came weeks earlier, when he plunged to 99 from 44 following a first-round exit at Wimbledon.

So while Raonic, the No. 4 seed at the Rogers Cup, has his eyes firmly trained on a championship run this week, one could argue that this tournament is even more important to Pospisil as he tries to rebuild his ranking.

Pospisil opens this week's tournament Tuesday night with an evening match against Frenchman Jérémy Chardy. If he advances, he faces a possible second-round match against Gaël Monfils, who won the Citi Open in Washington on Sunday.

A good week here would help restore Pospisil's confidence heading into the Olympics in Rio, and the final two key events of the summer hardcourt season - Cincinnati and the U.S. Open.

Pospisil, generally a pleasant, upbeat, outgoing player, says he knows what's needed to turn those close losses into victories again. Where many players focus on improving the weaknesses in their games, Pospisil suggested he needed to spend more time maximizing his strengths.

"You win matches with your exceptional shots that can make a difference," Pospisil said. "In my case, the serve and the forehand are my strengths. I've just been touching up on those two to try to make them weapons again - and I think it's the right move at this stage.

"I'm feeling pretty optimistic about the coming weeks and months. I feel like things are going to turn around soon. I haven't had a very good year - that would be an understatement, I guess. I'm training hard as I always do, but more importantly, I'm training on all the right things."

Proof that anything's possible at the Rogers Cup came during Monday's opening day of action when the first two Canadians on the court, wildcards Steven Diez and Peter Polansky, both registered three-set upset victories. Diez started things off with an impressive 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over the rising British star Kyle Edmund, while Polansky rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over American qualifier Tim Smyczek.

Both matches were played before small but supportive crowds on an outside court. And no one understands better than Pospisil the value of the homecourt advantage and playing matches in front a heavy pro-Canadian fan base.

"I like situations like this - let's say pressure situations of playing at home - it feeds me," he said.

"It gives me confidence in a weird way. You feel like they've got your back; and the crowd is really pulling for you hard.

"It matters to them how you do."

Pospisil's results at the 2013 Rogers Cup, where he made the semi-finals but lost a tough three-setter to Raonic, was really the turning point in his career: It vaulted him into the top 50, where you can make a steady, decent living playing tennis professionally.

Three years later, he needs a repeat performance of that breakthrough, because life outside the top 100 can be a scuffling, challenging existence. His optimistic side believes it can be done. After all, anything's Pospisil.

Follow me on Twitter: @eduhatschek

COC aims for at least 19 medals in Rio, adding to the pressure on its top contenders
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

MONTREAL -- There are many ways to frame Olympic success, but with three weeks until the curtain rises on the Rio Games, Canada's major amateur sport funders have put a mark on their measuring stick: 19 (or more) medals.

The benchmarking exercise has become a tradition in the final preparation stage for the Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium.

Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, the stated hope was that Canada could place among the top 12 medal-winning countries.

It didn't happen. Canadian athletes won 18 medals, tied for 13th in total medals; only trampolinist Rosie MacLennan returned home with gold.

"The primary goal is to win more medals than we did in London," OTP head Anne Merklinger told a media conference call.

"Our ultimate stretch goal is to finish in the top-12."

Given how long it's been since that happened - 1996 in Atlanta - and the fact that many of Canada's brighter prospects are young and aiming for success in 2020 rather than this summer, it could be a long shot. One well-known Olympic forecaster, Gracenote (the former Infostrada), is predicting Canada will wind up with 16 medals.

At least Canada's 315 or so athletes will be able to travel to South America in complete safety - or so claims the COC.

Chris Overholt, the Olympic body's chief executive, said preparations have been undertaken "with an abundance of caution" from both a public health and policing standpoint.

All the athletes and teams with realistic medal hopes have had the opportunity to make site visits.

He added the COC has gone to "unusual lengths" to inform athletes, their families and members of the travelling delegation about the various health risks in Brazil, the Zika virus chief among them.

Overholt said a total of 44 test events have been held at the various Rio venues, involving 17,000 athletes, coaches, event officials and spectators, without a single confirmed case of Zika.

In other words, Team Canada will go where the world's top four male golfers fear to tread.

No Canadian athlete has opted to stay home - although a small number of staffers opted out because of various pre-existing health concerns.

The COC and OTP clearly prefer to focus on the potential for medals, and goal-setting is a key component of high-performance sports. But their medal-prognosticating rankles some athletes and their coaches; one Olympic coach, speaking privately, said athletes already feel enough pressure.

That may be, but OTP has poured $140-million into Olympic and Paralympic sports during the current quadrennial cycle, so results are paramount. And OTP and the COC have put considerable work in improving their return on investment at the margins.

9 In the current pre-Olympic period, Canadian athletes have registered more top-eight finishes than in the lead-up to London - including 37 top-five finishes at world-level competitions.

It's the result, Merklinger said, of identifying performance gaps after London and filling them with better coaches, "world-leading" team executives and more sharply targeted funding.

A conscious decision was also made after London to step up the resources dedicated to younger athletes who weren't expected to reach their full medal potential until Tokyo in 2020.

Beyond the top-line medal count, this summer constitutes a test for those youngsters.

"We will assess every performance in Rio de Janeiro - top-five, top-eight, and those athletes with potential for 2020 and 2024," Merklinger said.

The Canadian contingent to Rio, according to Overholt, "is larger and deeper than the team we sent to London ... we're confident in our potential to finish in the top 12."

Merklinger highlighted the track and field team - which includes world champions Derek Drouin (high jump) and Shawn Barber (pole vault), and medal favourites Andre De Grasse (100 and 200 metres), Melissa Bishop (800 metres) and Brianne Theisen-Eaton (heptathlon) - as the likeliest source of multiple medals.

She also mentioned high expectations in diving, swimming, cycling and women's wrestling.

Canada has also qualified in five team events, matching the national record last achieved in Beijing in 2008.

Merklinger said the women's rugby sevens team is perhaps the best-placed to bring home a medal.

Over all, she said, "Canada is ready."

League bounces all-star game out of North Carolina
The Associated Press
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

The NBA is moving the 2017 allstar game out of Charlotte because of its objections to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

The league had expressed its opposition to the law known as HB2 since it was enacted in March, and its decision Thursday came less than a month after state legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged.

"While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our all-star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2," the league said in a statement.

The league added that it hoped to announce a new location for next February's events shortly. It hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte if there is a resolution to the matter.

"We understand the NBA's decision and the challenges around holding the NBA all-star game in Charlotte this season.

There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so," Hornets chairman and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan said. "With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host all-star weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019."

Commissioner Adam Silver wanted to wait as long as possible to make a decision, believing positive dialogue could lead to changes the league felt the law needed. But he also said a decision would need to be made this summer, and the league was disappointed when the General Assembly restored the ability of workers to use state law to sue over employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion and other factors - but left gender identity and sexual orientation unprotected.

There was no appetite among Republican lawmakers to change the provision requiring transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings - a measure at the heart of two legal challenges in federal court.

The law passed in a March special session also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from anti-discrimination protections related to the workplace, hotels and restaurants; and overrules local anti-discrimination ordinances.

Republican leaders have said the law was passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Governor Pat McCrory lashed out at the sports and entertainment industry and the media in response to the NBA's announcement.

"The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney-General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present," McCrory said in a statement issued by his office.

The law has drawn opposition from a number of entertainers who have cancelled performances in North Carolina.

The fate of the state law is likely to be decided in federal courts, where duelling lawsuits are being heard with a judge saying he wants to start trial in four of the five cases by early November.

He's also set an Aug. 1 hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction to block the law's bathroom access provision.

Charlotte officials have said they expected the event to have an economic impact of about $100-million (U.S.), based on data from recent all-star games in the comparable New Orleans and Orlando markets.

The game could rival the $164million economic impact of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the largest financial bump of any event for the city.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts expressed disappointment that the law's "discriminatory actions" led to the NBA's decision and hoped the city will get another shot at the showcase in 2019.

"All-star weekend would have provided an excellent opportunity to further showcase our great and welcoming city. Charlotte has shown its commitment to equal rights and inclusion and will continue to promote those values," Roberts said in a statement.

The Canadian Press
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

OAKVILLE, ONT -- The Venezuelan dedicates his second career PGA Tour victory to his family, whom he had on video call while taking part in a media conference and while posing for photos with the tournament's trophy.

The win feels 'more exciting [than my first] because I have a family to share this with,' he says Jhonattan Vegas was glued to his phone.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan walked into the media conference centre set up at Glen Abbey Golf Club in the midst of a video call with his wife and baby daughter, then put the phone down briefly to answer questions from reporters about winning the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday.

As soon as Vegas stepped off the stage, he was back on the phone, speaking with his family in Spanish, celebrating his second PGA Tour win.

"I didn't have a chance to talk to them after I knew that I had won and it's special seeing them that happy, enjoying that moment as much as I am enjoying it right now," Vegas said. "It's just an incredible moment, just to share it with the family, with the wife, with the people you love and care about. It's great."

Vegas birdied the final three holes at Glen Abbey for an eight-under 64 and one-stroke victory. He began the day five strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker, and four behind U.S.

Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit.

Du Toit's coach, Derek Ingram, who was named the head coach of Canada's men's golf team earlier in the month, wasn't surprised by du Toit's performance.

"Jared's been playing great, he's been trending really well for the past six months," Ingram said. "A bit of a surprise to be in the final group of the Canadian Open as an amateur, but not surprised that he played well at all."

Vegas earned $1,062,000 (U.S.) and a spot in the PGA Championship next week at Baltusrol in New Jersey.

Although Vegas's playoff win at the Bob Hope Classic in 2011 launched his PGA career, the Canadian Open victory was more special.

"It definitely feels bigger, feels more exciting because I have a family to share this with," Vegas said.

"It makes me happier and makes me definitely more excited and definitely gives me more energy obviously to keep playing hard to give it my best every single time."

After speaking to media, Vegas asked to see the tournament's trophy again so he could show it to his family by phone and pose for photos. Even as he patiently waited for each picture to be taken, he kept his phone - with his family on the line - in his hand.

Vegas - who will represent Venezuela at the coming Rio Olympics - also dedicated his win to his fellow countrymen.

"Venezuela is a country that is suffering right now, a lot of issues, politically, economically, socially," Vegas said.

"It's just a tough place right now, a lot of people hurting.

"So definitely I want to dedicate it to the country because of all the tremendous support that I've had from them, even through the rough time they are having right now."

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., led the other Canadians at the Open with a final-round of 71.

He tied for 49th at one under.

Amateur Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., shot a 76 and was in a group tied at 77th, eight-over par, and Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished with a 78 and ended up 12 over in 80th spot.

Hadwin won the Rivermead Cup as low professional Canadian, but even then he didn't feel wholly comfortable taking the award from du Toit.

"Little awkward holding this with Jared playing so well this week, y'know, he beat me by eight," Hadwin said during the awards ceremony. "Not sure I should be holding this, but I'll accept it."

Associated Graphic

Jhonattan Vegas holds up the Canadian Open trophy and wears a Mountie's hat after winning the tournament in Oakville, Ont., on Sunday.


Russia says final decision on Olympic ban is expected by Sunday
The Associated Press
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

MOSCOW -- Russia's top Olympic official expects a final decision by Sunday on whether the entire Russian team will be banned from next month's games in Rio de Janeiro over allegations of statesponsored doping.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said its executive board will meet via teleconference on Sunday to consider the issue, but added that a final decision was expected "within the next seven days."

The IOC is examining the legal options of a blanket ban following a report by World AntiDoping Agency investigator Richard McLaren that accused Russia's sports ministry of overseeing doping of the country's Olympic athletes.

"The issue will be finally resolved by the end of this week, probably on Sunday," Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said Wednesday at a meeting of the ROC.

Zhukov said his committee did not discuss the McLaren report at its meeting, although he also did not rule out legal action if Russia is hit with a total ban from the games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will issue its verdict Thursday on Russia's appeal to overturn the IAAF ban on its track and field athletes for the games. The IOC will take that ruling into account before making its own decision.

Zhukov said he was hopeful of winning the appeal, adding that Russia's plans for the Olympics assumed the track and field team would be allowed to compete.

Russia plans to send a total of 387 athletes, including 68 in track and field, he said.

"Of course we hope for a CAS ruling in our favour," Zhukov told state TV. "It would be, I'd say, a serious precedent for the other federations' decisions."

Regardless of how the various doping-related cases turn out, Zhukov said a Russian Olympic boycott was out of the question.

"These boycotts just lead to a breakup of the Olympic movement," he said. "I think that Russia will never take part in any boycott."

The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, retaliating for the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow that followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Earlier Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said a meeting between Putin and Russia's Olympic athletes, previously scheduled for Thursday, would no longer take place.

The IOC executive board held a meeting by teleconference on Tuesday to consider its steps in the wake of the McLaren report, which found that 28 summer and winter Olympic sports were affected by state-operated cheating in Russia.

WADA and other anti-doping officials urged the IOC to consider the unprecedented step of excluding the entire Russian team from the Rio Games.

The IOC said it "will explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice."

The IOC also started disciplinary action against Russian sports ministry officials and others implicated in McLaren's report, and said they would be denied accreditation for the Rio Games.

The list includes Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

The IOC can also let individual international federations decide to ban Russians in their own sports.

The international rowing federation said Wednesday it was investigating whether Russian rowers' places at the Rio Olympics could be reallocated to athletes from other countries "if there would be a blanket ban on the Russian team or any other ban."

Russia has five rowing crews entered for the Olympics after a sixth crew was disqualified earlier this month for a doping violation in qualifying.

World Rowing also said it "is undertaking a complete review of testing of Russian rowers since 2011" and has asked WADA for any evidence related to doping by Russian rowers. The McLaren report alleged 11 failed drug tests in rowing had been covered up by Russian officials.

With files from Stephen Wilson

Manufacturing sales fall 1 per cent
The Canadian Press
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B3

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 1.0 per cent to $49.9-billion in May.

Economists had expected a drop of 0.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

The decline came as sales of motor vehicles and petroleum and coal products dropped.

Motor vehicle sales fell 4.2 per cent to $5.6-billion, while sales of motor vehicle parts declined 2.3 per cent.

Sales in the petroleum and coal products industry fell 2.2 per cent to $4.1-billion.

Sales fell in 15 of 21 industries, representing nearly 70 per cent of total manufacturing.

Constant dollar sales fell 2.1 per cent, indicating that a lower volume of manufactured goods was sold in the month.

How to find an exit from Brexit
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

ROME -- British Prime Minister Theresa May's mantra is "Brexit means Brexit." If the state of the British economy is any indication, Brexit also means buyer's remorse. Only a month after the anti-European Union camp won the June 23 referendum, the British economy is showing compelling signs that it is slumping toward recession. If the deterioration continues, Brexit might not mean Brexit. It might mean: Never mind, ladies and gentlemen, we're staying put.

The economic forecasts of both the Remain and Leave sides during the referendum campaign were hysterical. The Leave side initially said there would be no economic damage if Britain were to extend its middle finger to the EU, then conceded there might be a small amount of damage before Britain signs enough bilateral trade deals to allow it, once again, to emerge as a global trading powerhouse. The Remain side said a British exit would be painful and potentially plunge the country into economic darkness for years.

On Friday, Britain received the first indication that the predictions of the Remain side might have been less hysterical than the Leavers.

A special edition of the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index survey indicated that Britain's economy is shrinking at its fastest rate since 2009, when the financial and economic crises were in full swing. The PMI for the services sector fell to 47.2 in July from 52.3 in June; any reading below 50 indicates contraction. The manufacturing PMI fell to 49.1 from 52.1 in June, the lowest in 31/2 years.

Some economists think that the fresh PMIs mean the Brexit grind-down has begun, with no indication when it will stop, given Britain's leap into the great unknown. Markit itself said that if the PMIs were to stay at these levels, the British economy would contract at a 0.4-per-cent quarterly pace, a decline last seen in the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.

While official data are still lacking, there is no shortage of indications that Britain is entering an economic vat of mud.

Listings at job-search sites are falling, according to The Economist magazine, as is peer-to-peer lending. Shares of discount airline giant easyJet are down by about a third since the referendum and the FTSE 350 real estate index has lost about 10 per cent.

Gore Vidal once said the four most beautiful words are "I told you so" and that's what the Remain side will chant. The 48 per cent who voted in favour of Remain hope that a genuine economic shock - should one arrive - will persuade Ms. May's government to find a way to retreat.

But how? Not easy, but not out of the question because Brexit does not mean Brexit, at least not yet.

Britain has two years to negotiate its way out of the EU after it signs the divorce papers in the form of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. But Ms. May, who voted in favour of Remain but could not be described as an EU cheerleader, has been playing for time. She has decided not to invoke Article 50 until next year and her delaying tactics received the backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who agreed that Britain should "take a moment" to figure out what kind of relationship it wants with the EU.

So let's say Britain has three years to figure out its future. In the world of politics, three years may as well be three centuries.

The whole mood of the EU nation-states toward the EU could change over that period.

French, German, Austrian, Dutch and Italian elections will held by 2019, and most before then. The EU architecture is bound to get tweaked, if not overhauled, to make it more flexible. Britain wants an "emergency break" in times of immigrant surges and the ability to withhold welfare payments from new immigrants.

Britain alone is unlikely to get such gifts as a peace offering from the EU even if the EU would much rather see Britain stay put than leave. But what if other EU countries were to demand some flexibility on the immigration side too? Giving special treatment to Britain would not fly, but would be politically acceptable if it were offered to all EU countries.

If that were to happen, the British government might be able to go back to the people and say, look, the EU has changed and the new terms of membership should be put to a second vote. Remember, the first referendum was not legally binding. If the will of the people changes between now and 2019, it would be ridiculous and antidemocratic to insist that the 2016 referendum is unassailable forever. Referendums can't be governing straitjackets until the end of time.

The idea of a second referendum is gaining momentum. Owen Smith, who is attempting to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, has endorsed a second referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal. Other parties, including the pro-EU Scottish National Party, might join the crusade. If they do, Ms. May might feel compelled to adopt a second referendum as official policy.

A second referendum could go against the EU, too, in which case it would be lights out for Britain's EU membership. But if the Brexit-bound economy keeps deteriorating, a pro-EU vote could easily emerge. Ms. May's effort to buy time is not a sign of weakness. It's a clever strategy.

Bank of Canada keeps the faith, but lacks answers
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Stephen Poloz is usually a pretty easy-going guy, at least as far as central bank bosses go. So when he gets his back up a little in a press conference, you've got to take notice of the exposed nerve that's just been hit.

"We resist the idea of turning 180 degrees on our forecast because of the last few data points," the Bank of Canada Governor said in response to a question about why he remains so optimistic about Canada's non-energy exports in the face of a four-month run of pretty miserable trade data that has tested the faith of others in this critical ingredient for the country's economic recovery.

It wasn't even the first question along those lines. Despite a significant cut in the Bank of Canada's 2016 growth forecast in Wednesday's quarterly Monetary Policy Report (MPR), the bank remains unshaken in its belief that the economy's "complex adjustment" to the oil shock is intact - a tone of confidence that surprised not just some of the reporters who cover the central bank, but more than a few economists, too. The bank has long predicted that growth in non-energy exports would eventually supplant the slump in the energy sector and take over as the primary driver of the economic story, and the disquieting backtracking of those exports in recent months has done little to soften that view, let alone change it.

Up to a point, the bank makes a good case. During the news conference, Mr. Poloz and his second-in-command, Carolyn Wilkins, pointed - three times, no less - to a chart in the MPR showing the impressive upward trend of non-commodity exports over the past several years. On that chart, the weakness of the past few months looks very much like a tiny blip in exports that are tracking near their prerecession peaks. And they argued that the U.S. economy still looks on course for strong growth; it's just that recently that growth has been driven more by the consumer (less a focus of Canadian nonenergy exports) and less by business spending (much more a driver of demand for the nonenergy sector). So, it's a temporary lull, not a downturn.

Fair enough. But by the same token, the bank acknowledged that a big engine for the rapid growth in those exports - the weaker Canadian dollar - has pretty much run its course. "The past depreciation of the exchange rate will continue to support the level of exports, but its effect on export growth is projected to taper off over the course of this year," Ms. Wilkins said in a statement to open the news conference.

The key from here, then, is the next logical consequence of that export strength, the next necessary step in the economy's rotation away from the slumping energy sector and toward the growing non-commodity sectors.

That would be a burst of nonenergy business investment in response to sustained strong export demand. That's critical to start filling the immense loss of investment from the energy sector. In a very real way, nonenergy investment completes the puzzle for the economic recovery.

But this is where the bank's story faces a gaping hole, and much to its chagrin, it knows it.

The boom in non-commodity exports hasn't translated into investment. Indeed, the stubborn lack of business spending was a key reason why the bank was forced to cut in its 2016 economic growth forecast.

And looking at the central bank's own Business Outlook Survey, released just last week, it's hard to argue that we're on the cusp of some sort of investment breakout. "While firms judge that the boost to their sales from U.S. growth is lending support to their investment plans, investment intentions are modest for exporters, even those unaffected by commodity prices," the survey report said.

Many observers believe the big impediment is confidence - which never fully recovered from the seismic shift it suffered in the 2008-09 financial crisis, and has been repeatedly shaken through the long recovery that has come with more than the usual share of false starts and disappointments. The recent backslide in exports is a recent case in point. And the Brexit vote in Britain has tossed another heap of uncertainty into the investment environment for businesses globally - something that many Canadian exporters that play a part in the global supply chain will find it hard to avoid.

Still, there are some hints elsewhere that offer hope for a pickup in business investment. The pace of Canadian net new-firm formation, often a precursor of a rise in investment, hit a nineyear high in the first quarter of this year, despite a slump in the firm count in the energy and mining sectors. Business formation in the United States has also accelerated to near its prerecession levels - which bodes well for the kind of U.S. business investment that could fuel demand for Canadian exports and give exporters further impetus to spend on expansion.

But the big question, as Ms. Wilkins acknowledged, is "when and by how much?" The success of Canada's difficult economic rebuild lies in the balance. And while the Bank of Canada keeps the faith, it doesn't have the answer.

Associated Graphic


Climate change a $5-trillion opportunity
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney took his message on climate change to Canada's financial community Friday, but steered clear of the burning Brexit issue, only a day after his central bank issued its first interest-rate decision since the gamechanging vote.

In a discussion with Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna before a large audience at a Toronto Region Board of Trade event, Mr. Carney pointed to the "considerable" opportunities for the financial sector to profit from global efforts to reduce carbon emissions over the next two decades, as countries work to meet their commitments under last fall's Paris climate agreement.

He estimated that global carbon reduction needs imply "somewhere in the order of $5to $7-trillion a year" in clean-infrastructure investments. "The question is, how much of that is going to be financed through capital markets?" He said that if there is a "global standard" established for green-infrastructure bonds - something the G20 is working on - it would create "a core mainstream fixed-income opportunity."

He said that China, in particular, has large needs for such infrastructure that could generate relatively high-yielding investment products.

He also argued that a "a consistent, comparable, reliable" global system for corporate disclosure on carbon emissions would better allow equity markets to price in relative risk into company valuations. Mr. Carney has been championing such a system for much of the past year, in his dual roles as the head of the Bank of England and the chairman of the international Financial Stability Board.

"The relative value opportunity in equities is considerable," he said.

"Having the Governor of the Bank of England here sends a very strong message that it is important that we act now, and that we have a real opportunity for Canadian business," Ms.McKenna told reporters following the session.

The event, which was planned well before Britain's June 23 referendum result in favour of leaving the European Union, didn't include any discussion on the shocking vote result, or the central bank's plans to use monetary policy to lean against the expected economic turmoil.

Mr. Carney left the conference hall quickly after his public conversation with Ms. McKenna ended, and didn't speak to media.

His Toronto appearance came only a day after the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, in its closely watched first interest-rate decision following the Brexit vote, opted to hold its key interest rate steady at 0.5 per cent, while indicating that it does expect to ease monetary policy at its next meeting in August.

His visit to Canada also came just a day after Mr. Carney met for the first time with Britain's new Chancellor of the Exchequer (the equivalent of finance minister), Philip Hammond, who was named on Wednesday to replace George Osborne in the cabinet of new Prime Minister Theresa May. Given the fast-changing political and financial situation in Britain, there was considerable speculation that Mr. Carney might cancel his appearance.

Mr. Carney, a Canadian who was the head of the Bank of Canada before taking the top Bank of England job three years ago, told the audience that he actually came to Canada to visit his brother - but joked that an "irresistible force" persuaded him to participate in the climate-change event. (Ms. McKenna's office was instrumental in lining up Mr. Carney, according to an event official.) A Bank of England spokesman said Mr.Carney is only staying in Canada over the weekend, before heading back to London to prepare for the July 23-24 meeting of G20 central-bank heads and finance ministers in China.

"It is not necessarily surprising. It happens often that [central bank] governors need to leave to attend other events. I don't think people [in Britain] took notice," said London-based economist Charles St-Arnaud of Nomura Securities. "My biggest surprise is why the BoE didn't cut yesterday and try to preempt as much as they can any negative impact from Brexit."

Mr. Carney's chief economist at the Bank of England, Andrew Haldane, gave a speech in Wales Friday that strongly argued for the bank to act "promptly as well as muscularly" to provide monetary stimulus in the face of Brexit - suggesting that the bank is working on something more substantial than just a quarter-point rate cut next month.

"I would rather run the risk of taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut than taking a miniature rock hammer to tunnel my way out of prison," he said.

Mr. Carney announced at the Paris climate summit last December an FSB task force, led by business mogul and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, to develop a set of "voluntary, consistent climaterelated financial risk disclosures" for companies. Mr. Carney said Friday that he expects the task force to submit its final report "at the start of next year," in time for the G20 summit in Germany.

Associated Graphic

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna speaks with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney before going on stage during a Toronto Region Board of Trade event on Friday.


Encana results show rebound from oil slump
A stringent focus on cost-cutting helped Encana post an operating profit of $89-million (U.S.), a marked improvement from 2015
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Encana Corp.'s second-quarter results, featuring an operating profit and a boost to capital spending, suggest the big Canadian oil and gas producer is emerging from a turbulent stretch earlier this year.

A stringent focus on cost-cutting helped Encana post an operating profit of $89-million (U.S.) or 10 cents a share for the second quarter, a marked improvement from earlier this year as well as the second quarter of 2015, when it reported an operating loss of $167-million or 20 cents.

With the proceeds of two about-to-close sales, the company also announced Thursday that it would boost this year's capital spending by $200-million.

The combination of the additional capital and cost-cutting measures means the company will be able to increase fourth-quarter production by 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and add 50-per-cent more drilling and well-completion activity than it originally had planned for its 2016 program.

Encana shares were up nearly 4 per cent, to about $10.84 (Canadian) in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The second-quarter results are a sharp contrast from the dark days of last winter, when the company's shares dropped below $5 apiece and bonds plunged amid weak oil prices and concerns about the company's balance sheet and cash flow.

Encana bond yields early this year rocketed over 12 per cent, and the company's debt rating was slashed.

Now, however, improved commodity prices and widespread cost-cutting - the company has slashed more than half of its work force since 2013 - have helped Encana stabilize itself and return to increasing output. Bond yields have returned to more normal levels.

"We feel like the wind is at our back right now," chief executive officer Doug Suttles said in an interview Thursday.

The previously announced sales of its Denver Julesburg Basin shale assets in Colorado and its Gordondale assets in Alberta are expected to close by the end of next week, bringing in $1.1-billion in proceeds. Mr. Suttles hinted that other sales could be coming.

"We still do have non-core assets," he said as one analyst probed for Encana's future intentions.

The company also reported a net loss of $601-million (U.S.) in its second quarter, or 71 cents a share, largely attributable to noncash items including impairments and an unrealized hedging loss.

Encana was weighted heavily to natural gas in November, 2013, when it announced a new strategy focused on "what it takes to get Encana back to winning," Mr. Suttles said. He announced cost-cutting, a dividend cut and a strict focus on a few North American plays. Today, more than 95 per cent of the company's capital is dedicated to the Permian and Eagle Ford regions in the United States, and the Montney and Duvernay in Western Canada.

Mr. Suttles's three years in the job has also seen Encana further concentrate its efforts on liquidsrich gas, condensate and oil. Lower commodity prices have pressed Encana to transform further and faster. As Mr. Suttles said earlier this year, "We didn't quite realize that the cycle would go as quickly and as deeply as it did."

Encana had about 4,000 employees before the 2013 launch of the new strategy; it reduced its work force in 2014, again last year, and will chop a further 20 per cent in 2016. Mr. Suttles said Encana has cut a total of 55 per cent of its work force in three years. "We have a ruthless focus on efficiency," Mr. Suttles said at an investors' event in May.

Still, early 2016 has been particularly challenging. Over the course of a whiplash-inducing few weeks, Encana's bonds were reduced to junk status in midFebruary before climbing back to investment grade by April. The yield on Encana bonds due in 2021 and 2038 jumped to above 12 per cent in February before returning to more down-to-earth levels of about 4 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively, in recent weeks.

The company says it reduced its total debt by $2-billion (U.S.) in 2015, and there are now no debt maturities until 2019. Its longterm debt as of June 30 stood at $5.7-billion.

Looking forward, Mr. Suttle expressed optimism about strengthening natural gas prices.

Executives also said Thursday the company is in talks with TransCanada Corp. regarding a deal for an approximate 50-per-cent reduction in tolls on its west-toeast pipeline system in exchange for longer-term contracts.

Such an arrangement would allow Western Canadian natural gas supplies to be cost-efficient enough to compete against gas from the Marcellus region in the Ontario market.

"It's getting a lot of attention and a lot of interest from other producers as well," Encana's midstream and marketing executive vice-president Reneé Zemljak said of TransCanada's pitch to producers.

Hike in milk prices irks food producers
Second increase this year in price of industrial milk forcing small businesses to make 'tough choices'
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

A loaf of cheddar bread sells for $6.25 at the Cake & Loaf Bakery in Hamilton. But co-owner Josie Rudderham wonders if customers will still buy it if she ups the price another 25 cents.

Whether to raise prices or not is one of the decisions facing business owners such as Ms. Rudderham after the Canadian Dairy Commission announced it was raising the price of industrial milk, which is used to make cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter, by 2.76 per cent on June 15.

The increase takes effect on Sept. 1, and it's the second price increase this year. The CDC increased industrial milk prices by 2.2 per cent in February.

"I wasn't expecting another price increase this year," Ms. Rudderham says. "It's pretty significant for us. It means we have to make some tough choices."

Those tough choices include potentially raising prices for the breads, cakes, pastries and candies Ms. Rudderham and business partner Nicole Miller sell at their bakery, and holding off on providing wage increases for their 22 full- and part-time employees.

For small businesses in the food industry that use lots of dairy products, this nearly 5-percent increase is a big deal. Ms. Rudderham says her bakery uses 120 to 140 pounds of butter and 40 to 50 pounds of cheese a week. She notes that 10 per cent to 12 per cent of her revenue is spent on dairy products annually.

"We have to pass that price increase on to the consumer," Ms. Rudderham says. "But we don't want to price people out of being able to shop at the Cake & Loaf."

The CDC is a Crown corporation that implements national policies for milk production. It said in a July 15 news release that it raised prices for industrial milk to offset a "significant reduction in producer revenues in the last year" brought on by a decrease in world prices and partly due to larger sales of surplus milk protein in low-priced markets.

CDC spokeswoman Chantal Paul says revenue for milk production was down about four cents a litre in the past 12 months. When the commission saw that reduction, it decided to initiate a price review and after consulting with various segments of the supply chain, looking at revenues from dairy farms and other economic indicators, as well as data on the current cost of producing milk, the CDC "made a judgment that the situation was sufficiently critical that it was relevant for the commission to announce an increase," Ms. Paul says.

Canada's dairy industry, which the CDC says employed more than 23,000 workers in 2015, has operated under a supply management system for industrial milk since the early 1970s. That means farmers must manage their production for certain periods so that it coincides with forecasts for demand for their products during the same periods.

Bill Pratt, chief executive officer of the Dartmouth-based Chef Inspired Group of Restaurants, which owns 11 restaurants and food trucks including the popular Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers + Poutinerie, says he recognizes the CDC's role in protecting Canada's dairy farms. However, he is still frustrated by these latest price increases, which he says will eat into already "tight" profit margins for restaurants across Canada.

"Why can't the CDC look at creative ways to help consumers like the restaurant business instead of saying, 'Here is the price increase, deal with it,' " Mr. Pratt says.

Mr. Pratt says dairy products, particularly cheese, are one of the main commodities he uses in his restaurants and food trucks. And when the price of that commodity increases, he has to make up for it somehow. He says he can't make large price increases to his menu because customers might go elsewhere to eat. He also won't use cheaper, inferior dairy products because it will hurt the quality of his food. Mr. Pratt adds he's not ready to lay off any of his 105 employees, either.

So what is his solution? "I've got to find other ways of being creative to keep people coming in," says the 37-year veteran of the food industry. "I need more volume to make up for the price increase, and I'm going to have to pay more for marketing and advertising. Hopefully it works because it costs a lot of money to do that."

Owners of restaurants and bakeries aren't the only ones affected by rising food prices; regular Canadians are feeling the pain as well. Statistics Canada's consumer price index says food prices rose 1.8 per cent year over year in May, although that was the smallest year-over-year gain since March, 2015.

Associated Graphic

Nicole Miller, left, and Josie Rudderham of Cake and Loaf Bakery in Hamilton, say they are looking at passing on higher costs by raising prices.


Turkey's economy, tourism at risk in wake of attempted coup
Stocks tumble amid uncertainty about country's stability
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

ROME -- Turkey on Monday seemed to be transforming itself from high-growth developing country - a regional consumer and industrial powerhouse in the making - to a political and economic basket case in the wake of the attempted coup d'état.

But investors shouldn't necessarily expect the worst. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will no doubt use the chaos to consolidate his presidential powers and snuff out any opposition to his regime. In time, Turkey might become more stable after the coup attempt than it was before, at the expense of civil rights.

While Turkish markets suffered on Monday, three days after rebel factions in the military launched their coup attempt, investors did not get slaughtered; had the rebel generals and colonels captured Mr. Erdogan, they would have been. Luckily for them, the takeover attempt was an amateur show.

The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index fell more than 6 per cent on Monday (the coup attempt started after the markets closed on Friday). Some companies fared worse, among them Turkish Airlines, which fell 10 per cent. The Turkish lira fell 4.6 per cent on Friday but managed to claw back about a third of its losses.

Turkish bonds were the big casualties. The 10-year lira bond plunged, pushing the yield up 63 basis points to 9.52 per cent (100 basis points equals 1 percentage point). The yield spike was the biggest one-day rise since mid-2013 and the second biggest of the decade.

Turkey's markets, in other words, are more or less intact though few economists were brave enough on Monday to say the country could avoid a steady grind down. In a note, Piotr Matys, an emerging markets and foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank, said "The worst case scenario has been avoided as a successful coup would have triggered a full-scale sell-off. The damage, however, has been done.

Turkish bonds and stocks face a turbulent period due to heightened political risk."

The coup attempt began Friday evening and, at one point, appeared on the verge of succeeding. But civilians, the media and the bulk of the Turkish army quickly supported Mr. Erdogan and the military rebels folded.

Since then, the government has detained or fired thousands of judges, prosecutors and police officers allegedly linked to the coup attempt.

The high number of arrests and firings has inevitably raised suspicions that Mr. Erdogan's clampdown has gone too far. Conspiracy theories said that he may have known the coup attempt was coming and had drawn up purge lists in anticipation of cleansing the government, military, judiciary and bureaucracy of anyone whose loyalty to him was in question.

Mr. Erdogan and his ministers have spoken about reinstating the death penalty to punish the generals and colonels who had plotted his downfall. About 200 people died before the coup attempt fizzled out, though the precise number of casualties was still unknown by Monday afternoon.

The violence, which came three weeks after suicide bombers killed 41 people at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, is seeing tourists abandon Turkey in droves. In May, even before the attacks, Thomas Cook, one of Europe's biggest tour operators, said summer holiday bookings to Turkey were in rapid decline. Last year, Turkish visits accounted for 23 per cent of Thomas Cook's business. The figure before the coup attempt was 5 per cent.

Turkey relies heavily on foreign tourists to help fund its currentaccount deficit. Turkey's 4.5-percent growth target now appears unachievable. Even before the weekend violence, economists were trimming their gross domestic product growth forecasts for the Turkish economy.

The Erdogan government will come under enormous pressure to prove that it can provide economic stability if it hopes to lure back foreign investors and make good on its old pledge to turn Turkey into one of the world's top economies by the next decade. The Turkish central bank swung into action on Sunday by pledging to provide unlimited liquidity to the commercial banks.

There is a good chance that stability will come if Mr. Erdogan attempts to create a form of Vladimir Putin-style executive presidency, a democracy more in name than in practice. "Paradoxically, Turkey may be a more politically stable country after the coup," Mr. Matys noted.

If so, the relatively high yields offered by Turkish bonds might prove alluring to investors and foreign investment and tourism might rebound. The tragedy is that political and economic peace might come at the expense of civil liberties. The irony is that the people took to the streets in Istanbul, Ankara and other Turkish cities during the coup attempt to defend democracy, incidentally preserving Mr. Erdogan's government. That good deed may get punished.

Associated Graphic

A restaurant employee waits for customers in Istanbul on Monday. Tourism is one of Turkey's biggest industries, employing about 8 per cent of the country's work force.


How Verizon can save Yahoo - and why it won't be easy
Associated Press
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications Inc.'s deal for Yahoo Inc. could give the phone company a stronger foothold in digital advertising as it takes what it knows about its customers' whereabouts and combines that with Yahoo's popular destinations and AOL's advertising expertise.

To boost traffic and revenue even more, Verizon could also ship some phones with Yahoo apps already installed.

Ultimately, Verizon could do what Yahoo alone could not: Make money off its highly trafficked properties, such as Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance.

With Yahoo, which Verizon is buying for $4.8-billion, Verizon will get websites, apps and other services used by more than a billion people worldwide each month.

But Verizon also faces the same challenges a stand-alone Yahoo had: How to get better ad rates through personalization and targeting, when Google and Facebook are already adept at that.

Although the new Verizon would be No. 3 in the United States' $60-billion (U.S.) market for digital advertising, "one shouldn't delude themselves into thinking that it's a close third place," MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said. "They're third place in a two-player market. Ad dollars are going to Google and Facebook and they're coming out of everyone else."

Verizon is playing catch-up, however, as Google and Facebook have a huge head start.

Yahoo's mobile business has already been losing share globally, according to eMarketer.

And while marketers could be drawn by Verizon's ability to know where its phone users are, that might apply only to Verizon's customers - not to other Yahoo users around the world.

Like many other major broadband providers, Verizon wants to be more than a "dumb pipe" that just provides Internet access, Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath said.

Verizon wants to build a business that can make money off the ever-growing amount of time people spend on their phones. To that end, it's invested in digital-ad businesses and mobile video, including the creation of go90, a video service aimed at millennials.

With its $4.4-billion purchase of AOL last year, Verizon got technology that matches ads with websites such as Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

Verizon can use AOL's ad technology to sell ads and make more money off those properties, whether on a computer or phone. Forrester analyst Dan Bieler said Verizon and AOL will be better at using Yahoo's user data and wide range of apps and media properties to sell ads than Yahoo was.

Ultimately, AOL's ad-sales technology could encourage brands to spend more money across a range of websites and apps.

But some analysts aren't sure a troubled Yahoo can make Verizon into an ad player that rivals Facebook and Google. Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack said he's doubtful an older Internet brand such as Yahoo will bring in the kinds of users that appeal to marketers and that Verizon has been aiming for with go90.

Verizon could drive more traffic by loading Yahoo apps on Android phones, although Apple forbids this on iPhones. In a conference call, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer suggested that Verizon "and its distribution on mobile" could help get Yahoo's mobile apps "in front of more users." But eMarketer analyst Martin Utreras said the company would have to be careful not to annoy users by doing that.

Instead, it's more likely that Verizon would use the data they have about their users to help advertisers target people across the Internet. For example, on a hot day, Verizon could serve a cellphone customer an ad for a nearby store that sells barbecue equipment, Mr. Bieler said. That might be valuable to the advertiser, and Verizon could charge more.

Verizon has in the past been aggressive with tracking consumers. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission fined it $1.4-million in March for how it followed phone users online for ad targeting with a "supercookie" that was at first nearly impossible to block. The company changed some practices that were criticized by privacy advocates.

Now, the FCC has an Internet privacy proposal that, if approved, could make it more difficult for broadband providers such as Verizon to use customer data for advertising. The rule wouldn't apply to Facebook and Google as they don't provide internet access. Broadband providers like Verizon would have to ask customers permission in most cases before they could share user data with advertisers.

Verizon Communications (VZ) Close: $55.87 (U.S.), down 23¢ Yahoo (YHOO) Close: $38.32 (U.S.), down $1.06

Associated Graphic



Canadian Tire ousts CEO in shakeup
Former chief executive Stephen Wetmore to return to the job, focus on digital strategy
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. says it sees a brighter future with former chief executive officer Stephen Wetmore than with the man who replaced him less than two years ago in the top job, Michael Medline.

In a stunning decision that took many industry players and observers by surprise, the Torontobased company said on Wednesday it has reinstated Mr. Wetmore - who was CEO for about six years between 2009 and 2014 - as the person best suited to deal with the myriad challenges of a rapidly changing, uncertain retail environment.

Canadian Tire's board was concerned the company's digital retail strategy was inadequate in the face of fast-moving competitors such as, according a person close to company.

Mr. Wetmore is seen by the board as better equipped to execute a plan to ensure Canadian Tire thrives in a retail market increasingly moving online, the person said.

Desjardins Securities analyst Keith Howlett agreed that the company's immediate priorities are finding and implementing the right strategy in the rapidly growing and fiercely competitive online shopping channel.

The shakeup is needed "at a time of unprecedented change in the retail industry," said Canadian Tire chairwoman Maureen Sabia, without providing specifics on what issues need to be addressed.

"While the short-term priorities are delivering results, the board's responsibility is the long-term success of Canadian Tire," she said in a statement.

The board "has given me a clear mandate to take our iconic brand to the next level," Mr. Wetmore said.

"Every day, our customers are demanding more control over their shopping experience.

We must continue to rapidly evolve the Tire to exceed both our customers' and our shareholders' expectations."

Ms. Sabia's comments indicated that the company views the company's current satisfactory performance as the result of work done by Mr. Wetmore before Mr. Medline's arrival.

"Stephen transformed our company during his previous tenure and laid the foundation for our current performance. We believe he is uniquely qualified to lead the company through the increasing complexities of the new world of retail. His appointment as president and CEO is neither an interim, nor a shortterm, appointment."

Mr. Medline, a 15-year veteran at the company, became president in 2013 and CEO in 2014.

Mr. Howlett said the board and Mr. Wetmore - as deputy chairman - "likely disagreed with Mr. Medline over one/all of the following: (1) the appropriate digital strategy, (2) the pace of its implementation, or (3) the role of acquisitions in implementing the company's digital strategy."

Short-term earnings weakness - expected in the second quarter of 2016, to be reported next month - is not likely the underlying cause for the CEO shakeup, Mr. Howlett said.

But "the change in the CEO does reflect that traditional retailing paradigms are under stress and must evolve."

Bringing back Mr. Wetmore is good news, RBC Dominion Securities credit analyst Andrew Calder said in a research note.

"While surprising, we expect investors to react positively to this change. Investors widely consider Mr. Wetmore's previous tenure to be a success, which included the transformational purchase of [sports retailer] Forzani.

"In our view, in addition to the online channel which the organization has rolled out successfully in the Sportchek banner, the core Canadian Tire retail banner is facing increasing competitive threats by way of WalMart, Amazon, Costco and other innovative players with online ordering and home delivery of hard goods and other core work/ life/play products."

Michael McLarney, president of industry publication Hardlines, said the return of Mr. Wetmore may signal a renewed focus on corporate strategy, such as boosting the stock price and making more acquisitions to fuel growth.

In his last go-around as Canadian Tire CEO, Mr. Wetmore - a New Brunswick native and former CEO of Bell Aliant - spearheaded the acquisition of sports retailer Forzani Group Ltd., whose banners include Sport Chek, and streamlined administrative functions at head office.

Mr. Medline was viewed as more concerned with improving the customer experience, Mr. McLarney said. "Under Medline, Canadian Tire really reinforced its brand and really focused on merchandise, on being a better retailer."

Mr. Medline had also been leading a major expansion of Canadian Tire's online presence, including the testing of different e-commerce strategies. But the company "had several hiccups on that front," Mr. McLarney said.

The company said on Wednesday that Mr. Wetmore will step down as deputy chairman of the board but stay on as a director.

Canadian Tire (CTC.A) Close: $138.87, down $5.42

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sliding iPhone sales take toll on Apple
Revenue, profit fall for second consecutive quarter as demand for company's key product wanes in China
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Slumping iPhone sales continued to take a bite out of Apple Inc., dragging down profit and revenue for the second consecutive quarter.

But the company still sold more iPhones than Wall Street expected in the third quarter and forecast revenue in the current period would top many analysts' targets, soothing some fears that demand for the company's most important product had hit a wall.

Its shares rose more than 7 per cent in after-hours trading.

The world's most valuable publicly traded company said it sold 40.4 million iPhones in the third quarter, down 15 per cent from a year earlier but slightly more than the average analyst forecast of 40.02 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

IPhone sales dropped for the second consecutive quarter, pushing down Apple's total revenue 14.6 per cent in the third quarter ended June 25.

Demand for Apple's phones has waned in China, partly because of economic uncertainty there, and has also slowed in more mature markets as people tend to hold on to their phones for longer.

"China was a major letdown and I'm anxious to get more details as to what drove the declines," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Mr. Moorhead said, however, that increased services revenue - which includes the App Store and iCloud - was a "very big bright spot for Apple."

Chief financial officer Luca Maestri said Apple's performance had topped his expectations in a quarter weighed down by tough foreign exchange rates and difficult comparisons with blockbuster iPhone 6 sales from the previous year.

Apple reduced channel inventory by $3.6-billion (U.S.), exceeding the $2-billion expected reduction, meaning sales were better than they appeared, Mr. Maestri said.

Customer demand "was better than what is implied in our results and better than we had anticipated," he said in an interview.

Sales of the iPhone fell last quarter for the first time since the gadget's release in 2007, dropping 16.3 per cent. Mr. Maestri projected the gadget's average selling price to rise in the September quarter.

Sales of iPhones account for about two-thirds of Apple's total revenue. The iPhone lineup includes the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, as well as the smaller and cheaper iPhone SE.

Apple's quarterly net profit fell 27 per cent to $7.8-billion, while revenue of $42.36-billion beat analysts' average estimate of $42.09billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales in Greater China, once touted as Apple's next growth engine, decreased 33.1 per cent, compared with 112.4 per cent growth in the year earlier quarter and a near 26-per-cent fall in the second quarter.

Investors are sensitive to any signs of trouble in China, one of the company's largest markets by revenue.

Mr. Maestri attributed the drop to channel inventory reduction in the country, foreign-exchange headwinds and a general downturn in the Chinese economy.

"It is very clear that there are some signs of economic slowdown in China, and we will have to work through them," he said.

"We understand China well and we remain very, very optimistic about the future there."

Apple's services business, which includes the App Store, Apple Pay and iCloud, generated nearly $6-billion in revenue, up 18.9 per cent from the previous year. As iPhone sales level off, Apple is attempting to wring more revenue out of its existing base of users by emphasizing services .

They have emerged as Apple's second-largest business after the iPhone for the first time in the company's second quarter, eclipsing gadgets such as the iPad and the Mac. That shift in the business bodes well for Apple because gross margins on services are better than the average for the rest of the company, Mr. Maestri said. "It's a great business because it is recurring in nature and more linked to our installed base."

The company forecast fourthquarter revenue of $45.5-billion to $47.5-billion; Wall Street's average estimate is $45.71-billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The forecast, covering the quarter ending September, will likely include at least the first weekend of sales of the iPhone 7 range, which Apple is expected to launch in September.

Shares rose 7.1 per cent to $103.57 in after-hours trade following publication of results.

Apple (AAPL) Close: $96.67 (U.S.), down 67¢

Hedge funds aim to cash in on Europe's market turmoil
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Hedge funds, always quick to take advantage of a crisis, have ramped up their offerings of Europe-focused investments this year to take advantage of perceived opportunities coming from the Brexit vote. It's a strategy that says as much about fund marketing as potential returns.

In the second quarter of this year, ahead of the June 23 referendum in which British voters opted to leave the European Union, research firm Preqin found 16 per cent of newlylaunched hedge funds had an investment strategy that was focused on European investments. In the preceding quarter, just 1 per cent of new funds were Europe-focused.

"The run-up to and aftermath of the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU caused volatility across several markets within Europe and beyond," says Amy Bensted, London-based head of hedge fund products at Preqin, in a new report.

"Hedge fund managers have seen increased opportunities to capitalize on this turbulence, and more Europeanfocused hedge funds have been launched by managers both in and outside the region."

The pitch for these new funds almost writes itself.

Legendary investors such as George Soros have made their names with canny wagers on volatile European currency markets.

More recently, the Leave campaign's unexpected triumph put British currency, credit and equity markets into a tailspin, translating into well-publicized wins for several hedge funds. (Funds that lost money betting on a Remain victory were less motivated to broadcast the news.)

Asset managers will explain that no one can predict what the coming divorce between Britain and EU will mean for markets, and in that uncertainty lies the potential for profit.

This may be all true: Europefocused strategies could yield outstanding results for some savvy fund managers in coming years.

But hedge fund managers are also rushing to launch Europefocused funds because it gives them something to sell at a time when headwinds such as low interest rates and volatile equity markets have depressed returns and made it difficult to market new funds on past performance.

"Investors love a story. Europe is a story, while the real promise of hedge funds these days, to earn 3 per cent or 4 per cent returns, year after year, is not a good story," said one Canadian fund manager, whose company offers every flavour of European fund.

The idea that the hedge fund industry is looking for a "story" to improve its brand and add sizzle to marketing campaigns is backed by industry studies. Preqin recently surveyed 270 hedge fund mangers and found "the industry is facing increased pressure from investors on fees and transparency, while attempting to overcome a negative perception of the asset class that has arisen partly due to performance issues." The firm's data show that 750 new funds debuted last year and almost as many were wound down, due in part to poor performance. Over all, there are approximately 15,000 hedge funds globally, with $3.2-trillion (U.S.) of assets.

Betting on Europe is a contrarian move, as hedge funds investing in the region underperformed North American and Asian-focused funds in the second quarter of 2016, according to Preqin.

However, Europe and Britain are deep, sophisticated and liquid markets, so virtually every type of hedge fund can find ways to put money to work. It's easy to think of opportunities to build long-short positions in stocks that capitalize on Brexit, or strategies that take advantage of currency and credit market volatility across the region.

Within Europe, the institutional investors that know the market best are expected to increase the amount of capital they put into hedge funds that focus on the region. A hedge fund manager from outside the continent that wants to sell to European investors needs to meet regulatory standards - known as UCITS compliance - to market its funds.

Preqin's data showed a record 18 per cent of new hedge funds launched in the second quarter by managers based outside Europe were UCITS compliant, which Ms. Bensted said "is a further sign of the growing interest that industry participants are taking in the region."

Market volatility as Britain exits the European Union may not translate into the head-turning profits that Mr. Soros turned back in 1992 when he took on the Bank of England and won the gain on his trade was a rumoured $1-billion. But in the wake of Brexit, asset mangers see the potential to improve their fortunes by selling a bevy of new hedge funds.

CP taps Harrison protégé as successor
Keith Creel, currently president and COO, chosen as CEO as railway faces headwinds from slower shipments
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. chief executive officer Hunter Harrison will hand over the controls of the country's second-largest rail carrier to long-time protégé Keith Creel next year in a much-anticipated succession.

Mr. Creel, currently CP Rail's president and chief operating officer, will take over from Mr. Harrison when he retires on July 1, 2017. The move is expected to bring little change in operating philosophy, as the two have worked together closely at three different railway companies over two decades.

He had long been seen as Mr. Harrison's successor.

CP Rail made the change at the top official as it announced lower revenue and earnings for the second quarter, blaming weakerthan-expected bulk freight volumes, the impact of the northern Alberta wildfires and a strengthening Canadian dollar. Executives predicted a much more profitable second half of the year.

Mr. Harrison, 71, will step down as CEO five years after coming out of retirement to lead CP Rail following a bitter proxy battle led by Pershing Square Capital Management LP's Bill Ackman. Since then, the carrier's operating performance has improved and the shares have more than tripled, despite a shaky Canadian economy. The colourful Memphis-born rail veteran will not disappear from the Calgary head office completely, though, agreeing to a three-year consulting contract.

His duties in that role have yet to be decided, he said.

"I'm going to do what Keith says," Mr. Harrison said in a conference call.

"That'll be a big change," Mr. Creel, 48, countered.

Before joining CP Rail, the executives worked together at Canadian National Railway Co. and Illinois Central, which CN acquired in 1998. Their trademark has been improving efficiency to boost operating margins, something investors complained had been sorely lacking at CP. However, their critics have said it has come at the expense of employees, whose numbers have been cut sharply, raising questions about safety.

"I wasn't necessarily privy to all the dialogue with this [handover]," Mr. Harrison said. "But I think the board said, 'Look, we've got an opportunity to have two pretty good railroaders during a transition period, and that's not the worst thing in the world.' " His half-century of experience in the industry will be a valuable resource to draw on over the contract period, said Mr. Creel, who joined CP Rail in 2013, about six months after Mr. Ackman emerged victorious in the battle for control.

"He's part of this family. I'm thrilled that we have him to call on if we need him," he said.

In the second quarter, CP Rail earned profit of $328-million, or $2.15 a share, down 16 per cent from a year-earlier $390-million, or $2.36 a share. Revenue sank 12 per cent to $1.45-billion from $1.65-billion. That offset lower expenses, which were partly the result of 2,000 job cuts over the past year.

Shipments of most products were lower in the quarter, led by crude oil, down 72 per cent as depressed prices and margins made for unfavourable oil-by-rail economics. Fertilizers and forest products were the only freight categories that gained.

Meanwhile, the Fort McMurray, Alta., wildfires cut shipment revenue by about $20-million and increased fuel expenses by $9-million owing to short supplies in the Edmonton area.

Executives said they expect a much stronger showing in the rest of the year, notably in grain shipments, which will benefit from an expected record harvest.

"Even with a little bit of offset headwind with the currency, the back half of the year earnings potential is substantial," Mr. Creel said.

National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen maintained an "outperform" rating on the shares, but boosted his 12-month target to $206 from $194, noting the executive change was no surprise.

"We believe that a better volume backdrop driven by grain will materialize in the next two quarters and into 2017, which will boost investor sentiment around the rails," he said in a note to clients.

CP Rail (CP) Close: $196.26, up $10.26

Associated Graphic

CP Rail's revenue has sunk 12 per cent to $1.45-billion, offsetting lower expenses, which were partly the result of 2,000 job cuts over the past year.


Denis Shapovalov, 17, is fresh off the biggest win of his life. He's trying to stay humble, but knows what he wants: 'I want to be like Milos one day,' the Wimbledon junior champ tells Rachel Brady in Vaughan, Ont.
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

In a crowd of bouncy, excited kids, there stood young Denis Shapovalov, staring up at Roger Federer.

The fair-haired little boy from Richmond Hill, Ont., squirmed eagerly as the Swiss tennis star navigated through a hefty throng of fans at Toronto's Rogers Cup, scribbling autographs. Then just as the tennis-crazy kid thought his turn would arrive, Federer gave the crowd a parting smile and was whisked away. Shapovalov burst into tears.

Today, Shapovalov tells that childhood story with a laugh. He's now 17 and the newly crowned junior Wimbledon champion - just the third Canadian in history to win a junior singles Grand Slam. He's back home for just two days after last Sunday's whirlwind experience at the All-England Club, so he's spending them with family at the small tennis academy they operate. The gregarious teen is now the No. 2-ranked junior in the world, and the same kids he's known at this academy for years look up at him now like he once did to Federer.

Today, Shapovalov is cool but unmistakeably excited as the little tennis campers mill around him. He's about to get his first opportunities on the ATP Tour. Federer was a junior Wimbledon champion, too - back in 1998 at age 16. But junior Slam winners don't always go on to successful pro careers.

Maybe Shapovalov will skyrocket up the rankings like Milos Raonic (one of his heroes) and Genie Bouchard once did, providing the country with mustwatch TV and building on this golden age for Canadian tennis.

His modest homegrown story is compelling: a talent cultivated by his mom, once a national team player in the former Soviet Union.

The likeable lefty appears to have the sort of fiery game, on-court charisma and poster-boy looks that could make him wildly marketable - if he produces on the big tour.

A junior slam title does open some doors. Shapovalov has an invitation to play Wimbledon qualifiers next year with the pros.

He has earned a wild card to his first ATP Tour event this weekend, the Citi Open in Washington. Later this month, the young Canadian will play at York University's Aviva Centre - a stone's throw from where he grew up - making his first Rogers Cup appearance.

But it's still just one chapter in the long, unpredictable and often gruelling tennis journey that first winds through events on the ITF Junior Circuit, ITF Futures and the ATP's Challenger Tour. Shapovalov is still a long way from competing weekly on the ATP Tour with the likes of Federer and Raonic. His ATP singles ranking is currently No. 372.

"I can remember watching Federer win Grand Slams on TV when I was a kid, trying to put myself in his shoes," said Shapovalov, seated with his parents in the office of their family-run tennis academy in Vaughan. They are below a framed photo of Shapovalov posing with the 17-time Grand Slam champion, taken two years ago when he lucked into being a lefty hitting partner for the star at Rogers Cup.

"My training is all paying off right now - I also won three Futures events this year and made the semis of a Challenger. I have so much confidence right now."

Many promising youngsters leave home for prestigious tennis academies in Europe or the United States, or as Raonic did, to train full time at Tennis Canada's National Training Centre in Montreal. Shapovalov stayed with his close-knit family to hone his skills, starting under the tutelage of his mother.

Tessa Shapovalova was a tennis standout herself on the national team in the former Soviet Union (Russian last names traditionally often add an 'a' at the end for women). As the Union was collapsing, she and husband Viktor moved to Tel Aviv, where she eventually coached. They had their first son Evgeniy there, then three years later, along came Denis.

"We liked Tel Aviv, but I felt it was dangerous there for the boys, so we left for Canada in 1999 right after Denis was born," said Shapovalova, who sports the same lean build and blond hair as her son.

"We came from Israel to Toronto with two little ones, and we didn't know anyone. I barely spoke English; Viktor not at all. Two weeks after we arrived, I got a job teaching tennis."

She began at the Richmond Hill Country Club and stayed about 10 years, also introducing her sons to the sport there.

"As soon as Denis grabbed a racquet at age 5, I couldn't move him off the court - he played with big kids, little kids, anyone," Shapovalova said. "I used to say to my older son at the end of the day, 'Want to hit with me?' and often he was tired after a long day and didn't want to. But Denis would say, 'Me, I will, Mom.' " The mother encouraged him to play a style that she felt suited his athleticism and assertiveness. She taught him to play aggressive, go to the net and make big shots.

"Opponents were lobbing balls over his head when he was a young boy going to the net, and I always told him, 'Denis, one day you will grow and you're going to get those,' " Shapovalova said.

"We never based it on results or winning back then. We asked him to play real tennis. We knew he would be tall and strong some day and the style would fit his personality."

At the age of 8, the strong youngster started separating his hands to hit one-handed backhand shots.

"A lot of people told me, 'You shouldn't let him do that; it's too difficult at this age,' " Shapovalova recalled. "I said, 'Well, he has this naturally, so let him do what he wants.' " The boy was fascinated with his mom's collection of trophies and medals and fixated on earning his own hardware. She lent him one of hers, telling him he could keep it only until he won one of his own. They stuck to their convictions about playing his game, regardless of results. Eventually the trophies came.

"I wasn't a kid who won every tournament I was playing and I think that helped me - it motivated me a lot to know what it felt like not to win," said Shapovalov, who today stands six feet tall. "I learned to absolutely love the feeling of winning a tough match on a tough point, or figuring out how to come back when I was down and win ugly. Walking off the court with a W just made me so happy."

The costs of his training and equipment were escalating, and they tried to get his name out there, hoping maybe a sponsor could help. They made video highlight reels to post on YouTube. The clips showed the 8-year-old scampering around the court in baggy shorts with a Federer-style bandana tied around his blond locks, banging back smooth-looking forehand shots and one-handed backhands with his mother on the other side of the net.

Tennis Canada invited him to do some training in Toronto in one of its junior national programs, so he did that, too, from ages 9 to 11.

"They had more of a group approach there, and my vision was a little different," Shapovalova said. "I'm a coach and I felt he needed more individual work instead."

As he improved, it became difficult to get her son enough court time at the Richmond Hill club, so she left her coaching job there.

Eventually the family decided to open its own academy, called Tessa Tennis, so he could train any time.

The small indoor facility opened in 2012 in an industrial neighbourhood in the northern Toronto suburb, and teaches kids in small-group settings. Viktor manages and operates the school, while Tessa is the head coach.

"I didn't think sending him off to another academy was the best way," Shapovalova said. "We wanted to keep Denis in a good environment at home and in regular school."

Denis Shapovalov would attend school by day in Richmond Hill and then head directly to the club after class, often eating dinner in the car, to train long into the evening. They even tried homeschooling for a couple of years.

"This place, it's become my second home, for sure," said Shapovalov, looking down and fiddling with the beaded bracelet he always wears, which reads DON'T STOP FIGHTING.

As he approached the age of 13, his training needs and strength on the court became too much for Tessa.

"After two hours of training with him, I was exhausted, and I still had to coach my other students," Shapovalova said. "I needed to separate the mother from the coach."

His parents began to build him a team. They hired Adriano Fuorivia, a former manager of tennis development for Tennis Canada, to be his personal coach and travel with Shapovalov while his parents stayed home to run the academy. Since Shapovalov hasn't officially signed an agent yet, Fuorivia's job extends beyond the court.

"I know it's not easy for a family to trust someone else when the parent has been the coach, but they put their trust in me to push him every day," said Fuorivia, still his coach four years later. "I have never worked with anyone near the level Denis has reached today, but we have a great working relationship. I'm the one with him 24 hours a day on the road, staying on top of what he eats and when he sleeps."

They added specialists who work with Tennis Canada's junior players - strength and conditioning coach Clement Golliet and Nicholas Martichenko, who provides injury rehabilitation.

Two sponsors have come on board to help the family with the weighty tennis costs. First, Andrzej Kepinski joined, a promoter of past events such as the Molson Tennis Challenge and McEnroe vs. Borg. He also advises the family as sponsors and agents come calling.

Then the husband-and-wife team Mary Pat and Bob Armstrong lent a hand. He's a former player who once received financial help himself, and is now the chairman of an investment firm; Mary Pat is the founder of several Ontario charities. Both Kepinski and the Armstrongs have a history of backing up-and-coming Canadian players.

Shapovalov remains a Grade 11 student at Stephen Lewis Secondary School in Thornhill, but now takes his studies online.

Results have followed on the court. He was Canada's U18 national outdoor champ last August. He's won three Futures titles so far in 2016 and lost in the semis of the Junior French Open (a loss which he says frustrated and then motivated him toward Wimbledon). He was also on the team that helped Canada win its first-ever Junior Davis Cup last December.

That three-player team, which also included rising stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin, was "a special bunch," according to team captain Oded Jacob. Auger-Aliassime would go on to make the final of the junior French Open in June. The three close friends have pushed one another - all part of the next crop of Canadian talent.

Jacob was struck by the maturity of Shapovalov, who wrote the captain a long and gracious note after the victory, reflecting on everything he had learned during Junior Davis Cup.

"Denis has a lot of variety in his game, which allows him to create points from different areas of the court," Jacob said. "He's a vocal leader; he steps up in big moments and wants to win points on his terms. It's a beautiful mix that he has - an attractive style of play on court and a great personality, and he's very loyal to the people around him. It's so difficult to predict what's to come for any player, but when you win a junior slam, it's definitely a sign that you have something."

Shapovalov has yet to digest all that happened last Sunday. He hoisted the boys' trophy just before Andy Murray defeated Raonic in the men's final, then lost in the doubles final with Auger-Aliassime on a day some called the biggest in the history of Canadian tennis. There was a trophy ceremony with Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, a whirlwind tuxedo fitting, and a trip to the Wimbledon Champions Ball, where he had his photo taken with Murray.

"He looks good visually, he plays a really charismatic style of tennis and he's a good talker," tennis analyst Chris Bowers said on Sportsnet. "It makes me think that if this guy gets to the top, he will be a real character in the game."

Canadian media have bombarded Shapovalov with interview requests, but he couldn't squeeze in many before flying off to play in Washington.

"I'm trying to stay humble, because if I don't keep producing results, all of this goes away, so I want to focus on the people close to me - my family and my team, they mean everything to me," Shapovalov said. "I want to inspire younger kids, just like Milos inspired me. I want to be like Milos one day, playing in the final at Wimbledon."

Associated Graphic

Denis Shapovalov, who won the Wimbledon junior title last weekend, has a talent cultivated by his mom, once a national team player in the former Soviet Union.


Denis Shapovalov, 17, of Richmond Hill, Ont., moves to return to Alex De Minaur at Wimbledon during the boys' singles final on July 10.


Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic has assembled a no-expenses-spared team around him as he goes full throttle to win a Grand Slam and capture the title of world No. 1. And he's not going to let Rio mosquitoes hinder his goals, Rachel Brady writes
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

On a day like today, it looks like Milos Raonic has it all. But the one thing he doesn't have consumes him every day - because it now seems closer than ever.

The Canadian tennis star strolls into a room packed with news cameras and adoring kids, ready to announce his support of a program for children with cerebral palsy. He's with his devoted parents Dusan and Vesna, his beautiful girlfriend, Canadian model Danielle Knudson, and one of the coaches from the world-class team he's built around himself, former No. 1 player Carlos Moya.

Raonic is in the middle of a whirlwind day back home in Toronto ahead of next week's Rogers Cup. It's been less than two weeks since he appeared in the Wimbledon final, and the magnetic player is in enormous demand.

During a week full of interviews, appearances and practices lined with cameras, the likeable star is now at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, bounding around like a boy as he plays sports and video games with its patients. Next he'll zip downtown and appear with Mayor John Tory at a pop-up tennis court in Nathan Phillips Square, flanked with autograph-seeking fans. Then he'll be whisked off to a VIP gathering for his biggest sponsor, New Balance.

Raonic is ranked No. 7 in the world and has earned $3.25-million in prize money this season - more than $12-million throughout his career. He seems to have everything a 25-year-old guy could want in life, but merely hovering in the top 10 of the ATP rankings doesn't cut it for him.

Now healthy and playing the best tennis of his career, his chase to be a Grand Slam champion and World No. 1 is in full throttle.

"I've got to get myself back in that position - back in a Slam final," said Raonic, sitting down to an interview with The Globe and Mail during a quiet moment at the hospital, reflecting back on his straight-sets loss to Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final. "When I do, I've got to be better, and I've got to make it count."

In the midst of a jam-packed summer with the U.S. Open just five weeks away, the 6-foot-5 star with the blistering serve made the difficult decision to pull out of the Rio Olympics. He feels he made the right call not to fly 10 hours to South America and compete in the eight-day Olympic tournament. But he's struggled to live with it, because wants to be there among Canada's athletes, as he was at the 2012 London Olympics. This time, he saw too many risks.

He was very leery about over-scheduling himself and jeopardizing the end of his ATP season. He was also worried about the illnesses he could get from the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Brazil and the birth defects it could cause to future offspring.

"Zika was something I was nervous about, because I thought about lots of things, like when I'd like to start a family or about getting the flu-like symptoms and losing a week or two or my preparations before the next Slam," Raonic said.

"The unknowns about Zika concerned me, and I've always had bad experiences with mosquitos.

You know when a group of people are outside and that one guy is getting bit by mosquitoes like crazy? That's me. It added tension for me."

With everything coming together for Raonic right now, he was scared of overextending himself with extra travel, matches and the emotional highs and lows of an Olympics. He's dealt with injuries to his back, feet and hip in the past. He made it to this year's Australian Open semi-finals, but limped through a loss to Murray with a leg injury.

"In my career, I've never had that continuous momentum when I get things going," Raonic said. "So right now I'm just trying to give myself that opportunity as best I can."

Raonic is sparing no expense to get to the top. He's been working with veteran coach Riccardo Piatti for a few years, but the Canadian has also added two former No. 1 singles stars to his team. John McEnroe recently came on board (although he won't be along in Toronto).

Moya has been working with Raonic since January.

"The chemistry is excellent when you watch them all work together," said his father, Dusan Raonic. "It's great to watch when they practise with Milos - they are having fun on the court, and it's really working."

The trend of super-coaches on the ATP Tour is hot. Stefan Edberg was helping Roger Federer, and now Boris Becker is working with Novak Djokovic, while Ivan Lendl is coaching Andy Murray.

"His agent approached me, but I wanted to talk to Milos first because I hadn't travelled in a long time and I have three kids, so I wanted to make sure he was really committed to reaching his goals before I said yes to working with him," said Moya, winner of the 1998 French Open.

"The first chat I had with him, I realized he had great potential and was very, very dedicated to his goal. A year ago if people heard Milos saying his goal was to be a Grand Slam champion and World No. 1, they might not have believed it was possible. I believed it when I talked him that day. I think people believe it now too."

Raonic brushes off the idea of too many cooks in the kitchen and says he's willing to listen to any advice the former champs have to offer.

"Carlos has helped me deal better with things off court so I don't drain myself so much, like tension and overthinking things on an off-day about the guy you play next," Raonic said.

"John is helping me get more intensity out of myself on the court. Some would perceive he was really robust and negative on court when he played, but he's actually not a negative person at all. He thinks I need to get the tension and nervous energy out that builds up and use it the right way. I think that helped me a lot throughout Queens and Wimbledon. When you have a guy big like me who has weapons and can express intensity, it can be daunting for an opponent to look over at me."

Raonic had Canada gripped as he rollicked to topple Roger Federer in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon semi-final, exorcising the ghosts of his loss to the Swiss superstar in the semis at the All-England Club two years earlier.

But two days later, it cut Raonic deep to lose in his first Grand Slam final, as 1.6 million Canadians tuned in for the most-watched men's tennis match in the nation's history.

Moya could relate to Raonic in the aftermath, having lost his first Slam final to Pete Sampras at age 20 in the 1997 Australian Open.

Moya views Raonic as "the No. 3 player in the race right now."

He believes that by keeping the towering player in a manageable number of tournaments this summer, he can be a serious contender at the U.S. Open.

"I think maybe the question isn't what does Milos need to do to win a Slam, but what does he need to do to beat Djokovic or Murray, because he's proven he can beat the other guys," Moya said. "It's clear to us what he needs to improve and we're working hard on that, but we're strictly keeping that between us.

We keep that very quiet. To beat those two guys, you need something a little different."

Murray, Federer and Rafael Nadal have all pulled out of the Rogers Cup. It's Raonic's best opportunity to win Canada's sole event on the ATP Tour. It's the only pro tennis event he ever attended as a spectator before he went pro. No Canadian has taken the title since Robert Bédard won the Canadian Open in 1955, 1957 and 1958.

This summer, his profile has reached peak popularity, but it's the hardware that Raonic craves.

"He's very popular, very big, the best Canadian player ever, the first Canadian in a Slam final. But this kind of glory isn't enough for Milos," Moya said.

"He wants to be No. 1 in the world and a Grand Slam champion, and we want to help him get there."

Associated Graphic

Milos Raonic celebrates his victory over Roger Federer in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon semi-final match in London on July 8.


Milos Raonic plays soccer with a child at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto on Thursday.


Failure to qualify in 2012 propelled Fortin's bid for a berth in Rio Games
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

MONTREAL -- Ariane Fortin's road to Rio began with a detour into defeat. It was the lead-up to the London Olympics four years ago, and she was knocked out of a spot on the Canadian boxing team. Fortin was so dejected she almost gave up - on Canada, on her Olympic dreams.

"She was depressed, she was discouraged," long-time coach Mike Moffa recalls.

"I was worried about her."

Fortin had lost her chance to compete for Canada to her then friend Mary Spencer, and down went her hopes of fighting in the historic launch of women's boxing at the 2012 Games. Spencer's fame exploded in a flurry of billboards and make-up ads. Fortin fell into a funk and pondered her options.

"Her world was crumbling around her," Moffa says. "The only thing I could tell her is that four years go by fast, so get back to the gym and stop crying."

Fortin got out the Kleenex and, marshalling grit and a prodigious work ethic, earned a berth on the team heading to Rio, with a shot at a medal. For the 31year-old native of Lévis, Que., the lead-up to Rio looks an awful lot like the road to redemption: A loser in 2012, she's now the comeback kid - a place on the podium is all that's missing from the narrative.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," she said recently after a sparring session at Montreal's Claude Robillard sports complex. "I learned to let myself have moments of weakness, moments of sadness. Also, I honestly never stopped believing I'd go to the Olympics. That might seem boastful. but it's inside me and I believed it."

No one gets to the Olympics without a positive attitude and strong self-belief.

Fortin, who is as voluble as she is now upbeat, is first to say it: "Hope is an inexhaustible source of energy."

Fortin, along with Mandy Bujold from Kitchener, Ont., is hoping to end Canada's 20year medal drought in Olympic boxing. (Arthur Biyarslanov of Toronto is the boxing team's lone male qualifier.) Fortin, a two-time world champion who fights in the 75-kg category, has won medals at the Commonwealth and Pan Am Games; Bujold, two-time Pan American champion, fights in the 51-kg class.

To Daniel Trépanier, high-performance director at Boxing Canada, Fortin's current drive may well have been planted in the soil of disappointment before London. Fortin had expected to secure a spot in her weight class against Spencer.

During the bout to determine which of the two would qualify for the sole Olympic slot in the woman's 75-kilogram class, Fortin was ahead going into the third round, only to ultimately lose by six points.

She was so crushed that she explored the possibility of competing at the Games for another country. She also considered the idea of turning pro.

In the end, however, the setback seemed to only push her Olympic dream further.

"It gave her a lot of determination - I think she felt she deserved her place at the Olympics in 2012 and wanted to prove to the world she was right," Trépanier says. "So she rolled up her sleeves and wouldn't feel sorry for herself."

The roots of Fortin's resolve reach back to her rebellious high-school years in Lévis, near Quebec City, when she went to a movie called Girlfight. Its storyline revolves around a teenager from the projects who discovers boxing and, through it, a sense of purpose and direction. The film captured Fortin's 16-year-old imagination. "Wow. That's different," she said to herself. "A girl.


She began training at a gym and soon came up against the resistance of her parents - Roger, a locomotive engineer, and Evelyne, who works in education. Neither had ever quite pictured their girl engaged in a blood sport such as boxing. But then they noticed their teen had given up some bad habits and taken a new turn.

"At first, her father and I didn't think it was a good idea," her mother, Evelyne Brochu, says. "But we saw how she put in the effort. She stopped smoking. There was more discipline.

We saw she was serious."

Her parents were hardly wrong about boxing's brutal side - their daughter's flattened nose is the legacy of an insufficiently cautious male training partner more than a decade ago. Brochu still finds it "stressful" to watch her daughter in the ring, but she and her husband have booked their flights to Rio to see her compete at the Olympics.

"She's worked so hard," Brochu says. "I'm very proud of her, especially proud of her as a person, her way of getting back up after defeats, of finding the courage to do the things she does."

She also brings something more than the force of her fists into the ring, highlighting a difference with male boxers. Fortin says women in the ring tend to rely more on technique than brute strength. "Women have to be a little more cerebral."

"Yes, it's satisfying to land a good punch during a fight.

That's our sport," she adds. "But it's so much more than that.

What I get off on in boxing is the mental game."

Fortin is competing for a podium spot with a titan in her weight category, Claressa Shields of the United States, the reigning Olympic and world champion who is 10 years Fortin's junior.

Moffa, her coach, says bluntly that Fortin doesn't possess the raw talent of some rivals. "She's limited in her talent, athletewise," he says. But she makes up for it with something perhaps more valuable. She has a drive that has her train like a perfectionist and spend hours watching videos of her opponents.

"She has that will," Moffa says, "to find a way to win."

Associated Graphic

Canadian Olympic Boxing team member Ariane Fortin works out in Montreal on Thursday. Canada is sending only three boxers to the 2016 Olympics, but Arthur Byarslanov, Mandy Bujold and Fortin are all medal contenders.


The decline and disappearance of Drew Storen
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

You know no one really regrets the Drew Storen trade because so many people were happily taking the blame for his failure.

"Right out of the gates, he was in unfamiliar territory," said Jays GM Ross Atkins - the man who put him in that territory.

"In all fairness, I didn't pitch him much on a regular basis," said Jays manager John Gibbons - without bothering to sound particularly regretful of the fact.

Storen was designated for assignment on Sunday. This could end a bunch of ways. Returning to Toronto is the least likely of them.

He left as he'd arrived - quietly.

A few bro hugs, a few handshakes and a polite refusal to talk about it.

"I'm going to head out, guys," he said. "Probably easier that way."

Storen's exit was remarkable only in how little angst it produced. Five years ago, the Jays would've gotten skewered for this trade. Now, we are all more enlightened, positive people.

We've learned to appreciate a job not well done.

From a deals perspective, there haven't been many highlights in the Mark Shapiro/Ross Atkins era of Blue Jays baseball.

Acquiring Storen may be the most notable thing they've done so far.

He came with good bona fides.

He was an effective closer for the Washington Nationals right up until they bounced him out of the job. The man swapped for him - Ben Revere - was occupying a human-sized space in left field that could be filled by Michael Saunders (once the attempt to trade Saunders fell apart).

Most significantly, Storen's arrival allowed the Jays to put Aaron Sanchez in the starting rotation.

From the off, Storen said all the things you want to hear from a guy whose career is in flux. He didn't claim the closer's job. In fact, he seemed to shrink from it.

"No matter what, any of those last nine outs are important," he said in his first conference call.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'm just going to go out there and do my job."

Sometimes you look back on a piece of boilerplate and cringe a bit. However you picture the prototype closer - big-bodied, aggressive, slightly unhinged - Storen was the opposite of that.

Saunders and Sanchez used the space cleared out by Storen to thrive. The man himself fell apart.

He wasn't impressive during spring training, ceding the closer's role to 21-year-old Roberto Osuna.

He wasn't much better as a setup guy. Eventually, he just wasn't much good at all. He'd become the sort of reliever either used early in games that mattered, or late in games that didn't.

His arsenal reduced to a figurative slingshot, Storen was functionally throwing batting practice.

His last outing came Saturday during a 14-5 loss to Seattle. It was a day of terrible Toronto pitching, but somehow Storen managed to stand out to the crowd. He'd gone from the new guy to the whipping boy.

They booed him when he gave up a home run to Nelson Cruz.

Then they cheered derisively when he finally got an out.

After the game, Storen was sitting slumped at his locker, barechested, staring fixedly at nothing. He didn't bother moving when the media arrived - a telltale sign of surrender.

If he didn't actually know what was coming, he certainly sensed it.

There's nothing really sad about his departure. Someone will take a chance on him. However it turns out, he'll make more than $8-million (U.S.) this year for being one of the worst pitchers in Major League Baseball.

The only thing that might be said to be melancholy was that five hours after he'd left, Storen had already been forgotten. No teammates stood up to say a few nice words - he hadn't been here long enough to get that. Management fell back on the "very professional" line - which translates as "at the least, he wasn't a pain in the ass."

As if to prove how little Storen mattered, the Jays went out on Sunday and strung together a small pitching gem.

Between them, J.A. Happ, Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Osuna allowed Seattle only one hit over nine innings. Toronto won 2-0.

Storen was replaced on the roster by Ryan Tepera, whose performance in three separate stints with the big-league club this season might best be described as unpromising. So, until evidence to the contrary is supplied, the Jays are down a reliever.

They might trade Storen for someone useful, but that's exceedingly unlikely. The only good news is that whomever they get is likely an improvement.

"We're looking for pitching in general," Atkins said. "It's not starter specific or reliever specific. It's make the team better with the pieces we have here."

Storen will read that and flinch.

Atkins is talking about a warm body. Storen no longer qualifies.

The only real winner in this is Atkins. Thanks to two pieces of good luck (Saunders and Sanchez), he's off the hook for one bad assessment (Storen). Since he'd get killed for it if it went the other way, that's only fair.

But those mulligans are rare in baseball. Once you start stringing the mistakes together - even fortunate ones - people will begin to notice.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Mike Piazza, left, and Ken Griffey Jr. wave to the crowd at the Clark Sports Center after the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday in Cooperstown, N.Y. Griffey, the first pick of the 1987 amateur draft, became the highest pick ever inducted. Piazza, a 62nd-round pick the next year - No. 1,390 - is the lowest pick to enter the Hall of Fame. For the full story, go to


One man's struggles on the fringes of his sport
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

Midafternoon on Sunday, little-known professional tennis player James McGee found himself in a dream scenario on Court 1 at Aviva Centre in Toronto.

Up 5-1 in the deciding set during the final round of qualifying for the Rogers Cup, and needing to win only one more game to advance, the Irishman was suddenly and improbably the heavy favourite. With his opponent serving at 30-30 in the seventh game, it looked as if McGee might not even have to serve it out. "Just two points away," as they say.

A win would be huge for the 29nine-year-old McGee, who is an underdog in every sense of the word. Ranked 342nd in the world, he personifies the struggle of the journeyman. Instead of staying at five-star resorts with an entourage of coaches, physios and psychologists, he sometimes bunks in hostels, sharing a room with his coach.

Handsome in a boy-band sort of way, McGee has spent much of his career competing in the tennis netherworlds, playing the lowertier Challenger and Futures events a universe away from the glamour and big money of the Grand Slams and Masters 1000 tournaments.

Even competing in late-stage qualifying at an event such as the Rogers Cup is a rarity for McGee: He had never qualified for a Masters 1000 main draw.

In fact, no Irishman had ever made it that far. McGee wears his patriotism literally on his sleeve - wristbands in the colours of the Irish flag, green strings in his racquet and green tennis shoes.

In qualifying, or "qualies," players whose rankings aren't high enough to automatically gain entry into the tournament duke it out for a handful of maindraw spots. Two wins are needed.

McGee won his first match in a tight three-setter on Saturday against Sam Groth, a former top-25 player from Australia, who holds the world record for fastest serve ever recorded.

Not giving in, Tim Smyczek, a lean and fleet-footed American ranked 119th, and McGee's opponent on the second day, swatted away the two final points of the seventh game to narrow McGee's lead to 5-2.

The Irishman headed to the changeover knowing he'd still have two opportunities to serve it out. On paper, it was a nearly unassailable lead.

Tennis, however, has an unforgiving scoring system. It isn't enough to win the majority of points, or the majority of games. Nor is there a clock that ticks down to end the misery when things go awry. No matter how much you dominate your opponent in the early going, it's not over until you get over the finishing line in the final set.

Players have to hold their nerve and concentration right until the last point. Which means they can never relax.

In the next game, Smyczek broke McGee's serve to get to 5-3. No real reason for panic yet; McGee had one more chance to serve it out. In the ninth game, he reached match point on Smyczek's serve. But he didn't finish him, and Smyczek pared it back to 5-4.

The crowd sensed that the psychology of the match had turned. When the umpire announced "time" after the changeover, of the two players, it was Smyczek who seemed the more charged up. The stress and strain were all over McGee's face, and he was cramping. Early in the 10th game, he got a time violation for taking too long between points. Another violation and he'd have a point deducted.

Doggedly, McGee earned a match point on his own serve.

Surely this time.

His first serve missed the mark. On a second serve, the chances of the server winning the point drop dramatically - the second is a safer, slower shot. But the point never even gets played out. McGee double faults. Another match-point blown.

And that was as close as he would get. In a flash, Smyczek broke back, held his own serve and broke one last time. McGee goes down 7-5, meekly in the end. It was agonizing to watch.

As he made his way to shake hands with the the umpire, McGee shook his head in disgust and disbelief. As Smyczek beamed and basked in the rapturous applause, McGee appeared shellshocked. Gamely he posed for a few "selfies" with fans, but he was unable to muster a smile.

The writer is not related to James McGee.

Associated Graphic

Ireland's James McGee, ranked 342nd in the world, narrowly missed reaching the main draw of this year's Rogers Cup.


World No. 2 Dustin Johnson eagles the final hole to earn a share of the lead with fellow American Luke List after the first round of the Open as a fast and dry Glen Abbey makes its mark. Canadian amateur Jared du Toit is one back
The Canadian Press
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

OAKVILLE, ONT. -- Dustin Johnson and Luke List may be co-leaders, but it's the weather that's dominating play at the RBC Canadian Open.

Johnson made an eagle putt on the par-five 18th hole at Glen Abbey Golf Club to tie clubhouse leader List at six-under 66 on Thursday to loud applause.

Johnson seemed out of contention for the firstround lead after a double bogey on 14, but then recovered with a birdie on 16 to set up the climactic shot.

Most players struggled with the fast greens and fairways, making it tricky to play off the browned rough and not roll through the harder grass as a drought continues to dry out Southern Ontario.

High winds had flags ripping wildly and played havoc with high shots, making it difficult to play an accurate long game.

"It's firm and fast," world No. 2 Johnson said moments after stepping off the course. "It's definitely tough to get the ball close to the hole. You've really got to land the ball on your numbers. With it being as windy as it was today, it was tough to do that."

List had a birdie on No. 10, his first hole of the round, then followed it up with a birdie on Nos. 13, 15, 16 and 18 to take an early lead. He stayed steady through the front nine to finish ahead on a hot, sunny day. He pointed to his early start time - 7:20 a.m.

- as helping with his quick start.

"I was very fortunate that the first five holes there wasn't much wind at all and then it kind of picked up," said List, who was allowed to miss the worst of the unforgiving weather.

Strong winds affected play on the back nine of Glen Abbey, which are mainly in a valley. High shots would get grabbed by the wind when the ball lofted above the valley's walls, creating strange shots.

The seventh hole also frustrated several players, with a water hazard and several bunkers surrounding the green, forcing golfers to loft the ball above a tree line and then get victimized by the wind.

"If you miss the fairway, you're pretty much done - there's no chance of keeping it on the green," said world No. 1 Jason Day, the reigning Canadian Open champion. "My mentality is just trying to get it up there as far as I can. As long I can just keep driving it straight, try to get up there somewhere around the green, if I miss it then I've got a wedge in my hand and hopefully I can hit it high and get it stuck on the green."

Amateur Jared du Toit of Kimberley, B.C., eagled the par-four 17th hole at Glen Abbey, then birdied 18 to enter the clubhouse in a tie for third at five-under 67. Americans Chesson Hadley and Kelly Kraft were also at five-under. Day was three-under 69.

Du Toit compared playing at Glen Abbey on Thursday to playing in the desert.

"Going to Arizona State, I've played in a lot of dry conditions, so I think the conditions today were kind of in my favour," said the 21-year old NCAA player.

Amateur Garrett Rank (69) of Elmira, Ont., who is a professional hockey referee, was the second lowest Canadian behind du Toit. Rank finished at three under.

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., shot a 72 to finish the first round at par, while David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., was two-over 74. Adam Cornelson of Langley, B.C., Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Nick Taylor of Abbotsford are tied at three over.

Olympian Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., amateur Blair Hamilton of Burlington, Ont., and Ottawa's Brad Fritsch all tied at five-over 77, and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., and Branson Ferrier of Barrie, Ont., were all at six-over 78.

Amateur Hugo Bernard of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., was nine-over 81 and Montreal's Dave Levesque was 13-over 85.

Associated Graphic

Sixteen for 16: These golfers were among those teeing off at No. 16 for the 2016 RBC Canadian Open in Oakville on Thursday.


American Luke List watches his drive on the 16th hole during the first round of the Canadian Open in Oakville, Ont., on Thursday.


Jays put on power display in Phoenix
Eight strong innings from Stroman combined with two-run home runs from Donaldson and Encarnacion lead Toronto to sweep in Arizona
The Associated Press
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

PHOENIX -- Power hitting is the norm for the Toronto Blue Jays.

When they add a quality pitching performance, the results are impressive.

Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion each hit two-run homers and Marcus Stroman went eight strong innings in the Blue Jays' 10-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

Donaldson's homer off Patrick Corbin landed in the Chase Field swimming pool in the first inning. Encarnacion's soaring shot off Daniel Hudson, projected at 471 feet, landed far down the walkway beyond the left field seats in the eighth.

"That was the loudest ball I've ever witnessed live in a stadium, by far," Stroman said. "I was under [in the clubhouse] and I ran out and saw where it landed. It was pretty special. He's the man."

It was Encarnacion's 26th home run of the season and ninth in his last eight games at Chase.

"I haven't seen many like that," manager John Gibbons said. "He rakes it in this place."

Stroman (8-4) allowed a run and eight hits to help the Blue Jays sweep the two-game series.

He bounced back from a rough outing in Oakland.

"I didn't command the ball as good in Oakland," he said. "Spinning pitches were left kind of more middle. I just had more action on my pitches today."

Darwin Barney tripled in two runs and brought another home with a sacrifice fly for Toronto.

Devon Travis had three hits, two of them doubles.

It was another power display for Toronto.

"We've always that. That's kind of our trademark and you live and die with that," Gibbons said.

"We're getting another guy back here Monday [Jose Bautista] that's pretty good at doing that, too."

Corbin (4-9) was tagged for six runs, five earned, on nine hits in five 2-3 innings to fall to 0-7 at home.

But Arizona manager Chip Hale wasn't all that critical.

"Early, he was not getting ahead in the count and obviously got hurt," he said. "Left the ball out over the plate to Donaldson and he hit it out. Second, third, fourth innings, really got ahead in the count, threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and controlled the zone. I thought he really pitched well."

Tuffy Gosewisch hit a three-run homer in the ninth for Arizona.

Corbin had thrown only five pitches and Toronto led 2-0.

Barney opened the game with a single, then Donaldson lined a 1-0 pitch for a splashdown into the pool beyond the fence in right, his 24th home run.

Donaldson ended Corbin's day with two outs in the sixth with a shot that hit just below the home run line in the porch in left-centre field.

Arizona got its unearned run in the first when Jean Segura scored on right fielder Junior Lake's errant throw to third.

Barney, an infielder by trade, made his first career start in left field and made two nice catches, one up against the wall.

"He's a great athlete," Gibbons said. "He catches fly balls all the time. Why can't he catch them out there, too?" Barney was inserted in the lineup after Michael Saunders left the team for personal reasons.

Gibbons said Saunders is expected back for Friday's game in Toronto against Seattle.

Bautista made his first rehab start Wednesday for Class A Dunedin and hit a solo home run in his first at-bat. He's expected to play three rehab games for Triple-A Buffalo over the weekend and could rejoin the Jays on Monday.

The Blue Jays have Thursday off and begin a nine-game homestand Friday night with a game against Seattle. RH Marco Estrada (5-3, 2.93 ERA) pitches for Toronto, LH James Paxton (2-4, 4.56) for Seattle.

Associated Graphic

Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays hits an RBI single during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Wednesday in Phoenix.


S&P downgrades Manitoba's rating
The Canadian Press
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B3

A global rating agency has downgraded Manitoba's credit rating, citing its rising debt burden.

S&P Global Ratings, previously known as Standard and Poor's, bumped the province's credit rating to Double-A-minus from Double-A.

In a release, the agency says the downgrade reflects the expectation that Manitoba will have a sustained debt burden for several years higher than that of its peers.

It says the negative outlook reflects the view that the province faces significant challenges bringing itself back into fiscal balance.

The agency says there is a onein-three chance that the province's financial targets will not be met.

Finance Minister Cameron Friesen has said the Conservative government is wrestling with a $1-billion deficit and likely won't balance the books until 2024.

Lines are blurred as more companies paint themselves green
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA, TORONTO -- This is part of an occasional series on Canada's economy and its shift away from resources.

Fielding Chemical Technologies Inc. has been in the industrial recycling business for 60 years, since it began recovering solvents from a waste stream at Ford Motor Co.'s Oakville, Ont., plant and returning the material to the auto maker for reuse.

Fielding is positioning itself as a Canadian leader in clean technology, promoting the concept of the "circular economy," in which waste material is treated as a valuable resource, rather than simply disposed of.

The company says its process for recycling solvents emits a quarter of the greenhouse gases that the production of the same volume of virgin chemicals does.

The claim to be a "clean-tech company" is much in vogue in Canada.

Governments at all levels are increasingly insisting on better environmental performance from industry, and Mississaugabased, family-owned Fielding is reaping the benefits.

"There is a momentum building across this nation from municipal politicians, to provincial, to federal [ones] that clean tech is an imperative for the country and for the globe," Ellen McGregor, the company's co-owner and chief executive officer, said in an interview. "We're feeling the difference and the difference is translating into growth - we're seeing remarkable growth in our business."

"There is a momentum building across this nation from municipal politicians, to provincial, to federal [ones] that clean tech is an imperative for the country and for the globe," Ellen McGregor, the company's co-owner and chief executive officer, said in an interview. "We're feeling the difference and the difference is translating into growth - we're seeing remarkable growth in our business."

But as more companies declare themselves "clean" or "green," a blurring of lines in the clean technology sector and a lack of data about its scale and scope have left a crucial blind spot for a group of companies touted as an emerging growth engine.

Governments at all levels are pursuing new policies to boost clean technology including tax breaks, providing incentive for venture capital, and using public procurement to build markets.

But it is unclear which companies should benefit and what impact those policies would have on the broader economy.

The "clean-tech" description is applied far beyond the renewable-energy producers to include companies that work in more traditional industrial sectors, including autos and construction, oil production and chemicals.

Indeed, clean tech is not a single industry, but includes any company that provides goods or services that reduce the environmental footprint of other businesses or consumers. It can involve the substitution of fossil fuels for cleaner ones or ways to enhance efficiency and reduce waste in production and consumption.

Fielding recently changed its name to Fielding Environmental to highlight its waste-diverting, energy-saving, business model.

Wind and solar industries promote their green credentials, as do companies that deal in energy-efficiency or waste-waterreduction technologies.

With the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change last December, global leaders have signalled the world must transition from a fossil-fuel, resource-intensive economy, to one that relies on clean energy and far more efficient goods-producing sectors. Canada's fossilfuel sector is widely seen as a declining industry, although the pace of its retreat is greatly debated, and governments are looking for new sources of economic growth to sustain the country's standard of living.

The federal and provincial governments are deliberating this summer on joint approaches to climate-change policy and aim to reach a pan-Canadian climate strategy when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets again with premiers in the fall. At their session in Vancouver in March, the leaders established four working groups to devise policies, one of which deals with "clean technology, innovation and jobs."

Its mandate is to recommend policies that encourage innovation that would both stimulate jobs creation and drive Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy. Based on that work, Ottawa and the provinces will be introducing a host of measures to encourage the adoption of environmental technologies and foster the growth of clean-tech companies.

But which companies deserve to qualify as the beneficiaries of that clean-tech policy? And how do we assess the economic potential when we don't have a clear view of its present state?

Take Grafoid Inc. It's hard to say exactly what kind of company Grafoid really is. The Kingston-based firm is developing applications for graphene, a remarkable material that is made of an ultrathin layer of carbon molecules. Graphene's uses range from coatings that make solar panels more efficient, to improved battery cathodes, to sponges that can help clean up oil spills.

The raw material for these products will come from a graphite mine in Quebec that is owned by one of Grafoid's parent companies, Focus Graphite. So is Grafoid a resource company, a research and development firm, or a technology company?

Founder and chief executive officer Gary Economo thinks that there should be no debate: "We are clean-tech company. Everything we do eliminates environmental impacts," he said.

Grafoid's multiple dimensions underline the difficulty of classifying, and measuring the size of, the clean-technology sector in Canada.

The federal government allotted $2.1-million to Natural Resources Canada in the March budget to "enhance clean-technology data" in conjunction with Statistics Canada and the Industry Department. The idea is to get a better handle on the cleantech sector's contribution to the Canadian economy, the budget said.

In the absence of formal data from Statistics Canada or other official sources, Ottawa-based consultant Céline Bak produces an annual "Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report" that quantifies the industry's size and impact.

She counts 774 firms - with total revenues of $11.6-billion and 55,600 direct jobs, which exceeded employment in the forestry industry or the pharmaceutical sector. The companies are grouped into 10 sectors, including water and waste water; energy efficiency and green buildings; industrial processes and products; extractive processes and products, and power generation. Their spending on research and development rivals the aerospace industry.

But the clean-tech industry's growth is slowing and - while export revenues are still climbing - Canada's share of the booming global market for "environmental goods" has seen one of the steepest declines among the top exporters.

A survey of Canadian cleantech firms released last week noted that their most immediate concerns revolve around access to capital, availability of critical talent, and barriers created by government regulations. Looking at the longer term, they cited defence of intellectual property, access to business development talent and the opportunities to benefit from government procurement.

In order to address those concerns, governments need a clearer picture of who the players are and the business environment in which they operate, said Ms. Bak - a senior fellow at the Waterloo, Ont.'s Centre for International Governance Innovation.

"We face two imperatives: the need to increase our productivity and the need to reorient our economy so that we can have an orderly unwinding of the fossilfuel economy globally and in Canada," she said. The combination of those two things is why it's important for us to understand the evolution of Canada's clean-tech industry and its potential."

Associated Graphic

Gary Economo, CEO of Grafoid, left, looks at graphene-coated aluminum samples, also right, at the Grafoid research facility in Kingston on April 26. Graphene is made of graphite mined by Grafoid's parent company. Is Grafoid then a clean-tech or resource company?


Advertisers rush to jump on Pokemon bandwagon
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

People who have caught the hype of Pokemon Go are busy chasing down wee cartoon creatures that appear in the mobile game as if they exist in the real world around the screen. And as this phenomenon grows, new players are taking chase: advertisers, pursuing people's rapt at. tentions within the app.

There is good reason.

In a matter of days, Pokemon Go has blown right past the peak audience of the addictive Candy Crush Saga as the biggest mobile game ever in the United States.

According to SurveyMonkey, the game has 21 million daily active users in that country.

Even in countries like Canada, where the game has not officially launched yet, some have downloaded it anyway through illicit means such as by changing the location settings on their phones.

According to research from SimilarWeb, 6.3 per cent of Android phone users in Canada had installed the game as of Monday.

The popularity of the game represents a considerable opportunity for advertisers.

One reason is that the rise of ad blockers has sent a message that consumers are pushing back against the unwelcome barrage of digital advertising, and this has pushed advertisers to consider strategies that make their brands part of the entertainment that people want.

In mobile, where screens are small and people's tolerance for interruption is even lower, that's especially important - it's also why advertisers have been drawn to sponsoring filters that alter photos and videos on Snapchat, for instance.

If marketers can find a way into Pokemon Go that is part of the game, without making the app feel ad-cluttered the way the Internet has become, that's a valuable opportunity.

Another huge draw is that the game depends on people looking for the cartoon monsters on sidewalks, in parks and in buildings in their vicinity. Players also look for real-life locations that the game has deemed "Pokestops," where they can gather tools to help them play, and "gyms," where the characters battle each other.

All of this depends on access to each player's location data.

Location-based advertising has long been a topic of discussion among marketers, but most have struggled with how to avoid creeping people out by sending alerts to their phones about a sale just as they approach a store, for example.

The game could offer a way to do location-based advertising more seamlessly. The head of Niantic, which built the game in partnership with The Pokemon Co. (which is partly owned by Nintendo), told the Financial Times on Wednesday that it has plans to sell "sponsored locations" within the app, allowing businesses to "pay us to be locations within the virtual game board - the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic." Niantic declined a request for an interview or to provide more information on its plans.

Some are already using the game as an unofficial marketing tool.

According to Bloomberg, the manager of L'inizio's Pizza Bar in New York saw food and drink sales rise roughly 30 per cent because of the activity that was located there in the game. Some of that was the luck of becoming an in-game draw thanks to characters and the ability to gather game tools, but the manager also spent money on ingame "lures" to draw more characters to his shop - and therefore more patrons. Other bars and restaurants have put up signs warning that only paying customers are welcome inside to play the game.

On Wednesday, the Tricolore Sports clothing outlet in Montreal's Bell Centre posted a picture on Twitter of a purple monster beside rows of Canadiens jerseys in its store, with the message, "I wonder what kind of Pokemon are in our store. Only one way to find out ... #PokemonGO."

The Toronto Zoo also took to Twitter, and issued a media release, asking visitors to stay on the zoo's paths and not to cross barriers into enclosures while playing the game. While those concerns persist, the game has been a draw.

"I'm seeing people on site playing. ... It is a great opportunity," said Jennifer Tracey, senior director of marketing at the zoo.

"We're a not-for-profit, so we have a limited marketing budget. We're always looking for a creative way to attract people."

The zoo is avoiding any explicit advertising until the official Canadian launch, she added.

One real estate ad in Abbotsford, B.C., this week used its convenient location "between two Pokemon Gyms" as a selling point, according to the website Atlas Obscura. (That boast is missing from the ad currently, however.)

Advertisers could also consider using an approach like that of advertising tech company Kiip, founded by Canadian Brian Wong, which partners with games and apps to offer sponsored "rewards" within games.

Those can include coupons for free products to encourage sampling.

Because so much of the game depends on players moving around - walking to hatch "eggs" for example, or to find and catch characters - it could be a natural fit for fitness products as well. Vancouver-based mobile app RunGo, which offers audio navigation for running routes, has attempted to piggyback on the popularity of Pokemon Go by plotting routes taking users through Pokemonheavy areas.

"With something like this, the authenticity of the experience is really important to the people who are playing it," said Wes Wolch, vice-president of content and connection planning at media-buying firm MEC in Toronto. He cautioned that advertisers who want a piece of the action will have to offer something that enhances the game, not just pushes their own message.

"We're all starting to think about this," he said.

Associated Graphic

Niantic's Pokemon Go mobile game may allow marketers to make use of location-based advertising in a seamless way.


Closing in on a deal to break SPACs' silence
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The resounding silence from Canada's first generation of special-purpose acquisition corporations, or SPACs, is likely to be broken some by the sector's first takeover deals, which promise to be a critical test of the structure's ability to deliver on its hype.

Six SPACs have been launched with considerable fanfare since April, 2015, as high-profile founders from private equity and banking tapped into demand from retail investors and pulled in more than $1-billion.

The concept behind a SPAC is simple: Founders raise money, then find companies to buy, with the caveat that investors get to approve any acquisition.

The structure was invented on Wall Street in the 1990s and Canadian regulators cleared the way for the SPACs in recent years, with the first domestic offering coming during 2015's redhot market for initial public offerings.

The catch for founders is that SPACs must do their buying in a relatively short time frame.

Acquisitions have to be made within two years, or investors get their money back.

So the complete lack of deals more than a year after the first SPAC made its debut is ominous for those involved.

Law firm Torys LLP said in recent report that the future of the sector is riding on the results from the first generation of companies. The lawyers said: "Longterm, the success of the SPAC in Canada hinges on whether the SPACs that have gone public will complete qualifying acquisitions within their tight time frames."

The SPACs deemed most likely to bring the first transaction to investors include the first one launched in Canada, Dundee Acquisition Ltd., where sources say management is working on acquiring a real estate portfolio.

Another candidate for a debut deal is Infor Acquisition Corp., which can tap a deep network of backers that include former CI Financial Corp. boss Bill Holland and Element Financial Corp. Dundee and Infor could not be reached for comment.

A lack of results to date does not reflect a lack of activity. Sources say the largest domestic SPAC, Acasta Enterprises Inc., dove deep into negotiations on at least two deals in recent months, including the potential purchase of Toronto-based waste disposal company GFL Environmental Corp., which is privately owned. Acasta cofounder Anthony Melman declined comment. Acasta has a $403-million war chest.

What's interesting about the Acasta speculation is the reason why takeover talks broke down.

According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, Acasta's blue-chip list of directors and advisers nixed deals over concerns with the rich valuation demanded by potential sellers.

Along with Mr. Melman, a veteran of private equity firm Onex Corp., Acasta's backers include Belinda Stronach and current or former chief executive officers of Air Canada, Canadian Pacific Railway, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Giving investors the ability to make or break each acquisition is new territory in Canadian capital markets. If deals do get announced, investors will learn if Canadian SPAC founders avoided the pitfalls encountered by their U.S. predecessors, who ran into a shakedown after creating the first SPACs on Wall Street in the 1990s.

In the U.S. market, the structure was gamed by a crowd that came to be known as the SPAC mafia.

These investors, mostly hedge funds, would buy stakes in SPACs, and then use their ability to block acquisitions unless the founders agreed to give them a larger proportion of the deal's upside. Lawyers and bankers who created Canadian SPACs claimed to have designed a better structure when the companies made their debut, but none of the domestic SPACs have been tested.

While giving investors veto power over acquisitions helped to sell SPACs during their initial public offerings, these provisions add uncertainty to the takeover process, and can leave SPACs at a disadvantage versus rivals such as traditional private equity funds when bidding in corporate auctions that are hotly contested and run on relatively tight schedules.

The lack of successful takeovers from SPACs comes during a period that featured a sharp drop in overall mergers and acquisition activity, in part because potential sellers were spooked by the volatile equity markets seen earlier this year. Thomson Reuters data show that through the first three months of 2016, the value of Canadian private equity buyouts was down 22 per cent versus the previous year, with just 59 transactions announced, the fewest number of deals seen in a first quarter since 2010.

At a time when there are relatively few companies on the auction block, market dynamics dictate that established, longterm players in the private equity market, such as the Canadian pension plans, see attractive buyout candidates long before such opportunities percolate down to the newly launched SPACs.

Conditions are now far more conducive to deals. Rising equity markets mean that potential sellers can expect to receive decent valuations on their business.

Competition still exists for attractive companies, but SPACs are looking to make acquisitions in a small-to-mid-market sectors, where there is less interest from the pension funds and established private equity companies.

And SPACs are sitting on cash and know that the clock is ticking when it comes to putting this money to work.

Either takeovers get done in the coming months, and the sector proves its merit, or the SPACs risk going down as a passing finance fad.


The six special purpose acquisition companies that have gone public on the Toronto Stock Exchange since 2015, and how much each raised, are:

Acasta Enterprises Inc.


Alignvest Acquisition Corp.


Dundee Acquisition Ltd.


Infor Acquisition Corp.

$230-million 6 Gibraltar Growth Corp.

$105-million 6 Kew Media Group Inc.


Source: company filings

BlackBerry pitches $299 phone as 'fleet device'
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

BlackBerry's latest phone started life as a price point: The company needed an entry-level phone - $299 (U.S.) - and that meant it needed a partner who could deliver value cheaply.

To get there, BlackBerry turned to China's TCL Corp. to make its new device, the DTEK50, which is essentially a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4, first released in February, but with BlackBerry's security software built right into its firmware.

TCL is the No. 6 Android handset maker, with about 13 million devices sold a quarter.

BlackBerry's last quarterly report indicated the company's device sales had slipped even further to 500,000 phones.

Clearly, BlackBerry needed help reaching the mid-range $200-$400 Android market, where all the growth is happening.

"We know how to make an expensive phone," Alex Thurber, vice-president of global device sales, said of the company's first Android phone, Priv.

Released in November, the premium device with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard hit $900 in Canada.

"This is a fleet device."

Mr. Thurber said he was brought to BlackBerry in April with one simple goal - to turn around the flailing handset unit. While he won't share sales targets for how the DTEK50 will have to perform to help him achieve that goal, at this point, any sales growth would be welcome.

The executive is new to hardware sales, having spent most of his recent career in the softwaresecurity world during turns at Watchguard, McAfee and Cicso.

It's been a long, hard road for BlackBerry to get to this point, where it's putting its name on a device made by another manufacturer. In 2011, the company sold, on average, about 13 million devices a quarter; in its 2016 fiscal year, it dipped below a million devices a quarter, finishing the year selling only 600,000 devices in its fourth quarter, and starting the first quarter of fiscal 2017 selling fewer than 500,000 devices.

It's not the first time the company took an existing device and adapted it for its needs; the Z30 and Leap phones were based on reference designs. But the DTEK50 takes it to a new level. It has a 5.2-inch device (measured diagonally) running Android Marshmallow with a 14-megapixel main camera. It has better battery performance than the Idol it is based on - 17 hours of normal use compared to the Idol's 15 - but in almost every other respect, its performance and specs are the same.

While BlackBerry calls this the most secure Android on the market, it is not as secure as its BB10 devices and doesn't have the same certifications for government grade protections. The company says it has plans to pass those crucial tests in the next six to eight months.

The phone is named after the security software BlackBerry built for its Android phones and lets users see what kinds of data and permissions apps have - such as Pokemon Go, which has access to your contacts, as well as your location - and alter them with just a few clicks to make their phones more secure.

Letting TCL build a critical device for BlackBerry may turn out to be a smart move; the cheaper premium devices of China's smartphone makers have overtaken most of the better-known players: between Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, ZTE and TCL, China's smartphone brands are shipping more than 100 million devices a quarter. And despite costing less than half of its previous Android phone, the $799 (U.S.) Priv, BlackBerry says it will still make money on the device.

There are at least two more BlackBerry Android devices planned for the fiscal year, the first of which is expected to have a physical QWERTY keyboard.

Both will be priced in the midrange market.

BlackBerry unveiled the DTEK50 in a low-key questionand-answer event live streamed from its Waterloo operations centre, with graphs of the BlackBerry network's performance in the background. Chief executive officer John Chen has previously said that if the hardware unit doesn't achieve profitability, it could be closed down as early as September, or as late as the end of the year.

Analysts continue to question whether the company should be making handsets at all. In its most recent quarterly update, sales of software passed hardware sales for the first time since the early days of the company, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd.

"The bigger issue is not necessarily the price point for BlackBerry any more. The brand, the market share, has eroded significantly over the past years," said Tuong Nguyen, a personal technology analyst with Gartner Research. He points to the array of smartphone competitors that can offer more devices at lower prices (the Chinese brands), or that feature greater integration with an ecosystem of complementary technologies (Samsung, Apple). Price and BlackBerry security are just two potential items on a buyer's checklist of, say, 10 items and, according to Mr. Nguyen, BlackBerry's competitors check off seven or eight on the list.

BlackBerry also doesn't have a carrier partner at launch in the United States: The wireless radio is not compatible with Verizon's network and Mr. Thurber warned reporters not to expect to find the DTEK50 on AT&T's retail store shelves, either. In the United States, it will sell through retail channels such as Amazon and Best Buy. In Canada, the big three wireless brands will carry it and there are 40 other distributors lined up worldwide.

BlackBerry (BB) Close: $9.53, up 18¢

Associated Graphic

BlackBerry says the DTEK50 is the most secure Android device around - though the BB10 devices are more secure.


As Microsoft invades its turf, Ottawa firm decides go big
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Titus Inc. used to be a nearly invisible Canadian success story.

In 2003, the company created software that enabled users to flag their e-mails and attachments as "secret," "protected," "unclassified" and so on. Now it is the dominant player in a market known as "data classification," with 900 customers including the U.S. military, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Dow Corning and the Canadian government. Some of its rivals license Titus's patented technology.

Though barely known in its hometown of Ottawa, Titus is the Microsoft of its modest little corner of the software industry. Or it was, until the real Microsoft Corpshowed up.

Last fall, the global software giant bought Titus's smaller rival, Israel-based Secure Islands, for close to $100-million (U.S.), and is about to launch a new produce called Azure Information Protection featuring the technology it acquired.

Suddenly, the data classification business is attracting attention - and money. Analysts say it is playing an increasing role as organizations respond to the growing reality of massive data breaches, which have hit companies such as Target Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Home Depot Inc. and eBay Inc. Adding to the complexity is the increasing presence of important corporate data in the cloud and on mobile devices.

"Companies are finally waking up and realizing they need to better understand the data they have, what's sensitive and not, what needs to be protected," said Heidi Shey, a senior analyst with Forrester Research in Boston.

Titus software allows companies to easily identify which e-mails and attached files are the most sensitive and therefore most in need of highest levels of security. After growing by 20 per cent to 30 per cent in recent years, the company's revenue shot up by 120 per cent the past 12 months and is expected to top $30-million (Canadian) in its fiscal year ending Oct. 31.

"I feel vindicated ... the world is beating their way to our front door," said Titus chief executive officer and co-founder Tim Upton. "We're at the top of the game, but this is no time to sit back and relax."

The sector's growth has left Titus - profitable since its founding in 2005 without having raised a dime in venture capital - reassessing its destiny. "We have done obviously very well without outside money, so what if we had outside money?" chief financial officer Tom Martin said. "How much faster can we grow?" So the 150-person firm has set an ambitious goal: to reach $100million in revenue in the next two years. It is in talks to raise about $50-million in growth capital to hire more salespeople, expand product development, possibly fund acquisitions and go public.

Selling the firm is an option, but "we're not actively looking" to do so, Mr. Martin said.

Titus grew out of a security technology consulting firm that Mr. Upton, a 51-year-old Ottawa native, ran with two co-founders above a bagel store in the city's west end. One customer asked the company to create a tool to label its e-mails based on the sensitivity to outside eyes. "We didn't think it was anything big at first," he said.

But while many clients spent vast sums on data security without getting much value, digital labelling proved "deployable and useable," Mr. Upton said. "We knew the most complicated things around security and architectures and encryption," added co-founder and chief technology officer Stephane Charbonneau.

"But the thing that ... got so much traction was the simplicity of having a labelling solution to drive this other complicated stuff."

One month after offering the tool for sale in 2003, the Australian Federal Police e-mailed asking to buy it. A month later, Goldman Sachs followed suit.

Software revenue was $250,000 in the first year and $750,000 in the second. The partners spun out Titus as a separate company in 2005 and wound down the consulting business in 2010.

Soon the company was providing classification software to 80 per cent of Australian government and selling to the U.S. military and local governments across Britain. In 2014, it scored a $6-million contract to provide data classification across the Canadian government.

Through it all, Microsoft was a key partner - much of what Titus classifies runs through Microsoft e-mail systems. That leaves Titus executives choosing their words carefully as they talk about their newest rival. "We've always had and continue to have a strong relationship with Microsoft," Mr. Upton said.

Given Microsoft's size and focus on shifting its software business to the cloud and competing against giants like Amazon, "I don't think this is about [Microsoft] going after the classification market as a standalone," said Garrett Bekker, an analyst with 451 Research in Houston. Rather, Microsoft is trying to "weave security throughout all their cloud offerings."

Mr. Bekker said as Microsoft expands in its space, Titus and other rivals should segment the market and increase coverage on other platforms, such as Google.

Some customers will "be happy to go with Microsoft, whatever Microsoft offers."

Titus executives seem unfazed.

Co-founder Charlie Pulfer, Titus's vice-president of mobile, said Microsoft data classification customers will have to use the giant's data security products, whereas "our approach is to let customers choose their own" security software to go with its classification product.

Said Mr. Upton: "To me [Microsoft's arrival is] all about validation. The market is just so much bigger that they will win some, and that's fine. We will continue to win a lot."

U.K. retailing legend ripped for BHS collapse
Sir Philip Green accused of siphoning off millions
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

LONDON -- When iconic British retailer BHS collapsed into bankruptcy protection in April, it marked a sad ending to an 88year-old department store chain.

It also threw 11,000 people out of work and left a £571-million ($986-million) hole in the retailer's pension plan.

Now, a parliamentary probe into the company's collapse has revealed tales of death threats among company executives, accusations of theft and allegations that the former owner, retailing legend Sir Philip Green, siphoned off money for years to fund his lavish lifestyle.

"What kind of man is it who can count his fortune in billions but does not know what decent behaviour is?" said Labour member of Parliament Frank Field, chair of the parliamentary committee investigating BHS.

Sir Philip, he added, is "the unacceptable face of capitalism."

His comments came as the committee released a 66-page report on Monday that slammed Sir Philip along with his advisers, Goldman Sachs, the company's auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and many others.

The findings have prompted an outcry with calls for Sir Philip to lose his knighthood and cover the pension deficit.

More investigations are under way and Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that she will use the findings to tackle "corporate irresponsibility."

The report is a stunning comedown for Sir Philip, once hailed as a retailing wunderkind who rose from a working-class background in London to run a retail empire that stretched across 35 countries and employed 45,000 people.

He bought BHS in 2000 for £220-million after earning a reputation as a hard-driving fashion entrepreneur who started out buying jeans in Asia and selling them for a discount in London. "I taught myself and never worked with anybody in the industry," he told the committee last month.

By the time he bought BHS, the company had about 200 stores, including outlets in Moscow, the Middle East and Hong Kong. Its roots dated back to 1928, when the first British Home Stores opened in London as an alternative to Woolworths.

Sir Philip slashed costs, changed the product mix and doubled the number of stores.

In 2002, he bought the Arcadia Group Ltd. for £800-million, giving him a retailing empire that included some of Britain's bestknown names such as Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge. By 2006, he was worth more than £3-billion and considered the most respected retailer in the country. And he paid himself handsomely.

According to the committee's report, BHS doled out £423-million in dividends from 2002 to 2004, with most of it going to Sir Philip's myriad of holding companies based in offshore tax havens and headed by his wife, Tina. The dividend payments were almost double the company's after-tax profit. In 2005, Arcadia paid £1.3-billion in dividends to the Greens.

The money funded Sir Philip's yachts, private jet and homes in London and Monaco. He famously spent £5-million on his 50th birthday party, flying 220 guests to a resort in Cyprus for a toga party that included performances by Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Tom Jones. He won friends in politics too, receiving a knighthood from then-prime minister Tony Blair in 2006 and being appointed to lead a review of government inefficiency by then-prime minister David Cameron in 2010.

But BHS struggled. The committee said that while Sir Philip sucked money out of the business, he put little back in and by 2009 it was facing steep losses and the pension plan had gone from surplus to deficit. The report said he ignored calls to fund the pension, focusing instead on unloading the company.

Sir Philip finally sold BHS in March, 2015, for £1 to Dominic Chappell, a former racing car driver who had no experience in retail and a history of bankruptcies. Sir Philip pushed through the sale, eager to offload what was by then a failing business.

The committee singled out Goldman Sachs for failing to clarify its role in the deal, leaving the impression that it was working for Sir Philip when it was only providing informal, free advice to him. That gave an air of credibility to a questionable sales process, the report said. PricewaterhouseCoopers also failed to raise red flags about the company's finances, the report found.

Mr. Chappell immediately ran into trouble and the business floundered. He also used BHS to enrich himself, the report said. At one point, he tried to transfer £1.5-million out of BHS and into one of his holding companies.

"I said to him, 'That's theft,' " former chief executive officer Darren Topp told the committee.

Mr. Chappell allegedly replied: "If you kick off about it, I'm going to come down there and kill you."

The money was returned, but the committee said Mr. Chappell used BHS to pay for a family holiday, a £1.5-million interest-free loan and £2.6-million in salary.

Sir Philip has vowed to resolve the pension issue and he has insisted that he invested heavily in BHS but the company ran into similar problems of other retailers. He wasn't available to respond to the committee's report on Monday. He was in Greece sailing his new $150-million (U.S.) superyacht named Lionheart.

Associated Graphic

Sir Philip Green and daughter Chloe in April, 2014. Sir Philip is among those under fire for his actions after a probe of BHS.


Wal-Mart makes good on threat to cut Visa
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Wal-Mart Canada Corp. followed through on its threat to terminate the use of Visa Inc. credit cards in three Thunder Bay locations amid a dispute over service fees.

The retailer is threatening to do the same in its 405 stores across the country if Visa refuses to lower its transaction charges, although a specific time frame has yet to be provided.

Wal-Mart has cited "unacceptably high" interchange fees, noting $100-million in annual creditcard expenses it pays.

The bottom line, says Alex Roberton, director of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart, is to save Canadians money.

"We work very hard to take costs out of the business and operate as efficiently as possible so we can keep our prices as low as possible," Mr. Roberton said.

"Every penny we save on creditcard fees allows us lower prices for our customers."

Visa had the largest share of the Canadian credit-card market by purchase volume in 2015 with 60 per cent, followed by MasterCard's 35 per cent and about 5.4 per cent for American Express, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter.

"Visa remains committed to doing everything reasonable to ensure Canadians can use their Visa cards everywhere they wish to shop - including at Wal-Mart stores," the company said in an e-mail.

"Until an agreement can be reached in this commercial dispute, we encourage shoppers to use their cards at the more than 5,200 stores in Thunder Bay that accept Visa."

Visa in June referenced a 2014 agreement established with the federal government "to lower the cost of electronic payments to a reasonable and fair level" and that it "offered Wal-Mart one of the lowest rates of any merchant in Canada."

A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he's waiting to receive a report on a 2014 voluntary 10-per-cent fee reduction by Visa and MasterCard before deciding "how we can ensure this market stays competitive in the future."

Part of Wal-Mart's argument is that these fees are far higher than in other markets around the world.

"We've taken a position that these fees are grossly inflated compared to other markets," said Karl Littler, vice-president at Retail Council of Canada. "They carry significant costs not only to retailers but to the broad mass of consumers who end up bearing higher prices in consequence."

In many countries throughout Europe, he says, interchange fees are markedly lower, capped at about 0.3 per cent. "They run them far less in a multitude of countries, including Australia, Switzerland and Israel and yet in Canada we're forced to pay a multiple of five times what those fees are in Europe for the same services."

The average retailers must pay in Canada is 1.5 per cent, he said.

These fees are also non-negotiable.

"If you accept any of their credit cards, you're required to accept every one of their cards no matter how much it costs," he said.

"You've got one option which is to vote with your feet."

These fees have a trickle-down effect, Mr. Roberton said.

"They're not just too high for us, they're too high for all merchants, large and small, charity, organizations and it has an impact on consumers, obviously," he said. "It's a cost that affects all of society and it's a cost we want to tackle."

Wal-Mart started informing customers of the change on June 9, Mr. Roberton said. This happened in-store and on its website. Some cashiers even offered customers a chance to sign up for a Wal-Mart MasterCard. Patrons can still pay with cash, Interac, MasterCard, American Express and Discover, according to a Wal-Mart news release.

Some Thunder Bay residents aren't too pleased about the change.

"I'm not too happy about it," Marlene Gosparini said Monday as she lugged five plastic bags filled with supplies across the street from the Ontario city's oldest Wal-Mart store to Truck & Diesel Hydraulics, where she works in shipping and receiving.

Her employer spends about $500 a month at the retailer, and she'll spend $150 a week on her own, often on Visa, she said.

"We won't be shopping there any more because we have a company Visa card," said Ms. Gosparini, 55. "And now that we have to go somewhere else, I'll probably buy my personal stuff elsewhere, too."

Lea Bostan, a 73-year-old retiree and Visa cardholder echoed the sentiments of many shoppers when she said she's not bothered by the change. "I come here all the time," she said. "I'll still come here but I'll just use cash."

Mr. Roberton said Thunder Bay was a logical choice to boycott the credit card because the market there "has a strong leadership team and the right infrastructure to do this as seamless as possible for our customers here."

Despite such a move and strained relations between the two multinational corporations in recent months, Wal-Mart is "committed to continuing discussions with Visa and we're optimistic we'll reach an agreement," Mr. Roberton said.

With reports from The Canadian Press and Bloomberg News

Wal-Mart (WMT) Close: $73.84 (U.S.), up 17¢ Visa (V) Close: $78.31 (U.S.), up 1¢

C Series delivers its first paying passengers
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

ZURICH -- Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. went all out for the first-ever commercial flight of Bombardier's C Series jet. There was free champagne for passengers, speeches from airline executives and a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Miss Switzerland 2013.

But no sooner had passengers taken their seats for the short trip from Zurich to Paris on Friday than the brand new CS100 ran into trouble. The power connection from the aircraft to the airport malfunctioned, which meant the plane couldn't leave the gate. The mishap delayed the fight by an hour and left Swiss Air officials scrambling for answers.

"It's a new plane," shrugged Peter Koch, the C Series fleet chief for Swiss Air, who blamed airport staff for not knowing how the power plug worked.

It was an inauspicious launch for the C Series, Bombardier's $5.4-billion (U.S.) program that has been more than eight years in the making. This was supposed to be the big sendoff for the C Series after several delays, cost overruns and fine-tuning. Now, finally, paying passengers were on board.

"It's a big day for us," Rob Dewar, vice-president and general manager of Bombardier's C Series program, said before the flight. "It's an historic day."

The plane has won rave reviews from Swiss Air pilots, who love its easy handling and responsive controls. It's also a hit with the airline's executives, who say the plane's lighter weight, fuel efficiency and manoeuvrability make it more cost effective. And many of those taking Friday's flight had high praise too, despite the delay.

"It's a nice spacious plane, comfortable seats. I like the styling," said Christian Reider, an airplane enthusiast who travelled from his home in Stuttgart, Germany, to be on the first flight. He'd been reading about the C Series and was eager to see what it was like. "Very nice," he concluded.

Another plane fanatic, Rob Coy, arrived from Abu Dhabi where he works on an airport construction project. Mr. Coy, who is British, wore a handmade commemorative T-shirt for the event, complete with a picture of the aircraft's seating plan on the back and a place for every passenger to sign.

"I hear it's a very quiet aircraft and it's great that the industry is moving that way," Mr. Coy said as he waited to board.

For passengers, the C Series has many advantages. The overhead bins are twice the size of those on most planes, a major convenience in an era of increasing fees for checked baggage. The seats, windows and aisle are wider too, making it brighter inside and easier for standing and walking.

There are technical pluses too.

The planes are roughly 50-percent quieter than most jets and are about 5,900 kilograms lighter than the Airbus 330neo.

They can also land at a wider variety of airports. Runways at most major airports are about 10,000 feet long, but those at regional and city airports can be as short as 4,000 feet. Mr. Dewar said that because the C Series can handle both, it allows airlines to consider new routes.

"We're the only aircraft that can fly direct from London City [Airport] to New York," he said.

Bombardier is hoping the Swiss Air launch will boost interest in the plane and sales. So far, the company has 370 firm orders and more than 400 options for more. Swiss Air, a division of Lufthansa Group, has agreed to buy 30 planes with an option for 30 more. Mr. Dewar said interest has picked up particularly since April when Delta Air Lines agreed to buy 75 CS100s with an option for 50 more. That was a turning point, he added, because Delta has a reputation for rarely buying new planes.

The list price of the CS100, which seats about 125 passengers, is around $72-million, while the CS300, which seats around 145, costs $82-million.

But industry insiders say Swiss Air likely received a discount of 25 per cent. One source said Bombardier is losing up to $5-million on each plane.

Mr. Dewar wouldn't comment on the sale price. "We're comfortable with where we are, how the aircraft's performing and what the selling prices are," he said. "It is normal at the beginning of the program that to build some momentum you have to win some deals so we just make sure we're competitive."

Whatever the cost or the economics of the C Series, for many passengers such as Jennifer Gill it's just another airplane. She was part of a group of tourists from California who arrived in Zurich Friday morning for the connecting flight to Paris. She laughed when she saw the free champagne, croissants and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the gate. After landing in Paris, she said she liked the leg room and found the seats comfortable. "It was a smooth flight," she said before adding: "Despite the turbulence."

Bombardier (BBD.B) Close: $2.07, no change

Associated Graphic


Swiss Air's new C Series jet, which took its first flight on Friday, offers many advantages and conveniences to passengers.


Politburo of milk defies reality
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

MONTREAL -- Canada's Alice-in-Wonderland dairy sector has been defying the laws of economic gravity for decades. But the Canadian Dairy Commission - the federal politburo of milk whose diktats ultimately determine what consumers pay for cheese, ice cream and yogurt - has outdone itself by ordering the second price increase in less than a year amid declining milk-production costs.

No sooner had the CDC released a report showing that Canadian dairy farmers' average cost of production declined by 2 per cent on an inflation-adjusted basis in 2015 than the agency last week announced that it would increase the price of industrial milk by 2.76 per cent on Sept. 1. That's on top of the 2.2-per-cent hike in February, leading to an overall compound annual price increase of 5 per cent at a time when world milk prices are plummeting.

The world is awash in excess milk. A huge glut brought about by the end of European production quotas last year and slower consumption growth in China has driven prices down by as much as 50 per cent in the past few years.

That has led to big price cuts on dairy products at U.S. and European grocery stores, with U.S. consumers likely to see further savings as Wal-Mart enters the milk business in 2017 with the construction of its own processing plant in Indiana.

"By operating our own plant and working directly with the dairy supply chain ... we'll further reduce operating costs and pass those savings on to our customers so that they can save money," Tony Airoso, Wal-Mart U.S.'s senior vice-president of sourcing strategy, said in March.

Don't expect any similar announcements on this side of the border. In Canada's supplymanaged dairy sector, efficiency and productivity play second fiddle to ensuring stable returns for farmers no matter the costs to consumers. This regressive model hurts low-income families with children the most and deprives the most efficient farmers of the opportunity to expand production and exports. It is the economic equivalent of grading on a curve.

It's also one reason Canada produces about a third of what New Zealand produces. The country exports 95 per cent of its production. New Zealand's dairy exports totalled $13.5-billion N.Z. ($12.3-billion) in 2015 compared with Canadian exports worth a minuscule $210million (Canadian).

Granted, the recent turmoil in the global milk market has hit New Zealand farmers (and their bankers) hard. Milk prices have fallen below production costs for many farmers and, with so much of the national economy tied to the dairy sector, the entire country is feeling the pain.

Still, no one would argue that the solution to New Zealand's current woes would be to adopt the Canadian model, no more than they would argue that Canada's oil sector should avoid the boom-and-bust cycle by embracing supply management and forgetting about the export market.

Besides, becoming a global dairy powerhouse has been profitable for New Zealand. Even at current depressed levels, its dairy exports are still five times higher than they were in 1992 and New Zealand has leveraged its expertise to become a locus for dairy innovation biotechnology.

Even Europe has abandoned supply management in the dairy sector. Last year's abolition of production quotas has been disruptive, with milk production surging 18.5 per cent in Ireland and by smaller amounts among the most efficient producers elsewhere on the continent.

That, along with a Russian embargo on European dairy products imposed in retaliation for European Union sanctions, has contributed to the major drop in market prices globally.

Just this week, the European Commission announced its second 500-million ($719-million) aid package in less than a year to help dairy farmers adjust. The plan includes 150-million to entice less efficient farmers to voluntarily reduce their milk production.

"More focus must come on the supply side," EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said just before announcing the plan.

"But let me be outspoken on one thing: A reintroduction of the milk quota, [even] on temporary basis, is politically not an option and legally not possible."

Markets are messy. But the long-term impacts of ignoring price signals are far costlier than the short-term disruption caused by supply and demand imbalances. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that supply-management cost Canadian dairy consumers an extra $26billion (Canadian) in the decade to 2011 alone, with the poor bearing the brunt and a less efficient dairy sector the result.

Think about that the next time you order a scoop of Triple Chocolate Truffle at Laura Secord or pick up a tub of Astro Original Balkan Style yogurt at the supermarket. It's to cry in your cereal.

Associated Graphic

Canada's supply-managed dairy sector follows a regressive model that deprives farmers of the opportunity to expand.


Melman leaves CP board in wake of tax ruling
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

It was a big year for Anthony Melman.

In 2007, the well-known Bay Street financier and partner at private-equity firm Onex Corp.

was preparing for retirement from the firm, winding up certain business affairs and collecting millions of dollars worth of dividends from two holding companies he controlled.

Mr. Melman, described in federal tax court documents as "meticulous" and "exacting," had been pressing his accountants for advice, demanding "that response times from his advisers be measured in minutes and hours rather than days."

But the documents show he wasn't meticulous enough when it came to his tax liabilities - a costly oversight that would pit him against the taxman and led to his resignation this week from the board of one of Canada's largest companies.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. announced late Tuesday that Mr. Melman had decided to leave its board after the Tax Court of Canada ruled earlier this month that he was negligent for not reporting $18.85-million of taxable dividend income in his 2007 tax return.

Mr. Melman testified that, in April of 2008, he signed his tax return at his home while a taxi waited outside to take the junior accountant who delivered the papers for Mr. Melman's signature back to her office. Mr. Melman said he was on his way out of town and that he didn't review or read the documents he signed.

The discrepancy was staggering.

Instead of reporting $18.85-million in taxable dividend income on his 2007 tax return, Mr. Melman declared only $2,582. His taxes due that year were calculated at $367,000, rather than $4.7-million. (Notably, court documents show that Mr. Melman had set aside about $4.7-million in shortterm securities with a maturity dated to coincide with the tax deadline.)

The auditor who handled Mr. Melman's return at the Canada Revenue Agency took no more than 10 minutes to notice, reconcile and confirm the omission.

"The reassessment was swift and sure," Justice Randall Bocock said in his judgment dated July 8.

Mr. Melman says that his accountants are responsible for the error and has filed a civil claim against them for compensation related to this non-compliance.

He argued before the tax court that the firm's alleged gross negligence shouldn't be ascribed to him.

But the judge disagreed and dismissed Mr. Melman's appeal, ordering him to pay imposed penalties, the amount of which is not disclosed in the ruling.

Mr. Melman is an experienced banker who should have detected the omission of the dividends, Justice Bocock said in his ruling, adding that Mr. Melman's actions "definitionally reflect insouciance and an indifferent delegation of responsibility."

Reached on Wednesday by phone, Mr. Melman declined to comment.

"Dr. Melman felt that it was in his best interests for now to resign from the board, so that he can assess his legal options following a recent Tax Court of Canada decision," CP Rail said in a news release. "Dr. Melman stated that he did not want that matter to become a distraction to CP's ongoing mission to be the best run and safest railway in North America."

Mr. Melman, who holds a doctorate in finance from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, joined the CP board in 2012, as part of a sweeping overhaul of the boardroom that had been orchestrated by outspoken activist investor and corporate director William Ackman.

The hedge fund titan had won a memorable proxy fight that would later spur a rally in the company's then-slumping share price.

Mr. Melman was a member of the audit and safety operations and environment committees at CP. He is also the president and CEO of Acasta Capital, a boutique merchant bank and advisory firm in Toronto chaired by Belinda Stronach.

Richard Powers, a corporate governance and business ethics professor at the University of Toronto, said the last thing a board needs is a controversial director.

"It's not a right to sit on a board, it's a privilege. In accepting that privilege, there are certain responsibilities that come with it and one of those is to come to the board with clean hands."

In the case of Mr. Melman's departure, Mr. Powers said "it eliminates a possible distraction, although the CP board has certainly had distractions in the past."

Mr. Melman's exit comes at a time of flux at the top of the Calgary-based rail company.

She's 41, weighs 4,000 kilos, and is at the centre of a bitter fight about the rights of captive animals in a dangerous world. Jana G. Pruden delves into the fraught world of Lucy, the Edmonton Zoo's greatest draw, and heftiest liability
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page F1

The elephant house is squat and made of concrete, with windows of bullet-proof glass and gates of heavy steel. Its design reflects the reality of securing animals so strong they can break through bars and fences, so smart and deft they can use their trunks to open latches and doors. The house is linked to three outdoor pens - a large enclosure for the Edmonton Valley Zoo, though some would argue still far too small for an elephant.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, both the elephant house and its outdoor pens are empty. Packs of parents wheel strollers and follow stampeding children into the building to find only a desolate barn, then wheel out again, disappointed, into the sunshine.

"I haven't seen her for the past three weeks," one woman says, a little girl tugging on her hand.

A man with two small children calls to a zoo worker unloading a bale of hay from the back of a pickup truck. "Is the elephant coming back today?" he asks.

The worker shrugs. "I don't know," he says, then drives away.

A small crowd gathers at the display of black-tailed prairie dogs nearby, hoping maybe the elephant will return while they wait. The prairie dogs are important. They are a crucial part of the ecosystem in North America, and now nearly extinct, their population and habitat only 1 per cent of what it once was. The prairie dogs pop up on their hind legs; they pose and scurry. The crowd watches for a moment, then begins to break apart. The prairie dogs are cute, but they are not elephants. They are not Lucy.

A subject of controversy, lawsuits - and silence

Lucy is 41 years old. She weighs around 4,000 kilograms, about as much as three small cars. She is one of Canada's last remaining zoo elephants and, living in Edmonton, is thought to be the northernmost elephant in the world. She has been alone since the city's other elephant, Samantha, was moved to North Carolina in 2007.

Depending on whom you believe, Lucy is comfortable and content living at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, where she is deeply bonded with the humans who work with her, and receiving excellent care. Or, she is lonely and miserable, existing in a state that is nothing less than animal abuse, even torture.

Alone, in a northern environment, Lucy may be the most controversial elephant on the continent. A movement to have Lucy relocated has been ongoing for two decades, and one online petition has garnered more than a quarter-million signatures. The Friends of Lucy Facebook page counts nearly 12,000 members, and there is a website,, entirely devoted to moving her. City and zoo officials maintain Lucy has a breathing problem serious enough that she could die if she were moved.

Celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Joan Jett and William Shatner have weighed into the debate over her future. "Let me add my voice to the crescendo of voices asking for some relief in the fate of your beloved elephant, Lucy," Mr. Shatner wrote, in a letter to the city in 2009. "In a way, it's none of our business - Edmonton can capably take care of its own. Yet, in a larger sense, these extraordinary animals are everybody's responsibility."

Bob Barker, the retired game-show host and animal activist, has repeatedly offered to pay to have Lucy relocated to an American elephant sanctuary, and has called her the most tragic zoo elephant he knows.

Long the Valley Zoo's most powerful draw, Lucy may now be its most visible liability. Allegations of her mistreatment are inextricably linked to the zoo's reputation and image, and the controversy surrounding her has been a persistent issue for the City of Edmonton, which owns and operates the facility.

Though Lucy used to appear regularly in local papers and TV newscasts interacting with visitors and staff, playing, and painting pictures, today she is primarily the focus of stories about lawsuits and protests. The zoo's former logo, the profile of an elephant, was abandoned in 2011.

The City of Edmonton denied repeated requests to speak about Lucy. City spokeswoman Katherine Heath-Eves wrote in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail that no city or zoo officials would grant an interview, because "each time attention is brought to Lucy in the media, our staff are threatened by members of the animal rights/ wellness community." Multiple former and current zoo employees who have worked with Lucy did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, or declined outright to comment for this story.

Lucy is Edmonton's largest resident, and also its hardest to talk about. She is, quite literally, the elephant in the room.

The historic allure of 'charismatic megafauna'

The Edmonton Valley Zoo opened in 1959 on a 107-acre tract of land in Laurier Park, an area of forested valley west of the city's downtown. It was largely a "children's zoo" at first, a popular concept at the time, with a nursery-rhyme theme that included a statue of Humpty Dumpty at the entrance and a Three Little Pigs fairy-tale scene populated with live pigs. There was a carousel and miniature train, a tinny soundtrack of children's and classical music emanating from five speakers on the grounds.

The zoo was the vision of the Edmonton Zoological Society, whose members had a goal of building one of the finest animal attractions on the continent, a place that would "draw more patrons than any other sport or entertainment."

More than 115,000 people visited the zoo the first month it opened. By the summer of 1960, the zoo boasted 130 birds and 89 animals, including penguins, otters, owls, black lambs, bear cubs and a deodorized skunk, all tended by a human contingent of three men and 10 teenagers.

Even before the zoo opened to the public, plans were under way to add elephants and monkeys to the menagerie. The animals top the list of what are known as "charismatic megafauna," species that draw humans with their intelligence, behaviour and emotional connection. As a 1954 news story noted, "These are considered a zoo's main attractions and once they are established the directors believe public support will keep the zoo going."

The zoo had been open for nearly two decades by the time Lucy arrived on May 19, 1977. She was estimated to be two years old - an orphaned Asian elephant from Sri Lanka who had been purchased from a German animal dealer for $10,000. Her name was Skanik, but in Edmonton she would be known as Lucy.

As expected, Lucy was a big draw. The Calgary Zoo had gotten three elephants from Sri Lanka a year earlier, but Lucy was the first in Edmonton, and some in the city would never have seen a live elephant outside a movie or television show, or the stops of a travelling circus. (In one particularly notable incident in 1926, 14 circus elephants stampeded at Edmonton's train station after being frightened by a dog, with six escaping into the nearby neighbourhoods of Glenora and Oliver.)

Lucy was charming and clever. She soon taught herself to touch the electric fence around her pen with a log to avoid being shocked, a technique she later used to break the fence around her enclosure two or three times every summer. She appeared affectionate and considerate with the staff who worked with her. One trainer described how Lucy would put her head on the trainer's shoulder every morning, as though giving her a hug. When being bathed and tended, Lucy moved her feet slowly, seemingly to avoid accidentally hurting those working with her.

Speaking to a reporter from the Edmonton Journal in 1996, zoo worker Dean Treichel described how Lucy learned to playfully back him up against the fence until he dropped her bowl of treats on the ground. He was effusive as he described both her looks and her personality. "She's a wonderful animal, she really is," he said then. "You won't find a better animal in North America."

A failure to mate, and questions about captivity

But while Lucy's relationships with the humans around her appeared to grow deep, her interactions with other elephants were less successful.

She was twice trucked to the Calgary Zoo in failed attempts at mating her. Edmonton zoo staff have said in public talks that the matriarch of the Calgary herd never accepted her and that she was rejected by the other females. Lucy, in turn, wasn't interested in Bandara, the 6,000pound male with whom she was intended to mate. Staff say the trips made Lucy physically ill, and on one occasion, she became so agitated that she punched a hole in the side of the trailer being used to transport her. Trainer David Leeb said in 1989 that if Lucy had become pregnant in Calgary they would have had to leave her there for two years while she gestated, because transporting her was so stressful that she could have miscarried the baby.

"It failed miserably," he said.

Lucy remained the only elephant at the Valley Zoo until 1989, when the city brought an orphaned one-and-half-year-old African elephant from Zimbabwe. News stories from the time put a positive spin on the relationship between the two, describing how Samantha, the "friendly orphan," was tugging on Lucy's "maternal heartstrings and slowly melting her glacial aloofness." But zoo staff now say Lucy never fully warmed up to Samantha, and appeared to become jealous or angry when people paid too much attention to the younger elephant. As trainer Sandy Karpluk told a newspaper reporter about Lucy in the spring of 1989, "She has good days and bad days."

And while Lucy and Samantha continued to be powerful attractions, the mood around the zoo - and around elephants in captivity more generally - was beginning to change. As the zoo sought nearly $2-million for a new elephant house in the mid-1990s, then-mayor Bill Smith said he felt it was time for the city to consider getting out of the zoo business entirely. With people increasingly able to see animals in their natural environment on television, Mr. Smith said he believed "the days of zoos are numbered."

"I personally have some concerns about zoos and where they are going," he said then. "There's an awful lot of people who feel we shouldn't be caging or locking up animals."

Mayor Smith's feelings echoed a broader sentiment swelling across North America, where people were increasingly raising questions about the ethics of keeping wild animals in captivity - particularly large, intelligent, emotionally complex animals such as elephants. Eight people had been stomped or gored to death by elephants in the United States in the five years from 1989 to 1994, most while working with elephants at zoos or circuses. Some people were questioning whether it had to do with how the animals were being held: a sudden, violent rebellion against an unnatural life spent in captivity.

A column in the Los Angeles Times in the fall of 1994 declared that elephant handling was statistically "the most dangerous profession" in the United States, with one in 600 people who worked with elephants in that country killed by the animals in an average year.

"Elephant attacks are on the rise," the column said, "prompting hand-wringing and soul-searching among officials at zoos and circuses across the nation over how to better manage these intelligent, powerful, moody and misunderstood land giants."

Alan Roocroft, then the chief elephant handler at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, was quoted in that column saying he believed having elephants in captivity was "contrary to how they should be kept for their wellbeing," and could result in abnormal behaviour and aggression. (Mr. Roocroft had himself been investigated for participating in the beating of an elephant in 1988, but it was ruled to be a discipline technique "accepted in the animal training profession" at the time.)

"We are now asking ourselves, 'Can we continue to do this?' " said Mr. Roocroft, in 1994. "Are we being fair to the species?"

Those questions are still being asked today. Once the star attractions of zoos and circuses, elephants have become a flashpoint in the debate around animals in captivity and performance, and around the role of wild animals in a rapidly changing world.

In the time Lucy has been in Edmonton, the human population of the planet has doubled to 7.4 billion, and people are increasingly encroaching onto land where animals once lived. There are few places left for any animal to roam free, least of all animals that take the space and resources of an elephant. And elephants remain a valuable commodity. In Africa, an elephant is being killed by poachers every 15 minutes for its tusks.

Toby Styles, a retired zookeeper who worked with elephants throughout his lengthy career, says most wild elephants don't live to see their fifth birthday. "Ideally, they'd all live in the wild, and we'd all go see them," he says. "But the world has got trouble right now."

This past April, after 145 years of using elephants in performance, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed its last shows with elephants, citing concerted pressure from animal-rights groups. In early June, the Royal Canadian Circus announced that it would not be bringing elephants on its Canadian tour for the first time in 30 years - again, because of activist pressure.

The fatal shooting of a gorilla after a child got into a zoo enclosure in Cincinnati in May has also renewed broader debate around zoos and animals in captivity. "Yet again," began a statement released by the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals after the incident, "captivity has taken an animal's life."

From Bob Barker, a charge of 'physical torture'

Bob Barker's voice is smooth and confident, and, when elephants are the subject, strong with purpose.

The long-time host of The Price is Right has emerged as the celebrity face of the movement to relocate Canadian elephants to sanctuaries in the United States, his name almost inextricably linked to the issue of zoo elephants, and to Lucy. He responds to an interview request within minutes.

"I like to talk about elephants," he says, when he gets on the phone. "I like to help elephants. And I hope you do, too."

Mr. Barker has personally offered to pay to have Lucy moved, and has travelled twice to Edmonton to see her. But if city officials hoped those meetings would convince him that she is comfortable and properly cared for in Edmonton, their plan didn't work.

"Anybody who knows anything about elephants knows she's miserable," Mr. Barker says. "I don't care if you are in South Dakota or in Guam or wherever you are. If you know anything about elephants, you know Lucy is miserable."

In fact, Mr. Barker left Edmonton even more convinced that Lucy had to be relocated to a southern sanctuary, where she can live in a natural environment with other elephants. He points to the bitter Canadian cold, to the starkness of the elephant house, and, most of all, to the fact that she is alone, as evidence that she is not only unhappy in Edmonton but that she is suffering.

"All over the world, experts will agree that elephants are animals that must be with other elephants in order to be happy," says Mr. Barker. "Just that alone, even if it weren't too cold, even if she didn't have to spend so much time inside, all of the other physical torture, actually, that she goes through. If everything else was much, much better, she would still be miserably unhappy because elephants are very companionable. They want to be with other elephants."

Mr. Barker was a driving force behind the campaign to move the last three Toronto Zoo elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS, sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., in 2013. After two years of argument between city councillors, zoo officials, and PAWS, Mr. Barker paid nearly $1-million to have the elephants transported south to the sprawling sanctuary, which is intended to mirror a more natural habitat.

In passing the motion to move the elephants in late 2012, Toronto city council urged Edmonton's council to do the same with Lucy, sparking a terse, cross-country confrontation between the municipal governments.

Then-mayor of Edmonton Stephen Mandel called the motion by Toronto city council "ridiculous" and disrespectful, and said he was personally offended by the implication that city administrators would not do what was best for Lucy.

"We have been told repeatedly, repeatedly that this particular wonderful addition to our city would die if we shipped her out," he said in November, 2012. "Is the philosophy important, to send Lucy south, or to keep her here where she's healthy?"

At one point, Mr. Barker offered the city $100,000 to let another veterinarian examine Lucy, which Mr. Mandel turned down, calling it "bribing."

Mr. Barker said he had "never been so unfortunate as to have to deal with people like the government of Edmonton" and that he didn't know whether Mr. Mandel was "a complete dictator or what." Mr. Mandel said Bob Barker needed a job.

A veterinarian is compared to Josef Mengele

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is one of four accredited facilities in Canada that still have elephants, and is the last in Western Canada, after the Calgary zoo's were moved south in 2013 and 2014. There are 21 elephants among the facilities: 16 at African Lion Safari in Ontario; two each at Zoo Parc Safari and Granby Zoo in Quebec; Lucy in Edmonton.

The accreditation agency of Canada's zoos and aquariums, CAZA, now dictates that elephants must be kept with other elephants, but a special variance was granted for Lucy in 2009 on medical and welfare grounds.

The late Dr. Milton Ness, Lucy's veterinarian at the zoo from 2007 to 2014, was a strong advocate for keeping Lucy in Edmonton, framing it as a matter of life and death. "I believe it's time to clearly establish, on the public record, that I will not concede to any campaign which demands Lucy be moved, because to do so would put her life at risk ..." he wrote, in a letter published in the Edmonton Journal in 2009. "Lucy is not just any elephant. She is a particular elephant with unique issues and needs."

American veterinary consultant James Oosterhuis, who has been examining Lucy for the past 14 years, has also repeatedly recommended against moving her because of a respiratory problem in her trunk that causes her to have to breathe through her mouth, even after mild exertion.

"I'm very fearful that if she were put in a stressful situation of a long move, be it by air or by truck, that we could very easily have a respiratory crisis develop with her, and that would not be a very good outcome," he said, in a video made by the City of Edmonton at the time of an examination in March, 2015.

His report from that time describes Lucy as "calm and well adjusted in her current situation" and says that Edmonton zoo staff act as her "herd members," providing her physical care, exercise and mental stimulation. He notes that Lucy walks with staff daily on zoo grounds, and that the zoo has a heated exercise barn she can use when it is deemed too cold for her to be outside in the winter.

Dr. Oosterhuis declined to speak further to The Globe and Mail about Lucy or the controversy around her and said all the relevant information is in his reports, which are publicly available.

Those campaigning to have Lucy moved have repeatedly called for her to be examined by other veterinarians, arguing that Dr. Oosterhuis also believed that a solitary elephant in an Alaska zoo should not be moved, and that that elephant has since been successfully relocated to the PAWS facility.

In her e-mailed statement, city spokeswoman Katherine Heath-Eves says that the zoo "routinely consults with elephant experts from around the globe to ensure that Lucy is receiving the best possible care."

"Most experts who have examined Lucy have chosen not to lend their names to their findings for fear of harassment from activists," she wrote. She did not elaborate on the experts' findings.

Edmonton Police Service spokesman Scott Pattison said no incidents of harassment or threats have been reported to police in relation to Lucy, and though there was one report of an altercation that led to a "pushing match," no charges were laid.

Still, feelings around Lucy run strong, and there is no doubt the debate around her welfare can get very heated - and very personal. In 2009, the zoo cancelled a series of events with Lucy, because of e-mails the zoo received. "They weren't necessarily open threats," said zoo employee Dean Treichel, at the time. "But this is a very controversial subject."

In some online posts and videos, those who work with Lucy are described as, among other things, "sick ignorant uncaring assholes" and "cruel hearted bitches." Lucy is compared to a "prisoner of war."

When Dr. Ness, the veterinarian, died suddenly after running a half-marathon in 2014, his death drew harsh comments by some on social media, all related to his work with Lucy. Responding to a story about his death on the Friends of Lucy Facebook page, one person wrote: "It's like the American army being sorry that the Nazi Dr. Mengele died."

The risks of relocation

In May, 2003, the Greater Vancouver Zoo sent their lone elephant, Tina, to an animal sanctuary in Tennessee after an emotional debate. She died at the sanctuary just less than a year later.

For Bruce Burton, a veterinarian who had worked with Tina during her 30 years at the zoo, the death raised serious questions about whether it had been right to move her from what she knew to an unfamiliar environment, even a nicer one. "It would be like, without being too anthropomorphic, taking one of us and putting us in the middle of Europe or in the middle of some other country where you don't know anybody," he says. "Is that really what you want, or do you want to be around the people that you know?"

While it is impossible to fully understand the emotional life of an elephant, Mr. Burton says he knew from working closely with Tina that she was very attached to people at the zoo. He recalled how she picked one of her former trainers out of a crowd at a goodbye event, and reached her trunk out to touch him, though they hadn't seen each other for 20 years.

But, while Mr. Burton was against the move, he says he was also open to the idea of the life Tina could have in a sanctuary. At the time of the move, the woman who ran the sanctuary painted an idyllic picture of Tina's future, telling a reporter that the other elephants would "touch and caress her and bond immediately."

It sounded wonderful, but Mr. Burton said he learned after Tina's death that she didn't adapt well to the new environment. "She didn't wander around and bask in the trees and the sunlight and frolic with all the other elephants that were down there. I was told that she never left the building that she was in," he said. "Then I said, well, it would have been better for her to have stayed here than to have been moved into strange circumstances."

One of the Toronto Zoo elephants, Iringa, had to be euthanized in July, 2015, less than two years after being moved to the PAWS sanctuary, after what was described at the time as a history of degenerative joint and foot disease. A Chicago Zoo elephant, Wankie, died after becoming ill during her transport to a Utah zoo in 2005, to be with other elephants in a warmer climate.

Of course, Tina, Iringa and Wankie all may have died anyway: Each had significant health problems long before they were moved. Tina and Wankie were in their mid-30s, and Iringa was 46, old for an elephant in captivity. Many other elephants are relocated successfully, and go on to live long lives in their new environment.

Ed Stewart, president and co-founder of the PAWS sanctuary in California, says the other two Toronto elephants, Thika and Toka, are doing "really well" at the sanctuary, and are still in the process of being gently integrated into the herd. Thika, who was born in captivity, is sometimes still "a little confused about elephants," he says, but will likely be fully introduced in the coming weeks.

There are eight elephants at PAWS, including Maggie, who had been transferred from Alaska nine years ago. Mr. Stewart says many of the same concerns that have been raised about Lucy were raised about Maggie - including that she was a "people elephant" who had been with humans most of her life, and wouldn't know how to deal with other elephants. But Mr. Stewart says that, after arriving at PAWS, Maggie "went right into the middle of the group and has been in the middle of the group ever since." He says the same thing could happen with Lucy.

Or maybe not.

"There's no guarantee she's going to come out of the trailer and run to the other elephants and everybody will live happily ever after," he says. "But I think she's still young enough that it is well worth a try."

But the stakes are high, and the answers uncertain. Mr. Burton admits he still doesn't know if moving Tina was the right thing to do for her, taking her individual needs as an animal into account.

"I regret that she was moved, but if she had died here, I would have felt bad, too," he said. "And then we would have been kicking ourselves thinking, why didn't we move her?"

There are some, including Bob Barker, who say it may be better for Lucy to die en route to a preserve than to continue living in Edmonton the way she is - even that she would have been better off to die an orphan in freedom in Sri Lanka than to have spent her life in captivity.

"If she did die during the trip, it would probably be better," Mr. Barker says. "She'd be better off than going through torture up there."

Toby Styles has heard those arguments about Lucy, and elephants overall. He disagrees. "I've seen them die," he says. "And no. They wouldn't be better to die in freedom."

Are zoos a necessity?

In the 1970s, Toby Styles accompanied three elephants and a black rhinoceros on a two-week journey to North America on a Polish freighter, during the same wave of elephant import that saw Lucy brought to Edmonton.

"I tell people, there was a choice: These animals could either leave Africa and come to Europe or North America and live their lives, or they would be shot. That's what was happening," Mr. Styles says. "There wasn't enough room, and they were culling them to make room for people."

Mr. Styles grew up around wild animals in Banff, and worked at the Alberta Game Farm outside Edmonton in the 1960s, before going on to work at zoos in Calgary and Toronto. By the time he retired from the Toronto Zoo in 2000, he would be known by some in that city as Mr. Zoo, the public face of the facility. At times, he says he was under police watch because of threats from animal activists.

Mr. Styles worked with more than 50 elephants in the course of his career, and met and examined Lucy, whom he describes as "a great, gentle soul." He says for a time, he could see a picture of any elephant in North America and know which one it was. The ways elephants have affected his life are profound, personal. He met his wife through an elephant. His daughter is named after one. He likes to joke that there are two kinds of animals: elephants and everything else.

"I'm always sad people didn't get to know elephants like I knew them," he says. "To sit and talk to them, and get talked back to. The relationship is very hard to describe. A big elephant can be 12,000 pounds, and you develop a real relationship. You feed them and bathe them and tickle them."

While the free contact he enjoyed with elephants - and which is still used with Lucy - is now rare (a more restricted contact has since become the standard for working with zoo elephants), he says the value of being able to see an animal in person remains profound. He recalls a fellow zookeeper's story about a little girl not wanting to leave the elephant house at the Bronx Zoo, even when her mother pointed out they had an elephant DVD at home they could watch any time.

"She told her mother, 'But this one is big,' " he said, recounting the story. He remembers seeing an elephant for the first time himself at a circus in the 1940s.

"When you see an elephant, you know what an elephant is. And it's the things you know that you care about."

CAZA executive director Massimo Bergamini says he sees the future of zoos and aquariums in building meaningful connections between people and nature, and then using those connections to change attitudes and behaviours. He gives the example of using aquariums to teach children about the threat posed by plastic garbage in the oceans, and hopefully, make them care.

Mr. Bergamini points to a 1974 study that showed two to three animal species being lost to extinction every year. Now, he says, even by conservative estimates there are two or three disappearing every day. He points out that there are now many species that wouldn't exist if it weren't for zoos.

"That's our reality," he says. "Where we come from, what we believe is that we absolutely need zoos."

But Mr. Stewart, at PAWS, says that if the aim of zoos is education and conservation, it hasn't worked. Elephants have been on display at zoos and circuses throughout the world for 150 years, but the threats they face individually and as a species remain dire. Millions of people have seen Lucy in the time she has been in Edmonton, but has it really made a difference? "The only thing elephants in captivity have taught us," he says, "is that they don't belong in captivity."

Instead, Mr. Stewart says that he believes the key to saving elephants and other species may rest in economic innovation - finding ways to make it economically viable for countries to preserve remaining habitats, and stop the spread of human development into those areas.

"Trying to weigh economics against habitat, the habitat eventually loses," he says. "And once it loses, it's gone."

A Lucy light brigade

People start to gather near the elephant house well before the Saturday-morning talk is set to begin. It is the one time of the week when you know Lucy will be there, when she will not be out walking, or in her winter barn, or somewhere else on the sprawling grounds, out of public sight. She can be surprisingly hard to find, especially for an elephant.

Those filling the bleachers know her by name. Children call out for her restlessly, barely distracted by the packaged snacks doled out by their parents, or by the sight of the snow leopard blinking languidly in a pen across the way. They are not appeased until Lucy's silhouette finally appears in the door of the barn, almost filling it with her bulk.

The movement to have Lucy relocated ebbs and flows in the public eye, but it always continues. Lucy is never forgotten. E-mails and letters stream in to politicians; campaigns are planned and considered. There are tweets and Facebook posts. The California-based group In Defense of Animals has inducted the Valley Zoo into its Hall of Shame, and PETA recently included the zoo on its list of "Highway Hellholes" for keeping Lucy alone. In recent weeks, there was a candlelight vigil and a "light brigade," illuminating the words "Save Lucy" above a busy freeway overpass in Edmonton. With social media, a single photo, sometimes even the mention of her name, is enough to get the controversy roiling again.

The City of Edmonton web page for the zoo features a separate "Lucy News" link, which goes to a video of a 2015 veterinary examination and a series of documents related to her health and welfare. The zoo recently released a new pamphlet entitled Let's Crush the Myths. "The Edmonton Valley Zoo is home to an Asian elephant named Lucy who has been the subject of great attention," the pamphlet reads. "Most of it comes from inflammatory and inaccurate campaigns by activists on the local, national, and international levels. We believe you deserve the facts on Lucy's health and well-being."

Mr. Bergamini, CAZA's executive director, says the organization has a new policy that requires independent, third-party assessments be done every year in cases where there have been variances of zoo standards, as was done to allow Lucy to be kept alone. He said Lucy's first assessment is being done this summer, and is being performed by an experienced British veterinarian who has particular expertise working with a lone female Asian elephant. He added that CAZA specifically looked for an expert outside North America, and one with "unimpeachable qualifications."

"We wanted to make sure this was seen to be done right," he said.

Ed Stewart says he regularly gets e-mails at the PAWS sanctuary asking about Lucy, many of which are from people angry and frustrated that she is still in Edmonton. He says there are extremists on both sides. "It's a fight right now," he says. "People yell at me all the time that I'm not doing anything about Lucy."

Mr. Stewart says he would like to see a summit-style meeting, where all sides work together in a positive way to look at options for moving Lucy, whether to a sanctuary or to another zoo in a warmer climate, and where she would not be alone. He says a plan could include gradually training Lucy to be inside a transport container, to see if she could be made calm enough to make the journey to a new facility.

"And if they can't do it, then they can't do it," he said. "But at least they've tried."

He said Lucy "might surprise everybody."

Now 41, and showing her age

Two keepers bathe Lucy outdoors in front of a watching crowd at the Saturday-morning talk. As they work, a zoo employee talks about elephants, about the dangers of poaching and ivory, and deforestation. She tells them about Lucy, about her teeth and her poop, about the life she has led in the zoo in Edmonton.

The zoo celebrated Lucy's 41st birthday on Canada Day. The sign in front of her enclosure lists the average age of an Asian elephant at less than 45. The mottled pink on the edges of her ears and trunk show signs of her age, like a human's hair turning grey. City officials have said elephants are not part of their plan for the zoo's future. Lucy was Edmonton's first elephant, and she will most likely be its last.

The keepers pat and caress her with their hands, rubbing her trunk, talking to her with words the crowd cannot hear. Some of them have been working with Lucy for years, decades. The topography of her skin is all lines and wrinkles, like a map of the world from space. It is thick, but soft enough that even a mosquito can draw blood. She flutters her ears, and blinks in the sunlight, then smoothly coils her trunk around a hose, and brings the stream of water to her mouth to drink.

"There's Lucy," a little girl says, pointing out from the crowd. "She's the best elephant in the world."


Jana G. Pruden is a reporter with The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Alone, and in a northern environment, Lucy is not the only elephant whose rights have gone under the microscope: In April, after 145 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed its last shows with elephants; two months later, the Royal Canadian Circus announced that it would not be bringing elephants on its Canadian tour for the first time in 30 years.

Photography by Amber Braken

Those who support Lucy's remaining at the Edmonton Valley zoo note that, in Africa, an elephant is being killed by poachers every 15 minutes for their tusks; those who advocate for her transfer cite concerns about her fragile health.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Shaking up Scotiabank
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B6

TORONTO -- The dizzying run of executive departures started early, and for more than two years, rarely seemed to let up.

Three months before Brian Porter took over as Bank of Nova Scotia's chief executive officer, in November, 2013, senior leaders around him started to make tracks. Chief risk officer Rob Pitfield was the first to say farewell, announcing plans to leave in August of that year.

Then, the exits picked up. Chief operating officer Sabi Marwah retired the following spring, followed soon by Chris Hodgson, the head of wealth management.

Executive turnover is expected under any new CEO. It is also common for company veterans to retire when a new reign begins.

But the shakeup at Scotiabank was something bigger, and some of the departures weren't selfimposed. One year into Mr. Porter's tenure, the new leader was out a CRO, a COO, a wealth management head, a capital markets co-head, a marketing chief and two regional leaders - one for Mexico, the other for Latin America, both of which are key markets for Canada's third-largest, and most international, chartered bank.

It didn't end there. The biggest shock came in June, 2015, when Anatol von Hahn left. Mr. von Hahn ran Canadian banking and wealth, Scotiabank's largest unit.

He was well liked by the people under him; most important, he was one of the last major holdouts from the former executive regime. Mr. von Hahn's presence had helped to dispel worries that Mr. Porter was out to purge the old guard, according to multiple sources.

In many ways, Mr. Porter's presence in the corner office marked a shift from the past. His predecessor, Rick Waugh, was known for his outgoing nature and an almost-familial approach to management. Dismissals were rare.

One former employee, now an executive at a rival bank, remarked that he never saw anyone get fired during his time at Scotiabank.

By most measures, the Waugh era had been a successful one. A constant string of acquistions worth at least $11-billion had expanded the bank's global footprint and helped increase its business at home. And Scotiabank, like Canada's other banks, was in the midst of an impressive streak of record financial results. The bank's annual profit more than doubled during his tenure, to $6.7-billion.

But Mr. Porter, who had risen through Scotiabank's capital markets arm and is widely viewed as being more measured and technocratic than his predecessor, also found a bank facing significant headwinds. He believed his company had been too frugal when it came to investments in technology, and he believed parts of the management group had grown soft. In one internal company presentation, the bank's culture was described as "overly collegial." The same slides show a demand for "clearer accountability." To help overhaul the bank, Mr. Porter brought in consultants from McKinsey & Co.

Until now, Mr. Porter has publicly offered few specifics about his strategy, sparking uncertainty about his vision - especially in the wake of the departures of eight of the bank's 10 most senior leaders. But with most of the restructuring behind him, the CEO opened up in an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail.

"Change is always difficult - particularly in an organization that hadn't had change for a period of time," he explained during a lengthy conversation.

"But I also have to sit back and say, 'Okay, so-and-so has been in this job for a period of time, and they're having trouble adapting to the pace of technological change. Maybe there is more risk inherent in having them in that position than taking them out.' " The cuts - 1,500 jobs were targeted in 2014 and 2015, with hundreds following in 2016 - cost $523-million in restructuring charges and are largely designed to help the bank embrace a digital future, as well as save hundreds of millions of dollars in annual operating costs. Technological threats are mounting as upstarts and established Silicon Valley giants invade everything from online lending to wealth management and payments, putting new pressure on Canada's Big Six banks.

"We're in the technology business," Mr. Porter says of the paradigm shift. "Our product happens to be banking, but largely that's delivered through technology."

To adapt, he has added more technology expertise to his executive team and poured resources into everything from mobile development to analytics.

Scotiabank's rivals are in the same race. Canada's six largest banks incurred over $1-billion in pretax restructuring charges in 2015, and nearly $2-billion over the past two years. On top of the technological shifts that are forcing them to question their costly bricks-and-mortar branch strategies, they are contending with a weak domestic economy, stubbornly low interest rates and Canadian households who can't afford to borrow much more after years of access to cheap funds and large mortgages.

Amid such upheaval, some of the skepticism about Mr. Porter's moves is starting to lift. Peter Routledge, an equity analyst at National Bank Financial, says he was initially puzzled by all of the personnel changes within the bank, but he's starting to come around. "I'm more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt," he said. "The more I dive into this whole challenge from financial technology companies, the more I become aware of just how big a threat this is."

Still, Mr. Porter's changes stand out. While most of the Big Six have taken steps to cut costs and remake their businesses for an increasingly tech-driven world, Mr. Porter's reinvention of Scotiabank has arguably been the most drastic. In less than three years, the new CEO has built an entirely new executive team and imposed a new digital mantra - all while repositioning the bank's strategy in crucial international markets, which account for a third of its revenue.

With so much on the line, Bay Street is watching closely, looking for answers to the question: What exactly is Brian Porter trying to build?


In June, a half-dozen senior Scotiabank executives gathered in a boardroom at the bank's "Rapid Lab" technology centre - a hivedoff, open-concept enclave of white boards and sticky notes within the bank's Toronto headquarters, where engineers, designers and computer scientists are devising new ways for customers to do their banking online.

"This doesn't look like Scotiabank, but this is Scotiabank," said James O'Sullivan, group head of Canadian banking, who replaced Mr. von Hahn. "Increasingly, this is what our space looks like as we figure out how to deliver a better customer experience."

While he could very well have been talking about the physical room, he was referring to the novel business relationship that brought all of the executives together: Scotiabank was announcing a partnership with an outside firm - Kabbage Inc., a U.S.-based company with an online lending platform - as part of the bank's new approach to digital banking.

The partnership gives smallbusiness customers in Canada and Mexico the ability to apply online for loans of up to $100,000 and get access to the funds in as little as seven minutes, marking a monumental shift in how a traditional bank engages with its customers.

It also offered an opportunity to take a direct shot at small online lenders that are sprouting up in hopes of carving out chunks of the big banks' businesses. One of them, Toronto-based Lendified, was started by two Scotiabank executives Mr. Porter had let go: Kevin Clark and Troy Wright.

Mr. Porter has promised that Scotiabank will not be disrupted by upstarts, and backed up the words with efforts to revitalize the bank's dowdy branches and lacklustre online offerings.

It's been an uphill battle.

"They are not leaders from an investment perspective, and they have not been leaders in any aspect of technology for the last 15 or 20 years," said Chris Ford, a partner at Capco, a global technology consultancy that works with a number of big banks.

Mr. Porter's mission is to change that.

"There was a saying around here: The second mouse gets the cheese," he said of Scotiabank's historic aversion to tech spending. "There's no advantage to being a first mover.

"I think that largely fit the times; I'm not saying that as a criticism. We all read stories about bank so-and-so, or investment bank ABC, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars on technology and didn't get anything for it."

But he believes that strategy won't work in this era. Scotiabank's efficiency ratio for its Canadian banking division, which delivers nearly half its total profit, helps explain why. The metric measures expenses as a percentage of total revenue, and Scotiabank, which is known for supposedly low costs, comes in at 51 per cent. Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, meanwhile, boast ratios of 44 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

At an investor day in 2014 shortly after he became CEO, Mr. Porter made it clear he wants to catch up.

"Being frugal is not the same as being efficient," he said, and that's become a mantra since. By skimping on costs, a bank may miss technology investments that speed things up in the long run, such as the time it takes to approve new mortgage applications - a crucial step in the middle of a housing boom.

Another of his missions: opening the doors to partners, instead of ignoring invitations to collaborate with outside expertise. "We don't think we can do it all ourselves. We like having partners," he says. And he believes that outsiders should like Scotiabank. "A lot of fintech companies don't want to be regulated like banks, for obvious reasons. They want a partner like us."

However, Scotiabank is also committed to beefing up its technology capabilities in-house. Its co-heads of information technology, Kyle McNamara and Michael Zerbs, combine deep banking experience with tech smarts. Mr. Zerbs, for one, hailed from Algorithmics Inc., a successful riskmanagement technology shop that was absorbed into International Business Machines Inc. Under them, 350 staff will soon decamp to the bank's off-campus Digital Factory in Toronto's east end.

To drive home the importance of these initiatives, Scotiabank sent its executives and board of directors on a tour of Silicon Valley last September. At Cisco Systems Inc., the tour group saw how a large business can drive innovation; at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, they heard about how technology can disrupt established industries; and at Wells Fargo & Co.'s digital innovation lab, they saw first-hand how financial technology can help consumers.

Over all, the mission is to improve the customer experience, which is something most lenders have been slow to embrace.

"Banks were bastions of stability and security," said Paul Battista, a consultant at Ernst & Young.

"There was nothing about the customer in any of the design, in any of the architecture. Some of these core systems have literally been around for decades - 30, 40 years."

The same goes for bank branches, many of which now appear to be out-of-touch with customers who are increasingly making dayto-day transactions on their phones. Changes include modernized branches with smaller footprints, and new online services that allow customers to open accounts in about five minutes and sign up for credit cards in just two minutes.

Some observers are noting the shift. In June, Forrester Research awarded Scotiabank - along with rival Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce - the highest overall score among the five biggest banks for mobile banking functionality.

Bay Street is paying attention, too.

"There is a growing confidence that Scotia will make more strategic investments and will start to do things they have not done historically," Capco's Mr. Ford said.


Despite the sweeping nature of these changes, they comprise only one piece of a much bigger puzzle. When Mr. Porter took over, his first order of business was to make fixes beyond the bank's home borders.

"I knew when I got this position, the first thing we had to do was something in the international bank, given that we'd been very acquisitive," he said.

More than any other Canadian bank, Scotiabank is known for its international footprint. During the 1960s, the lender planted flags in Asia. In the 1970s, it aggressively started expanding under the leadership of CEO Cedric Ritchie, who moved the bank into 40 countries across the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. Today, Scotiabank operates in 56 countries and employs nearly 90,000 people.

Some of the bank's foreign endeavours have caused suffering ("Argentina" is still considered a dirty word internally after its economy cratered in 2002, eventually leading to a $540-million writedown), but most have worked out well - and that gave previous management a good reason to keep expanding beyond Canada.

Mr. Waugh had been particularly acquisitive. During his tenure, he inked deals worth billions, most of which came post-financial crisis. Some of his biggest acquisitions were at home, buying a 37-per-cent stake in CI Financial Corp. from Sun Life Financial in 2008 for $2.3-billion, and later acquiring DundeeWealth in two tranches for $2.6billion. Capping off his tenure, he bought ING Bank Canada (now known as Tangerine) for $1.9-billion in 2012.

But foreign acquisitions were also prevalent. In the five-year span from 2006 to 2011, he struck 22 international deals totalling $5.2-billion. One of the highlights: acquiring a 51-per-cent stake in Colombia's Banco Colpatria in 2011, hoping to cash in on the country's new-found political calm after years of drug-related feuds.

Following such rapid expansion, Mr. Porter felt the need to streamline the bank's global strategy. Since Scotiabank started bulking up in Latin America in the 1990s, there had been some overlap among its deals. The branch networks in some countries, for one, weren't always entirely complementary. In the Caribbean, the bank was spread across 25 islands, many of which had distinct economies and government rules, making it hard to benefit from scale. And at a high level, Scotiabank was rather stretched globally - owning everything from a stake in Thailand's Thanachart Bank to a business banking unit in Egypt.

To start, he detailed a new international focus, emphasizing the bank's presence in the Pacific Alliance countries of Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. They all share the same characteristics - growing middle classes and promising economic expansion (though Colombia's is starting to falter amid the commodity crash).

Then he announced the restructuring in the fall of 2014 that slashed 1,000 international jobs and 120 branches - something many people expected. Analysts had long noted the efficiency ratios in Latin America weren't particularly appealing. More recently, the bank announced it is looking at strategic options for the Thanachart Bank stake.

What raised eyebrows was the extent of the personnel changes - both abroad and at home. The new CEO replaced two regional heads and targeted the rungs below the group executives, cutting the number of executive vice-presidents to 16 from 23. Mr. Porter held no punches, either.

Robin Hibberd, who used to run Canadian retail products, is a close friend of the CEO's quasichief of staff, Randy Lyons. The personal connection didn't seem to matter.

More departures - some voluntary, others not - were announced in the spring of 2015, including Mr. Clark, senior vice-president for global transaction banking, and Lisa Ritchie, senior vice-president of customer insights, who went to Sun Life Financial. Then came the news about Mr. von Hahn's exit, marking a shift at the highest level of Canadian banking.

Those who hoped things would finally calm down last summer were surprised to hear the capital markets arm was targeted in the fall, with departures that included the head of investment banking.

This past February, capital markets head Mike Durland retired.

Of the bank's 10 highest-ranking leaders at the end of Mr. Waugh's run, only two remain: Mr. Porter, and Dieter Jentsch, who once ran international banking, and is now heading the capital markets portfolio.

Because the turnover has been so extensive, there are questions about how much expertise - both in banking and internal culture - has walked out the door.

"There's no loss of institutional memory," Mr. Porter argues, adding the average tenure of Scotiabank experience around the management table is 24 years. He pivots to say the lender is actually beefing up. One hire he's especially proud of is Ignacio (Nacho) Deschamps, who was brought on as a strategic adviser for digital banking in December, 2015.

Before joining, Mr. Deschamps ran BBVA Bancomer, Mexico's largest bank, and a month after starting at Scotiabank, he took over the international portfolio.

Additional hires in Latin America include Enrique Zorrilla, who now runs Mexico and used to work for Citibank's Banamex unit there.

"You're always going to get a bit of sour grapes; I get that," Mr. Porter says of any frustration about the turnover. But he promises there weren't any personal vendettas. "I felt very strongly about this, and others did, too, on the board, that the bank was too inward-looking," he explained.

"We hadn't brought a lot of outsiders into this bank for a long period of time. I'm not sure that's a healthy thing."

Mr. Porter wouldn't say anything about his relationship with his predecessor and its effect on staffing decisions. "I don't get into Rick versus Brian. There are different managers for different times." (Mr. Waugh also declined to comment.)

But he did stress there was a strategy behind all of the changes.

"We made a lot of the jobs at the SVP, EVP levels bigger jobs with richer experiences," he said, noting that those who remain now often have five direct reports instead of three. "They've got more accountability, they've got more authority."

While the new CEO has largely worn the title of axeman, board chair Tom O'Neill backs his CEO.

"The HR committee and the board were fully apprised" of the departures, he said, and the decisions were "subject to our approval."

Mr. O'Neill added: "Don't think it's blind board approval with management dictating, because that's absolutely not how it happened."


Even for those embracing the changes at Scotiabank, one crucial question hangs over Mr. Porter's restructuring: Has it all been implemented too quickly?

"There's an optimal amount [of change] any organization can take," said Mr. Routledge, the National Bank analyst. "There's a speed limit."

Employees must also buy into the vision, or morale can become a major problem. On this front, Mr. Porter said he is attentive to what the masses think. "My major focus has been on communication and dealing with the anxiety.

Part of my job, and the board's job, and the management team's job, is to manage the pace of change. We don't want to bite off more than we can chew."

The CEO also argues that, despite the level of change, it has been spaced out. "It sounds like a lot, but we've been at this for three years-plus," he said, adding that he started working on the plans when he was made president in 2012.

It's possible that those who gripe may not realize how much is at risk in not adapting. What worked before the smartphone, when banks controlled the dominant distribution channel - their branches - may not work for the next 10 years, a revolution with the real potential of eating into the Canadian banking segments and their sometimes-40-per-cent returns on equity.

Traditional banking norms have also changed. For the past decade, Canadian banks have benefited from a lending boom fuelled by ever-lower interest rates. That party is largely over, in part because rates can't go any lower, and also because domestic households are tapped out on debt.

Banks are also grappling with heavy regulatory demands that force them to hold extra capital, restraining how much free cash can be reinvested in future growth.

"The fact the banks have reported nearly $2-billion in restructuring charges in the past two years is evidence of a much tougher revenue environment," said Rob Wessel, a former Bay Street analyst who run runs an asset manager that specializes in global financial institutions, "causing all of them to focus intensely on expense reduction, which invariably includes painful staff reductions."

Or maybe his critics are right and Mr. Porter has taken it too far. It's likely too early to judge. Bank CEOs are often in their roles for a decade, if not longer, and outsiders' opinions of them often change during the long arc of history.

Former RBC CEO Gord Nixon endured three years of heat for dithering when he took over in 2001. Fed up, he famously fired three of his top executives on the same day in 2004, and then restructured the bank by removing scores of middle managers. When he retired in 2014, he was highly praised.

Even within Scotiabank, the views on former CEOs have ebbed and flowed. During the late 1990s - when RBC tried to combine with Bank of Montreal and TD tried to tie itself up with CIBC - former Scotiabank CEO Peter Godsoe was caught flatfooted, the only leader of a Big Five bank without a deal.

People started referring to him as "Dead Man Walking." Then, Ottawa slapped down the merger proposals and Mr. Godsoe went on to earn nearly every accolade you could imagine.

What will ultimately vindicate, or eviscerate, Mr. Porter are the bank's results.

"The market judges every CEO's performance with long-term share-price performance," Mr. Wessel said. "If Brian's changes support higher long-term earnings growth and [returns on equity], the market will ultimately judge them favourably."


Operating in 56 countries and employing nearly 90,000 people around the world, Scotiabank is known for its international footprint. Brian Porter's strategy since becoming CEO has focused on the so-called Pacific Alliance: Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. Here are some key stats from the region:


GDP growth*: 2% Branches: 200+ Employees: 5,500+ Annual profit**: $216-million

Colombia GDP growth: 2.5% Branches: 175+ Employees: 6,000+ Profit: $178-million


GDP growth: 4.4% Branches: 300+ Employees: 11,000+ Profit: $465-million


GDP growth: 2.6% Branches: 850+ Employees: 13,000+ Profit: $353-million *Year-over-year change in the first quarter of 2016. **Scotiabank's fiscal 2015 Source: Bloomberg, company reports

Associated Graphic

Shareholders and employees watch Scotiabank CEO Brian Porter speak at the firm's annual general meeting on April 9, 2015.



Pedestrians walk by a Scotiabank in Santiago.


Bogota is seen from the air.


A Scotiabank entrance is seen in Lima.

A Scotiabank building seen in Mexico City.


Indigenous communities lose men as well as women - to addiction, poverty and life on the street. Adriana Barton profiles the Dudes Club, a unique approach that not only heals the body but has found a way to restore the soul
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page F1

VANCOUVER -- Every other Thursday, Elvis Harry Wilson steps into a windowless bunker of a room that shuts out the traffic noise and open drug dealing in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Mr. Wilson is short and nimble at 56, with shaggy grey hair and dark eyes that crinkle when he smiles. He never learned to read, but knows his numbers well enough to join the bingo game that's about to start. The smell of popcorn fills the air as 50 men crowd around the folding tables for a shot at the prize - a $10 Starbucks gift card. But that's not the only reason they are here.

The makeshift bingo hall is the headquarters of the Dudes Club, a health group for men living in one of Canada's poorest postal codes. In the club, men of all ages gather to share a hot meal, get a free haircut and swap stories about topics that make most men shudder: gallstones, erectile dysfunction, sexual abuse.

More than two-thirds of them are indigenous. Like countless other First Nations men, they struggle with poverty, addiction and disease. Across the country, men have left their reserves in search of work, only to find that jobs and social connections are hard to come by in the city.

The unlucky ones wind up in Canada's roughest neighbourhoods, penniless and alone. As they sink into a life of petty crime and substance abuse, or fall ill with diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis C, they abandon their roles as fathers and spouses. They avoid contacting their families, often for years, out of shame. They join the ranks of Canada's "missing" indigenous men.

But here, at the kind of place where men don't hesitate to say, "I love you guys," the Dudes are taking steps to improve their health and turn their lives around.

Now in its sixth year, the program is beginning to spread. It has sparked three satellite groups in British Columbia, and is drawing interest from communities across the country and around the world.

Could male bonding be the key to helping indigenous men heal - or is the club's success rooted in something deeper?

Mr. Wilson lives across the street from the Dudes Club, which is housed in the Vancouver Native Health Society (VNHS), established in 1991 to provide medical and social services to the indigenous community. His room is the size of a walk-in closet, but he counts himself lucky to have snagged a spot at the Orwell, a century-old hotel that has been converted into a housing facility.

He was homeless when he started joking around with the front-door staff. "I nagged at them every day, asking if they had my room ready." He grins. "I love it here."

He has a hot plate, TV, minifridge. On the wall above his narrow bed hangs a drawing of a wolf - his father was from the Wolf Clan of the Gitxsan tribe in northern B.C. Beside it is a sketch of his namesake, Elvis Presley. Yes, Elvis is his real name. He whips out his medical card as proof.

Mr. Wilson started taking part in the club a couple of months before his last time in hospital: Two years ago, after a bender, he tumbled down 18 steps and blacked out for three days. "I was lucky I didn't break my neck."

This time, he did not go back to drinking. "I started taking those antidepressant pills," he says, pausing for a sip of tonight's meal, hamburger soup. Now, he continues, "I don't have no anger for anybody. I talk to people, help them out."

While he credits his doctor for putting him on antidepressants, many of his fellow Dudes members say the meetings have encouraged them to try something new - and to take better care of themselves than they ever have before.

Getting help, and giving it

The Dudes Club delivers health care with a healing-circle vibe. Volunteer organizers, including the group's medical director, Paul Gross, offer the meeting every two weeks on a budget of just $15,000 a year. Elders offer guidance and lead prayers in Musqueam, the language of the First Nation whose unceded territory includes Vancouver. Dr. Gross then asks the men to name a health topic they would like to discuss. A team of social workers, physicians and street nurses circulate to answer any questions the men may have between bites of bannock frybread.

The Dudes Club grew out of a 2010 forum at the VNHS that was organized to determine the health needs of men in the area.

Those who attended, having learned of the event by word of mouth, identified loneliness and isolation as their top concerns.

"The men wanted this group," Dr. Gross says. "That's why it works." They chose the club's name, which is short for Downtown Urban Knights Defending Equality and Solidarity.

Having their own group helps men let their guard down - and learn to both give and receive help, says Henry Charles, the club's official elder.

"Here," he says, "the guys don't have to be macho."

Movember money helps

Since joining the group, many of the Dudes have found stable housing, enrolled in detox programs, reconnected with family members on reserves, and sought treatment for medical conditions such as HIV, Dr. Gross says. "Many had not seen a doctor in years."

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are evaluating the program as part of a threeyear, $270,000 study financed by Movember Canada, the mustache-powered charity dedicated to men's health. While it would be impossible to prove that the Dudes Club alone has changed men's lives, the researchers have conducted surveys and interviews with 150 of those who have taken part in recent years. Based on this data, they have identified a "dose effect" - the more the men take part, the higher they rate in their confidence to address their own health issues and to support others in need.

One-third of the club is nonnative - of Asian and African as well as Caucasian descent. The UBC survey shows that all report their well-being has improved.

But the indigenous men express even greater trust in the group's health-care team, and greater motivation to connect with their cultural and spiritual heritage.

The Dudes model is unique, says Barry Lavallee, director of the Centre for Aboriginal Health Education at the University of Manitoba. Health services for indigenous people typically focus on women, says Dr. Lavallee, a physician and member of Manitoba's Saulteaux and Métis communities. "What this program demonstrates is that these men don't want to be ill and, quoteunquote, marginalized."

Tapping into an age-old notion

Indigenous men, especially those who have suffered abuse, tend to avoid such institutions as hospitals and medical clinics, even when they urgently need care, Dr. Gross says.

Two months ago, researchers at the UBC's Okanagan campus released a study examining why indigenous people tend to be wary of Canada's health-care system. Those who had received primary care in the B.C. Interior said they felt they weren't being listened to or believed, and weren't permitted to include traditional healing practices. Health-care buildings even reminded them of residential schools. Instead of seeking medical attention, many suffer in the streets.

In the Downtown Eastside, marginalized residents are dying at eight times the rate of other Canadians, and the majority are indigenous. More often than not, their early deaths are due to treatable conditions such as psychosis and hepatitis C, and not drug overdose, according to a study published last fall in the medical journal BMJ.

The Dudes group bridges two worlds, says Sandy Lambert, an adviser who acts as the group's external liaison. The club draws men to the VNHS walk-in clinic, where care workers can become familiar faces. They also encourage Dudes to take advantage of nearby services that offer support for substance abuse, housing and job training, Mr. Lambert adds, "but we don't force them to do anything."

The Dudes' support team talks about health in terms of the aboriginal medicine wheel, which describes a state of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance. Wellness is a powerful concept for indigenous men, with deep roots in their heritage, says Mr. Lambert, a member of the Tallcree First Nation in Northern Alberta. At the Dudes Club, "men seem to understand that."

Won't 'victimize myself again'

Dudes meetings have a laid-back feel, but there are ground rules: no intoxication and no weapons allowed. What happens here, stays here, says Richard Teague, one of the group's facilitators.

"And we don't want to hear no discrimination or snide remarks about the colour of your skin."

Tonight, instead of the usual talk about diabetes or flu shots, the Dudes have a guest speaker: Wilfred Sampson, a 58-year-old Gitxsan carver who sells his work in some of Vancouver's finer art galleries.

Mr. Sampson stands up and shares his memory of being pulled out of his mother's arms at the age of 4, "kicking and screaming," and being put into a residential school. He describes his rage as a teenager who wound up an alcoholic in juvenile detention.

It's a familiar story for these men, but they listen, spellbound, especially when he gets to the part about deciding to prove that people who said things like "dirty drunken Indian" were wrong. "I was always stubborn," he says, "so I quit drinking 31 years ago, and I haven't been back to jail."

"Way to go, brother," someone pipes up. Mr. Sampson waits for the clapping to stop. Then he tells the men that wood carving helped him focus on the beauty in the world instead of the abuse he had suffered at home and at school. "I don't want to victimize myself again by thinking of the bad memories."

He pulls out a smooth cedar sculpture shaped like the sun and holds it up with a wide smile. The men move in for a closer look. "That's really good," one of them says. "Awesome, awesome," another chimes in.

After the excitement dies down, Dr. Gross takes the floor.

Carving helped Mr. Sampson turn his life around, he says, and then asks: "What gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in your life?" No one has a ready answer. It's a question that some may never have asked themselves before.

Alternate model of masculinity

For indigenous men, getting support to think about what they value in life - and what it means to be a man - is a crucial step in healing, says the University of Manitoba's Dr. Lavallee. Spending time with First Nations elders helps to remind them that "warriorship is not what you see in Hollywood," he adds. "The roles are really around family."

Recently, the Dudes put together what Dr. Gross calls a "masculinity flip chart." Under the heading "real man," they wrote: "fierce," "sex god," "master/control." But a second list, labelled "good man," included such ideas as "raising kids," "non-violence," "compassion" and "no fear of emotions."

When aboriginal men reclaim this alternate model of masculinity, there are ripple effects, Dr. Lavallee says. In Canada, nearly half of children under 14 in foster care are indigenous. To reduce those numbers, "we need to not only support mothers," he says, but also "create space for the dads to go back to their ancestral responsibility to care for family."

Many of these men grew up with little experience of family.

Elvis Wilson was born on a reserve to alcoholic parents. "Mom and Dad made home brew," he says. "I started drinking at four years old." He developed tuberculosis around the same age, and local authorities took him away.

"I don't hardly remember my mother."

Mr. Wilson spent seven years in a residential school in Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island. He lost every word of the Gitxsan language. "They would put soap down your throat when you'd talk it." He got the strap on his hand every day, and says he was sexually assaulted by men who worked at the school.

In 2005, he received $203,000 in compensation for residentialschool abuse. He spent $145,000 of it to buy a house in Victoria for his older sister Margie, the only family member who had looked after him on school holidays.

"She was having trouble paying her rent."

He had his own struggles. For decades, he abused alcohol and crack cocaine. He had nightmares of people screaming, and frequent thoughts of suicide. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "I had so much hate and anger inside me." One night in 2007, he swallowed 50 sleeping pills. "I almost died."

Today, he says, "I'm proud I'm still alive."

Health by association

David Joseph Hauck also considers himself lucky. The retired construction worker of Cree and Métis descent recently began treatment for hepatitis C, a disease he had ignored for more than a decade while he was using intravenous drugs. "I used to think, 'I'll just die of it.' " Mr. Hauck, 64, is suave and well-spoken, and wears blue-tinted glasses that give him a hipster look. He also has a Grade 8 education, stopped using street drugs just five years ago, and admits alcohol is still a problem.

"I can easily go through a twolitre bottle of cider every day of the week."

Unlike most of the Dudes, he has never lived in the Downtown Eastside; for 12 years, he has rented the same basement apartment in a neighbourhood farther east.

But it was through the club that he learned about a hepatitis-C support group that meets on the floor below. This eventually led him to a nearby clinic offering a fully subsidized, $95,000 treatment for the disease.

"It's because of the Dudes Club that I was even in the building."

Speaking to a global need

The program's three spinoff groups have been running for more than a year in Northern B.C. - in Smithers and nearby Moricetown as well as in Prince George, several hours to the southeast. While they differ slightly (one has younger members; another does not explore a health topic at every meeting), all are showing successes similar to that of the original, says Dr. Gross, who hopes to take the concept national.

At 35, he has worked as a physician in the Downtown Eastside for seven years. His gentle manner and Pierrot-shaped face belie his grit. Although he has two toddlers at home, he has volunteered more than 15 hours a month for the past five years to support the Dudes as they "address their demons," he says.

Now he is working with members to create an online toolkit to help other communities set up similar programs far and wide.

The interest is there. Last November, in New Zealand, UBC researchers presented the Dudes model to an international gathering of indigenous leaders.

They were accompanied by Bill Mussell, author of Warrior-Caregivers: Understanding the Challenges and Healing of First Nations Men. He says leaders in New Zealand kept asking for more details about the Dudes Club, because "around the world, very little programming is done that addresses the challenges facing [indigenous] men."

Social connection is the key to the model's success, says Mr. Mussell, also an adviser to the First Peoples Wellness Circle (formerly the Native Mental Health Association of Canada). When indigenous people are disconnected from their cultural identities and languages, he says, "we are totally lost."

For younger men, too

The Dudes Club is not all good times, though. At one meeting, two men in charge of making cheeseburgers grumble in the kitchen. "These facilities aren't big enough," one of them says.

"The stove is no good."

Meanwhile, a man in his 20s with a black tuque pulled low to his eyebrows stomps up and down the meeting room. He punches a balloon taped to the wall. Startled, a dog in the room starts barking.

The guy is a regular, says Mr. Teague, the facilitator. "He's always like that, half drunk."

Tonight the young man is yelling things like "You fuckin' nigger."

One of the Dudes shuffles over to report him for violating the club's code. "Did you see that shit?" he asks.

Mr. Teague points out that wrestling a man out of the room could damage the club's open-arms reputation. "We've never had to do that, not in five years." He leaves it up to outreach worker Eric Schweig to talk the guy down.

Mr. Schweig volunteers in the neighbourhood in between acting roles, such as that of a corrupt chief on the APTN series Blackstone. Of mixed descent (Inuit, Chippewa, Dene and European), he made his name as Uncas in the 1992 movie version of The Last of the Mohicans. But at 48, with his scruffy jeans and tattooed biceps, he does not stand out here.

The drunk man's father has been dealing drugs for 25 years, Mr. Schweig says. The son is 27, "and he's fucking his life away."

People tend to give men like him a wide berth, he adds, "but that's not what they need." Instead, "you get closer."

So, Mr. Schweig walks up to the man and makes small talk, asking about his dad. They chat. He gives him a hug. Before long, the younger man strolls away, stops to pet the dog, and sits down.

Later, he gives Mr. Schweig a fist bump as he leaves.

Several weeks later, the lad shows up at another meeting, drunk again. Dudes members caution against talking to him alone. He has a reputation for drinking "rubby" (rubbing alcohol). "It changes you - you get angry, bolder," one man says.

But it turns out that, one on one, "Carl G" - he won't give his full name - likes to chat. He doesn't remember acting up the last time he was here. He loves dogs, rap music. He takes out his phone to play Real Native, a music clip he composed in a friend's studio. "I made the beat, I made the hi-hat."

Mr. Schweig is not related to him, but when he walks by, Carl calls out: "Hey, Uncle, come show me some love real quick."

Carl was a latchkey kid, Mr. Schweig says later. "He's lonely."

Asked why he hangs out in a group of mostly middle-aged men, Carl says simply that "it's a place to go."

But as Mr. Schweig points out, "he keeps coming back."

'We're just like brothers'

David Hauck, the 64-year-old with hep C, has good news. He was nervous the day before, because his doctor's office had left a message for him to call. But when he did, he learned that his viral load for the disease had dropped to zero. "I was so surprised," he says, "I started to cry."

A month later, Mr. Hauck is thinking about his next step. He has been asked to join the steering committee of VANDU (Vancouver and Area Network of Drug Users), a group that works on harm reduction. Since his health has improved, he says, "I'm getting to enjoy the peer role."

He doesn't live nearby, but Mr. Hauck spends most of his time in the Downtown Eastside, checking out local services, reading at the library, and hanging out at the Dudes Club, "because I enjoy the friendships I've made... Even a high-five to me means a lot."

Mr. Wilson says the bonding is real: "We're just like brothers, all of us." Back when he had nowhere to sleep but a bedbug-infested mattress in a nearby church, other men used to steal from him, he says.

Now, like Mr. Hauck, he runs into friends wherever he goes, whether lining up for a free meal (sausage and eggs are his favourite) or washing windows for $5 an hour at the Life Skills Centre around the corner.

As Mr. Wilson finishes a last bite of an ice-cream sandwich, one of the Dudes starts sweeping the floor. Then, the men gather in a circle, arms linked to shoulders. Dr. Gross thanks everyone who helped tonight.

Mr. Charles, the elder, says a prayer in Musqueam (he is one of only six Musqueam people still fluent in their language). The Dudes lower their heads - the gentle sounds, such as hych'ka (thanks), have meaning to these men even if they don't understand all the words.

Mr. Charles closes the meeting in English. "Take care of each other," he says. "It's cold out there."

Adriana Barton is a Vancouverbased reporter at The Globe and Mail who focuses on health issues.

Associated Graphic

Club rules are simple, says Richard Teague, above, downing an ice-cream sandwich at a Dudes meeting: No intoxication, no weapons and 'no discrimination or snide remarks about the colour of your skin.'

Photography by Rafal Gerszak

Clockwise from lower left: Richard Teague with his ice-cream sandwich; Gitxsan carver Wilfred Sampson with his 'awesome' cedar sun (his work is sold in some of Vancouver's finer art galleries but, as he tells the club, at 4 he was pulled from his mother's arms 'kicking and screaming,' and put into a residential school), and Dudes member Paul Michaud greets a friend.

Every meeting includes a meal: Derek Dean, top left, and Curtis T are on kitchen duty and, top right, the hearty soup they have prepared and the fresh-baked bannock that will accompany it. Above: Loneliness plagues many on the street, so camaraderie is key to the club's success. One younger man seems a little out of place, but 'he keeps coming back.'

As a health club, Dudes is all about taking care of yourself: Some members prefer to cut their own hair, top left, while others have Elmer Azak Nisg'a do it for them. Top right, Robert McMillan was a founding member in 2010, and bingo is a popular draw (there are prizes) - here Henry Williams models club attire while playing a game.

Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page A10

LONDON, NICE, ISTANBUL -- It was just before dawn on the morning of July 15, and I was trying to explain to my six-year-old daughter why - instead of a planned day at the park - I was suddenly heading to the airport to catch a flight to a city called Nice.

"A bad man hurt a lot of people in France," was the best explanation I could come up with. As I watched her turn the news over in her head, disappointment spreading on her face, I realized it was a sentence I'd uttered three times in 18 months.

Barely 36 hours later, I called her from a sun-baked plaza in the historic old city of Nice. That day in the park would have to be postponed again. Some men with guns had tried to take over the government in Turkey. Instead of coming home, Daddy was flying somewhere else.

More bad men, more people hurt.

After we hung up, I contemplated how little sense any of this must make to her.

She's not alone. All of us - including and especially the political and economic elites who have long stood atop this suddenly wobbly pyramid - have been left reeling by events.

A "period of instability" is upon us, historian Margaret MacMillan told me this week, one that has parallels to the pre-war periods of the 20th century that she's written acclaimed books about.

Future historians are likely to judge today's leaders on whether they seek to calm - or simply take advantage of - the choppy waters that we're in.

Anger at the system

Rarely, it seems, has the world spun so rapidly, have events felt so out of control.

The headlines blur into one another, feeding the sense of a world in chaos. The war in Syria bleeds into the refugee crisis.

The refugees' march into Europe boosts politicians on the nationalist right. The truck attack in France is followed by the shooting of police in Louisiana. Then it's a man with an axe on a train in Germany. On Friday, it was a shooting at a mall in Munich. "Brexit" in Britain is knocked from the top of the news by a putsch attempt in Turkey.

They seem like disconnected events. But what links the British who voted to quit the European Union with the Turks who gathered in a public square on Wednesday to cheer the imposition of a state of emergency is their anger at how the system has worked until now.

Brexit was won in the small cities and towns of England, places where globalization has meant de-industrialization, the closing of factories and the transfer of work to cheaper locales overseas. The phenomenon was exacerbated by an influx of job-seekers from Eastern Europe who made competition for remaining jobs even stiffer.

Leave voters didn't change their minds when the elites told them Brexit would batter housing prices, or the stock market.

To many, the idea that the elites, people who owned property and shares, would take a turn suffering sounded just about right.

In Turkey, the supporters of the ruling Justice and Development (or AK) Party hail from - broadly speaking - the poor, conservative, and deeply devout half of Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may stand today accused of repression and massive corruption, but his followers remember his humble upbringing as the kid who sold lemonade and buns on the streets of Istanbul to help his family make ends meet.

AK Party loyalists recall how he was removed as the mayor of Istanbul in 1998 and jailed for reciting a poem that included the lines "the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." Mr. Erdogan is the head of their Islamist revolution against the affluent secularists.

Those cheering Brexit in Britain, and welcoming a state of emergency in Turkey, were the ships that were supposed to be lifted by the rising tide of globalization, a promise that proved cruelly incorrect.

They are now finding satisfaction in defeating their ruling classes, the people who believed those countries, and the world, were theirs to rule.

It's the same live wire that connects an Islamic State-inspired attack in Europe to a racially motivated shooting rampage in the U.S. The perpetrators are - almost always - those who felt they have very little left to lose in their lives. The cause they choose is almost a footnote to their act of anarchy.

Hours before the chaos broke out in Nice, I was sitting in a lecture hall at the London School of Economics, listening to Canada's International Trade Minster Chrystia Freeland talk about Brexit, and the isolationist mood spreading around the world.

"This is a complex, fraught moment," she understated. She said she saw "deglobalization" taking place all around the planet. "We are living in a time when in many countries in the Western industrialized world, maybe most countries in the Western industrialized world, there is a tremendous popular backlash against international trade, against immigration, against what you might call open society."

Our societies are fracturing into tribes. In Britain, it's Leavers versus Remainers. In Turkey, the failed coup has cleaved society into Erdoganites and Gulenists (after the movement accused of supporting the failed putsch). Almost everywhere, lines are being drawn between immigrants and the native-born. Black and white. Us and them.

And the tribes are turning on one another.

As we sped towards the airport in Nice, my taxi driver told me how it all looked from where he sat.

France, he began, needed to close its doors to immigrants. The country's Muslims, he said, should be deported to Devil's Island - the Napoleon III-era penal colony off the coast of South America - until authorities could figure out which ones were safe and which ones were dangerous.

I stared out the window, biting my lip.

Such talk was madness. But madness is spreading these days. My taxi driver's rhetoric wasn't too far off from Donald Trump's talk of banning all Muslims from travelling to the United States until authorities can "figure out what is going on." In the wake of the Bastille Day attack in Nice, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen - who leads most opinion polls ahead of presidential elections next year - said it was time for the country to declare "war against the scourge of Islamist fundamentalism."

"Before, many people hesitated to vote for Madame Le Pen. Now, after this, I find myself agreeing with her," the driver told me.

He was angry. All of Nice was. The grief in the city was qualitatively different from the reaction in Paris after the shooting and bomb attacks that targeted restaurants, bars and a sports stadium last November, and the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office and a kosher deli 10 months before that.

Back then, there was a determination not to let the horrific assaults divide the country. France's founding principles of liberté, égalité, fraternité were not to be shaken by the acts of a few terrorists. Parisians rallied on Place de la République after each attack, though more nervously the second time, to show their solidarity as a society.

Raw fury overwhelmed such gestures in Nice. Mourners booed Prime Minister Manuel Valls when he came to lay a wreath on Promenade des Anglais, the seafront boulevard where Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian immigrant, had driven his rented 19-tonne truck into the crowds of children, women and men watching the Bastille Day fireworks.

"This was worse than bullets," 55-year-old Michelle Prost told me, with tears streaming down her face as she laid flowers on the promenade the day after the attacks.

"Driving a vehicle over people, symbolically it means 'I will crush you.'"

Fear of each other

The anger is just as raw on the streets of Istanbul. When I arrive on Sunday night, Taksim Square - the heart of the city's European half - is filled with tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters of Mr. Erdogan. Having faced down the coup attempt 36 hours earlier, the mood swings between celebratory and furious.

Upbeat music plays from atop a bus parked in the middle of the square, and the people on the square smile and dance.

But when the loudspeakers fall silent, the crowd takes matters in a very different direction.

Chants of "I will sacrifice my life for the motherland" are followed by calls for other people's blood. "We want executions!" comes the public cry.

The rage is understandable. At least 270 people (including 24 putschists) were killed in the furious fighting that caused the coup's collapse. Horrifying videos posted online show tanks driving over people and cars on the streets of Istanbul during the dark hours of July 15 and 16. The country's parliament in Ankara was bombed from the air.

As soon as it was clear that he had survived the challenge to his rule, Mr. Erdogan asked his supporters to stay in the streets.

It soon became clear why. They were to showcase his support level as he launched a shockingly rapid purge of his enemies.

By the end of the week, some 9,000 soldiers and police - including more than 100 generals - were in jail on suspicion of taking part in the coup plot.

Tens of thousands of others - judges, prosecutors, provincial governors, teachers, university deans, journalists, religious instructors, ordinary civil servants - were out of their jobs because of suspected ties to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based imam Mr. Erdogan believes inspired the putsch attempt. All civil servants and academics were banned from going abroad, lest any of Mr. Gulen's supporters try to flee.

The return of the death penalty - and its use against those convicted of taking part on the plot - now seems inevitable.

Criticism of the government dropped to a whisper. One analyst I interviewed asked me to put down my notebook - and turn off my mobile phone - before he would answer a question about whether the purges were going too far. Another critic, out of the country when the coup attempt happened, told me that he had decided to postpone his return to Turkey until he could see where the "escalating frenzy" was going.

And each night, Mr. Erdogan's supporters came back into Taksim Square to cheer him on as he built what he called in speeches "New Turkey." They stayed in the square and kept cheering even as Mr. Erdogan announced a three-month state of emergency. AK Party supporters know they're not the ones who need to fear a president who can make laws by decree.

But Mr. Erdogan and the AK Party represent just one of Turkey's warring tribes.

Walking across Taksim Square in the afternoon - which is relatively empty during the day, before filling with AK Party supporters each night - I paused to chat with Haydar Uyumaz, a 53-year-old who has made a living selling Turkish flags in an array of sizes. Soccer matches and election time are the best for business, he told me, chuckling to add "and coups." He said he'd never sold as many flags in such a short period as the 200 he'd sold over the previous 48 hours.

Our conversation was interrupted by young Kurdish man, who suggested Mr. Uyumaz would have a hard time selling flags in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast.

More than 1,200 people have been killed, and 350,000 others driven from their homes, since the conflict between the Turkish army and the separatist PKK re-erupted last summer after several years of relative peace.

"If this is the New Turkey that President Erdogan is talking about, we are going backwards," said Abdullah Demir, a 27year-old from the region of Mardin, which has seen some of the heaviest fighting. As he spoke, a young man wearing one Turkish flag as a bandana and another as a cape approached and glowered at Mr. Demir. But Mr. Demir kept talking. "Three years ago, Turks and Kurds were friendly to each other in Istanbul. But every year, we feel less and less like brothers."

Across the border from that war, of course, is the other one. The swirling storm that has seen Turkey's neighbours Syria and Iraq fracture along ethnic and sectarian lines. Sunnis versus Shias. Arabs versus Kurds. And the so-called Islamic State against everyone. (IS has claimed that both Mr. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the Nice attacker, and Muhammad Riyad, the Afghan asylum-seeker who injured five people with an axe on a German train, were its "soldiers.") Turkey has been waist-deep in Syria's civil war since its outbreak in 2011. The AK Party has informal ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movement that had then just toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt.

Syria looked to be next, and Mr. Erdogan - who looked poised to emerge with Ottomanesque clout in the region - was quick to back the Sunni-dominated uprising against the Alawite-dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad.

From the outset of the conflict in Syria, Turkey supported the army defectors who became the Free Syrian Army. Fatefully, Ankara also allowed others opposed to the Assad regime - including the radical jihadists who became IS - to use Turkish soil as something of a rear base.

Now Turkey is among the countries at war with IS. NATO uses Turkey's Incirlik airbase to launch air strikes against the self-declared caliphate, and IS has hit back with a string of suicide bombings around the country - including last month's attack on Istanbul's main airport - that have left more than 200 people dead.

Turkey is now hosting a staggering 2.7 million refugees from Syria's war. There are fears that the chaos could spill across the border in other ways as well.

At the other end of Taksim Square from where Mr. Uyumaz was selling his flags, I spotted two teenage sisters glowering with anger at the Ataturk Cultural Centre, which sits at the eastern end of the plaza.

The building is named after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who remains an icon among this country's secular citizens.

This week the cultural centre bore the scars of the attempted coup. Many of the windows facing Taksim Square were shattered by sonic booms as low-flying fighter jets buzzed over the centre of Istanbul.

In the aftermath, two large portraits of Mr. Erdogan were hung from its facade.

"No, no, never. It should be Ataturk hanging from there," said one of the sisters, 18-year-old Selcan Eraslan. She and her sister were Alevis, a sect of Shia Islam, and worried that Turkey's official secularism was about to crumble.

Ms. Eraslan, who said she opposed the coup attempt, lives in the Gazi neighbourhood of Istanbul, where police have had to break up violent clashes this week between AK Party supporters and Alevi residents.

"There will be an ethnic fight between the Sunnis and the Alevis," she said, staring at Mr. Erdogan's posters on the Ataturk Cultural Centre. "Civil war is coming, for sure."

When it all started

What was most shocking about the recent spate of headline-seizing events - and deeply unsettling when you consider them as a chain - was how no one seemed to have seen any of it coming.

The pollsters and pundits predicted Britain would vote, by a comfortable margin, to remain part of the EU. The attack in Nice succeeded in part because many French police were given the Bastille Day holiday off after being on high alert through the country's month-long hosting of the European soccer championships.

Turkey's intelligence services detected something might be amiss only a few hours before tanks starting moving toward Istanbul's bridges and airports.

And six months ago, nobody thought Donald Trump stood a chance of becoming president of the United States.

My week alone took me from one country, France, that would extend its state of emergency - imposed after the November attacks in Paris - while I was in Nice, to another, Turkey, that would declare postcoup state of emergency and suspend some civil liberties while I was in Istanbul.

"We've had a number of shocks," said Prof. MacMillan, the warden of St. Anthony's College at Oxford University. "Some of it is coincidence, but I think it's making everyone rather jittery, thinking is everything coming unstuck."

Future historians, she said, may look at the "period of instability" as beginning with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., and the subsequent launching of the global "war on terror," including the fateful U.S.-British decision to invade Iraq. The accelerant, Prof. MacMillan, said was the 2008 financial crisis.

"The impact of 2008 - the economies may have recovered more or less, the banking system may have recovered, more or less, but I think it really shook people's faith in those who were running the economy. I think that's fed into this feeling that people aren't being listened to. It's a dangerous sort of mood."

The economic dislocation also makes it easier for groups like IS to convert people to their brand of hatred. Attacks like those carried out by Mr. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel and Mr. Riyad in turn feed the popular anger that is lifting the Trumps and Le Pens. It's time to build more walls, to make it hard again to cross borders. It's a vicious cycle.

Radicals thrive when governments can no longer meet the standard-of-living expectations of their citizens, Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, told me.

"The world seems to have reached a critical point in terms of creating a large enough pool of 'losers' - those who lost out on globalization, who lost out on technology, who lost out on free trade - to create the undercurrents of this instability."

Meanwhile, the U.S., which Mr. Ulgen said lost much of its global authority during the twin disasters of the Iraq invasion and the 2008 financial crisis, is no longer willing or able to play the role of global policeman. From afar - as street violence escalates and Mr. Trump is crowned the Republic Party's candidate for the White House - American-style capitalism and democracy no longer looks like a model worth pursuing.

In other words, the old world order has come unglued. Globalization led and regulated by the U.S. is now considered a failure. People around the world are seeking the safety of their tribes.

"In troubled times, there's a tendency to turn inwards and say 'at least we understand our own people.' There's also a tendency, which is very unfortunate, to demonize others for whatever reason. It happened in Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s, and it happened in other times in other places," said Prof. MacMillan, whose most recent book is The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914.

History rhymes, rather than repeats, as Mark Twain reputedly said. We're not yet on any irreversible course towards something worse. But we could end up there fast.

"Things go wrong and things can go wrong very quickly, we know that. It took Europe five weeks in the summer of 1914 to go from a fairly stable peace to all-out war," Prof. MacMillan continued. "If things go wrong, we'll look back and say this was a time that led to greater instability."

My daughter, I realized at the end of a long and worrying week, used to always ask "Why?" when I told her that that something crazy had happened, and that I had to get on a plane.

Not this time. She was sad to hear that France, a country she loves to visit, had been attacked again. She found it strange that some soldiers in Turkey, where her aunt and uncle used to work, thought they should take over the government.

But she didn't ask why either event had occurred.

Perhaps, like the rest of us, she's gotten used to a world spinning dangerously out of control.

Follow me on Twitter: @markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Nice, France, July 14.


Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 18.


Turkey, July 20.


London, June 23.


Meet Douglas Gardham, the hardest-working novelist you've never heard of. Mark Medley goes on the road with the would-be king of CanLit
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page R1

On a recent Saturday evening, Douglas Gardham is sitting behind the wheel of his black Acura TL, on a highway west of Toronto, making his way back to Alliston, the small town where he lives. The road is slick from the rainstorm that passed through the area earlier that afternoon, and traffic is relatively light. The radio is off, and the car, for the moment, is quiet. He seems tired. It's almost 10 p.m., and it has been, for Gardham, a long day; he'd arrived home just after one that morning, having spent the previous week-and-a-half in Mexico with his wife, where they celebrated their 30th anniversary, and left his house at 10 a.m. to drive to a Chapters bookstore in a big-box shopping mall on the border of Oakville and Mississauga. He spent the subsequent nine hours standing behind a small table, near the entrance, hawking his two self-published books to strangers.

"It was a better day than I thought it would be," he says, his eyes darting between the road ahead and the rear-view mirror. "I didn't think we'd get to that number."

He sold 29 books that day, surpassing the 16 sales he averages at each event. This is Gardham's career.

Every weekend for the past three years, with very few exceptions, Douglas Gardham has travelled to a different bookstore, from British Columbia to New England, to sell his books. Three years ago, just after his first novel, The Actor, was published, he quit his full-time job of 20 years to try and make it as a writer. By his own estimate, he's driven more than 115,000 kilometres during his travels, which have undoubtedly cost him much more than he's earned. This weekend, he'll be in London; next weekend, it'll be Peterborough; at the end of the month, he'll visit Toronto. He has events booked through the rest of 2016. When I ask, as we leave Mississauga behind, how long he can keep this schedule up, he doesn't hesitate at all before answering.

"I can't see myself stopping."

You've probably never heard of Douglas Gardham. I'd never heard of him, either, when, a little more than three years ago, he e-mailed me out of the blue.

He'd just published The Actor, which he'd been working on since 1998, and was trying to drum up some media attention. As a rule, I rarely write about self-published books - there are too many, they are largely terrible and most of them are not readily available in bookstores. I told him to send me a copy of the book, though I had no intention of writing about it.

Over the months - and eventually years - that followed I began to think of Gardham as my benevolent stalker; he sent me regular updates, links to blog posts he'd written, interviews he'd conducted with small-town papers and radio stations and tagged me in tweets, which often included a photograph of Gardham, taken in whichever bookstore he happened to be visiting that weekend, smiling and holding up copies of The Actor and The Drive In, a short-story collection he published in late 2014. Most authors publicizing a new book spend a month or two spreading the word, but Gardham kept going and going. Last year, while visiting in-laws in Ottawa, I spotted him at the Chapters in Kanata; I watched from a distance, pretending to flip through a magazine, as he greeted everyone who walked by, fascinated by this author who was in the midst of a seemingly endless book tour. I felt sorry for him, to be honest, but I also admired his commitment.

Finally, a few months ago, after receiving one of his newsletters and realizing it had been three years since he'd first contacted me, I could no longer help myself.

Who was Douglas Gardham?

We meet at the Indigo at Bay and Bloor in Toronto one Saturday in June. Gardham, who is 54 years old, has been told he looks like a slightly younger Bill Murray, although I'd describe him as John C.

Reilly's older brother. He's wearing olive slacks and a purple plaid shirt and, when I arrive, is in the midst of preparing for the day.

(He goes on to sell 18 books.) He shakes my hand with a child-like giddiness, and we sit and chat in a nearby Starbucks, agreeing how strange it is to be finally meeting after all these years. I apologize for taking so long to interview him, and he laughs.

"I didn't have a clue what I was doing," he says of his early media outreach. "I had to come to the realization [that] I'd been writing most of my life, but from the world's perspective, I'd just started."

The Actor, a bizarre, David Lynch-like thriller about obsession, delusion and determination, tells the story of a man named Ethan Jones who, still haunted by the disappearance of his college girlfriend years earlier, moves to Hollywood to try and become a star. It's a novel about pursuing dreams, about never losing faith - lines include "You just can't stand there and expect something to happen" and "You only get to go through [life] once, you know.

You got to make it count" - and it's difficult not to draw parallels between Gardham's life and that of his protagonist. Ethan, even when his career is floundering, is constantly telling people, "You won't forget me," and to remember his name because "you'll hear it again someday."

"I've talked to so many people who are not necessarily doing what they want to do," he says.

"They have something inside them that they would like to do but they just can't. And that's how The Actor was originally written - the idea of someone getting out from what they were doing and chasing a dream."

Gardham was born in Toronto in 1962. His mother was an elementary school teacher who became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of Gardham and his two younger siblings, while his father worked for Bank of Nova Scotia. The family moved from town to town - Oshawa, Kitchener, Petrolia - before settling in Markham. Gardham was a talented athlete - "If you talk to my father today, he would still say [I] could have played professional hockey" - and an avid musician (his high school band was named Atlantis; they make a cameo in The Actor).

After graduating from Carleton with a degree in mechanical engineering, he moved to Toronto, where he worked for the Ministry of Transportation by day and played the occasional open-mic night, although his dreams of becoming a musician ended at the Free Times Cafe on College Street.

"I invited a bunch of friends one night and it was just a disaster," he recalls. "I was so embarrassed.

That's actually when I started to write short stories." (The Gift, one of the stories collected in The Drive In, dates from this era.)

He bounced around, from city to city - Toronto, Cambridge and, finally, Alliston - and job to job - a computer company, a snowplough manufacturer and Husky Injection Molding Systems, where he spent two decades. The entire time he was leading what he calls "a double life."

"Engineering is not particularly creative, and there's a reason," he says. "You want the planes to stay in the air, boats to float, wheels to stay on your car. You don't want to get creative in those areas. So, for me, writing was always that outlet."

His first novel, which he wrote on the bus to and from work, was called H20 and was about an engineer working for a lawnmower company who invents a hydrogen-powered car that threatens the oil industry and leads to the abduction of his wife. A second novel, with the working title Misunderstood, concerned a man who learns of a sexual assault only to realize "he's closer to it than he thought he was." His third novel was The Actor.

After completing a manuscript in 2000, Gardham then tried to find a literary agent or publisher, sending the novel to several of the big American imprints.

"I knew nothing," he admits. "I would get rejection after rejection. I can remember being in Bolton" - where Husky is based - "and literally phoning New York from a pay phone to see whether they'd looked at my submission or not."

He put the novel aside for a while, writing short stories instead, but "it never went away.

It would just eat away [at me].

And every two or three years, it would come back and say something like, 'Is this it?' "Finally, after a decade of frustration, he turned to iUniverse, the Indianabased publishing service that has released some eventual bestsellers, including Lisa Genova's Still Alice and, here in Canada, The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis.

The novel was published in April, 2013; the following month, Gardham was asked to transfer to a new position at Husky, something he had little interest in doing. "I really felt like I had something special and I couldn't let it go any more," he says. So, during a meeting with colleagues, he asked them to search for his name and The Actor on the Internet.

"'Wow, an author with your name.' That was the first response. I said, 'That's actually me.

That's my book.' "His last day of work was May 31, 2013; his friends held a book launch for him the next day.

I visit Gardham in Alliston on a Monday afternoon in late June.

He lives in a spacious suburban house with his wife, Laura, a personal trainer. (They have a son who lives in Toronto and a daughter who lives in Vancouver.)

Upstairs, he shows me his office, the walls hidden by bookshelves showing off his wide-ranging taste in books: Nino Ricci and Alice Munro shelved next to Joe Hill; Jonathan Franzen's Farther Away next to Neil Pasricha's The Book of Awesome; two copies of Vincent Lam's Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures; Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries and Ron MacLean's Cornered; Claire Tomalin's biography of Charles Dickens and Walter Isaacson's biography of Albert Einstein; Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler and Stephen King.

"I wouldn't be here without King or Robertson Davies," he says as I study the spines. "It was King that inspired me through his 'Constant Reader' notes that I could actually write, and Davies always said writing is more about diligence and discipline than anything else."

Gardham is disciplined in his diligence. He held his first signing in the summer of 2013 and has since then done more than 125 events. The weekend before we first met in Toronto, he'd been in Massachusetts and Vermont; the following weekend, he drove up to Sudbury for the day, arriving back home at three in the morning. He sold 27 books that day.

"I think Doug probably does more signings at Chapters-Indigo than any other author in Canada," says Keith Ogorek, the senior vice-president of marketing at Author Solutions, the parent company of iUniverse. "I don't know what his motivation is. I don't know how he's wired - I haven't seen his Briggs-Myers [personality test] or anything so I don't know why he does it."

Gardham's wife, Laura, describes her husband as "an introvert," and Gardham himself initially dismissed the idea of doing in-store events, saying, "I'm the guy that comes in the store [and] goes to the shelf and looks at books. I'm not the guy that's coming to the table."

The table is always flanked by a banner, about seven feet tall, which Gardham printed at Home Depot and which features both the covers, and short blurbs about, his two books. He will stand there - and he is adamant about this part, saying "if you're not famous, and you don't have a lineup at your book signing, stand up!" - for hours on end, rarely, if ever, taking a break. He brings snacks from home. He greets everyone who walks by with a cheerful hello, and always brings a stack of business cards to hand out to those who listen to his "20second elevator pitch," which he has delivered tens of thousands of times.

"The Actor is the story of a young man's journey of self-discovery and overcoming the trauma of a personal tragedy in his life, which he does in a somewhat unique way - by chasing a dream," he says, delivering it like an infomercial voice-over when I ask him to try it out on me.

"Except the dream isn't quite what it seems. It's a story of love and hardship, persistence and overwhelming joy. It reads like a thriller but it's more than that.

And the tagline for the book is 'The Actor can portray anything you can imagine.' "Both times I watched him at work, he sold a book within the first five minutes; he happily signed their copies when the customers returned from the cashier.

He often asks them to pose for a photo, which he will post on social media. The days can be long, and sometimes boring, but "it's a privilege and good fortune to actually do something that I just never really thought was going to happen."

Gardham has an admittedly scattershot approach to publicity; the bookstore events are just one part of it. He blogs, updates his Facebook page and sends out an eclectic collection of tweets to his 86,000 followers. "I think you have to be everywhere. You have to consider almost everything. I know some things work and some things don't." Numerous times, he tells me how little he knows about the publishing industry, but this ignorance serves him well.

"You're not supposed to call Heather Reisman?" he asks me at one point. "Why not?" .

Gardham has already written his next two novels, The Musician, which he hopes to publish next year, and The Author; together, they form a trilogy. Despite his relative success with self-publishing - he's sold more than 4,000 books in total, a solid number for Canada - he very much hopes to land a "traditional" publisher. He talks of reaching "the next level."

He's planning more events in the United States, calling it "wideopen territory." And although he's visited many bookstores multiple times, he still sees potential growth closer to home. "There's what, 3.5 million people in the [Greater Toronto Area]? My last number was 4,300 books [sold]. I have a long way to go."

Just how long he'll be able to go remains uncertain. His life, he admits, "was planned and predictable before. It's not like that any more." When I ask him about finances, he says, in the business world, "you're usually five-plus years before you actually break even." He's been at it for more than three. Writing is his only source of income, and currently, "I'm relying on savings that we've got. But we're not far off." He can't imagine going back to work. "If you're not willing to give up everything for it, you don't want it bad enough."

Laura says that while "I really, really want it to work for him, because it's something that he cares deeply about, of course I have concerns." Such as? "That it won't be sustainable. The books have got to hit a tipping point.

One of these books has got to fly.

It's got to go big in order for him to make a living as an author."

But even if he gives up everything, success is not guaranteed.

We're sitting at his kitchen table, having just returned from lunch at his local diner, and I ask him if he ever considers that.

"You can strive for something as much as you want but there's no guarantee it's going to pay off in the end," I say.

That spending almost every Saturday for three years on the road is not enough. That saying hello to strangers 500 times in one afternoon is not enough. That quitting your job is not enough.

That visiting bookstores from Belleville to Brampton to Burlington is not enough. That writing is not enough. That none of it is enough.

"You just don't know what's going to happen," he says. "But not to try, and to wish you had, is a whole other category. And I've had enough of that to know."

Associated Graphic


Douglas Gardham has held more than 125 book signings at stores across Canada and the U.S. On average, he sells 16 copies per event.

Self-published Canadian author Doug Gardham speaks with Jonathan Lewis during his 129th book signing in Toronto.


Take this advice and call me in the morning
From over-Googling to stuffing a laundry list of ailments into a 15-minute appointment, there are things patients do that steer their doctors - and their health care - off course. Wency Leung identifies six bad habits - and prescribes the cure
Monday, July 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page L1

'Non-compliance" is a word Dr. Sara Taylor commonly encountered during her medical training in the late 1990s.

It was a term doctors used when patients didn't follow orders, like when patients stopped taking medication because they couldn't tolerate the side effects, or failed to adhere to their prescribed diet, or did not quit smoking.

These days, Taylor, a family physician in Red Deer, Alta., says she rarely hears the term because it has become as passé as the paternalistic approach to medicine from which it emerged.

The patient-doctor relationship has changed profoundly over the past two decades. Patients are no longer expected to unquestioningly follow doctors' orders. Instead, a model of patient-centered care has become the norm, where patients take a leading role in decisions about their health.

This new approach, based on mutual respect and two-way communication, isn't just about being friendly. It can benefit patients' health. Long assumed, but difficult to prove, a review and meta-analysis by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, published in 2014 in the journal PLOS One, found the patient-doctor relationship has a small, but significant effect on health outcomes. The findings suggest trust, empathy and good communication do have a positive impact on things like weight loss, pain relief and blood pressure.

But putting patients in the driver's seat has also introduced a new set of unwritten rules for navigating the patient-doctor relationship. Doctors may not chide patients for "non-compliance" any more, but patient co-operation is necessary. As patients become authorities of their own health, they're also expected to take on more responsibility - to make informed decisions, to stay on top of their prescriptions and to be honest with their physicians.

Dr. Sharon Domb, a family physician in Toronto, emphasizes the majority of patients are very reasonable and her interactions with them are mostly positive, but there are times when patients can be difficult.

"It's the usual, sort of, 90:10 rule, right? Ninety per cent of your patients cause 10 per cent of the challenges and 10 per cent of your patients cause 90 per cent of your grief," says Domb, who works at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

If you're among that 10 per cent, you may be undermining your relationship with your doctor and sabotaging your own health. Based on interviews with doctors who've experienced the gamut of patient encounters, here are remedies for six common patient faux pas.



Being sick is no fun, but sometimes our bahaviour makes things worse, Wency Leung writes. Want to have a good relationship with your medical professional? Don't be like these guys



You've got more ailments than fingers: an ingrown toenail, a wonky knee, insomnia, back pain, what appears to be an ear infection, heart palpitations. And you've saved up all your complaints for one single doctor's appointment.

"It's challenging from our end," Dr. Sharon Domb says, because when there's a limited amount of time allotted per appointment, doctors can't tackle a patient's list of complaints without creating a serious logjam in their waiting rooms.

"Sometimes," she adds, "the last issue is chest pain, so the most serious one to us is the last one on their list, but it's the one we actually need to address."


A misguided attempt at efficiency.

Patients may feel they don't want to bother their doctor with repeat visits, especially if they have several minor complaints, Domb says. Plus, it can be difficult for busy patients to find time to see their doctors. And sometimes, they may have to wait a long time to get an appointment.


Domb says some doctors set a limit of one issue per visit, though she doesn't do this herself. She does, however, ask patients for the most important issues they want to address, and then asks them to come back for the rest.

It can be tough for patients to prioritize their health complaints, she acknowledges. But, she says, "If there's a serious issue like chest pain or shortness of breath, bring it up first, rather than the wart on your foot."

If you're worried about troubling your doctor with multiple visits, don't be. They'd rather see you more frequently than try to cram a year's worth of health complaints in 15 to 30 minutes.




You're mentally sharp and capable of tackling everything else in your life. But when it comes to matters regarding your health, let's face it, you're about as attentive as a goldfish.

The Oblivious Patient doesn't keep track of their symptoms or medications, offering doctors little or unreliable information to work with. They're typically the ones scrambling to the pharmacy for a refill only after their prescription has run out. They fail to show up for appointments, which ends up wasting time.


Absentmindedness or over-dependence on the health-care provider.

"Some feel the onus is on the health-care team to manage everything for them," Domb says.

For some patients, keeping track of their health is simply low on their list of priorities. Others may be more accustomed to the old, top-down approach to medical care, deferring to their doctors for all health matters.


Whether you're an Oblivious Patient or not, Dr. Sara Taylor suggests everyone can benefit from keeping a health diary. This can take the form of a daybook, an electronic calendar or even brief notes on your smartphone. The idea is to jot down details, such as dates and times of day when symptoms arise, the severity of symptoms, a record of doctors' appointments and information conveyed during the visits, and test results.

A health diary can help you and your doctor find patterns for all kinds of concerns, from migraines to fertility issues to mental illnesses, Taylor says. It can provide valuable clues for identifying specific triggers, and you can look back on your records years later when a problem recurs. Moreover, pain and illness can change your perception of time; a day can feel like weeks when you're suffering. A health diary can help you keep a more accurate timeline of what's happening with your health, not just in the days or hours leading up to a doctor's appointment.




Doctors? Who needs 'em? Not you. You're fit as a fiddle. Healthy as a horse. That pain in your chest? Blurred vision? It'll pass. At least, you're hoping it will...

Sure, some patients make unnecessary visits to the hospital emergency department for minor complaints like sore throats and sniffles. But Dr. James Heilman also sees patients at the opposite end of the spectrum: those who ignore their symptoms and delay seeking medical help far longer than they should. Reluctant patients may needlessly prolong their suffering, while a serious condition can become even worse.

Heilman, an emergency room physician in Cranbrook, B.C., and a clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, has seen patients who've experienced chest pains for more than half a day before finally agreeing to go to the hospital - and often only at the urging of a concerned spouse.

"They're like, 'It's just indigestion. It's just indigestion. It's just indigestion,'" he says. "And when they arrive, [it turns out] they've had a massive heart attack. That occurs not that infrequently."



In Heilman's experience, this typically affects men more than women. Women tend to have more contact with the health care system in general, he says. Many men under 50 rarely see physicians, he explains, while women are more likely to see doctors regularly for birth control, pregnancy and health visits for their children. This lack of exposure may help explain why men can be more reluctant to seek medical help when it's needed.

But Heilman says many patients simply don't want to believe a serious health problem could happen to them.

"They don't want anything to be wrong. So, you know, they hope by ignoring it, it'll simply go away. Some of it is simply wishful thinking," Heilman says.


The tricky thing is, barring obvious scenarios like a serious fall or an anaphylactic reaction, it's often tough to know when to go to the emergency department.

"That's a difficult judgment call for someone who's not a medical expert to make," Heilman says, since people's risk tolerance and pain thresholds vary.

Educational health campaigns can help patients recognize symptoms, Heilman says, which may make them less likely to ignore serious issues when they occur. Meanwhile, measures like not smoking, exercising regularly and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can help prevent them from landing in the emergency department in the first place, he adds.

But Heilman says when it comes to handling reluctant patients, emergency-room physicians like himself are usually so busy tackling their underlying medical conditions, there's not much time or opportunity to address patients' hesitance to seek help.

Besides, he adds, "If someone comes in with a heart attack, you know, when you inform them of that fact, you don't normally need to say anything more. ... The wife usually says, 'I told you so,' and she usually scolds him for you."




Dr. Google can be a blessing and a curse. Many doctors encourage patients to do their own research and inform themselves about their health. But your Internet search can do more harm than good.

The Misinformed Patient may refuse to get vaccines, for instance, after an online search yields frightening unsubstantiated warnings. Or he or she may reject pharmaceutical drugs in favour of natural treatments, with the impression that natural substances are safer.


Unreliable sources.

The perception that pharmaceuticals are fundamentally dangerous and natural remedies are safe is a common one that Domb wishes to dispel. Some of the most potent drugs come from natural sources, she says, noting that digoxin, a drug used to treat heart conditions, and heroin, for example, come from plants.

Pharmaceutical drugs are subject to rigorous testing and regulations, she adds. But the regulatory process for natural health products is far less stringent by comparison.

One reason people may be more inclined to believe pharmaceutical drugs are more dangerous is because they likely hear and read more about their side effects, Domb says. When you get a new prescription filled, for instance, your pharmacist typically presents you with a whole list of potential side effects. But this doesn't often happen when you buy natural supplements, whether it's magnesium pills or echinacea. That doesn't mean side effects for such products don't exist, Domb says. The bottom line: "Just because something is natural does not mean it's safe," she says.


Your doctor's job isn't to try to convince you of certain treatments. But he or she does want to make sure you make informed decisions about your health. Even if you decline to get those vaccines or decide quitting smoking isn't for you, your doctor ideally will respect your choices; the aim is for you to keep coming back. (Although please don't get huffy if they warn you about the potential risks.)

When it comes to doing your own health research, be skeptical, Heilman says.

"Any source of information can contain errors. Some of them are directly trying to mislead you," he says, while some errors simply happen unintentionally.

To help correct flawed information, Heilman is involved in Wiki Project Med Foundation, an initiative to share and maintain accurate health material on Wikipedia.

He suggests a good rule of thumb before making important medical decisions is to look up multiple reliable resources, such as Cochrane (, which is a global health network, the World Health Organization (, the U.S. National Institutes of Health ( and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, just to name a few.




When it comes to your health, you don't want to hold back. You'd like your doctor to order the full gamut of tests available - blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, mammograms. The trouble is, these tests are not always warranted.

"Sometimes when patients push for stuff, they find things that ultimately improve their health," Heilman says. "But other times, patients end up getting care that they do not need, which costs our health-care system money and not infrequently ends up harming themselves."


A misguided attempt to be thorough.

Certain private clinics offer comprehensive screening as a head-to-toe health check. But, Heilman warns, if you undergo a battery of tests, chances are you'll receive some abnormal results because "people have, you know, little discrepancies between one person or another."

They're known as "incidentalomas," he says, asymptomatic bumps and lumps that are discovered incidentally.

If an unnecessary full-body MRI finds a nodule in your lungs, for instance, "the question is, what do we do next?" Further investigation by doing a biopsy could put you at risk of pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung, or a postoperative infection. But not doing anything can fuel your worries about what that nodule might mean.

Our medical system is designed to address specific problems that patients present to their doctors, rather than casting a wide net to pick up potential health issues, Heilman says. "Those are two very different situations," he says, noting the benefit of ordering a mammogram for a patient who has found a lump in her breast is quite different from screening individuals with mammograms as a matter of course.


The first step is to try to figure out why a patient is requesting a particular test, Heilman says. Then, he says, he typically has a discussion with the patient about the potential risks and benefits.

If it's a relatively harmless test, "it's often easier for the physician to go ahead and do the test," he says. But trying to dissuade someone from doing a potentially risky test can be challenging.

"You don't want to harm the person by doing unnecessary tests, but you also don't want to send the patient home unhappy and have them simply drive down the road to another doctor to try the whole thing again," Heilman says.

Occasionally, patients submit complaints against their physicians, if they don't get the tests they want, he adds. "From a physician point of view, the hard thing is to refuse to do a test to the patient who's requesting it. The easy thing to do and the fastest thing to do is to give in."




Maybe you're a closet smoker. Maybe you have mental-health issues you don't wish to reveal. Maybe you use drugs surreptitiously. Or you're having extramarital sex. We all have secrets. But if you lie or withhold information from your physician, you could put your health at risk.

Dr. Zachary Levine, an emergency physician and assistant professor at McGill University, says doctors can struggle to make an accurate diagnosis if patients aren't honest with them.

Your doctor could also prescribe medication that has serious interactions with other drugs they don't know you're taking. And if you have an undetected infection that needs treating, you could wind up spreading the disease, Levine says.

"Doctors go with whatever evidence we have," he says.


Fear or embarrassment.

In general, people are most reluctant to be open about things when they're worried they'll be judged for it, Levine says.

Some patients are hesitant to bring up issues about their sexual health or discuss infidelity when they share the same doctor as their parents or spouses, he adds. Others may simply fail to see how the information they're withholding could be relevant to the purpose of their doctor's visit.

But, he emphasizes, the more honest patients and doctors are with each other, the better they're able to tackle health issues together. This includes encouraging patients to speak up if they don't feel they have enough time with their doctor, if they don't feel comfortable taking certain medications, or need more explanation about what a diagnosis means.


Setting the stage for an open discussion is a doctor's responsibility. And a good doctor will ideally convey to patients that they aren't judging them, Levine says.

If you raise concerns about your care, and your doctor doesn't want to hear them, "well then, maybe you're not seeing the right doctor."

For patients, maintaining an honest relationship involves "a leap of faith," he says. Patients should know anything they say to their doctors, with life-threatening exceptions, is confidential by law. They should also assume that they share the same goal as their doctor: to maintain or improve their health.

"You shouldn't be adversaries," Levine says. "You should be working together."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

'People were doing the three weeks on, one week off. Well, they're just not going out any more'
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B6

CALGARY, SURREY, B.C. -- This is part of an occasional series on Canada's economy and its shift away from resources.

Lee Cronin saw the end of his time in Alberta coming. In 2015, he made a base wage of $42 an hour on the rigs, but the lucrative overtime pay he collected as a derrickhand started to dry up as the lower oil price became more entrenched.

After spending the better part of seven years flying from his home in British Columbia to his jobs in the oil patch, Mr. Cronin, 42, saw his hours dwindle and the frequency of his flights significantly decrease.

The pickup truck he kept at the airport park-and-ride in Edmonton was suddenly doing little more than racking up parking fees. After one particularly long spell away from Alberta, he recalls paying more than $800.

Then, in January, the work came to a halt altogether.

"It's feast or famine out there. I knew that," Mr. Cronin said during a break from his new job in B.C. "We were making very good money. Then things slowed right down to a snail's pace."

Now Mr. Cronin works at the Teal-Jones lumber mill in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, along with others who have left Alberta's oil bust. But he makes less than half of the base wage he earned on the rigs.

He and his co-workers are part of a small but growing contingent who are leaving Alberta for other, more economically robust provinces. The low price of crude and the resulting loss of tens of thousands of oil-patch jobs has now set off a new wave of interprovincial migration that is reshaping the configuration of Canada's labour force.

"We're right at the turning point now," as Canadians uproot in search of work wherever they can find it, said BMO Nesbitt Burns senior economist Robert Kavcic.

"You tend to see changes like this happen about six months to a year after you see big shifts in the labour market," such as the extensive job cuts in Alberta, he said.

The current migration from Alberta is part of a broader trend of Canadians becoming increasingly mobile in the search for work, according to the Bank of Canada.

"Labour is being more efficiently reallocated to the regions of the country that have the tightest labour markets and away from those with excess labour supply," said the central bank's recent report, Canadian Labour Market Dispersion: Mind the (Shrinking) Gap.

The excess labour supply is currently concentrated in Alberta, where long-time residents are contemplating packing up and moving out - sometimes back to hometowns they haven't lived in for decades. Fly-in/fly-out workers from B.C., Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada who once earned big Alberta paycheques are setting aside their nomadic lifestyle to find what are often more modest-paying jobs closer to home. Some are just waiting until their children finish school or they sell their home before heading to strong labour markets in British Columbia and Ontario.

While the province once attracted migrants from across the country, and immigrants from around the world, economic heft has - at least for the time being - shifted elsewhere.

"It's just a complete turnaround from what we've been used to over the past decade or so," Mr. Kavcic said.

Alberta today is a province humbled by low global commodity prices - particularly for oil, which began its price slide in mid-2014. The Conference Board of Canada says the price slump means the province will remain in recession this year, with its economy contracting by 2 per cent in 2016. The wildfires that hit the Fort McMurray region in May could add to the economic woes of the province. Longer term, concerns about the ability to build new pipelines, having access to international crude and natural gas markets beyond the United States, and the restraint that could be placed on the energy industry in an increasingly low-carbon world, also weigh on the province.

People have voted with their feet. Alberta's long-standing status as a net gainer of people from other provinces officially ended late last year.

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta had a net loss of 977 people to all the other provinces in late 2015, and another 1,788 in the first three months of this year.

This is the first time the province has been a net loser in recent memory, save for several months during the global financial crisis in 2009 - and that was really just a blip in the long-term trend of people moving to Alberta. When it comes to significant numbers, Alberta hasn't lost people to other parts of the country since the early 1990s, a time when energy prices just started to rise out of the deep hole of the previous decade. Alberta was a net loser of tens of thousands of people between 1983 and 1988.

But now that the province has seen two years of lower energy prices, the question is whether this is the thin edge of a wedge, and the beginning of a larger movement of people to other provinces.

British Columbia, with jobs in forestry, construction, transportation and real estate, is becoming a destination of choice, and employment statistics show why.

B.C.'s unemployment rate is 5.9 per cent, the lowest provincially.

In June, the number of people employed grew by 70,000, or a 3-per-cent increase, the fastest growth among the provinces.

More B.C. residents moved to Alberta than the other way around from 2011 to 2013, but the trend began reversing in the third quarter of 2014 as the B.C. economy stayed steady. Last year, as Alberta's economy slumped, British Columbia saw a net gain of about 5,400 people from its next-door neighbour.

In many Alberta communities with strong ties to the resource sector, there are significant numbers of relative newcomers - drawn to the province for work during the boom years. For those without strong ties to the province, the end of their employment could mean there's nothing to keep them in Alberta. "People will head back to where they came from," said University of Western Ontario sociologist Michael Haan, who studies migration.

"It's not just about oil. Because some of the biggest movements in and out of Alberta were not necessarily oil workers - they were people who were working in construction," Prof. Haan said.

Work of all sorts has dried up.

In Statistics Canada's Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region, which includes Fort McMurray and oil sands production, the unemployment rate for all of 2015 was 7.9 per cent, compared with 4.7 per cent in 2014. Alberta as a whole has continued to see its unemployment rate creep up, going to 7.9 per cent in June from the 5.8 per cent registered one year earlier.

Layoffs have become a weekly norm. The provincial government, which requires Albertabased companies to report plans to lay off 50 or more employees at once, says the number of group termination notices was 27 in 2013, 35 in 2014, and hit 116 in 2015. So far in 2016, there have been 50 notices. May was an especially brutal month, with 2,460 Alberta workers laid off in just nine group terminations.

For Alberta's energy sector, and those industries reliant on it, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. The Conference Board says the slow recovery in oil prices should ease the number of layoffs and cuts to capital budgets in the oil and gas sectors in the coming months.

The wildfire that burned a tenth of Fort McMurray and temporarily shuttered oil sands operations in the region could add to the march out of Alberta as some people choose not to go back to the region. However, the rebuilding effort will likely boost the number of jobs available in the province, and help with the modest economic recovery predicted for 2017, if commodity prices stabilize or rise.

But interprovincial migration numbers reported by Statistics Canada likely understate the magnitude of the shift taking place.

During the boom years, Alberta's work force included a sizable "shadow population" of people living in camps or in other temporary accommodation while working long hours in energy sector jobs. Like Mr. Cronin, after days or weeks of work, they would fly back home for a break at their primary residences in other provinces.

Frequent flights, including charters, between Atlantic Canada and Fort McMurray - the flyin/fly-out capital of Canada - made a mobile work force possible. But now those trips have plummeted. For instance, Fort McMurray's international airport reported a 62-per-cent decrease in charter flights between March 2015 and February 2016.

"People were doing the three weeks on, one week off. Well, they're just not going out any more," says New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, whose province's unemployment rate has gone up to about 10 per cent in recent months - a trend he attributes in part to some of his province's residents losing their Alberta-based jobs.

This year has also seen reports about a seemingly inexplicable jump in Kelowna, B.C.'s unemployment rate, while building permits, housing starts and other economic indicators are up. The Okanagan Lake city's unemployment rate sat at 7.5 per cent in June but earlier in the year had topped Edmonton and Calgary.

Kelowna's mayor and others say the uptick in unemployment is due at least in part to the downturn in Alberta, and the potentially thousands of B.C.southern interior residents who lost their commuter jobs in the oil patch.

Statistics Canada says the number of "interprovincial employees" working in Canada (those who live in one province but work in another) at any given time is directly linked to the price of oil. In 2011, the most recent year that numbers are available, Statistics Canada reported that about 3 per cent of Canada's paid work force were interprovincial employees, with more than a quarter of those at work in Alberta.

Alberta's unemployed now includes another restless group: Those who have lost their jobs and want to leave but have to wait. Some don't want to leave the home they know, some can't sell their house for a price they like and some wanted to see their children finish the school year.

For most of the seven years that Grande Prairie, Alta. was her home, Crystal-Dawn Dolen, 34, had never had trouble finding work. She worked as a pit boss at a casino and then was a sales rep for a company that provides car breathalyzers. But in January she was laid off. A few months later, still unable to find steady work, she and her 13-year-old son packed up and moved to her brother's home in Edmonton.

There, Ms. Dolen has found a part-time retail job. But the situation isn't permanent. With her son done the school year in Alberta, she is preparing to move next month to the Langley area in British Columbia - to stay with a friend until they get settled.

She knows housing costs are significantly higher in the Lower Mainland, but she believes with B.C.'s strong economy she will be able to find some kind of customer service-oriented job.

"Working and not getting laid off - and being stable - that's what I'm looking for."

Just a couple of decades ago, the country saw big differences between employment rates in different provinces. These differences between regions and jurisdictions were more pronounced here than they were in other countries, such as the United States.

But according to a March report from the Bank of Canada, differences between provincial labour markets have levelled. And the central bank said it's not about stronger employment growth in previously weak regions of the country; it's because regional population growth has increasingly taken place in response to labour market conditions.

"Despite the impacts of commodity price booms from 2003 to 2008 and 2010 to 2014, the 2008 Great Recession, and the recent sharp decline in commodity prices on the Canadian economy, Canada's provincial labour markets are less dissimilar today than at any point in at least the past 35 years," said the report by Bank of Canada economists David Amirault and Naveen Rai.

In London, Ont., Prof. Haan notes that while most people prefer to remain in the province of their birth, there are a number of factors that make moving away, or travelling regularly for work in another province, more palatable today.

Flights are significantly less expensive, when adjusted for inflation, than they were in past decades. Technology allows people to easily research job postings on the other side of the country, as well as keep in touch with family members and friends living far away. These considerations are especially relevant for younger workers, whose roots might not be as deep as those of older workers, he said.

While that labour mobility once saw Alberta gaining people at the expense of other provinces, economic forces are now pushing people toward Ontario and B.C. - the provinces that will lead Canada's economic growth this year.

Ian Pohanke, 31, graduated from high school in Surrey in 2003 before he moved to Alberta and worked his way up and ran his own welding business based in Calgary.

"Never been so rich, never been so broke," he said. "I had this dream of chasing the oil money in Alberta. I have some older cousins and family that live up in northern Alberta, and heard their stories."

Mr. Pohanke has moved back into his parents' Surrey home, returning to his old bedroom that had been converted into a guest room. Seven of his B.C.

friends also flocked to Alberta after high school. Mr. Pohanke is the last to return. "I made it the longest and everyone else is back," he said. He's now a mill worker along with Mr. Cronin.

Asked whether they would return to Alberta, Mr. Cronin and Mr. Pohanke joked that they couldn't really say, given that their boss was within earshot.

Logan Jones, 26, also a former energy-sector worker, is now the general manager of a small unit at Teal-Jones that is producing shingle-siding panels from western red cedar, hoping to find a niche in the U.S. market by making a higher-quality product.

Mr. Jones, who graduated from high school in B.C.'s Fraser Valley, spent 18 months at rigs in Alberta and B.C. The former roughneck moved back to his home province in April, 2014 - before the energy industry downturn.

Praising the work ethic of Mr.Cronin and Mr. Pohanke, Mr.Jones said their time in Alberta helped shape his two employees.

"You learn how to work hard, and in the cold."

Associated Graphic


Lee Cronin stands at the Teal-Jones Group lumber mill in Surrey, B.C., where he now works after oil patch work dried up. He makes less than half his previous wage.


Crystal-Dawn Dolen lost her job in January. She plans to move to Langley, B.C., where she believes she will find work.


Logan Jones, a unit general manager at the Teal-Jones mill, moved back to B.C. in April, 2014, before the oil downturn.


There's something fishy going on here ...
For years, experts have been sounding the alarm on mislabelling and food fraud. Increasingly, they say, global criminal organizations are targeting the food system, intercepting supply chains and deliberately misrepresenting or adulterating products - and costing the food industry billions of dollars. Now, scientists are using DNA barcoding to determine whether your food is really what you think it is. Ann Hui reports
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 – Print Edition, Page A8

A few years ago, federal food inspectors were walking around the warehouses of the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto - the nerve centre where much of the province's fresh produce is bought, repackaged and sold - when they noticed something unusual.

In the "farmer's market" area, where only Ontario-grown produce is meant to be sold, the inspectors saw large cartons of greenhouse peppers with conflicting labels. The outside of the boxes had "Product of Canada" stickers, next to visible signs of damage on the cardboard - bits of paper and glue, as if another sticker had been peeled off. Stickers on the inside of the box read "Product of Mexico."

That discovery in January, 2012, led the Canadian Food Inspection Agency into a three-year investigation of the company behind the peppers, Mucci Farms - the largest such probe in the agency's history.

After executing three search warrants at the company's headquarters in Kingsville, Ont., and poring over its computer records and internal e-mails, CFIA investigators pieced together evidence that, between late 2011 and early 2013, Mucci had been selling imported products as Canadian - putting hundreds of shipments of mislabelled produce worth more than $1.4-million onto Ontario grocery store shelves.

In one e-mail described in a court document and obtained by The Globe and Mail, one of the company's directors, Danny Mucci, responded to a message from an employee about a shortage of Canadian mini cucumbers by telling the worker: "you know what to do to fill ... it's only 30 cases."

Mucci International Marketing Inc., Mucci Pac Ltd. and two of its directors (Mr. Mucci and Joseph Spano) pleaded guilty in June of this year to eight regulatory offences - including one count against the company for selling food in a "false, misleading or deceptive" manner - and were fined $1.5-million.

Mucci's lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, said in an interview that the mislabelling was not intentional and that, given the volume of Mucci's 1,200-employee operation, the transactions made up "a very small part of what they do." He also emphasized that they pleaded guilty to regulatory offences, not criminal ones. Criminal charges against Mucci International, Mucci Pac and the two directors of defrauding the public, and defrauding Costco, Loblaw and Sobeys - to whom Mucci sold the produce - were withdrawn.

The case sent shock waves through the country's agriculture industry, and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers called it a "unique" precedent. "My hope is that it's an isolated case," the marketing board's manager, Rick Seguin, said in an interview.

By almost all accounts, it is not. Although just how widespread it is remains unclear.

For years, experts have been sounding the alarm on mislabelling and food fraud. Increasingly, they say, criminal organizations around the world are targeting the food system, intercepting supply chains and deliberately misrepresenting or adulterating products - and costing the food industry between $10-billion and $15-billion (U.S.) each year, according to the U.S.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association.

And, according to conversations with experts in the Canadian food industry, scientists and regulators, the problem is widespread within our own borders.

But even the CFIA does not seem to know just how widespread it is. Individual cases provide an incomplete picture. And the 74 cases of non-compliance with labelling laws from the past year published on the CFIA website - a number the agency say has held steady over the past five years - present only a portion of incidents where the agency has found companies breaking the rules. It includes only the cases in which the products were actually seized and detained or disposed of, but also includes technical infractions, such as language or font size on packaging.

When asked how prevalent the problem is in Canada, the agency cited U.S. data that show fraud affects about 10 per cent of all food products globally. It also acknowledged it has not yet conducted a widespread survey of its own to understand its full impact within Canada.

Which raises the question: How do you fight a problem you don't yet understand?

Action and reaction

In his years as a lawyer representing companies in intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting cases in Canada, Lorne Lipkus has seen cases of food fraud ranging from counterfeit basmati rice (knockoffs of a high-end brand) to fake ginseng.

"You'd think: 'How expensive is it to grow a bag of rice?'" he said. "But if someone's making something and making a profit out of it, somebody's counterfeiting it."

The term "food fraud" can include simple mislabelling (inaccurate country of origin, a modified expiration date or false claims such as "organic"), product substitutions (selling a cheaper species of meat or fish as a more expensive one) or counterfeits of brands. And, because food often goes through several hands and countries to reach grocery stores in Canada, retailers sometimes have no idea it is mislabelled.

Mr. Lipkus's interest is the counterfeits of brand-name products. And he said the response he has seen in Canada has lagged behind those of other countries.

"Everything we do in Canada is reactive," he said. "We have very poor laws, compared to other countries. And we haven't had any government involved in the longest time - I'm talking decades - willing to provide the resources to law enforcement to do anything about counterfeiting."

In EU countries, border officials have the authority to seize and destroy goods they believe are counterfeit. In Canada, customs officials can detain a product, but it is then incumbent on the complainant to undertake court action and to pay for the goods to remain in detention until the case is heard - which can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Most alarming, he said, is that the scope of the problem is not understood because no agency is specifically looking for fraud.

On the issue of mislabelling, experts also point to policy initiatives abroad - such as a U.S. proposal to require companies to have food-fraud prevention programs - as evidence others seem to take the issue more seriously.

Although the CFIA has not conducted a full survey of the issue in Canada, James Crawford, acting associate vice-president of operations with the federal agency, said CFIA receives about 40 complaints a year about possible food misrepresentation.

In an interview, Mr. Crawford said the agency takes food fraud seriously. He also said Canadians are generally safe from adulterated food - pointing to a Conference Board of Canada study in 2014 that ranked the country's food system as the safest of 17 OECD countries surveyed. On fraud, he said, "we're proactive and reactive."

He said CFIA staff conduct regular inspections of imported and domestic food - including daily inspections at meat processing plants. Still, he was not able to say what percentage of products undergoes such scrutiny for labelling.

"We can't inspect every ... import or domestically produced food in Canada. It's impossible. That's why we have a risk-based plan. And it allows us to focus on where we think the high risks are." Some of the things the agency takes into account in prioritizing inspections include food type and likelihood for illness, and each company's track record of compliance.

Even countries with the most aggressive approaches faced the reality that food fraud is not easily confined by borders.

In March, Interpol and Europol announced the largest-ever seizure of fraudulent food.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Opson V, found almost nine tonnes of sugar laced with fertilizer in Sudan (counterfeit of a well-known brand), more than 85 tonnes of olives in Italy "painted" with a copper sulphate solution to enhance the colour, three factories in Greece each producing thousands of bottles of counterfeit brand-name alcohol, and in Zambia, "modified" expiration dates on cartons of diet powder drinks.

Since the tainted-milk scandal in 2008 in China that killed six babies, and the 2013 horse meat scandal in Europe, regulators and law enforcement agencies - particularly in Europe and the United States - have stepped up enforcement. Interpol is in its fifth year of working with Europol to co-ordinate such crackdowns, which have increased from just 10 countries in 2011 to nearly 60 this year.

To date, Canada has not participated in Opson (named for a category of food in Greek). And, unlike countries such as Britain, Canada does not have a dedicated food crimes unit, through either the RCMP or CFIA.

"How is a consumer in Canada affected? They're affected like everyone else - by the globalization of this type of fraud," Michael Ellis, head of Interpol's Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit, said in an interview. As food supply chains become increasingly opaque and globalized, the risk of fraud increases.

"Once you look under the stone, you realize the food fraud is not - as with many of the crimes we deal with - they're not single-country issues," Mr. Ellis said.

One of the worst examples he has seen involved baby food being mixed with cement and chalk dust.

In Canada, much of the action on the issue has been industry-led. Large retailers in Canada such as Loblaw or Costco have programs to safeguard against adulterations, requiring suppliers to subscribe to standardized food safety programs, and undergo annual audits.

Andrew Clarke, the director of food services at SGS Canada Inc. - which conducts audits for Costco - said his company provides this service for hundreds of firms in Canada, and that fraud is an area of growing concern for clients.

These programs are first and foremost focused on the safety of food products, he said, but increasingly look at quality. SGS, for example, will test the purity of olive oil on behalf of clients to make sure it is actually olive oil and not just green dye in some other type of oil.

"There's a lot more rigour and integrity checks going into food-safety audits than ever before, and the demands are higher than ever before," he said.

In the meantime, Mr. Clarke said, consumers should educate themselves on which products are most frequently subject of fraud - foods such as olive oil or manuka honey - and ask questions when buying them.

"I won't point the finger at certain products and say 'That's a risk, that's a risk,' " Mr. Clarke said. "I'm saying you can consume it, but it might not be what you paid for."

The DNA detectives

On the second floor of the University of Guelph's Centre for Biodiversity Genomics building, behind a door marked "lab for cryptic diversity," researchers are working to help ensure that people do get what they paid for.

One recent afternoon, Amanda Naaum wielded tweezers with one hand and tiny scissors with the other. She carefully cut pieces of flesh about the size of a pencil tip off a fish fillet and placed them in clear plastic tubes.

Dr. Naaum is part of a team at Guelph of experts on DNA barcoding - an innovation developed in 2003 at the university to allow researchers to use DNA to identify species. Using the fish sample, Dr. Naaum will extract DNA, "read" its sequence and compare it with an existing database to determine what it is.

In recent years, researchers such as Dr. Naaum have used the technology on seafood and other foods, such as ground meat, in hopes of giving regulators and the food industry a powerful new tool against food fraud.

Robert Hanner, who runs Guelph's DNA barcoding program for fish, landed on the issue of fraud mostly by accident. Between 2006 and 2007, he was testing the DNA barcoding technology on dozens of filets of fish from restaurants and grocery stores in Toronto and New York, and finding almost one-quarter of the samples were mislabelled.

Over the next 10 years, Dr. Hanner performed similar tests with up to hundreds of samples of fish from across Canada, finding between 25 per cent and about 40 per cent mislabelled.

Among the most common substitutions were tilapia sold as red snapper, basa (a type of catfish) as cod and farmed Atlantic salmon as wild Pacific. Such mislabelling can pose health risks, such as when escolar (which can cause an orange, oily diarrhea if eaten in more than small quantities) is sold as white tuna. In the United States, people have been hospitalized after eating what they thought was monkfish, but turned out to be the toxic pufferfish.

Dr. Hanner said that if the substitutions were accidental, "once in a while we'd get the expensive stuff instead of the cheaper stuff. ... But the fact is, the overwhelming majority of the data are always in the other direction, suggesting it is economically motivated fraud."

In Europe, he said, regulators have had success combining stricter enforcement and consumer education. They have also made it mandatory for products to have their scientific names on the package to reduce confusion in cases where the same common name is used for more than one species (such as "sole," which can refer to 20-odd kinds of fish in Canada). All of this, he said, has reduced the rate of fraud for certain species from more than 20 per cent to just 5 per cent.

In January, the CFIA announced a partnership with Guelph to invest more than $300,000 to help Dr. Hanner and his group develop tools that make it quicker and cheaper to identify species - the DNA sequencing currently takes several days and costs hundreds of dollars a sample.

As for Mucci, it is on a three-year probation during which CFIA inspectors will have free access to its premises and computer records. Mr. Ducharme says the company is doing everything it can to ensure accuracy of its labelling, including appointing a compliance officer and reviewing all of its processes.

He believes the CFIA targeted Mucci in part to set an example. "I don't think it's insignificant that the place that was targeted for the big investigation was the biggest in the industry," he said.

"They know Mucci's the biggest.

The best."



The percentage of all commercially sold food products globally that have likely been subject of fraud Grocery Manufacturers Association


$10-billion to $15-billion

The estimated cost of fraud to the global food industry each year Grocery Manufacturers Association



The estimated number of children who were sickened from the melamine-tainted milk scandal in China in 2008



The average number of complaints the CFIA receives each year about possible misrepresentations of food Canadian Food Inspection Agency



Olive oil's ranking on a European Parliament Top 10 list for food products most at risk for fraud. Rounding out the list: Fish, organic foods, milk, grains, honey/maple syrup, coffee and tea, spices, wine and fruit juices European Parliament



The percentage of frozen beef burgers in Ireland found to contain horse DNA in a 2013 study. The study, conducted by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, touched off a continent-wide scandal Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Associated Graphic


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I married a refugee - and she did pretty well
John Ralston Saul wonders why all Canadians don't see how new arrivals boost the economy - and do more to help them fit in
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Print Edition, Page F1

One of my great-grandfathers came from a family so poor that his parents abandoned him in Trafalgar Square. He somehow ended up in the hands of the Canadian Pacific Railway, was sent from London to Canada as an indentured child - a virtual slave - and began his new life as one of those little boys running messages up and down the transcontinental trains.

He ended up driving the trains - chief engineers, I believe they were called. His son became a doctor in Winnipeg, then ran the St. Boniface Hospital. His daughter married a businessman, Merle Saul, my grandfather - and perhaps more successful as a hockey player. He played rover, a position for the fastest, most agile. His grandfather had immigrated to Montreal in the 1840s to work on the great Victoria Bridge. He was an illiterate stonemason and ended up in Camden East, west of Kingston, Ont., with a 100-acre land grant. More important, he became a very successful builder.

His youngest son married the descendant of United Empire Loyalists - that is, a family of refugees who'd arrived from the United States in the 1780s having lost everything. They seem to have built solid, if unremarkable, lives in and around the neighbouring town of Napanee.

In any case, that youngest son and his new wife moved out to Winnipeg in the 1890s, and did well - Saul and Irish, builders of large stone buildings.

His grandson, my father, left university in 1940 to volunteer for the Winnipeg Rifles and found himself landing in the first wave on D-Day. He had already married a girl he fell in love with in England while waiting to be sent to fight - a war bride. Fortyeight thousand of them came to Canada as young wives, bringing 21,000 Canadian babies and small children with them. Immigrants. I call them the refugees of love. They had left family and country to follow their husbands to a land they didn't know.

As for me, I married a refugee who arrived here as a small child. They had lost everything, and she did pretty well.

All of these are immigrant stories; a surprising number are refugee stories. All people making their way. Contributing. Some are ordinary stories. Some extraordinary. The small abandoned boy in Trafalgar Square.

The young woman following a man to a country she knew only through him. The young man running up the beach of Normandy on the cusp of history.

The little refugee girl becoming governor-general.

So, when I hear people debating the economics of immigration and refugees, I am always surprised.

Speaking for my own family, trickling in here over two and a half centuries, we all arrived with nothing, except my mother who arrived with a little boy, my older brother. So, yes, some of us arrived with families, the core of Canada's success. And we brought our ambitions, our skills, our talents, our hopes. And we made our way.

Our stories have key shared elements. We were all products of the public school system, all people without privilege, and the Canadian system gave support to each to help with the transition. It seems to me that, from the immigrant point of view, Canada has been built in good part by people who arrived in need, received some form of support, and reinvented themselves. For several centuries much of that support came from Indigenous peoples, who were, in effect, the government of what is now called Canada.

Upholding a fine tradition

I thought about these stories when Adrienne Clarkson and I were at a Toronto airport terminal, greeting government-sponsored Syrian refugees as they left their plane. Most of the adults were farmers or mechanics or drivers or bakers, or had had other jobs requiring skills, but not a lot of education. There were some teachers. Not many.

Twenty-seven thousand Syrians so far; by this year's end, perhaps 50,000. This is the tradition of Canadian refugee policy at its best. Somewhere between 30,000 and 70,000 at a time: the Vietnamese boat people in 1979-80, the Czechs in 1968, the Hungarians in 1956, the Vietnam War non-consenting Americans, Chileans, Ismailis, Tamils. That refugee tradition goes back to the almost 50,000 United Empire Loyalists in the 18th century.

With Syria, Canada made a very specific choice - to take families in exile in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Because of the terrible rates of refugee drownings in the Mediterranean, we often forget that those with some money and often more education have tended to take the European route. It requires resources to make your way through the military and political blockages, through the human smugglers; even if the reality is highly dangerous.

By taking families, we have reached out to the young, who have been unable to go to school for years. This is the exact opposite of the now-defunct Immigrant Investor Program and the suspended Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program which, stripped of rhetoric, were about selling citizenship. They were devoid of the ethical core that goes with citizenship. And immigration to Canada is meant to be about just that. Citizenship.

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that immigration and citizenship have never been, at their core, linked to money.

Some come with finances - but most have little or none. And we have had a growing number of highly educated immigrants. But what makes our system work, including its economics, is the ethical idea that immigration is inextricably bound to citizenship and therefore to belonging. That idea of belonging is not tied to conformity - to the idea that we must melt into a mold which will make us all the same.

If anything, it is our comfort with difference that produces economic drive, just as it has fed scientific innovation. And a cultural flowering - almost a third of those to win the Giller Prize for fiction have been foreign born. More than a third of some 18,000 Canada Research Chairs at universities across the country are foreign born. These are not utilitarian outcomes. They are attached to the complex Canadian idea of belonging, which brings these pieces together.

Let me go back to the economy. The numbers are startlingly clear. After four to seven years here, the likelihood a new Canadian will own a business overtakes that of someone Canadian born.

These may be smaller companies, but as Statistics Canada points out, after a generation, corporations are calculated in the Canadian-born category. And so we miss something special.

As co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, I follow this closely. My own sense is that the way we do our numbers is causing us to miss a revolutionary phenomenon - the rebirth of an economy of multigenerational, private, family-owned corporations. And these are largely the creation of new Canadians. In the lead up to the 6 Degrees Citizen Space gathering in Toronto in September, we are studying this phenomenon in partnership with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and The VanCity Group.

The astonishing thing is that studies everywhere in the West - by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the European Union, by American universities - all demonstrate the positive economic force of immigration, whether it be its effect on growth, innovation or wealth creation. They all show that, financially, immigrants contribute more to social services than they receive. But there is an equally clear negative factor. The more this positive reality is treated as a utilitarian outcome separated from culture and from how diversity works, the more those who see themselves as custodians of the country's past become frightened and convinced that money is flowing out; that immigration is an economic negative. This utilitarian error lays at the heart of Brexit, but also that of the rising fear, populism and racism in the United States and continental Europe.

This utilitarian approach has been the EU's biggest mistake.

But utilitarianism has also had effects in Canada beyond the Immigrant Investor Program, as well as beyond the rampant misuse over the last decade of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. Certain corporate sectoral lobbies want cheap labour unattached to social responsibility.

They have pushed Canada to adopt policies inspired by the failed and socially disastrous European guest-worker policies.

There was a bit of an ethical pushback near the end of the Stephen Harper era. And it is true that very limited parts of the foreign workers program are useful to precise sectors and workers, if strictly and justly administered.

But the main contradiction remains - at its core, the policy denies the essential ethical link between immigration and citizenship.

And it highlights a risk: that we may be on the edge forgetting that immigration to Canada has mainly been based on strong public and citizen support, to ensure a fast start for newcomers.

This idea goes back to the sustained welcome given by Indigenous peoples, the New France support for immigrants and the Canadian colonial support for the Loyalists. Over the centuries this support was often a mix of government investment and citizen adoption of earlier arrivals by their own community. The decision to welcome the Syrians reminds us of that long history of public and citizen support.

Why would we forget what works? Because utilitarian economics attacks as wasteful costs what we used to see as public investments in the country's future. Utilitarianism takes us back to attitudes that produced the exploitation of Chinese railway workers, which in turn led to the head tax. Yet all of us, all our families, benefited from the reality of public investment in immigration and citizenship.

Much more we could do

What would this mean today?

What are we not doing, or not doing enough?

First, we seem to forget that our society and our economy were built from 1850 on the wealth of public education.

Today that simple strategy is more important than ever. In an urban society, newcomers need to adjust much faster. Immigration often comes with language difficulties and cultural complexities. Both require much smaller classes for students. A monolithic group of middle-class children can get by in classes of 30 students. A complex school with many newcomers needs classes of 20 at the most and a greater emphasis on all those adjustment phenomena. That means more teachers. Many more.

And volunteer mentoring programs like Pathways to Education have a strategic role to play. Canada is a world leader in volunteerism, but these kids, whose parents are themselves struggling with language and adjustment, need the support of established citizens. This is about much more than simple tutoring.

And while it is true that new Canadians are above-average creators of companies and some of our large corporations have serious diversity programs, other companies as well as our schools, colleges, universities and governments are lagging behind in support programs.

There are not nearly enough courses available on how our bureaucracies work, on regulatory structures, on business law, on the culture of business in Canada. There seems to be little understanding in the big urban centres that new Canadian entrepreneurs often prefer to install themselves in suburbs or smaller cities. This requires a different approach to training programs.

As I looked through the many studies which have been done, the message keeps coming back to the lack of professional networks. I was left with the sense that basic things are not being done - or not done enough. Have chambers of commerce thrown themselves into helping new Canadians find their way? Are business schools - so obsessed with overcharging for their services - reaching out to help new Canadians get started? Who is providing easily available advice on professional norms, on how people act in business situations?

Treat each other? In a very good Maytree and Metcalf Foundation report, we learn of initiatives being taken in the Netherlands and in Finland. In a Conference Board of Canada report, it is clear that businesses still do not take advantage of the language skills of new Canadians when it comes to international possibilities.

And despite enormous pressure to change over the years, professional self-regulating bodies continue to grumble and to obstruct when it comes to the equivalence of foreign qualifications. This can be seen as a way to protect their advantages. By limiting membership in their profession, they limit competition. This is classic protectionism.

Those old self-regulation models of the professions are increasingly an obstacle to maximizing the contributions of new Canadians. Germany - the champion of tough professional standards! - is now moving ahead of Canada by setting up clear, efficient equivalency rules for immigrating professionals.

In spite of all these problems, immigrants and new citizens continue to be important drivers of our economy. And they quickly become participants in society, and catch on to the volunteerism ethic. But Canada has never been a place of economic ease or easily shared well-being. If it works, it is because we have designed social agreements and public policies to support individual action.

It is fashionable to insist that everything changes. And some things do change. But social behaviour and its economic outcomes are pretty stable factors in all societies. The Canadian idea that an immigrant is a citizen in the making is tied to the idea of both public support and volunteerism. And all of this makes it possible and essential that we will adjust and act aggressively to ensure that new citizens get their chance. At this point, I would say that they are making their effort, while our constituted society is lagging behind.

John Ralston Saul is the author of The Collapse of Globalism (2005), which predicted much of today's international economic strife, as well as the return of aggressive nationalism and populism. He is president emeritus of PEN International and co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

Associated Graphic

Dutch arrivals in the 1920s: 'What makes our system work,' writes John Ralston Saul, 'is the ethical idea that immigration is inexplicably bound to citizenship.'


CRAFT GIN Crushing on juniper like the rest of this city? Create your own custom bottle in a boozy classroom and live the spirit's centuries-old history during what might be the city's most sophisticated pub crawl
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Print Edition, Page T1

LONDON -- I'm rushing up London's Portobello Road on a Friday afternoon in spring, dodging shoppers and strollers as I zig-zag from sidewalk to road and back again hunting for a bar. The Portobello Star is the latest in a long line of alcohol-serving establishments situated in the same building since 1740. History aside, what it's really known for nowadays is its gin - and in particular, its Ginstitute, a three-hour workshop that covers the spirit's past and present, and lets participants concoct their own custom gin, a prospect so enticing that the classes are frequently sold out.

Luckily for me, though, I managed to snag a spot during this long weekend getaway in the British capital, albeit on the same day I arrive from Toronto on the red-eye, meaning I'm sleep-deprived, slightly frazzled from navigating the London Underground and on the edge of running late thanks to the extreme optimism of Google Maps.

The organizers recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early, and I can see why: My fellow students are already seated at high wooden tables in the dim and cozy space, half-finished gin and tonics in hand. I settle onto a stool and a server brings me my own. It's the bar's own Portobello Road London dry gin, mixed in a tall glass with Fever-Tree tonic and garnished with a slice of grapefruit. I catch my breath and take a sip, and am quickly refreshed by the triple-whammy of sugar, citrus and bubbles, followed soon after by a buzz from the alcohol.

Like everywhere else food trends travel, London is in the midst of a gin renaissance. Since Sipsmith acquired a license in 2009 - it was the first in the city since the venerable Beefeater earned its own in 1862 - the number of gin-makers has skyrocketed. (It took Sipsmith 18 months of persistent door-knocking to earn said license, partly because the relevant government department didn't really know how to create one.)

What makes London's distilleries different is the city's turbulent, centuries-long relationship with the spirit it borrowed from the Dutch, then made its own. And I'm here to untangle the complicated history of the beverage, to learn what makes a gin, and to taste some of the best gins local distilleries have to offer.

At the Ginstitute, our group of 10 files up a narrow staircase and through a nondescript door to enter our first classroom. The small, dark space is furnished with red velvet stools and low wooden tables topped with thick white candles. Glassfronted cabinets holding vintage gin bottles and cocktail manuals are mounted on two walls; on a third, an etched glass mirror in honour of the gin palaces of yore reads "The Ginstitute: Proud Purveyors of London Spirit" in gaudy gold lettering surrounded by curlicues and floral designs.

Behind the bar, lead Ginstitute instructor (and Portobello Gin co-owner) Jake Burger, sporting the requisite craft-distiller's beard, is putting the final touches on a round of Tom Collinses - that's gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water - and we each take one before seating ourselves in a sedate semi-circle as he launches into a rapidfire history of gin.

In brief, and with a certain amount of fable mixed in with the facts: Italian monks were preserving juniper berries in spirits for medicine by the 12th century, a concoction that was enhanced by distillers in the Netherlands. English troops sent to the continent to fight in the Eighty Years' War brought the drink home in the early 17th century, but it was William of Orange banning the import of French spirits that truly made homegrown distilling soar. In 1702, half a million gallons of gin were produced in England; by 1727 - the peak of the "Gin Craze" - that figure had risen to five million. The drink was blamed for social problems and higher death rates, which led to legislation aimed at curbing consumption. (Given the degree to which gin - sold in bars, out of barrels - was doctored with turpentine, alum powder and sulfuric acid, the horror stories are easy to believe.)

Early gins were sweet and aromatic to hide the off-putting flavour of the base spirit. But by the early 19th century, thanks to the invention of the column still (and higher-proof alcohol), there was a shift in gin-making style, with botanicals used purely for flavour rather than their masking abilities. It's here that the London dry style enters the scene - "dry" refers to the lack of added sugar - conveniently around the same time as the invention of commercial tonic water, based on the mixture of lime, sugar, water and gin British soldiers in India added to quinine to make the anti-malarial palatable.

Gin continued to be popular on both sides of the Atlantic through the golden age of cocktails, but started to fall out of favour in the 1950s as vodka's popularity soared - until the recent craft era. Unlike whisky, gin doesn't need to be aged, and unlike vodka, it leaves plenty of room for creative expression, meaning it's the perfect figurehead with which to launch one's microdistillery. Which brings us back to Portobello Road.

Jake is working as he talks, scooping ice into glasses and squeezing lemons for our next round of G&Ts, this time with premium 1724 tonic water, made with quinine sourced from the Andes. (He admits to stocking grocery-store tonic at home.) The students, two glasses of study material in, have gotten much more animated, and a debate breaks out about the merits of Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire, and the pros and cons of big companies purchasing microdistilleries. "We'd all like to be bought out and retire to the Caribbean," Jake says, only partly in jest, as he hands out our drinks and hustles us upstairs for the creative portion of the evening.

"The secret to a good gin is good progression of flavour," he begins, explaining that besides the essential juniper berries, three other ingredients are typically used for the sake of tradition: coriander seed, angelica root and orris root. Beyond that, it's up to the distiller's imagination, though the idea is to create four waves of flavour: a predominant juniper taste, clean and lively top notes (citrus or coriander), softer spices and florals, then a finish of more powerful, insistent flavours like lavender or fennel.

As he talks, he passes around each ingredient, and we crush juniper berries in our fingers, inhaling the scent, and chew on sweet, woody chunks of licorice root.

The list of possible botanicals is turning into a blur - six kinds of citrus, two teas, seven peppers and spices, even asparagus and rose - and I seize onto Jake's suggestion to work around a theme when creating my own gin.

We're not going to start playing with the still, so the shelves are lined with glass jars of single-botanical spirits to be mixed into our custom blends. Nor is Jake about to let us create something we won't want to drink, so as we take turns reading out our lists of ingredients, he works out the percentages himself, and suggests tweaks when he isn't quite pleased with a combination. (I'm unreasonably proud when he approves my Hong Kong-inspired blend of the four main botanicals plus dried orange, smoky lapsang souchong tea and pink peppercorns.) We do get to pour the various spirits from the test tubes that he fills into our bottles, though, after which he passes around a tasting glass of each person's creation for us to sniff and sip before sealing the bottles and slapping on the labels - our very own gins to take home, kept on file so we can reorder any time we want. "Dry, good for a martini," he says of mine as he shakes my hand. "Very good - we all passed today."

Sixteen hours later, the previous night's gin surely cleared out of my system, I'm on the other side of town at the Peg & Patriot in Bethnal Green, to meet "Cocktail Kate" and my group for the Gin Journey - basically a pub crawl with a tour guide. The decor here is sophisticatedmeets-hipster, walls, padded banquettes and velvet chairs in the same slate grey, the bar trimmed in gold with bare bulbs hanging above. Kate, draped in a scarf dotted with stills like she's the priestess of booze, comes over and introduces herself, writing the social media handles of the day on the chalkboard table so we can tag our posts and compete for prizes, then introduces our group to the theme of the afternoon - tasting and enjoying gin.

"When you're tasting spirits, it's an attack on all your senses," she says, holding a glass up to the light and swirling as she judges the gin's legs, noting that thinner varieties tend to be citrusy, while those that cling to the glass's sides will be heavy in oily botanicals such as angelica root and cinnamon. We dutifully pick up our own glasses and imitate her gestures, taking a sniff and then adding a drop of water to open up the aromas, then smelling again. Finally, we get to taste - "get it all over your tastebuds," she directs, "you want to get every note" - and I'm struck by the long licorice-y aftertaste, convinced I wouldn't have noticed it pre-Ginstitute.

It's early in the day and there are many gins to try, so I pace myself as we go from bar to bar, each time sampling a gin both straight and in a cocktail, and getting more and more friendly with the rest of the group as we go. We settle into a rhythm, Kate enthusiastically and entertainingly explaining the history of gin in her Liverpudlian accent, peppering her speech with jokes and random facts and tossing tiny bottles of gin as prizes to those who can answer her questions the fastest. We learn that the early Greeks fed juniper berries to athletes, debate the flavours of each gin, eat tacos in Banksy's former garage while Drake's Hotline Bling plays overhead, and find out that the Beefeater brand gives its namesakes at the Tower of London (though they're officially called Yeomen Warders) a bottle each for Christmas every year.

At our final bar, Callooh Callay, we toast our journey with pretty blue drinks, the bar's take on the Aviation, with lemon, maraschino and crème de violette. The atmosphere here is relaxed, and perhaps I'm a little bit drunk, but I raise my glass in a silent toast to the immigration officer who let me into this country. "I've got quite into gin lately," he had said.

"I wish I could join you."

The writer participated in the Ginstitute and the Gin Journey as a guest. They did not review or approve this article.


Visit the Ginstitute for the three-hour Gin Blending Experience ($190 a person) or the two-hour Masterclass ($104 a person), during which you'll learn to mix five classic gin cocktails - or simply drop by the Portobello Star for a cocktail from their extensive menu.

171 Portobello Rd., The Gin Journey (from $78) takes you on a guided excursion through five top cocktail bars in London, Manchester, Liverpool or Edinburgh, including transportation, a gin sample and cocktail at each stop. Additional options include a London Negroni Journey ($104) and a summer-only Botanical Journey in Liverpool ($52), during which participants enjoy a gin tasting, sample cocktails and blend their own gin. Prefer to mosey in and out of bars and distilleries on your own time? Download and print the London Gin Trail map from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which features 12 gin destinations across the city.


Tucked away on a side lane just off Fleet Street, the City of London Distillery serves up cocktails, drinks and snacks as well as offering tours, tastings and workshops. 22-24 Bride Lane, For cocktails that are as much artwork as beverage, book a table at Oriole, a trendy new bar found incongruously downstairs from the U.K.'s biggest wholesale meat market.

Speakeasy-style live music - think jazz, blues and swing - starts every night at 9. East Poultry Ave., Smithfield Markets, Tasting menus are the draw at the London Gin Bar, where you can sit and sample an array of gins - focus on small batch, overproof, sloe or the whole flavour spectrum - or test your tastebuds with a blind tasting. 22 Great Chapel St.,


London's coolest bar might just be Dandelyan in the Mondrian Hotel at Sea Containers, the second bar run by Ryan Chetiyawardana, who was named international bartender of the year for 2015 at Tales of the Cocktail. Not only does staying at the riverside Mondrian make it easy to stumble to bed after last call, but should you need a nightcap, minibars are stocked with some of the bar's bottled cocktails. Rooms from $338,

The summer-only "gin safari" at family-owned luxury hotel The Goring - the closest hotel to Buckingham Palace, with royal guests to match - is more than just a place to sip your G&T. Guests can snack on gin-inspired bites and enjoy cocktails created by Hepple Gin in a garden planted with botanicals such as juniper, Douglas fir, lovage and blackcurrant. Rooms from $747; - Kat Tancock

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Dandelyan is one of the many bars in London at which one can acquire a taste for the definitively British spirit, gin, which has entered into something of a renaissance in recent years.


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