Someone's losing streak is about to end
Having shown in the playoffs they are baseball's best two teams, Cleveland and Chicago have the chance to do something historic
The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S4

CLEVELAND -- The last time Cleveland won the World Series, Dewey led Truman in the polls. The Chicago Cubs' last title was 13 days after the first Ford Model T car was completed.

Lovable losers known for decades of defeat meet in this year's championship, a combined 174 seasons of futility facing off starting Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

Cleveland's last title was in 1948, when 16 teams from the East Coast to St. Louis competed in a just-integrated sport. The Cubs are trying to win for the first time since 1908, a dead ball-era matchup at a time when home runs were rarities along with telephones.

No player is alive from the last championship Cubs or even the last to make a Series appearance - Tuesday marks the 25,948th day since the Cubs' Game 7 loss to Detroit in 1945. One player remains from the 1948 Indians, 95year-old Eddie Robinson.

"It seems like it's just forever," Robinson said Monday from his home in Fort Worth, Tex. "When we got home from Boston, there was a monumental parade. It just looked like everybody in Cleveland came out on Euclid Avenue."

One team's fans will let loose with the celebration of a lifetime. But while history weighs on the supporters, Cubs manager Joe Maddon focuses his players with a now-centred battle cry of "Win the Inning!"

"Air conditioning is popular right now. So is colour TV," he said. "You've just got to change with the times."

Both teams worked out under cloudy skies as the new 59by-221-foot scoreboard behind the left-field seats - the largest in the major leagues - trumpeted the Sisyphean matchup.

While the Cubs play in Wrigley Field, the 102-year-old brick-andivy jewel on Chicago's North Side, the Indians are in a 22year-old throwback-style ballpark originally called Jacobs Field. Led by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs led the major leagues with 103 wins during the regular season, then beat San Francisco and Los Angeles in the playoffs. But since the playoffs expanded in 1995, only four teams with the best regular-season record won the title: the 1998 and 2009 New York Yankees, and the 2007 and 2013 Boston Red Sox.

"I promise you, our guys are going to be in the present tense," Maddon said. "I think we all have a tremendous amount of respect for history and what's happened before us or not happened before us. But, you know, you go in that room right now, they're very young. Really not impacted by a lot of the lore."

Jon Lester, 7-1 in his career against Cleveland, starts for the Cubs and Corey Kluber opens for the Indians. Lester is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three postseason starts this year and 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in a trio of Series outings. He learned to prepare from watching Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett in Boston.

"They prepared the same way for this start as they would for a regular start during the season," he said.

Kluber pitched shutout ball twice in the playoffs before allowing two runs in five innings in Game 4 at Toronto.

His father, Jim, was born in Cleveland and rooted for the team growing up in suburban Highland Heights.

"I think every parent is excited if their kid has a chance to play in the World Series," said the 30year-old right-hander, who could win his second AL Cy Young Award in three years.

Both teams were dealing with injuries that caused changes in planning. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, juggling all year because of health mishaps, said right-hander Danny Salazar will be on the World Series roster, which must be submitted Tuesday morning. Salazar has not pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness, but threw a simulated game Sunday.

"Nothing's official, so if we have another drone incident or anything with model airplanes or anything, we reserve the right" to change, he said, a reference to the injury that limited pitcher Trevor Bauer to twothirds of an inning in the AL Championship Series.

Chicago appeared likely to include outfielder Kyle Schwarber, out since tearing knee ligaments on April 8, and start him at designated hitter. He returned to action last weekend in the Arizona Fall League.

"Reports are good," Maddon said. "He's swinging the bat well.

He's running really well."

Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis was dealing with a sprained left ankle, hurt when he jumped and shortstop Francisco Lindor accidentally stepped on his foot while celebrating the last out of the ALCS.

"He might not be 100 per cent, but I don't think it's going to get in the way," Francona said.

Cleveland fell three outs short of the 1997 title when Jose Mesa blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Game 7 at Florida and an error by second baseman Tony Fernandez led to the Marlins' winning run in the 11th.

The Series starts just after a ceremony across the street when LeBron James and the Cavaliers receive championship rings before their opener celebrating this year's NBA title, the first for Cleveland's big league teams since the NFL's Browns in 1964.

"It's a pretty neat set of circumstances," said Indians reliever Andrew Miller, the ALCS MVP. "Obviously the fans wish they had won quite a bit previously, but I think the Cubs are even going to overshadow us in that history."

While Chicago has many famous fans, among them actor Bill Murray and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Cleveland is rooted on by Tom Hanks and Drew Carey.

And Cleveland's losing history received nationwide attention in the 1989 film Major League, featuring Charlie Sheen as Ricky (Wild Thing) Vaughn.

Maddon prepared for the Series while watching some baseball movies, 42 - "we had to beat the Dodgers before I could watch it" - and Field of Dreams.

"I'm that guy," he said. "I cry easily, so the connection to the past is very important, very important."

Associated Graphic

Chicago Cubs players warm up during a team practice in Cleveland on Monday. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, while Cleveland last won the World Series in 1948.


Gretzky is 'truly amazed' by McDavid
The Great One says there's no question the Oilers' young captain is 'the best 19-year-old hockey player' he's ever seen
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S4

TORONTO -- When watching Connor McDavid play for the Edmonton Oilers, Wayne Gretzky gets the urge to don his No. 99 again.

"I could get 60 goals playing with that guy," the Great One said. "I'm truly amazed at how good he is."

Admiration runs deeps from the NHL's all-time leading scorer when it comes to McDavid.

Gretzky believes his fellow prodigy has all the tools for a truly special career, mentioning his name in the same breathe as Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe, Guy Lafleur and, of course, Sidney Crosby, who he said remains the best in the game today.

"But I don't think there's any question that Connor's the best 19-year-old hockey player I've ever seen and I saw [Mark] Messier, I saw Lemieux, I saw Lafleur," Gretzky said Monday in an interview to promote his new book, 99: Stories of the Game.

"This kid is special."

Now, Gretzky continued, it's up to McDavid, who was recently named Oilers captain, to live up to the potential. Gretzky, a former Oilers captain himself, noted how Crosby delivered on the hype by winning not only individual awards, but Stanley Cups for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"The Lemieuxs, the LaFleurs, and the [Mike] Bossys, those guys did it, they accomplished it, they became Hall of Famers," Gretzky said.

"[Is McDavid] on the right track? Absolutely. And has he got an opportunity to do some real special things? One hundred per cent. Has he got his head screwed on properly? One hundred per cent. He's in the right organization [and] the city will take care of him. It's a wonderful city for him to play in.

Tremendous ownership. Great coaching.

"Now, it's going to take time.

He's still only 19," Gretzky continued. "But he has everything in place to become the best player in the National Hockey League and go on to win some championships for the Edmonton Oilers."

McDavid became the first Oiler since Gretzky in 1987 to record at least six points in the opening two games of a season, totalling three goals and three assists in a pair of wins over the Calgary Flames last week.

He had 48 points in 45 games as a rookie last season.

Gretzky said if he could steal one thing for his own game from McDavid it would be his speed. The Newmarket, Ont., native has "one extra gear that I don't think I've ever seen on a hockey player".

And though Paul Coffey, his former Oilers teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, is still the purest skater Gretzky has ever seen, McDavid is even on a "different level."

Gretzky believes McDavid's greatness and best-in-the-game status will ultimately come from Stanley Cups. Edmonton last won the NHL's biggest prize in 1990, two years after Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles. What separates great players from the truly elite, he said, is championships. All the legends, from Messier to Howe and Bobby Orr, have won the Cup at least once and, in some cases, several times. The foundation in Edmonton is there for McDavid to one day join them, Gretzky said.

Though he acknowledged the difficulty in evaluating individuals on team success, Gretzky said it was fair when it comes to the all-timers, a class he sees McDavid eventually joining.

Does he think Cup victories should determine Hall of Fame status? No. Nor, he said, is one player responsible for delivering the game's top prize.

"But what I'm saying is if you want to get that elite status where they say you're Bobby Orr or you're Jean Béliveau to me you've got to win a Stanley Cup," Gretzky said. "Winning a Stanley Cup is important and you should never lose sight of that fact. And with winning that Stanley Cup he's going to win Art Rosses [for leading the league in scoring] and he's going to win the Hart Trophy [for league MVP]. All that stuff will come with it because he's in a good organization with good coaching. He's got a management team that understands who he is and they're going to be a good team for a long time.

"Now, you've got to go to that next level. But listen, it's not going to happen overnight, it's hard to win, it's going to take time."

Gretzky envisions McDavid following the same path Crosby set a decade ago, which included a Hart Trophy as an NHL sophomore and Stanley Cup champion two years after that.

"Now, he's going to cross all those bridges that Sidney had to, whether it be playing for a Stanley Cup, whether it be captain of the Olympic team, all those things are going to come his way. But he's ready for it," Gretzky said.

"I just can't say enough good things about him I just think he's such a special player."

Associated Graphic

Wayne Gretzky says Connor McDavid, recently named the captain of the Oilers, has what it takes to be the best player in the NHL and win Stanley Cups with Edmonton.


Buffon delivers for Juventus while Ronaldo draws a blank
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S4

PARIS -- Gianluigi Buffon kept the shots out while Cristiano Ronaldo failed to put them in.

While Buffon starred in goal for Juventus, saving a penalty and making two remarkable saves in a 1-0 win at Lyon, it was a frustrating night for record-chasing Ronaldo in the Champions League.

The Real Madrid forward needed only two goals to become the first player to score 100 career goals in European club competitions. But he could not muster even one for the holders in a 5-1 rout of Polish strugglers Legia Warsaw - which had lost five of its past seven matches.

Madrid has scored 11 times in its past two games, but only one of those has been from the usually prolific Ronaldo. He has made an uncharacteristically quiet start to the season for Madrid with four goals in eight games so far - very low by his own lofty standards.

Madrid's goals came from Wales forward Gareth Bale, an own-goal by Tomasz Jodlowiec, and strikes by Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata, sealing an emphatic victory in Group F.

Madrid is level on seven points with Borussia Dortmund, but the German side leads on goal difference after winning 2-1 at Sporting Lisbon.

Prolific striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - with his ninth goal in nine games - and Julian Weigl scored in the first half for Dortmund. Midfielder Bruno Cesar pulled one back midway through the second half after an indirect free kick was awarded near the penalty spot.

Colombia midfielder Juan Cuadrado scored the winner for Juventus in the 76th minute with a brilliant angled strike, keeping the Turin team top of Group H.

Here's a look at what else happened in the Champions League on Tuesday:

Group E Tottenham striker Son Heungmin came back to his old club Bayer Leverkusen, but the German side did most of the attacking in a 0-0 draw that suited Monaco perfectly.

Monaco came from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow and tops Group E with five points, one point ahead of Tottenham and two clear of Leverkusen.

Although Tottenham had chances in the first half, with Dutch striker Vincent Janssen hitting the crossbar, Leverkusen dominated after the break.

Spurs goal keeper Hugo Lloris did brilliantly to scoop the ball away on the line after an effort by Javier (Chicharito) Hernandez - with goal line technology showing that it hadn't fully crossed the line.

So much for not celebrating against your former club.

CSKA Moscow striker Lacina Traore could barely contain his delight after scoring against Monaco - the club loaning him to CSKA - wheeling away in delight with his finger raised after pouncing from close range.

With just minutes remaining, however, midfielder Bernardo Silva darted in to score the equalizer.

Group G Riyad Mahrez struck the closerange winner in a 1-0 victory against FC Copenhagen that kept Leicester well on track for the next round after three straight wins.

Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri's tactic to keep Mahrez fresh just before Champions League games is proving decisive.

Mahrez was restored to the starting lineup after being rested on Saturday at Chelsea, only coming off the bench in the second half.

Prior to the previous Champions League game - a home win against Porto - he was substituted at halftime against Manchester United.

Five minutes before halftime, he acrobatically flicked in a header from fellow Algeria international Islam Slimani, after good work by striker Jamie Vardy.

Ranieri's team, shock winners of the Premier League last season, needs one win from its final three games to make the knockout phase.

Leicester is five points clear of Copenhagen and FC Porto, which came from behind to beat Club Brugge 2-1 and condemn the Belgian side to a third successive loss.

Emerging striker Andre Silva, who has scored four times in the last two games for Portugal, settled the match with an injurytime penalty.

Forward Jelle Vossen put Brugge ahead, but Mexican defender Miguel Layun levelled with a long range drive.

Group H Ten-man Juventus won 1-0 away to Lyon thanks to some shot-stopping heroics from goal keeper Gianluigi Buffon and a brilliant winner from Colombia midfielder Juan Cuadrado.

He scored in the 76th minute after cutting in down the right, beating full back Jeremy Morel and launching an unstoppable shot into the near top corner from the tightest of angles. Prior to that, Lyon had threatened an upset.

But Buffon saved a 35th-minute penalty from Alexandre Lacazette and then denied Lyon twice in the second half with remarkable reflex saves, tipping over forward Nabil Fekir's deflected shot when off balance and kicking away Corentin Tolisso's point-blank header.

The win kept Juventus top of Group H with seven points and ahead of Europa League champion Sevilla on goal difference.

Sevilla won 1-0 at last place Dinamo Zagreb, with French midfielder Samir Nasri scoring from close range during the first half.

Associated Graphic

Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez, front, celebrates after scoring in a Group F match against Legia Warszawa on Tuesday.


Sluggers fates hang in the balance
Now that the Jays have been eliminated, the main focus will be on whether star players Bautista and Encarnacion will return
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista delivered two of the most celebrated moments of the past 20 years of Blue Jays baseball. Yet now that the team's season has sputtered to a close, both sluggers may have just taken their last swings as Blue Jays.

Bautista's dramatic three-run shot in the 2015 ALDS was iconic, complete with the bat-flip - either the most beloved or reviled gesture of that season, depending on who you ask. Then there was Encarnacion's spine-tingling 11thinning walk-off homer earlier this month to win the wild-card game.

Those will live on in Blue Jays lore, but fans are bracing for the possibility that they'll see the two stars in different uniforms next season.

But one Blue Jay who is certain to come back for the final year of his contract in 2017 is manager John Gibbons, team president Mark Shapiro told Sportsnet.

"There's a level of consistency with him in approach that is unflappable and I think that translates into toughness," Shapiro said.

The situation is less certain for Bautista and Encarnacion. Both have expiring contracts. Both were soft-spoken in a sombre Jays clubhouse after the team was eliminated Wednesday. One after another, they were encircled by enormous packs of reporters, asked to reflect on their time in Toronto, from the small crowds and losing seasons of a few years ago to the recent winning and stardom.

"I used to see specks of it here and there an on opening days - the potential was there, but nobody wanted to root for a loser," recalled Bautista in reflection.

"Then we started playing better."

Bautista, a six-time all-star, told media when he arrived for spring training that he didn't think there should be negotiation, that he gave the Jays a figure they must hit to keep him - reportedly something like $150-million (U.S.) over five years. The 36-yearold right-fielder made $14-million in 2016.

During his eight seasons in Toronto, he's become one of the club's most iconic home-run hitters. In 2010, he hit 54 to become the franchise single-season leader and is today its second all-time (265) behind only Carlos Delgado.

He's fifth on the team's list of runs batted in (701).

But injuries limited Bautista to 116 games this year and he hit 22 homers - the least he's slugged since his 13 in 2009, his first season as a Blue Jay. He was 6-of-33 in these playoffs with two homers early on, but got hits in just three of his 18 at-bats in the ALDS.

"I don't want you guys to think I'm being stubborn, but I don't think I'm in the right state of mind to talk about those things," Bautista said after Wednesday's loss.

He admitted his 2016 performance wasn't at all what he had envisioned.

"It wasn't the ideal season I had planned out leaving spring training," Bautista said. "With the toe and the knee injuries ... but I think I adjusted."

The Jays have 14 other players scheduled to enter free agency, including Michael Saunders, Darwin Barney, Dioner Navarro, Jason Grilli, Brett Cecil and R.A. Dickey.

The 33-year-old Encarnacion made $10-million this season - his seventh as a Blue Jay. He's third all-time in franchise homers (239) and sixth all-time RBIs (679). The big man had made his third all-star appearance and had career bests in games played (160), home runs (42) and RBIs (127). His RBIs tied for an AL best with David Ortiz - fitting since many predict Encarnacion could replace the just-retired star on the Boston Red Sox roster.

Encarnacion was 10-of-35 at the plate in the postseason with three homers, but just 4-of-19 in the series with Cleveland. His final atbat was a strikeout.

The player famous for rounding the bases as if parading an invisible parrot on his elbow led all players in the postseason with three playoff home runs. His four career playoff homers place him behind only Bautista and Carter (both have six) in club history.

"I like the team, the fans, everything about the city. Of course it's my first choice [to stay]," Encarnacion said. "It was really hard for me at the beginning in my first years here, but I thank the fans and the organization for being patient with me. To be honest I'm really sad because I don't know what's going to happen next."

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion, left, and Josh Donaldson react after an inning-ending double play during Game 5.


With Burris back, expect RedBlacks to attack
The Canadian Press
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S5

It's Henry Burris's time with the Ottawa RedBlacks - again.

The CFL's outstanding player last season will lead Ottawa into its crucial home-and-home series with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.

The RedBlacks will visit Tim Hortons Field before the two teams return to the Canadian capital next weekend.

Ottawa (6-7-1) leads the East Division standings by just one point over Hamilton (6-8-0) heading into the back-to-back games.

The first-place finisher will secure home-field advantage for the East Division final Nov. 20.

The second-place finisher will have to play an extra playoff game, holding the East semi-final Nov. 13.

For Ottawa and Hamilton to secure playoff berths, they must finish first or second in the East.

That's because the fourth-place team in the West - currently Edmonton (8-7) - will likely accumulate more points than the Toronto Argonauts (5-10), who are third in the East.

In that scenario, the fourthplace team in the West would cross over and take the No. 3 playoff seed in the East.

Burris was effective coming off the bench in Ottawa's 32-30 overtime loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders last weekend.

He completed 9 of 16 passes for 138 yards and two TDs and also ran for a touchdown in rallying the RedBlacks from a 15-point deficit in a wild fourth quarter.

Ottawa had the chance to secure the win in overtime, but Chris Milo missed a 30-yard field goal, allowing Tyler Crapigna to connect from 39 yards out and secure Saskatchewan's third successive win.

Burris, 41, opened the season as Ottawa's starter but missed four games with a finger injury, resulting in Trevor Harris taking over the job.

Burris returned under centre after Harris was injured in the RedBlacks' 30-29 loss to Saskatchewan on July 22, only to be replaced by Harris once again.

But Burris won't have leading receiver Chris Williams (77 catches, 1,246 yards, 10 TDs), who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Saskatchewan.

Still, the RedBlacks' receiving corps boasts Greg Ellingson (61 catches, 1,045 yards, four TDs), Earnest Jackson (67 catches, 918 yards, seven TDs) and Brad Sinopoli (76 catches, 865 yards, four TDs).

Hamilton is hurting, too.

Starter Zach Collaros (concussion) won't play. He'll be replaced by Jeremiah Masoli, who guided Hamilton to last year's East Division final, which was won by Ottawa.

Masoli has a solid 68.7 completion percentage but has almost as many TDs (nine) as interceptions (eight) this season.

Receiver Luke Tasker (76 catches, 852 yards, five TDs) is also out but Canadian Andy Fantuz (85 catches, 926 yards, five TDs) anchors the Ticats' pass-catching corps.

Hamilton is 3-3 at home while Ottawa is 4-3 on the road.

Pick: Hamilton

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. B.C. Lions Winnipeg (9-6) moved into a second-place tie in the West Division with B.C. (9-5) with last week's controversial 37-35 home win.

The Lions appeared to recover a late Andrew Harris fumble but he was ruled down before the ball came loose. That allowed Weston Dressler to give up a safety with one second remaining and clinch the victory. Fortunately, both teams have secured playoff berths, so now it's just a matter of seeing who finishes where.

Here's giving the Lions the edge just from a redemption perspective.

Pick: B.C.

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Toronto Argonauts Saskatchewan (4-10) has won three straight but was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend. The Riders appeared to be comfortably ahead of Ottawa last week before Burris came in and worked his magic. Darian

Durant threw for 328 yards and two TDs for Saskatchewan but Crapigna was solid, hitting on 6 of 7 field goals, his lone miss coming from 55 yards out. The Argos are 2-6 at BMO Field and have lost eight of their past nine over all.

Pick: Saskatchewan

Montreal Alouettes vs. Calgary Stampeders Calgary (13-1-1) clinched first in the West on Monday with a convincing 48-20 road win in Toronto. The Stampeders have won 12 straight and are riding a 14-game unbeaten streak. Dave Dickenson needs one more win to break the league record for most regularseason victories by a rookie head coach but faces the challenge of keeping the club's momentum going while giving players time off. Montreal (4-10) is coming off a 40-20 home loss to Edmonton.

Pick: Calgary Last week: 2-2 Over all: 38-26-1

The Associated Press
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

London -- The New York Giants capitalized on four interceptions of Case Keenum to defeat the Los Angeles Rams 17-10 Sunday in the first NFL game played at London's home of English rugby, a sold-out and raucous Twickenham Stadium.

Keenum, coming off the best start of his career, had the Rams at the Giants' 15-yard line with 50 seconds left when he lobbed a pass in the left corner of the end zone that Dominique RodgersCromartie easily picked off. Keenum's intended target, Brian Quick, failed to get the quarterback's audible and cut off his route early.

Keenum, who finished 32-of-53 for 291 yards and one touchdown has thrown an interception on the Rams' final offensive play of the past three games. That likely will fuel debate on a potential quarterback change to overall No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff.

The win kept the Giants (4-3) in good shape in the ultracompetitive NFC East, where no one has a losing record. The Rams (3-4) lost their third straight.

The Giants entered Sunday with the worst turnover differential in the NFC at minus-10. Then tight end Larry Donnell coughed up the ball on the Giants 35, leading to the Rams' lone touchdown, a 10-yard grab by Tavon Austin.

But the Rams were unable to build on that early edge and instead hit the self-destruct button. Keenum threw two interceptions, both off high-sailing deflections, to safety Landon Collins, and two more in the end zone to cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie. RB Todd Gurley struggled, carrying 15 times for 57 yards, his longest run an eight-yarder.

Collins returned his first pick 44 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, making several Rams miss tackles before he bowled over centre Tim Barnes to draw the Giants even.

"I must have run at least 100 yards on that play," said a beaming Collins, who until Sunday had only one interception in his twoyear career.

Collins's second pick set up the winning drive, which featured a 22-yard catch by Odell Beckham Jr. to the Rams 6. Rashad Jennings scored from the 1 for the Giants' only offensive touchdown.

Eli Manning had a pedestrian day, going 24-of-37 for 196 yards and no touchdowns. The Rams managed 20 first downs to the Giants' 13.

The Rams' final two possessions ended in the end-zone interceptions by Rodgers-Cromartie, the pro-Giants crowd of more than 74,000 roaring their approval.

Los Angeles was the home team, but officials struggled to whip up a pro-Rams environment at Twickenham, where the bigscreen TVs advised "Quiet please, offence at work" when the Rams had the ball - and the crowd kept up a deafening din during the Rams' two doomed final drives.

Austin nets two against his former club for Southampton
The Associated Press
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

LONDON -- As the goals have dried up for Jamie Vardy at Leicester, another former non-league striker has embarked on a hot scoring streak for a Premier League club.

Charlie Austin made it seven goals in six games in all competitions for Southampton with a double in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Burnley that took the southcoast club up to eighth in the standings.

In a career that began outside England's four professional leagues, Burnley provided the 27year-old Austin with one of his stepping stones to the world's richest soccer competition.

Austin was a bricklayer working a full day on a building site before playing on a part-time basis for Poole Town in the ninth tier until 2009. It took third-tier club Swindon to pluck Austin from obscurity, for Burnley to take him up another league and then QPR to give him a shot at the Premier League.

The case looks increasingly compelling for Austin to return to the England squad for the first time since 2015, when he failed to make his international debut.

Particularly if England interim manager Gareth Southgate is comparing Austin's form with Vardy's for Leicester when it comes to selecting players to face Scotland and Spain next month.

After a 24-goal haul last season, Vardy has only scored twice this campaign and his goal drought reached seven matches on Saturday as Leicester's feeble title defence continued with a loss at Chelsea.

Like Southampton on Sunday, Leicester also put three past Burnley a month ago, but Austin - unlike Vardy - seized on the opportunity to punish the struggling Premier League newcomer's defence. Austin's first goal, in the 52nd minute, was down to persistence rather than finesse. Virgil van Dijk met Dusan Tadic's corner with a header across the face of goal to Austin. The first shot was blocked on the line by Sam Vokes, but Austin followed up by poking the ball into the net.

After Nathan Redmond's low volley from the edge of the area doubled the team's lead, Austin was on target from the penalty spot in the 66th minute following Johann Berg Gudmundsson's push on Sam McQueen.

Austin and his teammates will travel to Italy full of confidence for one of the biggest games in the club's history - a Europa League game against Inter Milan on Thursday.

Burnley is only a point above the relegation zone, with seven points from its first eight games back in the Premier League.

Planning for life off the ice
The Associated Press
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have launched a program designed to help players plan their posthockey careers long before they hang up their skates.

The Core Development Program will give players avenues to further their education, network and find out what jobs they may be suited for, such as finance and broadcasting.

League and NHLPA officials say the program announced Thursday targets young players, not just those in the twilight of their careers.

"The sooner they can start focusing on the longer term, the better off they'll generally be - as much in their careers as after their careers," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said by phone.

This new endeavour is independent of the NHL Alumni's Break Away program that focuses on player transitions once they retire.

Most professional leagues have a similar process, but the NHL and NHLPA believe their program for current players is unique.

The voluntary program was spawned from player feedback.

Several retired players have said they wished something like this existed.

Former player Mathieu Schneider, now the NHLPA's special assistant to the executive director, hopes the program benefits players on the ice, too.

"There have been studies done that show that players that are prepared for life after sports, after their careers, actually perform better during their careers," Schneider said.

"Maybe it alleviates the anxiety or the some of the pressure that might come normally. I think generally guys just have that awareness that, yes, it is an important part of the development of pro athletes."

Mid-sized oil firms ponder sales, IPOs
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

A growing list of Canadian energy companies owned by private equity funds are considering going public in coming months on the back of rising energy prices and surging investor interest in oil and gas stocks.

However, IPOs are not the only option on the table for these energy companies, as oil patch professionals say the same midsized oil companies working on public offerings are also quietly being shopped to strategic buyers such as the largest domestic and foreign energy companies.

Oil and gas producers said to be candidates for a public offering or corporate sale in the next six to 18 months include Canbriam Energy Inc., Velvet Energy Ltd., Black Swan Energy Ltd., Canadian International Oil Corp. and Unconventional Gas Resources, according to investment bankers, PE fund managers and industry executives. Most of these companies are currently producing significant amounts of energy in the Montney zone that spans northern Alberta and B.C., an area known for large reserves of light oil and natural gas and relatively low operating costs.

All of the businesses are currently owned by PE firms that typically seek to cash in their holdings over time.

The backers include private equity fund Warburg Pincus, which has previously cashed in several Canadian holdings, Calgarybased ARC Financial Corp. and domestic PE players such as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

"The tone of the market in Alberta has improved, due to both commodity prices and greater certainty on government policy, and we are seeing pre-IPO activity," said Sarah Gingrich, a Calgary-based partner with law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

While she could not comment on specific transactions, Ms. Gingrich said: "There are dual track processes playing out, where private equity stakeholders are exploring both IPOs and sales to strategic buyers."

However, the Fasken lawyer cautioned that the upbeat tone could change quickly, halting deal making and potential IPOs, in the face of negative developments such as a sharp drop in commodity prices, further government policy changes or a return to the equity market volatility that marked the first two months of the year.

For PE funds, outright sale of an oil and gas investment is often preferable to going public, as a takeover guarantees a price for 100 per cent of a business, while only a portion of a company is typically sold in an IPO.

A number of these so-called "dual track processes" have seen private companies snapped up by strategic buyers shortly before they were to debut through IPOs - one recent example is Shred-it International Inc., acquired in 2015 by a rival for $2.3-billion mere weeks before it was to begin trading.

Rising oil prices are a major factor in the decision to look at IPOs, as many established producers in the Montney region are profitable with oil prices above $50 (U.S.) a barrel, and crude prices have risen from $35 to more than $50 in recent weeks.

Investors have stepped back into the sector as commodity prices rallied and there have been a number of successful stock sales in recent months by senior energy companies, including Suncor Energy Inc. and Encana Corp.

While a number of those stock offerings initially performed poorly for investors, the recent increase in oil and gas prices has translated into a rally for energy stocks.

The most likely companies to go public are those with significant production, as investors favour scale and are unlikely to reward companies pumping fewer than 10,000 oil-equivalent barrels a day, a Calgary investment banker said.

The last significant IPO in the oil patch saw Seven Generations Energy Ltd. raise $932-million in a public float in October, 2014, just as oil markets began to soften. The stock has performed well since debuting on public markets.

Not every company considering an IPO is expected to follow through.

Many PE funds acquired energy businesses when commodity prices were far higher than they are today - oil was at $100 in the spring of 2014 - and several investment bankers said one remaining deterrent to deal making is the fact that some private equity investments are underwater - worth less than what the fund paid for the business.

Executives warily back Ottawa's economic plan
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B2

Canadian executives across a wide range of industries broadly support a new plan to boost the economy over the long term, although they are cautious about the proposals and say business needs to be consulted on implementation.

On Thursday, the federal government's expert panel released its first three recommendations for ways to add some momentum to the economy. It called for a national infrastructure bank, a more co-ordinated effort to attract foreign investment, and a dramatic increase in immigration. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he may put some of the ideas in place as early as Nov. 1, when he will release the government's fall economic update.

Steve Letwin, chief executive officer of gold miner Iamgold Corp., said the options the panel has put forward could support the long-term health of the Canadian economy if they are implemented correctly. But, he said, "it will be important to involve industry in their design. Close co-ordination is necessary to ensure those plans are tailored effectively. Without it, the risk of a misstep is high."

Guy Nelson, CEO of Empire Industries Ltd., an engineering firm based in Winnipeg, said he is enthusiastic about the proposal to smooth the flow of foreign investment in Canada, but it needs to be focused on areas where there is economic leverage. "If they are just going to help us build some roads [it won't work] ... I think we should be spending more time on science and technology."

As for boosting immigration, it is clear that Canada's economy would benefit from a larger population, Mr. Nelson said. "Thirtyfive million people doesn't do much. We need that net inflow."

Over all, Mr. Nelson said all these efforts to boost the economy are worthwhile, but it will take more just to overcome the damage done by the decline in oil markets. "The wind that has been taken out of the construction market in Alberta is so massive, that no amount of tinkering [will do more than] playing around at the fringes."

Kent Brown, co-founder and director of BluEarth Renewables Inc., a Calgary-based developer of green energy projects, took issue with the panel's view that it is difficult to attract infrastructure investment in Canada because the projects here are small.

"My experience on the renewables side and with infrastructure investment, generally, is there is a tremendous worldwide hunger for projects to invest in," he said.

"There is a ton of infrastructure capital out there and not enough places to invest ... so I'm really not sure what forming an infrastructure investment bank would do."

One crucial way to promote growth, he said, is to diversify the economy away from our traditional resource-based investments. "Yes, those will continue to be important, but we have too much of our economy focused on this area, so are subject to the large ups and downs of commodity price swings. In the long term, as the world decarbonizes, we risk the future of our country."

Economist Matthew Stewart, associate director at the Conference Board of Canada, said his research shows that increasing immigration will offset some of the costs from an aging population, but it won't have much of an impact on overall economic growth. To really affect GDP, increases in immigration would have to move "beyond what is reasonable," he said.

As for the national infrastructure bank, Mr. Stewart said research shows that boosting investment in this area can indeed improve the economy.

There are dual benefits, he said, in that the money circulates in the economy while improved infrastructure actually boosts corporate productivity.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter said he was skeptical of the potential impact of the foreign investment recommendations.

"We have had a fairly significant effort for years to attract foreign investment both at the federal and provincial level," he said. "It doesn't hurt to keep trying, and maybe modify the way we do things. But foreign investment is driven by many factors, and it is not going to be significantly altered by Canada basically changing the way we present ourselves to the rest of the world."

Ottawa's stress test is needed: CMHC head
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Ottawa's new standard for gauging whether borrowers can handle higher interest rates to buy homes is necessary to prevent damaging the broader economy, says the head of Canada's housing agency.

Evan Siddall, chief executive officer of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said he is concerned about warning signs in the country's housing market, especially in the Vancouver region and Greater Toronto Area.

"It's the combination of high house prices and high household debt. That combination of factors is not good for an economy and, in a lot cases, it ends up really harming the growth rate of the economy," Mr. Siddall said in an interview in the wake of CMHC's warning this week about problems in the real estate sector.

CMHC will raise the risk rating in its assessment of the country's residential market as a whole in a report on Oct. 26, when it will issue a "red" warning to signal "strong evidence of problematic conditions" such as overvalued properties and prices that are rising too rapidly.

Mr. Siddall acknowledged that some first-time buyers will be priced out of the market because of Ottawa's "stress test," which critics say will reduce demand for housing because borrowers will qualify for lower mortgage amounts.

"It will affect a portion of firsttime home buyers for sure.

These are the people who are the most vulnerable. They are the people who have the least job security overall and most demands on their pocketbooks," Mr. Siddall said. "Encouraging them to save a little bit more money for a down payment or perhaps buying a smaller home - we think that's healthier for them. That means they will be less likely to face difficulties down the road to continue to afford their homes if something went wrong."

CMHC's general red alert in the federal agency's assessment of 15 metropolitan markets didn't happen overnight. In July, CMHC deemed Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina as regional markets showing strong signs of problems. The other 10 markets were seen as facing weak or moderate risks for problem conditions in July, but viewing the country as a whole, the Crown corporation is now sounding the alarm about Canada's real estate sector.

"Making policy at a national level for a bunch of different economic regions is challenging," Mr. Siddall said. "On housing policy in particular, the lead is the Department of Finance - Bill Morneau's department. We work week-to-week with them, all the time, exchanging information and ideas."

Mr. Siddall said CMHC itself has conducted an internal stress test under a scenario of a 30-percent decline in housing prices and a five-percentage-point jump in the unemployment rate.

While the economic impacts would be severe, CMHC could withstand such shocks, he said.

The agency had $523-billion in outstanding insured mortgages as of June 30.

Critics say the federal government and CMHC have acted too aggressively in efforts to cool housing markets.

"If potential home buyers expect that house prices will fall, and decide not to buy as a result, then this can become a 'self-reinforcing expectation,' which is also dangerous for the market and the broader economy," economist Will Dunning said in a new report released Tuesday.

"If the weakened housing market causes consumers to expect (or fear) that house prices could fall, this would reduce housing demand, further impairing the economy," said Mr. Dunning, a consultant who is chief economist for Mortgage Professionals Canada, which represents brokers.

He noted that mortgage applications are being stress-tested at a Bank of Canada interest rate posted at 4.64 per cent, which is well above rates available to consumers. Lenders are now offering 2.5 per cent or lower for five-year fixed terms.

If housing sales and starts drop sharply, property prices are bound to decrease and lead to the loss of thousands of construction jobs, Mr. Dunning said.

Teachers buys top Canadian wine brands
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

It's five o'clock somewhere for the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

Teachers said Monday that it would acquire the Canadian business of Constellation Brands Inc. in a $1.03-billion deal that will give the pension plan control over many of the country's top wine brands - and their vineyards and production facilities. It also marks the pension fund's entry into the highly competitive alcoholic beverage industry.

The transaction includes wellknown wineries and production facilities from the Niagara-onthe-Lake region such as JacksonTriggs and B.C. wineries such as Inniskillin Okanagan and Sumac Ridge as well as more than 160 Wine Rack retail stores spread through Ontario. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Teachers was drawn to the chance to acquire householdname brands that are popular with consumers.

"We always look to find Canadian companies to add to our portfolio - it's hard, there's a lot of capital going after transactions," said Jane Rowe, head of private equity at Teachers. She added that the broader trend of increased Canadian consumption of wine bodes well for the growth of the business.

Teachers will take on the task of convincing Canadians to drink more local wines as Constellation's publicly traded international parent company, which makes and sells a variety of beer, wine and spirits in several markets, said it will focus in on higher-growth brands with higher margins. The deal notably doesn't include Black Velvet Whisky, which is made in Lethbridge, Alta., marking the popularity of brown spirits.

Constellation has said that Black Velvet is the second-largest Canadian whisky brand in the United States.

In some ways, these wines are just returning to the Teachers portfolio.

The pension fund has been been making private equity investments for 25 years and became an investor in domestic wine producer Vincor International Inc. back in the early 1990s, and later helped take the business public. Vincor was then acquired by Constellation a decade ago. "When we knew it was coming back on the market, we thought this would be a really nice asset for the Ontario Teachers to own," Ms. Rowe said.

As recently as the beginning of October, Constellation had been pursuing another initial public offering for the Canadian wine business, saying it needed more capital to develop business opportunities. The wine business includes more than 1,700 acres of Canadian vineyards.

Teachers thinks it can grow the brands further within Canada and add to the business by considering what other types of wine consumers might want.

Ms. Rowe suggests that could include sweeter wines for younger consumers or more full-bodied wines for a more mature demographic. The trends toward shopping and consuming local products could be helpful because the business has wineries in British Columbia and Ontario.

Constellation's most recent annual report noted that its non-U.S. business, which includes Mexico, Italy, New Zealand and Canada, reported nearly $588-million (U.S.) in net sales, with Canada being the dominant market. That marked a decline from the same time in 2015 and 2014.

But the overall trend for wine consumption in Canada is positive, with more wine being consumed across the board, and more of it coming from Canadian producers, according to Statistics Canada's five-year data leading into 2015. That fuelled Teachers' desire to acquire Constellation.

"Wine has continued to be a growth product," Ms. Rowe said.

"As they say in the business, wine has a growing share of stomach."

As Constellation moves out of Canadian wine, it will now look to Washington and new brands for growth. The company also said Monday that it would buy a portfolio of wines from Washington State, with wild names such as Kung Fu Girl Riesling and Velvet Devil Merlot, which it said had shown "double-digit volume growth over the last three years."

Constellation Brands (STZ)

Close: $167.13 (U.S.), down $2.33

Cargill enters bidding for U.S. Steel Canada
Joint bid with Essar will be challenged to outdo Bedrock Industries offer
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The former parent company of Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is teaming up with agriculture and industrial giant Cargill Inc. to renew its bid to buy U.S. Steel Canada Inc., sources familiar with the companies' plans say.

Essar Global, which made a public bid for U.S. Steel Canada in August, is trying to jump ahead of Bedrock Industries LP, which has been anointed by the Ontario government as the favoured bidder to take the troubled steel company out of protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

The August bid for U.S. Steel Canada, formerly known as Stelco Inc., was rejected by the company and the court-appointed monitor overseeing the restructuring. Sources familiar with the new bid say it is also unlikely to succeed, as Bedrock is offering better terms and deep-pocketed Cargill's participation is limited to a loan.

"Our understanding is Cargill is involved as a lender, not a partner," said one investment banker involved in this complex restructuring for U.S. Steel Canada. "Cargill has made a loan against a foreign steel or coal asset owned by Essar Global."

Cargill's energy and industrial unit has a global metals business that operates nine steel service centres in the United States and China that process and finish steel for end users.

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based parent is one of the largest private companies in the world, with 150,000 employees and annual sales of $107-billion (U.S.). U.S. Steel Canada's chief restructuring officer William Aziz said the "purported offer from an Essar-led consortium" is unsolicited and the steel maker's focus remains on the Bedrock offer.

Essar was eliminated from the sales and investment solicitation process in August, Mr. Aziz noted.

Separately, Essar Algoma's court-appointed monitor, Ernst & Young Inc., filed a lawsuit Thursday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice alleging oppressive conduct by entities controlled by Essar Global.

Ernst & Young alleges the Canadian company suffered harm after Mumbai-based Essar Global took control of companies supplying port facilities, power and coal to the steel maker.

Ernst & Young also alleges that Essar Global affiliates should pay back $9.1-million billed to the Canadian company for corporate jets and rent on residential and office space in New York City. And the monitor is pushing Essar Global and companies it controls to repay up to $24.5-million in cash advances made by the steel maker.

"It is difficult to imagine that the [Essar Global] bid for Stelco is viable when the company is being sued by its monitor," said the investment banker, who is working with U.S. Steel Canada.

The Bedrock offer for U.S. Steel Canada would inject $504million (Canadian) in cash and see payments made to the Ontario government, a pension contribution and other investments to purchase the former Canadian unit of United States Steel Corp., which was granted CCAA protection in September, 2014.

Essar Algoma was granted protection under the CCAA in November, 2015.

Essar Algoma has been effectively disqualified from bidding for the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.based steel maker it once owned, but has hooked up with United Steelworkers union locals in that city to try to get back into the sales process for Essar Algoma.

The Ontario government is a key stakeholder in the U.S. Steel Canada restructuring because it provided a $150-million pension loan to U.S. Steel when the Pittsburgh-based giant purchased Stelco in 2007. The province is also potentially on the hook to finance a pension solvency deficiency of more than $800-million at U.S. Steel Canada.

U.S. Steel cut the Canadian unit loose last year, but still holds a credit claim for loans advanced to U.S. Steel Canada during its ownership period.

The value of those claims is in dispute.

TD doubles up in bid for Scottrade
Toronto-Dominion Bank, TD Ameritrade make joint offer for U.S.-based discount broker
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Discount broker TD Ameritrade Inc. has teamed up with major shareholder Toronto-Dominion Bank to make a joint bid for a coveted rival, Scottrade Financial Services Inc., which is exploring a sale that's expected to fetch $4-billion (U.S.).

Privately owned Scottrade is among the five largest U.S. discount brokers, although only roughly half the size of TD Ameritrade. In late September, Bloomberg reported the company was on the auction block.

Sources familiar with the sale told The Globe and Mail that TD Ameritrade and its 42-per-cent owner, TD Bank, made a joint, non-binding offer for Scottrade earlier this month. Rival offers are expected from competitors such as E*Trade, Charles Schwab and U.S. banks, and there is no assurance that the joint TD bid will be successful, or that Scottrade will be sold. Spokespersons for TD Bank, TD Ameritrade and Scottrade declined comment.

St. Louis, Mo.-based Scottrade has four distinct lines of business that include a bank with $16-billion of assets and a network of 500 branches. The bank and bricks-and-mortar branches would be difficult for rival U.S. online brokers to swallow, analysts say, and that gives TD Ameritrade an advantage in any bidding war, as Toronto-based TD Bank could potentially acquire Scottrade's banking assets and branches, while Omaha, Neb.based TD Ameritrade buys the core discount broker business.

Scottrade's bank has approximately $2.5-billion of residential mortgages and $700-million of commercial loans and leases, according to U.S. regulatory filings.

Over all, Scottrade's client base and assets under management are half those of TD Ameritrade, a publicly traded company with a $19.4-billion market capitalization, $763-billion in assets and 6.9 million client accounts. The opportunities and efficiencies that would come from buying Scottrade could boost TD Ameritrade earnings by 15 per cent, according to a recent report from investment bank Sandler O'Neill + Partners.

TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani has made a number of large, complex U.S. acquisitions over his career and has made it clear that the bank's strategy is to continue expanding by acquiring smaller platforms.

In September, TD Bank acquired New York-based Albert Fried & Co., a boutique securities dealer, and announced plans to expand the business.

During a recent quarterly call with analysts, Mr. Masrani said: "We have a stated strategy of looking at acquisitions in the U.S. I've previously said that we would certainly look at any asset plays."

TD Ameritrade has a relatively new CEO, Tim Hockey, who was appointed in January, 2016, after a successful run as head of TD Bank's Canadian retail business.

Sources familiar with the appointment said Mr. Hockey took the job with a growth mandate from his board and TD Bank. The firm has a history of expanding through acquisition, as TD Ameritrade became a market leader out of a 2006 merger between rival firms, one owned by the Toronto-based bank.

If TD Ameritrade reached a deal to acquire Scottrade, the company would likely fund part of the purchase by issuing up to $2-billion in stock, and analysts said TD Bank is expected to step up for a significant portion of the shares to maintain its 42 per cent stake.

Scottrade CEO Rodger Riney founded the company in 1980 and has built it into a market leader with more than 3,000 employees. One Canadian investment banker who has dealt with Scottrade cautioned it may be difficult for TD Ameritrade to complete a transaction, as Mr. Riney has turned down takeover offers in the past and is likely to have an aggressive view of what the company is worth.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

Close: $59.09, up 16¢

Premier seeks Muskrat Falls detente with Innu, Inuit
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is to meet with indigenous leaders Tuesday in an effort to get the problem-plagued Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project back on track, after work was halted by protesters raising the alarm over the potential for mercury contamination.

Provincially owned Nalcor Energy halted work - delaying the planned flooding - after protesters stormed the site. Nalcor president Stan Marshall issued a statement Monday saying 50 activists had entered the construction zone on the weekend, prompting the company to order nearly 700 workers off the site.

Innu and Inuit communities are demanding the federal and provincial governments step in and force Nalcor to remove more vegetation - and even topsoil - from the area that will be flooded in order to reduce the amount of methylmercury that would be released from decomposing organic material. Mr. Marshall was brought in to replace long-serving Nalcor CEO Ed Martin in April as the provincial government faced criticism over scheduling delays and cost overruns at the $11-billion project that will supply power to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia via undersea transmission lines.

Nalcor and its partner, Halifax-based Emera Inc., tout the Muskrat Falls project as an important source of non-greenhouse gas-emitting electricity at a time when Ottawa and the provinces are attempting to drive down those emissions to meet international climate commitments.

Nalcor vice-president Gilbert Bennett confirmed last week that mercury levels in fish would rise as a result of the flooding, and acknowledged that local communities may have to reduce the amount of fish they eat. Three hunger-striking protesters arrived in Ottawa on the weekend, and vowed to continue their action until the federal government intervenes to protect their communities.

However, the federal Liberals are attempting to stay clear of the controversy, saying they expect the Newfoundland government to protect its people.

A study by a team at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences warned last year that mercury levels in the food chain would be much higher than Nalcor had estimated. Harvard professor Elsie Sunderland has consulted with the indigenous communities for several years as she and her team carried out the research, and recommended they insist on greater clearing of vegetation and more robust monitoring than the utility had planned.

However, Nalcor insists its experts have warned that clearing vegetation and topsoil from a 41square-kilometre site could have serious environmental consequences itself, including leaving the resulting reservoir in poor shape to support fish life.

On Friday, the province's Environment Minister, Perry Trimper, fired off a letter to Harvard University's president Drew Faust complaining about Dr. Sunderland's role in the controversy and suggesting she had provoked opposition to the Muskrat Falls project. Mr. Trimper had earlier suggested the Harvard professor had agreed to participate in monitoring the impacts of flooding.

Harvard spokesman Paul Karoff said on Monday that Dr. Sunderland had never agreed to do that work, saying that, as a scientist, that is not the type of activity she engages in.

Struggling hockey stick maker halts production, seeks buyer
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

MONTREAL -- One of Canada's last remaining hockey stick manufacturers has ceased production as it struggles financially and searches for a buyer of its production facility that supplies goalie sticks to the National Hockey League.

Industries ACM Canada Inc. of Drummondville, Que., has been trying - so far unsuccessfully - to find a buyer for its ACM Sport division, said Benoît Fontaine, a partner specializing in insolvency and reorganization at accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

The privately owned company, which also owns a division that supplies composite components to industrial customers, including Bombardier Inc., is a supplier of sticks to CCM-Reebok, owned by German multinational Adidas AG. The company has about 75 employees.

Among the NHL players who use CCM-branded sticks made by ACM are the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price and Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers.

"I have no idea if there is someone out there who would want [to buy ACM Sport]," Mr. Fontaine said in an interview Thursday.

"Foreign competition is way too tough," he said about the shift of hockey-gear manufacturing to lower-cost countries such as China from North America.

Industries ACM management did not return calls requesting comment on the company's current status.

The composites unit - ACM Composites - has also stopped production and talks continue to find a buyer for it, Mr. Fontaine said. At the same time, a process to place the company in receivership continues, he said.

"The company has yet to file the legal documents," he added.

Graeme Roustan - former chairman of Performance Sports Group Ltd., maker of Bauer hockey equipment - said in an interview Thursday that he had discussions over Thanksgiving weekend with Industries ACM about the possibility of buying the company but that nothing came of them.

He said he also made "more than one offer" over the weekend to Mr. Fontaine for ACM Sport and that - while no counteroffers were received - those negotiations went nowhere.

Mr. Roustan has been involved in a long-running battle with PSG's current board over its business strategy and he has indicated that he would move to buy PSG if it were ever pushed into receivership.

PSG disclosed in August that it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for unspecified reasons after delaying the filing of its latest annual financial statements.

The shutting of ACM Sport would leave only a few specialty hockey stick makers in Canada.

Five years ago, storied hockey stick maker Sher-Wood Hockey Inc. of Sherbrooke moved the last of its stick production to China in a cost-cutting move.

The company cited competition from larger, more aggressive rivals in the consolidating hockey equipment industry as a key factor in the shift of production to Asia.

Associated Graphic

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is among the NHL players who use CCM-branded sticks made by ACM.


Profit growth set to return for Canadian companies
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Corporate Canada is on track to exit the profits recession that has ravaged income statements for nearly two years.

The consensus forecast for third-quarter earnings is for year-over-year profit growth of nearly 5 per cent for companies in the S&P/TSX composite index, according to National Bank Financial.

"This turnaround is welcome and could mean the economy will stabilize in energy-producing provinces," said Matthieu Arseneau, senior economist at National Bank. "Let's hope Canadian corporations will again surprise on the upside this quarter after a pleasant second quarter."

The rebound in energy prices, combined with brutal cost-cutting in the oil patch, are generating an energy-led recovery in Canadian profits, which last saw growth in late 2014.

As a result, no major stock index in the developed world has done better this year than the S&P/TSX composite, which has risen by nearly 15 per cent.

If oil prices hold up, the index should continue to rise through the end of the year.

Another positive is the improving outlook for emergingmarket economies, which are historically highly correlated with demand for Canadian resources.

Meanwhile, growing divergence between the U.S. and Canadian economies - and monetary policies - suggests the Canadian dollar is headed lower, said Martin Roberge, Canaccord Genuity's head of North American portfolio strategy.

Those forces could result in a relatively rare combination of commodity strength and loonie weakness, Mr. Roberge said.

"This is a nirvana for commodity producers in Canada and for commodity-related earnings.

"That bodes well for TSX earnings."

Together, the energy and materials sectors account for more than one-third of the total market capitalization of the S&P/ TSX composite index.

That's not to say all is well in Canadian equities.

Far from it.

In the energy sector in particular, although third-quarter profits are forecast to more than double, it is from a low starting point. In the third quarter last year, the oil crash was still unfolding.

And while crude oil at around $50 a barrel is nearly double this year's low point, it's also still less than half the 2014 precrash peak.

But it's the resource economies that are entirely responsible for the end to profit contraction in Canada. Excluding energy and mining sectors, the remainder of the companies on the index are expected to post an earnings decline of 1.7 per cent.

On the economic front, last Wednesday's rate announcement by the Bank of Canada emphasized growing vulnerabilities in the domestic economy. The bank again cut its growth forecast, as well as its expectations for inflation, and even openly contemplated additional stimulus, presumably through a rate cut.

Associated Graphic


It's back-to-work time for De Grasse
Short-term goals include finishing his sociology degree, making some technical changes and starting a charitable foundation
The Canadian Press
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- Andre De Grasse is on a break between classes at the University of Southern California, and for once he has nowhere to be.

There have been no track practices or lifting sessions for the 21-year-old for weeks. He hasn't run down the track since his stunning Olympic debut at the Rio Games. It's been all about the books as he finishes his sociology degree - fulfilling a promise he made to his mom, Beverley.

"I made a promise to her and a lot of people, even here at USC, that I would come back and finish what I started because I didn't want to leave that chapter of my life behind," De Grasse said after class, from Los Angeles. "I enjoyed my time here at USC so much, and a lot of people see me here putting in a lot of work and effort, and I didn't want to let that go to waste, and I thought this would be the perfect time now that the Olympics are over."

The sprinter from Markham, Ont., took two months off after he captured a silver and two bronze medals in Rio. He has kept active playing pickup basketball or soccer with friends.

But it's back to training on Friday. De Grasse was set to fly to Phoenix on Thursday night to work with his coach Stu McMillan for the weekend, and the plan is to spend two or three days per week in Arizona until his schoolwork is complete, and he can move back to Arizona.

He'll finish his degree in December.

De Grasse was in dire need of the break, McMillan said.

"When you look at Andre's last 18 months of his career, it's been pretty hard, I think he needed a longer recovery than most," the coach said from Phoenix. "He pretty much went straight from worlds in 2015, took a couple weeks and was back into training, so it was long 18 months, 24 months of training for him with two major competitions and a lot of stress, so, just felt it prudent that we take a longer recovery for him."

De Grasse's career has skyrocketed since he left the USC campus last winter, forgoing his final season of NCAA eligibility to turn professional. Returning to the USC campus, his college friends were quick to bring him back down to earth.

"A lot of people joke around because they knew me before that happened, so they're always trying to tell me, 'Hey, don't get too big-headed now, we knew you before all that happened,' " De Grasse said, laughing. "They keep me humble."

He's posed for his fair share of pictures, though, and has done some Q&As and student-athlete panels at the request of his professors.

De Grasse was was one of Canada's most captivating story lines of the Rio Olympics, his relationship with Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt painting some unforgettable pictures.

Bolt will race at next summer's world championships in London in what's being billed as his "farewell" meet. De Grasse can't wait for another shot at the 30-year-old.

"If it is going to be his last time, I've got to just try to enjoy the moment and have fun and go out there and give it my all against him one last time," De Grasse said. "It's going to be interesting to see where I'm at next year, and see where he's at."

As far as unseating the world's greatest sprinter, however, De Grasse is measuring his words.

The young runner said his confidence has sometimes been misinterpreted.

"I've noticed that in the past year, people tell me about interviews I do, and they say, 'They make you sound like you're cocky but you're not really a cocky guy,' " De Grasse said. "I don't want to rub people the wrong way where I sound cocky and say I'm going to beat Bolt.

At the same time, I'm confident I can go out there and compete with him, and beat him."

There could be some changes to De Grasse's training this season. He arrived in Phoenix last January with legs battered from too much racing, and so McMillan spent the first two months "deloading" the young star. Plus, the Rio Olympics loomed large, expectations were huge.

"I know one thing we can do [this season], is we don't have the stress of trying to prepare for the Olympic Games at the end of this season looming over us, so we can actually make more of the technical changes I wanted to make last year this year, without really being scared of him having enough time to implement them, because it's not as big a year," McMillan said.

"We can probably do a little bit more volume [in the weight room] this year," he added.

"Because of our concerted effort to deload about six to eight weeks last year, we didn't really get a big opportunity to do a lot of volume in his program. Probably his 200 suffered because of it. He was definitely in 19.6 shape by the Olympics, but I think he can go significantly faster than that."

Bolt won the 200 in 19.78, while De Grasse crossed in 20.02.

Besides his studies, De Grasse is working on developing his own charitable foundation, saying "That's pretty important for me, because I want to give back to the community."

On Oct. 27, he'll travel to Chile with Puma - the company with which he signed his historic $11.25-million (U.S.) shoe deal last winter. There are also early plans for a "street meet" this coming summer that would see him race in downtown Toronto.

Associated Graphic

Canadian Andre De Grasse and Jamaican Usain Bolt finish one-two in the men's Olympic 100-metre final in Rio on Aug. 14.


Toronto FC looks to leave playoff mark
Having lost only two of its past 15 games, TFC is confident going into its first-ever home playoff game, against the Philadelphia Union
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- On the second floor of Toronto's FC practice facility, three glass cases are built into the wall of a lounge next to the dining room.

One contains the Voyageurs Cup, surrounded by photos documenting the five times Toronto has won the Canadian championship. Two nearby cases - for the MLS Cup and CONCACAF Champions Cup - sit empty.

In years gone by, the empty cases might have been akin to Joe Public keeping a blank wall at home titled "Supermodels I Have Dated." But this big-ticket version of Toronto FC, full of star power and deep in talent, has high hopes.

There are playoff games to be won. Cabinets to be filled.

"We come in here, we all glance at it. You want to see something in there," striker Jozy Altidore said Monday of the empty MLS Cup case. "Look, it's not going to happen overnight. The club has come a long way. In two, three years we're now full of ambition, full of hunger to do more. And that's how you become better. We want to fill those two cases up with trophies, definitely."

The first step comes Wednesday night as Toronto hosts the Philadelphia Union in its first-ever home playoff game.

It's a chance to erase memories of the franchise's first foray into the playoffs, a humiliating 3-0 loss in Montreal at the same stage last season.

"That game we just didn't show up," Altidore said of the Montreal debacle. "Wednesday night, the one thing we have to do is show up - show up for our fans, show up for the city and the chips will fall where they may."

Toronto (14-9-11) finished third in the Eastern Conference this season while Philadelphia (1114-9) was sixth. D.C. United hosts the Montreal Impact in the other Eastern knockout game Thursday.

Team president Bill Manning says while it has been a good season to date, now is the time for TFC to step up and demonstrate its worth with a run deep into the playoffs.

"This is not a team that's going to have a lot of turnover in the off-season. We have a good nucleus of players. We think this is a team that can be good, for many years. We'd all be disappointed if we were one and out."

"At our home place I like our chances and I think this is a team that can make a real run," he added.

Altidore also believes this squad can do some damage in the postseason.

"We're not by any means a finished product, but I think we're on the right track and we have a chance to do something special this year," he said.

Captain Michael Bradley, whose desire to lead the team to the promised land burns like a propane torch, says his team is ready for the playoffs.

"Ultimately what happens from here on in is what people are going to remember for the next few months ... I think we have a group of guys that hopefully have another level, have another gear to still hit."

Italian star striker Sebastian Giovinco is keen to do his part for his adopted home, knowing Toronto is hungry for soccer success.

"Yes it is my city and I want it to be my city," he said through an interpreter.

There is little time to prepare.

So coach Greg Vanney didn't mind that his family was watching a rerun of Toronto's 3-2 win over Chicago on Sunday when he returned home after the game.

When the replay ended, he turned to his laptop to watch Philadelphia's 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls and New York City FC, which finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the East, have a bye until the two-legged conference semifinal starts Sunday.

Should Toronto advance, it will open the semi-final at home before playing the return leg on the road.

How long has it taken Toronto to host a playoff game? The club has played 324 regularseason matches getting here. It won 91 along the way, losing 144 and tying 89.

TFC has scored 384 goals and conceded 498 times.

Coaches Mo Johnston, John Carver, Chris Cummins, Preki, Nick Dasovic, Aron Winter, Paul Mariner and Ryan Nelsen paved the way for Vanney.

Toronto missed the playoffs by finishing seventh, seventh, fifth, fifth, eighth, 10th, ninth and seventh in the Eastern Conference before placing sixth under a revamped format last season and losing in Montreal.

Philadelphia enters the playoffs on a three-game losing streak and hasn't posted a win since Aug. 27 (0-5-2). It got the final postseason berth in the East via goal differential - the second tiebreaker - over the New England Revolution.

In contrast, Toronto has lost just twice in its past 15 games (82-5) but has dropped points at home recently. Prior to beating visiting Chicago 3-2 Sunday, Toronto had not won at BMO Field since Aug. 6, an 0-2-3 run.

The teams met twice this season, with Toronto winning 3-1 on Aug. 20 in Philadelphia and tying 1-1 Sept. 24 at BMO Field.

Despite the short turnaround between the end of the regular season and the opening of the playoffs, Manning said 18,000 to 19,000 tickets had been sold as of Monday.

"We still have a lot of tickets to move," he said, predicting a good response from fans.

Associated Graphic

Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco, left, evades the Chicago Fire's Rodrigo Ramos during the second half of Sunday's game in Toronto. TFC begins its playoff run with high hopes on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Union.


At 85, Whitlock sets another record
Resident of Milton, Ont., proves you're never too old to be the best in the world as he shaves a half-hour off record in his age category
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- Ed Whitlock, the 85-year-old distance runner, shattered the world record for his age group at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, crossing the tape in a remarkable 3 hours 56.38 seconds.

The previous record for runners in the 85-90 years old category was 4:34.55.

"I didn't feel at all happy at 25K.

I really was thinking that this was going to be an absolute disaster," Whitlock told Canadian Running Magazine.

The resident of Milton, Ont., known as The Master, has owned no fewer than 36 world records on the road and the track, setting six of them at the Scotiabank Toronto marathon. That includes a pair of sub three-hour finishes in 2003 and 2004. According to his bio, he's the only man in the world over 70 to come in under the three-hour mark.

"I don't want to disgrace myself, I suppose," Whitlock said of his race on Sunday.

When asked the age of his teal running singlet and scuffed running shoes, Whitlock said he couldn't remember.

"They're well-aged," he said, prompting laughter.

Whitlock was hampered by injuries last year. "I keep inventing new ones over time," Whitlock said before the race when asked the particulars of his injuries. "My chronic problem is my knees, somehow on occasion I get running in a long groove and they flare up and start to hurt, and the only thing I can do that seems to get rid of it is to take a rest."

For the first time in two years, though, he was able to ramp up his mileage to three-hour runs.

The extra work seemed to pay off.

Elsewhere at the marathon, the oldest record on Canada's track and field books - Jerome Drayton's 41-year-old mark - is another day older.

Eight weeks after his 10th-place finish at the Rio Olympics, Eric Gillis believed he had a decent shot at Drayton's elusive mark.

But the humidity, slick roads and nagging knee pain played havoc with his morning, and the Canadian finished fifth, more than two minutes off record pace.

The 36-year-old from Antigonish, N.S., knew by the 25-kilometre mark it wouldn't be a record-breaking day.

"I couldn't open up my stride after I got a sore knee," Gillis said.

"I was focused on getting that sorted out, then it was more just a comfort thing, I wanted my knee to feel better. It never did.

"Then the last 10K, was thinking 'I'm not on pace for barely anything. And my knee hurts. I just want to get home.' "But I'm glad I did this, it was a good learning experience," he added.

"It's disappointing. Disappointing, but no regrets."

He crossed in two hours 13 minutes 44 seconds to win the Canadian men's title. Drayton's record is 2:10.09. There was a bonus of $41,000 - $1,000 for every year the record has stood - for a record run.

Kenya's Philemon Rono was first in 2 hours 8 minutes 27 seconds.

Krista DuChene of Brantford, Ont., who made her Olympic debut in Rio nine weeks ago, won the women's Canadian title, and finished fifth over all in 2:34.02.

Rachel Hannah of Toronto was right behind her in sixth, while Dayna Pidhoresky of Tecumseh, Ont., was seventh.

"I really wanted this win, this was my year, with Rio and then deciding to do this," DuChene said. "I wanted a national championship again. I knew with the conditions, that there's no way fast times were going to happen, so it was all about being patient and using my marathon experience."

Shure Demise of Ethiopia won the gold in 2:25.18.

Gillis and DuChene took a risk running two marathons just two months apart. But Gillis, whose 10th in Rio was Canada's best Olympic finish since Drayton was sixth in 1976 in Montreal, said he'd do it again. Now, the two plan to take a well-earned rest.

DuChene spoke dreamily about looking forward to eating pecan tarts and chocolate chip cookies.

The 39-year-old mother of three joined the chorus of angry voices about Athletics Canada's tough marathon standards for the 2017 world championships announced a few days earlier. The women must run 2:29.50, prompting frustration among Canada's best.

Sunday's conditions, DuChene said, just weren't conducive to fast times.

"I think this is a wakeup call for the harsh standards that were set.

I was in easily 2:30 shape or faster," DuChene said.

"Whether they'll reconsider I don't know, but it's a little bit ridiculous that I was the first person and I didn't even make the standard. I didn't even make the B let alone the A, so that speaks for itself. Humidity is a silent killer."

Associated Graphic

Milton, Ont.'s Ed Whitlock, 85, set a record of 3:56.38 in the 85-90 age category during Sunday's marathon in Toronto.


NFL puts Brown on 'exempt' list pending abuse probe
The Associated Press
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

LONDON -- The NFL placed Josh Brown on paid leave Friday hours after coach Ben McAdoo struggled to answer questions about how the New York Giants might discipline the kicker for abusing his wife.

In a letter to the 14-year veteran, NFL senior vice-president of labour policy Adolpho Birch said Brown was being placed on the league's "exempt list" while the league investigates whether he should be suspended as punishment for several alleged acts of spousal abuse. Birch said the move "does not represent a finding that you have violated the personal-conduct policy," but does pave the way toward potential further sanctions.

Being placed on commissioner Roger Goodell's "exempt" list means Brown cannot attend practices or Giants games but can go to Giants headquarters for meetings and workouts. It also means Brown continues to be paid and his presence won't be counted on the Giants' 53-man roster. Brown could appeal the decision.

"The NFL has the ability to place a player on the exempt list and the player has the right to appeal that decision, if he chooses," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "The league office wanted unilateral control of this process and accordingly, their system lacks transparency."

The action on Brown came hours after McAdoo had trouble explaining the Giants' intentions toward Brown, their kicker since 2013. The questions about how much the Giants knew about Brown's off-field troubles have overshadowed preparations for Sunday's game in London against the Los Angeles Rams.

Brown did not travel to London following Wednesday's release of police records which contained the player's written admissions that he physically abused his wife, Molly, over a protracted period.

She told police in the documents released by the King County Sheriff's Office in Washington state that the abuse and other threatening behaviour stretched from 2009, when she was pregnant with their daughter, to the Pro Bowl in January 2016.

In May of 2015, Molly Brown sought and was granted a temporary protection order against her husband. A King County Superior Court commissioner issued the temporary restraining order on May 27, 2015. The order was reissued several times until July 24, 2015 when the order was terminated by the court at Molly Brown's request.

At the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Brown's wife said she called NFL security to move her and her three children to another hotel to avoid harassment from her estranged husband. She said he had pounded on their hotel door seeking to get in. The allegation is included in the final report filed last month by the local investigating detective, Robin Ostrum.

Brown's former wife did not respond to messages seeking comment from the Associated Press.

A law firm representing the kicker declined to comment.

When asked whether the Giants knew about Brown's behaviour at the Pro Bowl, McAdoo repeatedly said the Giants were still gathering information on the 9-monthold event. Finally, he said: "I'm not going to answer that."

When a reporter asked McAdoo about his comments in August suggesting he would show no tolerance for players abusive of their family members, McAdoo said his comments then were more nuanced.

"When did I say zero tolerance?" he said, adding: "I do not support domestic violence, if that's what you're asking. I do not condone it."

McAdoo described Brown as a "man of faith" who was trying to improve his behaviour and the Giants organization was supporting him in this. But when asked to explain how the Giants provided this or monitored his off-field behaviour, McAdoo said he couldn't detail any specific acts of support.

The NFL's official policy is to suspend players guilty of domestic abuse for six games on their first offence. Brown was suspended for one game, the Giants' season-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys, in punishment for his May 2015 arrest at his family home in Woodinville, Wash., on suspicion of assaulting his wife.

Earlier Friday, Goodell suggested in a BBC interview that Brown could face further punishment now that league officials can see the full King County evidence file detailing Molly Brown's allegations of more than 20 episodes of abuse and other threatening behaviour to herself, her two sons from a previous relationship and the couple's daughter.

Associated Graphic

Giants kicker Josh Brown reacts after missing a field goal in September, 2013. Brown has been penalized for alleged spousal abuse.


Steady Estrada will rely on changeup
Veteran right-hander has pitched more innings and has the best ERA in the Blue Jays' rotation this postseason
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- With the Blue Jays season on the line for a second straight day, veteran pitcher Marco Estrada will start for Toronto, hoping to take another step toward a miraculous comeback in the American League Championship Series.

The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, looked over their injury-ravaged pitching staff and chose little-known Ryan Merritt - a rookie who has thrown a total of 11 innings in the big leagues - to pitch Game 5.

Having earned their first win of the ALCS on Tuesday, the Jays are right back at it on Wednesday, trying to send the best-of-seven series back to Cleveland. Estrada, Toronto's steady 33-year-old change-up specialist, hopes to extend his impressive postseason showing so far.

Estrada has thrown more innings than any of the Jays' pitchers in this postseason so far - 161/3 over two games - a win over Texas and a loss to Cleveland. The right-hander has a postseason ERA of 1.65, the best among Toronto starters in these playoffs. His 12 postseason strikeouts also lead the staff.

"I don't have much for you guys - it's another game and we've got to win," said a matterof-fact Estrada. "My job is to try to go nine innings and give up zero runs. So it doesn't matter if it's the last game of the season, the first game - you want to do that every time out."

Estrada was the losing pitcher in Game 1 last weekend in Cleveland, despite an almost flawless performance outside of one poorly executed changeup in the sixth inning that Francisco Lindor turned into a two-run, gamewinning homer. Estrada gave the Jays eight innings and struck out six batters that day, allowing just those two runs on six hits.

"It's an extremely talented lineup over there. You may say that there aren't a lot of household names. I think there are," Estrada said. "There's a lot of talent over there. Guys just put the ball in play. And they're all pretty quick.

They make those little plays happen."

Cleveland, one win from a trip to the World Series, will lean on soft-spoken 24-year-old Merritt, a lefty with just a single Major League start on his resume. He has appeared in just four MLB games, and he's spent much of this season pitching for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.

The young southpaw fidgeted nervously on the podium while addressing reporters in Toronto.

He was asked what makes him more nervous - pitching or being at the front of a packed interview room.

"This, all day," Merritt said with a nervous laugh, concluding his news conference.

The Jays don't have the benefit of much study material on Merritt. "What do I know about him?

That he's left-handed," Jays manager John Gibbons said with a chuckle when asked for his scouting report on the youngster.

The Jays need three more wins if they want to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only majorleague teams ever to rally from down 0-3 to win an ALCS. The Jays are banking on another solid outing from Estrada, but it's more difficult to predict how much run support the team can provide him.

Runs didn't always accompany his steady performances during the regular season - evidenced by the fact that Estrada was 9-9 despite posting a 3.48 ERA over 29 starts. The man who regularly confounds batters with one of the best changeups in baseball is 3-2 in five career postseason starts with an ERA of 2.59. Two of those wins came in Toronto's playoff run last year.

"When the team needs something, he comes through," Gibbons said. "You've see him do it again and again ... I would expect him to be very, very good."

Associated Graphic

Marco Estrada gave the Jays eight innings and struck out six batters in Game 1 of the ALCS, allowing two runs on six hits.


Canucks' strategy: Grind it out, then attack
Team defies widespread expectations - so far - with third-period comebacks and much-improved overtime performance
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks have had what looks like a lucky start to their season.

Three third-period comebacks have led to two wins in overtime and one in a shootout.

The fast start, for now, defies the widespread prediction that the Canucks will be among the worst teams in the NHL for the second consecutive season.

Vancouver's first three games are also a preview of the team's strategy: Grind out low-scoring games.

Although grinding it out and hoping to win isn't a strategy that usually propels teams to the playoffs, it's what Vancouver management has chosen.

Unwilling to ride out another season at the bottom, and scoring a top draft pick, the Canucks have said they want to be a playoff contender. And this is what the season is likely going to look like, not many goals, and not much fun to watch.

A key to one-goal games is an ability to win in overtime. Here, at least, the Canucks are notably improved over last season.

A year ago, with the introduction of three-on-three play for the five minutes of overtime, the Canucks were befuddled.

They lost seven times in overtime before the season was two months old. Later, as the team began to collapse, the performance in overtime improved. Vancouver was 3-2 in its final five overtime decisions.

This month, Vancouver is 2-0 in three-on-three play.

Canucks coaches have preached an array of tactics, defenceman Ben Hutton said. They include a willingness to take a long skate back around one's own net to reset the attack if there is no offensive opportunity at hand. When there is a window for a two-on-one, go for it.

And, perhaps most important, hit the net when shooting.

Rebounds that go wide often lead to dangerous counterattacks.

It's all about "sitting back," said captain Henrik Sedin, who was credited with the overtime winner Tuesday night in Vancouver when the Canucks defeated the previously unbeaten St. Louis Blues.

"Last year, we forced things to get a goal," Sedin said on Wednesday after practice. "We lost the puck in the wrong areas. You could say we had too much puck."

It's about knowing when to push, Sedin said.

"As soon as you get the puck, you've got to jump - all three guys've got to jump. And, usually, you already have one guy beat. That's where you've got to take your chance."

The chances, in a long season, can pay off. How a team fares in overtime and shootouts is crucial. In 2014-15, when the Canucks last made the playoffs, they were 12-5 in games decided after regulation time, 6-3 in overtime and 6-2 in shootouts.

If the Canucks had instead been a so-so 8-9 in overtime/ shootout decisions, they would have missed the playoffs, rather than finishing fifth in the Western Conference.

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom believes the team has a confidence it didn't have a year ago.

One example: Last season, when the Canucks were losing after two periods, they won only three times in 34 games.

This season, the team is three for three.

"I don't think it's just overtime," Markstrom said of the team's early showing. "The whole game has changed. We play more confidently. We work harder. And we're sticking to our plan, if we get down a couple goals. Last year, sometimes it could be like, pack it in. Now, it's more like, I don't even think anybody's worried, when we get down. We know we're going to score. We're so confident. That's huge."

Associated Graphic

Canuck players celebrate their overtime win against St. Louis Blues in Vancouver on Tuesday, giving them a 3-0 record.


Philly hands Minnesota its first loss of season
The Associated Press
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

PHILADELPHIA -- Josh Huff returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, Carson Wentz outplayed Sam Bradford and the Philadelphia Eagles beat Minnesota 21-10 on Sunday, handing the Vikings their first loss of the season.

The Eagles (4-2) snapped a two-game losing streak while the rested Vikings (5-1) hardly looked like an unbeaten team after having a bye.

"I thought we played embarrassing in two phases," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "I'm very disappointed in the performance.

Bradford returned to Philadelphia for the first time since his trade to Minnesota eight days before the season opener paved the way for Wentz to start. Bradford was 7-7 in his only season with the Eagles and won his first four starts for the Vikings.

But the Eagles pressured and harassed their former quarterback all game, sacked him six times, and forced his first three turnovers this season.

"I thought he missed some throws that he normally makes, but he got hit a lot," Zimmer said. "It's probably hard to evaluate his performance when [the line] looks like a sieve."

Wentz also struggled early, tossing two interceptions. But he recovered to lead the Eagles on a couple of scoring drives, including a five-yard TD pass to Dorial Green-Beckham in the third quarter for an 18-3 lead.

"That's a great defence we played," Wentz said. "I have to be smarter with the football. We found a way to win. That's huge for us."

Both teams had a sloppy start.

After combining for only three turnovers in 10 games, the teams traded giveaways on five consecutive series in the first quarter and totalled eight turnovers. The Vikings started two straight drives inside the red zone, but squandered both chances.

Blair Walsh hit a 48-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead before Huff broke loose for his second career touchdown return. Huff sprinted up the right side, ran through Walsh's attempted arm tackle at the 40, raced untouched to the end zone and capped it with a somersault. Wentz ran in from the 1 for the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles an 8-3 lead.

Bradford was 24-of-41 for 224 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Matt Asiata had 55 yards rushing. Cordarrelle Patterson had seven catches for 67 yards and a TD.

For the Eagles, Wentz was 16of-28 for 138 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Ryan Mathews had 56 yards rushing. Huff caught four passes for 39 yards.

The Eagles have returned kickoffs for touchdowns in consecutive games for the first time in team history. Wendell Smallwood returned one 86 yards for a TD in last week's 27-20 loss at Washington. Huff had a 107-yard TD return as a rookie in 2014.

Cleveland carries significant base-stealing advantage into series
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

CLEVELAND -- The numbers seem clear when it comes to Cleveland's formidable running game as the team heads into Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

For Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who will be tasked with trying to halt that running game, the numbers lie.

It seems like a confusing story.

Cleveland stole 134 bases to lead the AL this season. Former Blue Jay Rajai Davis leads the running brigade with 43 stolen bags. Jose Ramirez is No. 2 with 22 while Francisco Lindor tallied 19.

On the flipside, Martin, the Blue Jays veteran catcher who is considered one of the best defensively in the game, has thrown out only 15.3 per cent (11 of 72) of attempted base-stealers.

That's the lowest rate of any regular catcher this season. By comparison, Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals enjoyed a 48.1 success rate in cutting down basestealers.

So it would appear that Cleveland has a big edge when it comes to being able to move up a bag or two if the situation warrants, which could have a big effect in the best-of-seven series.

Just let them try, is Martin's response.

"For me, it's just what I love to do," Martin said, about catching would-be base-stealers. "We can talk about the numbers, whatever you want. We'll see how it plays out after the series is all over is all I have to say."

Martin said he has no explanation for his low success rate.

"I don't," he said. "Numbers lie, that's why. If they want to take their chance ... It's something like, it's what I'm best at in life ... catching and throwing. I don't want to sound overconfident but it's always been a good part of my game. So for me, it's a non-issue."

The Blue Jays start Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) against former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.41 ERA) in Friday's opener.

On Saturday, 20-game winner J.A. Happ will face Cleveland's Trevor Bauer, 12-8.

On Monday, when the series resumes in Toronto for Game 3, Marcus Stroman will face Josh Tomlin. Aaron Sanchez starts for the Jays in Game 4 on Tuesday against Mike Clevinger.

Als receivers tweet farewell messages amid reports they've been released
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

MONTREAL -- Duron Carter's controversy-ridden stay with the Montreal Alouettes ended Monday when he and fellow receiver Kenny Stafford were released by the CFL club.

The team gave no explanation for the moves in a brief news release.

Neither player had a catch as the last-place Alouettes lost 22-8 in Calgary on Saturday to fall to 4-11 for the season.

Carter, 25, returned to the Alouettes this season after a year with the Indianapolis Colts.

While he leads the team with 938 yards on 61 catches, the son of former NFL star Cris Carter has been involved in a series of incidents.

He was fined by the team and suspended one game by the CFL when he bowled over Ottawa coach Rick Campbell at the sidelines after making a touchdown catch in a game on June 30.

In September, he got into a shouting match during a practice with quarterback Rakeem Cato, who had been named the starter ahead of veteran Kevin Glenn.

The following week, after Glenn was traded, Cato had a meltdown in practice, shouting first at Stafford and then at Carter over what the quarterback said was a lack of respect.

The situation between the players appeared to have eased as Cato then led Montreal to a one-sided victory over Toronto, hitting Stafford for a long gain on the team's first play. I was Jacques Chapdelaine's first game as the new head coach.

The Alouettes lost their next two games, however.

The moves came a week after the Argonauts released starting receivers Kevin Elliott, Vidal Hazelton and Tori Gurley, after coach Scott Milanovich had questioned whether some of his players really wanted to be on the team.

Carter and Stafford both sent out tweets ahead of the team's official announcement.

"Had fun Montreal! Much love! Much will be said in the next few days ... Sorry I can't help Montreal get back to the glory days," Carter tweeted.

"Thank you to the city and fans of Montreal it was good while it lasted," Stafford tweeted.

Stafford returned to the Alouettes this season after a year in Edmonton. He had 16 catches for 215 yards.

The Alouettes stayed in Calgary after their loss and will practice there this week ahead of their game Saturday in Regina.

Enbridge cuts 530 jobs amid slowdown
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Hundreds of Enbridge Inc. employees lost their jobs on Wednesday as the Calgary-based firm slashed 5 per cent of its work force in a bid to boost growth and competitiveness in a difficult North American energy market.

An Enbridge spokeswoman said about 530 employees were laid off - 370 in Canada and 160 in the United States.

The move comes as pipeline companies look for cost-cutting measures and mergers in an era of lower-priced oil and natural gas and a strenuous path to get shovels in the ground for new projects.

It follows two years filled with tens of thousands of layoffs in Canada's energy sector.

One month ago, Enbridge announced a $37-billion deal to buy Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp.

The transaction, which will create North America's largest energy infrastructure company, is set to close early next year.

However, spokeswoman Suzanne Wilton said the work force reductions are part of an organizational review launched earlier this year, and are "not related to the Spectra combination."

"It is focused on what we need to do to achieve our strategy of growth and diversification, enhance our competitiveness, and allow us to capitalize on opportunities now and into the future," Ms. Wilton said in an e-mail.

"Throughout this process, Enbridge is committed to treating people fairly and with respect. We are providing support to those leaving the company, as well as those who remain," she said.

Ms. Wilton added that roles for some employees have also been adjusted to reflect "structural changes."

Enbridge had employed about 11,000 people, primarily in Canada and the United States, until this week. This is not the first recent round of job cuts for the company. In November, 2015, the midstream company announced a 5-per-cent cut of its work force, representing about 500 full-time jobs and 100 unfilled positions.

Company shares were up more than 1 per cent in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon.

Even though Enbridge is not directly exposed to the effects of lower crude prices, the company - the largest transporter of Canadian crude to domestic and U.S. markets - has said it is "not immune" to the commodity price downturn. In recent years, pipeline companies have also faced greater environmental and regulatory scrutiny to proposed projects, a trend that has delayed and stymied new pipeline builds.

For instance, the prospects for Enbridge's proposed $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline remain uncertain as the federal government decides whether there is reason or a means to revive the project following a Federal Court of Appeal ruling that quashed its approval.

After a state-of-the-province speech in Calgary on Wednesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley responded to the news of the job cuts at Enbridge, saying she feels for all the families who will be affected.

Ms. Notley added that she is not yet ready to say the worst of the downturn is over.

"What we're going to do is talk about the role of the provincial government in this, in terms of trying to ensure stability and a steady hand on provincial finances and provincial contributions - while working as hard as we can to create jobs and diversify the economy," she told reporters.

"We know that in the energy sector, some companies are going to do what they need to do to remain viable."

Enbridge competitor TransCanada Corp. also cut staff last month - but for a different set of reasons, company spokesman Mark Cooper said.

When the $10.2-billion (U.S.) deal for TransCanada to buy Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. closed in July, employees working for the merged company were told that staffing duplications and redundancies would be identified within 100 days.

Mr. Cooper said some workers lost their jobs last month. However, he declined to give any numbers. As of this week, Trans.

Canada has about 7,700 employees.

"As to be expected with any merger of two large organizations, you're going to need to adjust staff - just based on the ongoing business needs of the combined organization," Mr. Cooper said of the deal that gave TransCanada a major position in a massive shale gas region in the U.S. Northeast.

He said the move has nothing to do with company performance or market conditions. "This was not part of any kind of structured layoff program."

With a report from Jeffrey Jones

Enbridge (ENB)

Close: $58.79, up 63¢

Italy merges two banks in bid to prop up sector
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

ROME -- In the first significant banking deal in almost a decade, Italy created its third-largest bank as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi rushes to shore up confidence in the flat-lining economy ahead of a crucial December referendum on constitutional reform.

In twin shareholder votes held on Saturday, shareholders of Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) and Verona's Banco Popolare approved a merger that will create a new bank, to be called Banco BPM, with 171-billion ($247-billion) in assets, 25,000 employees and an 8.2-per-cent national market share.

The merger comes after a brutal year in the Italian banking industry, which is weighed down by 200-billion in non-performing loans, negative interest rates, perennial recapitalization problems at Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) - the current No. 3 lender and the weakest big bank in Europe - and plunging share prices. Italian banks trade at a mere 0.2 to 0.3 times tangible book value.

The ill health of many of the Italian banks, especially the regional lenders, has acted as a brake on the recovery of the Italian economy, the euro zone's third-largest. Eight years after the financial crisis, the economy is barely growing and is still almost 10-per-cent smaller than it was before 2008. The unemployment rate, at 11.4 per cent in August, has barely improved in recent years, in part because the bank lending dearth has put enormous stress on employers.

Backed by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, who has been urging a bank cleanup and consolidation exercise for years, the centre-left government of Mr. Renzi opened the door to bank mergers last year by passing a law that forced mutual (or co-operative) banks to become joint-stock market companies.

The law removed restrictions on mergers and takeovers, allowing the creation of Banco BPM, the first bank deal of any size in Italy since MPS's nearly fatal, top-of-the-market takeover of Banca Antonveneta in 2007.

Other mergers are expected to follow, but there is no guarantee the Italian bank sector will spring back to life any time soon and Mr. Renzi is running out of time. He is desperate to produce good economic news before the Dec. 4 referendum, which will determine his political future.

The constitutional referendum will, in essence, ask voters whether they support Mr. Renzi's pitch to end the government's perfectly symmetrical bicameral parliamentary system by downgrading the senate to a far less powerful regional assembly. His goal is to streamline the law-making process by consolidating most of the power in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.

Mr. Renzi has said he would resign if the referendum goes against him and the polls point to a narrow 'No' vote. The fear among investors is that such a result would cripple Mr. Renzi and his government and possibly trigger a snap election that could see the election of the rising Five Star Movement, the anti-establishment party, and main opposition party, that has vowed to hold a referendum on the euro.

Carlo Gori, senior bank analyst at Moody's, said a losing referendum could hurt the banks and their recapitalization plans.

"Investor confidence would be affected [by a 'No' vote] and that would pose a risk for banks that need capital, though not all institutions have immediate needs," he said.

Banco BPM was created through a share swap and starts life with a market value of about 5.7-billion. The weaker partner in the deal was Banca Popolare, which was forced to undertake a 1-billion capital hike ahead of the merger.

The ECB had made the capitalraising exercise a condition of the merger.

The new bank will sell nonperforming loans, cut annual costs by 320-million, or 10 per cent of the combined total, by 2019 and seek the elimination of 1,800 jobs.

With bank consolidation under way, the future of MPS looms as the biggest risk to the Italian banking system. European regulators have ordered MPS, the world's oldest bank, to sell close to 30-billion of bad debts. A 5-billion recapitalization plan proposed by JPMorgan seems to be going nowhere. A new, competing plan has surfaced, this one led by veteran Italian banker and former industry minister Corrado Passera. His proposal is backed by Bob Diamond, the American banker who was CEO of Barclays PLC until his resignation in 2012.

Lighter, faster, cheaper - and dangerous
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- As far as product failures go, it's hard to imagine a more nightmarish scenario.

Brian Green of Indiana had just boarded a Southwest Airlines flight in Louisville, Ky., earlier this month when grey-green smoke began wafting from his pocket.

Terrified, he grabbed his smouldering Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and flung it onto the ground, where it burned through the carpet and scorched the subfloor, forcing the evacuation of the aircraft, according to an account in The Verge, a technology website.

It wasn't just any phone. Mr. Green's device was a replacement, with a new battery, deemed safe by Samsung after reports that an initial model was prone to spontaneous combustion.

This week, Samsung took the extraordinary step of abandoning production of the Note 7, while ordering the recall of 2.5 million of the devices worldwide, including nearly 22,000 in Canada and a million in the United States.

It's the second time this year that an iconic global brand has faced a humiliating public flogging. Before Samsung, there was Volkswagen, which has acknowledged fitting 11 million of its diesel vehicles with software designed to dupe emissions tests.

And in 2014 and 2015, there was Japan's Takata Corp., whose faulty airbags forced the recall of 19 million vehicles sold by most of the world's leading auto makers.

These recalls are part of a global pattern of more, and ever-larger, product failures.

Auto makers recalled a record 51.3 million vehicles in the United States last year, topping the previous high of 50.9 million reached in 2014.

Recalls monitored by food and consumer product regulators are also rising.

It would be comforting if the trend was due to better vigilance by regulators, and more demanding consumers. Even if true, that's only part of the story.

What's particularly distressing is that large multinationals, with vast testing and engineering departments, are still unable to stop badly flawed and even dangerous products from reaching consumers.

And it suggests that the rush to grab market share may be getting ahead of companies' ability to deliver fully formed products.

Smartphones and cars are intensely competitive markets, where global companies battle for every bit of market space. It's a relentless quest for lighter, faster and cheaper.

The struggle is so intense that some companies are apparently willing to bet everything to get there first.

Samsung is the world's largest smartphone maker, but it trails Apple's iPhone in the prized U.S. market. The Note 7 was one of the most sophisticated Android phones on the market, an answer to the iPhone 7.

Another possibility is that the surge in recalls is because companies are relying increasingly on vast global supply chains they do not fully control. This structure has obvious cost-saving benefits, with niche players in the chain specializing in what they do best and sharing the efficiencies.

Auto makers and smartphone makers are classic examples of global assemblers. Their products are filled with intellectual property that is not theirs. For example, Apple designs and develops software for the iPhone, but most other key components, from chips to glass and batteries, are made by a vast network of suppliers in more than 30 countries, which often jealously guard their trade secrets, even from Apple.

Samsung, which is generally more vertically integrated than Apple, has been vague about what might be causing some of its devices to catch fire. In early September, the company said it would stop using batteries from its original supplier and divert orders to a unit of Japan's TDK Corp.

But that was before reports of replacement phones flaming out.

Samsung's recall won't be easy or painless. The company could lose billions of dollars in sales.

There is also a logistical problem. The phones are potentially so incendiary that the company is supplying fireproof packaging and gloves to handle returns.

Some postal services, including Britain's Royal Mail, are balking at carrying them, citing safety reasons. The U.S. Postal Service is only shipping returned Note 7s through its ground transportation network and won't allow them on its planes.

Advertising for Samsung's Galaxy line of phones shows them splashed with water to demonstrate their waterproof qualities - "Because water happens," the copy reads.

Samsung might well add a postscript, "Because fire happens."

As for Mr. Green, he now owns an iPhone 7.

Ottawa to target home energy in renewables push
Federal government seeks 'net-zero' in return of housing retrofit program
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- The Liberal government plans to reintroduce incentives for home-energy retrofits and commit to phased-in changes to the national building code that will eventually require all homes to be virtually energy self-sufficient.

Federal cabinet ministers are set to announce measures over the next six weeks aimed at improving energy efficiency and boosting the use of renewable energy in residential and commercial buildings, sources said Tuesday.

The goal is to have all builders within 15 years routinely construct "net-zero" homes, which combine energy-efficiency technology with home-based renewable energy sources to essentially eliminate the need for power from the electricity grid or natural gas.

After nearly a year of consultations with provinces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now moving forward the federal component of what he hopes will be a pan-Canadian strategy that will put the country on track to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Mr. Trudeau will meet provincial and territorial premiers on Dec. 9 for a first ministers' climate summit. Earlier this month, he announced Ottawa will impose a minimum national carbon price on provinces that refuse to adopt either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade plan.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said recently that Ottawa will introduce new policies this fall to cut emissions, including measures aimed at the country's buildings, which emited 11 per cent of Canada's GHGs in 2014. She said the adoption of carbon pricing alone will not be enough to meet Canada's international targets.

The Liberal government is also working on a plan to accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired power, a policy that could put it on a collision course with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who on Tuesday again slammed the federal carbon-pricing plan and defended his government's plan to "clean up" coal-fired power plants rather than shut them down.

On buildings, Ottawa will have a two-track effort - one set of measures aimed at reducing emissions in existing structures, and one aimed at toughening the national building code, which sets the standard for provincial codes. The federal effort is meant to complement actions taken by provinces such as British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Some home builders are already constructing custommade, net-zero homes, but they are not widely available in new subdivisions. The industry broadly supports a move to tougher building codes, with the eventual goal of a net-zero standard, said Dave Foster, director of communications for the Canadian Home Builders' Association.

"We support ramping up in a series of steps that ends in a netzero performance," Mr. Foster said. "It's like laying out guidance to [the] industry that this is where we are headed."

It is generally up to the provinces to set building codes, but Ottawa's National Research Council produces a national standard that most provinces simply adopt. Mr. Foster said it is crucial that any proposed changes to the code take into account affordability and technical issues that can affect safety and comfort.

Typically, net-zero homes include extra insulation, including high-grade windows and doors; passive solar features, high-efficiency appliances and rooftop solar panels. Mr. Foster said the net-zero measures can add $60,000 to the average price of a new home, but those costs have fallen and will continue to drop. At the same time, the homeowner can save thousands of dollars in energy bills.

The Liberals are expected to re-introduce a version of the popular home energy retrofit program that was expanded by the Conservative government during the 2008-09 recession and then ended in 2012. But the government will also target incentives at commercial property owners to drive efficiency improvements, major retrofits and switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, sources said.

The Canadian Green Building Alliance released a study last month which concludes that, with cost-effective incentives, Canada could reduce emissions from the sector by 44 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. It is urging Ottawa to move quickly to establish a net-zero building standard that would encourage the industry to build homes that use 50 per cent less energy and incorporate renewable technology so that the homeowner uses little or no electricity from the grid or natural gas.

As oil climbs, industry eyes new spending
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Oil-patch austerity is starting to take a back seat to growth as rising crude prices eclipse investor fears over high debt levels and weak cash flows.

Third-quarter results for Canada's energy industry start rolling out this week, and the numbers are expected to show a modest improvement in the sector's overall financial health.

With crude prices still trading at less than half their mid-2014 peak, no one is predicting a speedy return to bumper budgets and big-ticket megaprojects.

But in some corners of the industry, there is growing confidence that the worst of the brutal downturn is at an end.

A hard focus on survival - marked by relentless cuts to spending and staffing levels - is being replaced with a sense of optimism as producers begin mapping out spending plans for the year ahead, said Laura Lau, senior portfolio manager at Brompton Funds in Toronto.

"I think people still care about costs," Ms. Lau said.

"But it's more balanced with, 'When are you going to increase your capital budget?' " West Texas intermediate crude averaged $44.94 (U.S.) a barrel in the three months ended Sept. 30.

That's down from $46.50 a year ago, but it represents a sharp increase from lows hit earlier this year.

The U.S. benchmark price has nearly doubled since mid-February and on Friday settled at $50.85. Alberta wholesale natural gas prices averaged $2.38 (Canadian) per 1,000 cubic feet in the period, down slightly from a year ago but up 70 per cent from the second quarter.

Some companies are already putting drilling rigs to work. Encana Corp. this month said it would spend between $1.4-billion (U.S.) and $1.8-billion in 2017, compared to a range of $1.1-billion to $1.2billion this year.

Crescent Point Energy Corp. raised its 2016 budget by $150million (Canadian) to $1.1-billion and has set a preliminary spending target of $1.4-billion for next year.

Such moves will eventually give hard hit oil-service providers a measure of relief, although analysts say pricing gains in that segment of the industry are unlikely to register until later this year.

The improving sentiment comes as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries prepare to meet next month in Vienna to hash out details of a proposed output cut, the cartel's first in years.

There are still concerns about which countries would shoulder the biggest cuts and how compliance with any deal would be verified. But even the prospect of restraint from the group has boosted confidence, signalling the end of top producer Saudi Arabia's two-year war to drive higher-cost rivals out of the market by keeping prices down.

Meanwhile, several forecasters have pointed to dwindling U.S. inventories as evidence that oil markets are tilting closer to balance after years of crippling oversupply and sluggish demand.

"I'm certainly not hanging my hat on this [OPEC] deal happening, because I think we already have considerable visibility to a balanced market," said Mason Granger, portfolio manager at Sentry Investments in Toronto.

The question now is which companies are best positioned to take advantage of a possible rebound. "The biggest thing that we're going to be looking for out of the quarter is some sense for activity levels from the companies and where their heads are at outlook-wise," he said.

Integrated oil sands producer Suncor Energy Inc. reports thirdquarter results Oct. 26, followed by Cenovus Energy Inc., Husky Energy Inc. and MEG Energy Corp. on Oct. 27. Imperial Oil Ltd., the other large producer with refining operations, releases numbers Oct. 28.

The results will reflect production levels that have increased to full capacity following shutdowns related to northern Alberta wildfires in the spring, with Suncor forecast to see the biggest jump in earnings from the second quarter.

A big unknown is the degree to which rising crude prices trigger a sustained rebound in U.S. shale output, with companies taking advantage of recent gains to lock in higher prices for future production.

Fear of another price drop is likely to keep some from setting overly aggressive spending targets, instead focusing on debt repayment, analysts at investment bank Peters & Co. Ltd. said in a recent report.

How to know when you should be selling a stock
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

There are two important sides to successful, profitable portfolio management. One key component is identifying and investing in fundamentally strong companies. But equally, if not more important at times, is knowing when to sell a security.

Unfortunately, this is the part of the investment process investors get wrong most often.

During my years as a portfolio manager overseeing mutual funds and institutional money, I learned what is often more important than owning a portfolio of strong performers is being able to offload underperformers.

Owning one or two stocks that collapse in value can potentially wipe out all of your portfolio gains. That is why owning a diversified portfolio of stocks, with low correlations, operating in different industries, is so important.

Diversification helps reduce risk. So if you have one stock that plunges in value, the damage to one's portfolio is limited, and stocks owned in other sectors can hopefully offset the loss.

An interesting phenomenon occurs for some investors when faced with gains and losses.

When there's a gain, they worry about losing their profits - they become risk adverse. A small profit will heighten investors' nervousness and they will want to sell and exit their position to lock-in their profits. Yet, the opposite occurs when investors are facing a loss. When this occurs, investors accept greater risk - their risk tolerance increases.

Investors will come up with justifications to hold on to losses, such as hoping for a turnaround or arguing that the stock is cheap, instead of facing the pain of cutting their losses.

Holding on to underperforming securities is a frequent investment mistake for two main reasons. First, there is the possibility that the loss may grow. In some instances, the share price may decline in value so much that it reaches a point where you don't care about the relatively low value of the stock in your portfolio. Mentally, you write the stock off as a loss while it remains in your portfolio. The other mistake is the opportunity cost of not selling and being able to buy a different security that may appreciate in value.

Here's a simple analogy to consider when faced with selling a stock. If you had a friend in your life who was constantly criticizing you and bringing down your spirits, what would you do? You may perhaps try to see your friend less often, or may even decide to never see that person again. The same response may be prudent when it comes to stock holdings. If a stock is dragging your portfolio down, do your research and determine if the sell-off is due to a temporary issue or to issues that are likely to persist and remain an overhang on your investment for some time.

Given that it is human nature for many investors to hesitate to sell a stock at a loss, I recommend making an exit strategy before buying a security. Before you purchase a stock, ask yourself: at what share price will the loss cause you stress, anxiety, and regret? Perhaps it is a loss of 10 per cent or 20 per cent. Determine the figure before investing, and after purchasing a security, set up a price alert that will notify you if a security falls to this level (such a feature is available on Globe Investor's Watchlist).

Then, if you receive an alert, you can be aware and reassess your stock position. If the entire market is falling due to some noncompany specific factor, such as Brexit, then you may not want to sell.

How to time the exit from a stock holding is one of the most frequent questions I get asked from readers. My advice: when you have a profit, taking some of the gains off the table is prudent. However, if industry and company fundamentals both remain favourable, maintain your position.

When faced with a loss, investors need to focus on the cause.

If the company is facing temporary headwinds, you may want to ride it out. However, if the industry and company fundamentals are deteriorating, cutting your losses and moving on can be an effective, successful portfolio management strategy.

Ottawa backs Bombardier restructuring
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

MONTREAL, OTTAWA -- The Canadian government is backing Bombardier Inc. in its effort to restructure its business and rebuild profitability, taking a long-term view of the plane maker's growth prospects as it weighs an investment request from the company worth $1-billion (U.S.).

"We're very committed to the company," Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains told reporters Friday, following Bombardier's announcement that it would lay off a further 10 per cent of its 70,900-strong global work force as part of an effort to reduce costs and secure competitiveness.

"We're really much focused on the future prospects," Mr. Bains said.

Talks between Ottawa and Bombardier have dragged on for about 10 months with no agreement in sight.

Federal officials have expressed frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations, saying there has been little movement since the summer.

The federal government had expected to reach an agreement last winter to bolster the financial viability of the company.

Some of the options on the table are either direct investment or credit financing, but there is an expectation that any federal money would come with conditions, including possible changes in the dual-class stock structure that gives the company's founding BombardierBeaudoin family control of the plane maker through supervoting shares.

On message boards and social media platforms across the country Friday, many Canadians questioned why the government would direct taxpayer money to Bombardier while it continues to cut jobs.

The latest employment reductions will cut across the company's operations, touching 7,500 workers, including 2,000 in Canada.

Mr. Bains said Bombardier's moves are part of a restructuring plan put in place by the company some time ago. He said that in addition to seeking guarantees on Canadian jobs and head office protection from Bombardier, the government also wants to see "how the company sets itself up for success in the long term.

"We want to see growth opportunities," the minister said.

"Where are the opportunities?

Which markets can they enter into?

"Which partnerships can they enter into? What business opportunities exist? Where are those areas of growth? That's what we're focused on."

Ottawa's aid to Bombardier could be used to support the continued development of the company's new C Series airliner and needs to be viewed independently from the steps it is taking to cut costs and improve operations, AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray said.

"The announcement today is about rightsizing the business for the realities of the industries as they are today," Mr. Murray said.

"The aid request is about how does the government support the future of product development of Bombardier over the next 40 years."

Hired early last year to put Bombardier back on track after mounting concerns about its survival, chief executive officer Alain Bellemare presented a five-year turnaround plan on Nov. 24, 2015, in New York. The blueprint sketched out how the company will move from reducing risk in the business, which it has done in part by securing fresh funding, to rebuilding earnings and cash flow before reducing debt in 2019.

The plan included details about making operational improvements through labour efficiency and improving the company's manufacturing footprint as part of a wider goal of boosting earnings before interest and taxes to between 7 per cent and 8 per cent by 2020.

Friday's job-cut announcement, and a separate, similarly sized work-force reduction announced in February, flow from that effort.

"This is a five-year turnaround journey," Mr. Bellemare told The Globe and Mail.

"This year is about regaining earnings power, which means reducing costs, optimizing productivity, making sure that the business has the right cost structure moving forward."

He said the company's trainequipment business offers a particular opportunity for improvement.

Bombardier intends to reorganize the unit's manufacturing sites to improve the bottom line.

Roughly three-quarters of the job cuts will be directed at the rail unit, Bombardier officials say.

The business, known as Bombardier Transportation, is headquartered in Berlin.

Bombardier (BBD.B) Close: $1.76, down 2¢

Ottawa to be 'vigilant' as housing measures loom
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Ottawa has no further plans to clamp down on Canada's housing market, as potential home buyers grapple with the federal government's stricter mortgage rules.

The latest reforms, which are set to go into effect on Monday, are designed to cool the country's housing market and ensure homeowners do not take on too much debt.

They have left many first-time home buyers in a lurch, with some racing to buy property before the Oct. 17 rule change and others worried they will no longer qualify for a mortgage or be able to own a home.

"We don't have any other measures that we are waiting to announce, but we will remain vigilant in watching the market to ensure that it is stable in the long term," Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters after meeting with private sector economists in Toronto.

"We are looking out for [home buyers] by trying to make sure the housing market is stable," he said.

The changes require buyers who make a down payment of less than 20 per cent to prove they can handle higher interest rates, which will cut the size of the mortgage that a borrower can get.

Ottawa also introduced plans to thwart real estate speculation, which the government believes is driving up property values in Vancouver and Toronto. The average selling price of a detached house in both cities is well above $1-million.

But Mr. Morneau said it was not clear the reforms would stabilize the market. "It's impossible to say with absolute clarity what those impacts will be," he said.

One economist agreed and said previous reforms were short lived.

"Low rates ride over all other attempts to rein in the market.

Time will tell if that's the case again this time," said Douglas Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal, who attended the morning meeting with Mr. Morneau.

Interest rates have remained low since the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Over that period, the federal government has steadily tightened mortgage lending requirements, including slashing the maximum amortization period for riskier mortgages from 40 years to 25 years.

Mr. Morneau said he expected buyers will continue to "ensure that they take on a mortgage that is appropriate for their situation."

"If it contributes to them looking more carefully at whether the mortgage is the right size for them ... that will be a positive for their family and positive for the economy," he said.

The latest housing data showed home prices in Toronto up 2.2 per cent from August to September, but up only 0.2 per cent in Vancouver. Housing sales in the western city are down by a third since the British Columbia government slapped a 15 per cent tax on foreign real estate buyers in August.

There was little discussion about housing at Mr. Morneau's meeting with economists, according to participants.

Mr. Morneau was in Toronto to gather information ahead of his government's fall economic and fiscal update, expected to be released later this year. Mr. Morneau would not comment directly on a Toronto-Dominion bank report that forecast a bigger budget shortfall except to say: "We have seen a more challenging global environment."

TD expects the deficit to reach $34-billion this fiscal year, which is about $5-billion higher than what Ottawa estimated in its March budget.

Mr. Morneau said some events such as the Fort McMurray wildfires occurred after the budget was unveiled and said those factors would influence government plans.

European banks highlight preferred shares' risk
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Some advice for Canadians searching for yield: Before buying another bank-issued preferred share, study the drama unfolding at some of Europe's biggest financial institutions.

For the past few years, Canadians have been eager to gobble up new preferred-share issues sold by the country's largest lenders. These offerings often promise annual yields between 4 per cent and 5 per cent - juicy returns in an era of rock-bottom interest rates.

Lately, investor appetite for them has been almost insatiable. Earlier this month, Bank of Montreal hoped to sell $350-million worth of preferred shares, but saw so much demand it raised the issue size to $600-million. In August, Toronto-Dominion Bank looked to raise $300-million worth of new shares, but ended up selling $1-billion.

Banks like selling these securities because they are structured in such a way to count as capital that can cushion against bad loans and losses. The shares carry a clause that states they can be converted to common equity in an emergency - earning them the label of non-viability contingent capital (NVCC).

Royal Bank of Canada was the first bank to test the NVCC preferred share market in January, 2014, and its $500-million offering sold out quickly.

Investors largely buy them for their fat, stable dividends and their ranking above common shares in the bank's capital structure, meaning their holders are better protected if a restructuring is ever needed. But the owners in fact shoulder some of the burden of recapitalizing the bank if necessary. Regulators like this because it puts shareholders on the hook, rather than taxpayers.

The recent fervour for these deals suggests investors may be too quick to overlook that. As it stands, investors have almost every reason to trust Canadian banks - they withstood the shocks of the Great Recession, and they post some of the best returns on equity in the world today. However, it is entirely impossible to predict the future.

The current action in Europe shows how risks can emerge.

In Germany, Deutsche Bank, one of the world's largest financial institutions, is raising concerns amid worries about its profitability, and in Italy, a good swatch of the banking sector is reeling from bad loan portfolios.

Both Deutsche Bank and UniCredit, one of Italy's largest lenders, have issued contingent convertible debt, so-called CoCo bonds, that act much like Canada's NVCC shares - they convert to common equity in a crisis. In 2016, a number of European CoCo bonds have taken it on the chin. UniCredit's 1-billion ($1.4-billion) issue fell to 72 cents on the euro, far from the original par value, and in September, Deutsche Bank's 1.75billion issue dropped to 69.97 cents amid fears about regulatory fines and anaemic future profits.

For Deutsche Bank, fears of conversion subsided somewhat in October, and the CoCo bond now trades for roughly 80 cents, but this still proves these securities aren't always safe, steady invesments that pay a solid yield.

There are myriad differences between the Canadian banks and their troubled European peers. Still, not so long ago, the chance that investors in Deutsche Bank's senior-ranking securities, or those of Italian lenders, would be bruised by growing worries about a possible crisis seemed rather farfetched, too.

Everything went well, but Toronto still lost
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- Everything broke right for the Blue Jays to begin with on Monday night.

Cleveland was forced to the bullpen only two outs into the game. Toronto had a couple of timely hits from unlikely contributors. They received another decent outing from their own starter.

They still found a way to lose, 4-2.

The Jays must now win four games in a row to advance to the World Series. Only one team has ever managed that in well over a hundred years of baseball history.

In the lead-up to this game, there was some paranoid talk about a conspiracy against Toronto in Cleveland's favour. If the Jays are of the mind to begin a hunt for saboteurs, they should start in their own clubhouse. The only people working against them at the moment are themselves.

They've been outhit, outpitched, outdefended, outhustled, outthought and outcoached.

As of right now, Cleveland has two reliable starting pitchers.

There's no shame in losing, but losing this comprehensively to a team this depleted? It's getting shameful fast. No wonder huge stretches of Monday's game were played in funereal silence.

Once again, the offence was the main culprit - the one-throughfive hitters were 2-for-17. Both hits were singles. Most of these crimes of baseball were committed against the chum of the Cleveland bullpen.

So what now? In all likelihood, nothing.

Coming back down 2-0 against Texas a year ago was a little like putting on a pair of jeans and finding a $20 in the front pocket.

Digging out from this point of disadvantage would be the equivalent of a lottery hit. Doing it the way the Jays are currently playing would be finding a needle in a stack of needles.

If you're trying to talk yourself into it, think of it as a matter of psychology and probabilities. In more than 80 per cent of series in which a team goes down threegames-to-none, they are swept.

Realistically, Toronto's second consecutive ALCS adventure is over. The question becomes - how meekly would they like to surrender?

What will be hard to shake is how it seemed to be turning early on Monday evening. The two clubs finally had a low-key hate going. The crowd was roaring. The sands, you felt, were shifting. At least for one night.

Three hours before first pitch, an Ontario judge declined to issue an emergency injunction that would have prevented Cleveland from displaying its controversial logos.

Before it was decided, both teams were at great pains to play down the implications of the court move. As in, responding to questions about it with pained stares.

Instead, Cleveland engaged the debate post-facto through semiotics.

They could've gone with their standard road greys, which have the word "Cleveland" stencilled across the chest and a corresponding "C" cap logo.

That would have been a nice, conciliatory gesture. Which went untaken.

They opted for their home blues, featuring "Indians" and Chief Wahoo on the hat.

Some series are open warfare.

This one has become psy-ops.

Stage Two: Operation Bautista.

Toronto's most noted dugout agitator had done yeoman's work on the off-day, ruining the word "circumstances" for the rest of us.

That Bautista had noted that both teams were dealing with his unspecified circumstances (i.e. crap umpiring) went largely ignored.

Bautista has earned a reputation as a whinger the hard way - by whinging at an elite level - and it now trails him everywhere.

He was bumped up to leadoff spot to goose the offence. In the top of the first, a Mike Napoli liner popped in and out of his glove, giving Cleveland its first lead. Five minutes, Bautista was struck out looking. His body language said, "Lost this round." He would lose a few more before it ended.

As ripostes go, it wasn't quite le mot juste.

But this was all a prelude to the night's real weirdness - Stage Three: The Bleeding.

We'd been told Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer "cut" himself repairing a drone. Upon reveal, this looked more like an awful gouge.

Cleveland had hoped that Bauer's grotesquely mangled finger would stay stitched for two hours. It lasted about 10 minutes.

By that point, blood was quite literally dripping from Bauer's hand, his pants were becoming a Jackson Pollack and Toronto manager John Gibbons was moseying out to complain. Poor Bauer initially tried to hide the offending digit inside his shirt.

Ahead of the game, Bauer's teammate Jason Kipnis had affectionately called Bauer "a big, dumb animal" while making light of his hobby-related injury.

"I don't care. As long as he can still pitch for us," Kipnis said. "It's not as funny a joke if he can't pitch."

So - not a funny joke, then. Per MLB rules, Bauer was tossed from the game.

Right now, the resultant ripple effect into Cleveland's staff is the only consolation for the Jays.

The bullpen was forced to fill in for eight-and-a-third innings.

That in turn will force the entry of Corey Kluber into Tuesday's game on short rest. He'd have to do that again if it gets as far as Game 7.

Rookie Ryan Merritt, who's started only one major-league game, will get the ball in Game 5.

In Monday's presser, the 23-yearold was so nervous he looked in danger of puking. There'll be a few more people on hand Wednesday, and they won't be as polite.

Bauer's exit was followed quickly by a Michael Saunders home run. That small surprise was erased two innings later by a just as surprising Napoli homer. It's become the sort of series in which you don't expect any ball to get out of the infield.

Toronto tied it. Cleveland hit another home run. The vaguely hydrant-shaped Napoli took a base on a pitch in the dirt and scored.

If you've been watching, you know how this goes. Playing this Cleveland team is a game of whack-a-mole, but the mole whacks back.

Toronto can weather one more smack. If it comes Tuesday, there will be a great deal whacking to follow - all of it off-season Toronto-on-Toronto violence.

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jays right-fielder Jose Bautista misses a fly ball on a double by Cleveland Indians' Mike Napoli on Monday.


NBA poised for unprecedented season
Even with the likelihood of another Cavs-Warriors Finals, the league stage is set for some of the most competitive play in history
The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

The story lines are as long as a Stephen Curry three-pointer.

With a superteam in the West, a megastar in the Midwest, superstars all around the league, its global popularity at an all-time high, more revenue than ever and labour peace looming, this season has the potential to be like no other the league has ever had.

Yes, rivalling the Celtics' run in the 1960s, possibly topping Magic-Bird rivalry of the eighties and Michael Jordan's run of the nineties.

LeBron James is holding the title in Cleveland and Kevin Durant has settled in Golden State, so the NBA Finals could very well be headed for the same destination again next June.

But what a journey it should be getting there.

"I think there is a somewhat [of] an inevitability of Cleveland [and the] Warriors meeting in the finals again, which can sometimes make you overlook how enjoyable the regular season can be if you love basketball," ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said. "So I think they'll meet in the finals again, but that doesn't make the regular season uninteresting to me."

A summer spending spree created new contenders and enticing questions for a global audience, the answers for which will begin to be revealed Tuesday when the new season opens in the places the last one ended.

The record-setting Warriors will be must-see TV again with Durant, the former scoring champ and league MVP, sharing shots with Curry, the current scoring champ and MVP.

James is on a Jordan-like run, looking for a seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals and hoping to build a dynasty where there was once just despair.

There's Dwyane Wade in Chicago and Dwight Howard in Atlanta after both went home. Derrick Rose left home - traded from the Bulls to the New York Knicks.

Former Commissioner David Stern used to say the NBA was in its golden age.

Under Adam Silver, it may be even shinier.

"There are a lot of charged-up players in this league," Silver said.

"There are a lot of teams, young teams in the development cycle, where I think they would even say realistically they're unlikely to win the championship this season, but they're on the road to winning a championship."

He will give James and the Cavaliers their rings before the season opener, while Durant joins Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in the expensive and explosive Warriors lineup later that night against San Antonio.

Their teams are heavily favoured to meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year, a rivalry that could turn into something like the Celtics-Lakers, or Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain before that.

But this is no two-team show.

"It's tough," Green said. "But at the same time I'm almost certain that it's a goal of [Cleveland's] to get back to try to win a championship. With that being said, there's a lot of great teams in this league.

And they're not saying we're going to watch the Cavs and the Warriors in June."

Like Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, defiant, rather than devastated by Durant's departure the way the Cavs were when James bolted for Miami in 2010.

Or young stars such as KarlAnthony Towns growing up into the spotlight, now that Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, titans for so long, have grown old and retired. And yet another batch of unmatched international talent, led by No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, an Australian whose debut will be delayed as he recovers from a foot injury.

It's what the league sought to create during the 2011 lockout, when more revenues were shifted from players to teams in hopes the clubs would then distribute them better and chip away at the gulf between the big-market haves and the small-market havenots.

Money really started pouring in with the extension of the league's national TV contracts, which kicked in this season to the tune of about $2.6-billion (U.S.) annually. The TV deal has sent salaries soaring so high that owners and players are poised to agree to a new labour agreement soon without the type of fight that led to the last one.

The wealth of talent, and the wealth to acquire it, has emboldened teams to spend now where they once may have stood pat.

Durant, Al Horford and many more switched teams during the dizzying days of July free agency, with the Spurs putting Pau Gasol alongside Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge into the frontcourt spot that Duncan had anchored for so long.

A third of the league changed coaches, with clubs such as Minnesota (Tom Thibodeau) and Houston (Mike D'Antoni) turning to proven winners to steer them through the rough Western Conference waters.

The Spurs or Clippers could emerge as the toughest test out there for the Warriors. Things look easier for James in the East, where he has emerged as the champion for six straight years.

But he never thinks about what happened in the past.

"There are going to be so many more challenges, so many different obstacles that we're going to have to face this year as a ballclub," James said. "We have to be mentally focused, mentally prepared for it all. I think we will be, but it will not be easy and it shouldn't be."

Silver, who should definitely like what he sees, summed up the anticipation: "I'm looking forward to the season."

Associated Graphic

LeBron James of the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against Washington Wizards' power forward Markieff Morris during the first half of a preseason game on Oct. 18.


Elliott is always looking to the next game
Calgary's new starting goalie isn't hung up on losing Wednesday's season opener to the Oilers and looks to even the score on Friday
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

. CALGARY -- In a perfect world, Brian Elliott's Calgary Flames debut would have begun with far more of a storybook script.

Maybe a low-scoring win over the archrival Edmonton Oilers, on the road, to spoil the opening of their new building. He might have stopped Connor McDavid on a dazzling penaltyshot attempt; made a few other game-changing saves; and otherwise help usher in a new defensively aware era in Calgary, in which reducing the league's 30th-best goals-against average was an absolute priority.

But it didn't go that way.

A leaky night defensively made for a wildly entertaining game and brought back memories of the Battle of Alberta's run-and-gun 1980s, but the net result was an error-filled 7-4 loss.

Elliott is part of the influx of fresh faces added in the off-season by Flames general manager Brad Treliving. Among the available goaltenders, Elliott's appeal was twofold to Calgary, both quantifiable and anecdotal.

His stats in his five previous seasons in St. Louis were among the best in the NHL over that span. But his strongest virtue might be an ultracompetitive streak that is innate and has been part of his makeup since he was a boy, growing up in Newmarket, Ont.

"My mom used to call me a 'little so-and-so' because I wanted to win at everything," Elliott said. "She said, 'You couldn't bear to lose.' Sometimes, it is a character flaw - growing up, trying to be friendly with everyone.

"But I always had that competitiveness - whether it was in hockey, or if I was playing basketball by myself in the driveway, I had to hit three swishes in a row, or I can't go inside.

Little things like that - you do to yourself - it's just always been within me. It's not something I'm going to get rid of any time soon."

That's just as well, since the Flames will need Elliott's competitive streak in advance of Friday night's home opener and a chance for redemption against the visiting Oilers. There was a distinct back-to-the-drawingboard vibe at practice Thursday, after the opening-night disaster.

In addition to the revamped goaltending tandem of Elliott and Chad Johnson, the Flames also added a new coach in Glen Gulutzan, two new forwards in Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg and a new defenceman in Nicklas Grossmann. Versteeg signed a day before the season opener after spending training camp with the Oilers on a tryout basis and will get a chance to play first-line minutes with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

But the trio didn't get in any meaningful practice until Thursday, so it was understandable perhaps why so many things looked out of sync against the Oilers.

But it is a long season and Elliott suggested it didn't make much sense to get hung up on one game, because they could clean up their mistakes without too much difficulty. After juggling his defence pairs for the opener, Gulutzan went back to a more established No. 1 pair, team captain Mark Giordano playing alongside T.J. Brodie, a pair that will be tasked with trying to stop the McDavid juggernaut.

Giordano suggested last year's revolving cast of goaltenders were unfairly tagged as scapegoats when the Flames' season went off the rails.

"We know it was more than that - a sum-of-all-parts sort of thing," Giordano said. "We weren't good enough. We were giving up way too many chances, quality chances.

"In saying that, you bring in two guys and it's honestly been a pleasure to watch how they work in practice. It's unbelievable. You've always known [Elliott] is an underrated guy, who's put up good numbers, but he's right up there. He reads the play well. He moves the puck well. So it's been really refreshing.

"For all of us, team defence is going to be an area of concern, but what's team defence now?

It's puck possession. If you have the puck, the other team can't score. That's what we have to focus on."

A decade into his career, in which he mostly had timeshares with other goalies, Elliott will now get a chance to establish himself as the team's clearcut No. 1, an opportunity he's been waiting a long time for.

"But that's what's kept me sharp, I think," he said. "It doesn't matter who you are, there's always somebody ready to take your job. I've always liked to go under the radar. It's not long term. It's not what happened in the past. I always see it as, 'the next game is always another opportunity to win.' And that's all I'm looking at."

Follow me on Twitter: @eduhatschek

Associated Graphic

The Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid scores on Flames goalie Brian Elliott at Rogers Place on Wednesday. The Oilers won, but Elliott will be back in net when the teams face off again on Friday.


Buono blames 'stupidity' for Lions' mistakes
The Canadian Press
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

VANCOUVER -- Wally Buono's explanation for the B.C. Lions' recent failings is simple.

"Stupidity," said the club's head coach and general manager. "The games that we've lost in the last [month] have been basically a result of not being smart, not playing smart."

B.C. downed the Montreal Alouettes at home on Sept. 9 to improve to 8-3 on the season and looked like a pretty good bet to host a CFL playoff game for the first time since 2012.

But following their bye, the Lions have dropped three of four, including back-to-back losses to Winnipeg that saw the Blue Bombers move past B.C. into second place in the West Division standings.

Last weekend's defeat to Winnipeg at home was especially tough to swallow. The Lions blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter thanks to their fifth and six turnovers of the evening - an ill-advised interception from quarterback Jonathon Jennings with less than three minutes to play and a fumble by kick returner Chris Rainey after the Blue Bombers tied the score that set up the winning field goal.

Buono, the CFL's career wins leader at 263 and counting, said his team has done a lot of good things over this difficult stretch, but key mistakes, especially late, have cost them dearly.

"Sometimes, it's who makes the least mistakes at the most critical times," he said. "If you look at the three games out of four that we've lost, the [formula is play well] down to the wire and then piss it away."

Jennings has led the Lions to comeback wins in the fourth quarter this season, but he was still kicking himself this week after his third interception against Winnipeg.

"We're not going to win football games playing like that," said the second-year pivot. "I can't lead the team to a win playing football like that. I can't have turnovers like that. It's something we've got to learn from."

B.C. linebacker Adam Bighill said it was important that the team let the loss linger a little longer than normal to ensure the mistakes, which also included bad penalties and missed tackles on defence, aren't repeated.

"You've got to let it sting and understand the opportunity that was missed," Bighill said. "You have to reflect on how things are going to have to be changed and what needs to be done and be honest with yourselves.

"There's a time where you have to reflect and let it burn a bit, but you quickly thereafter have to make the necessary changes to overcome it."

The Lions (9-6) will look to make those changes when they host the Edmonton Eskimos (8-7) at B.C. Place Stadium on Saturday. The Eskimos have won three straight - including a 27-23 victory over B.C. last month that started the Lions' slide - and are coming off a bye of their own.

"We were playing good football before the break and it's imperative for us to pick up where we left off," Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly told reporters in the Alberta capital this week. "Half the struggle with a bye week is trying to make sure you can continue that momentum that you built up."

The Lions will have to be wary of a potent aerial assault led by Reilly and the CFL's top two receivers, Adarius Bowman (1,609 yards) and Derel Walker (1,464 yards).

"They're playing some good ball," said B.C. linebacker Solomon Elimimian, the league's leading tackler with 113. "What's big when you play football is confidence. They have some confidence."

While both teams have already clinched playoff spots, another loss to the Eskimos would bump the Lions to fourth in the West and put them in position for the crossover berth in the East, with both Winnipeg and Edmonton owning a tiebreaker over B.C. That might not be such a bad thing.

The Lions are 7-1 against the East this season and just 2-5 against the West, but with three games to go they want to hit the postseason on a high.

"If we're going into the playoffs with a 3-0 record, I'll take that any day," said B.C. defensive back Ryan Phillips. "Going into the playoffs without confidence never breeds wins. That's just the reality.

"I'll take my confident team with a 3-0 record going against anybody in the West, I don't care who it is, than a team that's not winning and making the crossover."

Weber makes his mark in home-opener
Habs' game against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins was just another Tuesday night at the office for the 31 year old
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

MONTREAL -- Pregame festivities for the Montreal Canadiens' home-opener featured players announcing their own entrances, and if there were any jeers when a deep, distinctive voice came over the Bell Centre public address system - "numéro six, number six, Shea Weber" - they were drowned out by a rafter-shaking ovation.

So that's settled - and the proposition that P.K. Subban's replacement would get the business from the Habs' faithful was always a shaky one.

The 31-year-old Weber greeted the applause with his habitual stony game face. When asked prior to the ceremony what he thought about Montreal's wellearned reputation for glitzy openings, he said: "I honestly don't have any idea."

In case you were wondering, no, he's not the overly sentimental type (although in fairness he also doesn't suffer clichéd questions from reporters).

Hockey players are creatures of routine and while Weber is in a new city, his pregame habits are already well-entrenched. And in that sense, the Habs' opening home game against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins was just another Tuesday night at the office.

With both teams shorn of their best players - Montreal goalie Carey Price and Penguins centre Sidney Crosby missed out with postflu and postconcussion symptoms, respectively - it may have felt that way to those taking their seats in the stands as well.

Both Montreal and Pittsburgh are off to decent starts this season - neither had lost in regulation going in - but Habs coach Michel Therrien made it clear after this team's game-day skate that he wasn't thrilled with the way his team was playing.

In fact he observed that most teams' structure is unusually ramshackle to start this season, the result of player movement and the recent World Cup of Hockey.

"It's normal, we're all going through it," he said.

Therrien feels his team hasn't demonstrated the intensity going forward and (attention statsgeeks) the crisp puck-possession game he would like to see.

The Montreal gameplan is predicated on quickness and it was on display Tuesday night early when Alex Galchenyuk was stymied by acrobatic Pittsburgh goalie MarcAndré Fleury on the opening shift. The gratification was only temporarily delayed; Max Pacioretty put his team ahead just 23 seconds into the game, a new team record for a home-opener.

The Habs captain would set up David Desharnais in the second period to give the Habs a 2-0 lead, before Alexander Radulov - from a peach of a pass by Galchenyuk - got the fans on their feet in the third with a dazzling first goal in Montreal colours.

Desharnais would add a second to make it 4-0 with six minutes to play.

Offence is nice, but the Habs will only get as far as Price can carry them this season - though Al Montoya has been more than capable in his stead; his is a more reassuring presence than any backup's was last year.

If follows that Weber, the defender brought in to command the corners and net-front, will have an outsized role. On Tuesday he played a game-high 27:12, most of it nose-to-nose with Pittsburgh star Evgeni Malkin.

The British Columbia native's brand is steady and efficient - the polar opposite to Subban's breathless dynamism.

This is what it looks like: Shortly after Pacioretty's marker, the Penguins swooped into the Montreal end and winger Patric Hornqvist drove hard to the net.

Weber stayed right with him, tied him up and blocked him out long enough for rookie teammate Artturi Lehkonen to come in and clear the puck from the crease.

Later on, Weber read a Pittsburgh clearing pass and scooted up the ice more quickly than former Team Canada winger Chris Kunitz to ensure it would be icing.

Agility may not be Weber's thing, but there's no issue with straight-line speed.

With the teams at four-on-four to open the third period, Weber calmly did what he does better than almost anyone in the league - batting a puck away from Pittsburgh's Brian Dumoulin as he attempted a zone entry at the Montreal blue line.

Weber drilled teammate Brendan Gallagher with his trademark slapshot in the second, and took a needless penalty to negate a power-play in the third.

But Weber is paid handsomely to be a stalwart, and for this game against a strong opponent, that's exactly what he was.

Associated Graphic

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-André Fleury saves a shot from Montreal's Alexander Radulov during Tuesday's game.


Ricketts' late goal forces a draw
Montreal clinches a playoff spot while Toronto continues to look for one of the top placings in the East
The Canadian Press
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

MONTREAL -- It was perhaps the Montreal Impact's best game of the season, but it was only fair that it ended in a draw with rival Toronto FC.

A fast-paced game with big chances at both ends produced a 2-2 draw in wet weather Sunday afternoon between the Canadian MLS rivals when Tosaint Ricketts came off the bench to score the equalizer in the 87th minute.

The Impact got what it wanted - it clinched a playoff spot for a second year in a row - while Toronto stayed in the hunt for one of the top two Eastern Conference placings that would give it home-field advantage and a bye into the conference semifinal.

"This is what you work for all year," said Impact coach Mauro Biello, who made the controversial decision to put Matteo Mancosu in at striker ahead of legend Didier Drogba, who opted not to even show up at Saputo Stadium. "Now we're in it and it's about going as far as we can."

Jozy Altidore also scored for Toronto (13-9-11), which remained winless in five games (0-1-4).

Ignacio Piatti scored twice for the Impact (11-10-12), who ran their unbeaten run to three games.

Sebastian Giovinco was in the Toronto starting 11 as he returned from an injury and was a menace to the Montreal defence the entire match.

"I thought [Giovinco] was very good," TFC coach Greg Vanney said. "Whenever we play Montreal, they get numbers around him and it forces him hit to play a little deeper and stay a bit wider.

"I thought it was a good debut.

It was good to get him 90 minutes. He had some good looks on goal. All things considered - he's been out six or seven weeks - that's a good day. And to get 90 minutes with him and Jozy together was good."

Giovinco hit a crossbar on a free kick and forced Montreal goalie Evan Bush into two diving saves. He was also key on the tying goal when he lofted a cross inside the penalty area, where Altidore chested it down and Ricketts pounded in his first goal of the season.

Montreal actually dropped one place in the standings, from fourth to fifth, one point behind D.C. United. They will have a chance to secure home field in the single-game knockout round of playoffs when they end the regular season next Sunday at New England, depending on how D.C. does against Orlando.

TFC ends its season next Sunday at Chicago hoping to move past New York City, which faces Columbus.

"We came in on the road and took two away goals - we'd be happy with that if it was the playoffs," Vanney said. "We wanted to win the game. That was our intention. Unfortunately we didn't make enough plays to win."

The teams traded chances in the first half but Montreal got the only goal when Piatti took a pass on the left flank from Marco Donadel, moved in and blasted it inside the far post in the 19th minute.

Just before Piatti scored, Armando Cooper dribbled past Victor Cabrera inside the Montreal area but saw his soft shot go off the right post.

Toronto tied it in the 52nd when Justin Morrow sent a perfect cross in on a run down the left side. Altidore was battling with two Montreal defenders and got a foot free to lift the ball past a fallen Bush for his 10th of the campaign.

"Both Laurent [Ciman] and I felt we could have saved it off the line," Bush said. "My hand and his foot kind of went into each other."

Referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the penalty spot when Mancuso went down after contact from behind by Morrow in the 55th and Piatti made no mistake for his second of the game and 17th of the season.

Biello hopes to patch things up with 38-year-old Drogba, and his teammates want him to stay.

"Didier made a decision," captain Patrice Bernier said. "It sucks a bit.

"You understand as a player that sometimes it's not easy but you have to move forward. We qualified for the playoffs and that's the most important thing.

The team comes first."

Associated Graphic

Montreal defender Victor Cabrera and TFC forward Sebastian Giovinco battle for the ball during Sunday's game in Montreal.


With Price back in net, Habs are a new team
After a solid World Cup and a nasty flu, one of the NHL's best goalies is back in red, white and blue
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

MONTREAL -- Much has happened in the past 331 days, major sports trophies have been lifted, Olympics held, Trump nation has risen, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price became a dad for the first time.

One conspicuous non-occurrence: Price starting an NHL game.

Thus, there has been a lot of pent-up demand for Price's services.

The Bell Centre cheered when he emerged for the pregame warmup - first order of business was a long chat with his cousin, Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan - and they got louder when he was announced as the evening's starting netminder.

Price said this week he was anxious "to see some rubber," but other than the usual peppering in warmup it took a while for his wish to be granted.

Nearly seven minutes in fact.

The detail-oriented fan will note that Price's first save of the 2016-17 season came from an Oliver Ekman-Larsson wrist shot that caught him in the chest.

The crowd had all the reason it needed for the season's first chorus of "Ca-rey, Ca-rey."

The first Carey Price-style save came about a minute later when he casually flashed out his right pad to get a toe on Radim Vrbata's shot from a two-on-one break.

There were also moments of rust, such as an inoffensive Tobias Rieder shot that was kicked directly toward trouble - the high slot - rather than away from it.

In the second period, rookie Mikhail Sergachev gave away the puck near the Montreal net.

Price made a sprawling save to deny Phoenix's Jordan Martinook, but found himself on his belly looking the wrong way when Coyotes defenceman Jakob Chychrun got one over on his fellow teenager Sergachev by firing into the top corner.

Later, Price thwarted Doan on a partial break. More cheers of "Ca-rey." He would eventually yield again after Nathan Beaulieu turned the puck over and the Yotes' Laurent Dauphin depositing a rebound behind him.

But by then the Habs were four goals to the good. They won 5-2.

Montreal is palpably a different team with Price behind it; it's as though the players resolved on Thursday not to let him work too hard.

No one in Montreal needs convincing of Price's importance to the Habs.

Insofar as teams can belong to one individual, the Canadiens are Price's team.

Over the past six years, he has been one of the top two or three goalies in the world; in the past three years he has been peerless.

No other regular starter has been able to hold a candle to his .931 save percentage.

When he went down to a knee injury last season, the Habs first became rudderless, then they sank. Quickly.

Few teams can prepare for the loss of a superstar player and though the Habs have taken steps to inoculating themselves against another injury absence for Price, he remains the linchpin.

Fans know it, and so do the players.

Earlier this week, head coach Michel Therrien alluded to the confidence premium the Habs enjoy with Price in the game, and his importance as a puckhandler.

It's to take nothing away from Habs backup goalie Al Montoya, the main Price insurance policy, who compiled a 2-0-1 record to start the season and was stellar in shutting out the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week.

Goalies don't usually expect to lose the crease after posting a goose egg, but Montoya knows what he signed up for when he joined as a free agent in the summer.

Therrien said, "if Carey's ready, he's playing, it's pretty simple."

Though Price looked to be his normal self in the recent World Cup of Hockey, a nasty bout of flu set him back. It cost him seven or eight pounds in a week - he has been looking notably sallow of late - and saw him consigned to quarantine in the basement, as Price and wife Angela have a newborn in the house.

"Luckily the baseball playoffs were on," he smiled.

Associated Graphic

Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes a save against Arizona's Ryan White Thursday.


Alternatives in the rush to low fund fees
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Money managers are facing a revolution. Their business was built on fat margins, yet suddenly they've found a new religion. The new gospel: low fees, by any means necessary.

Signs of the shift are everywhere. Low-cost, exchangetraded funds are in favour, and everyone from AGF Management Ltd. to Mackenzie Financial Corp. is launching its own suite; Royal Bank of Canada, Canada's largest money manager by assets, is now advertising its bare-bones mutual-fund fees in order to lure clients; and pension funds around the world keep slashing their exposure to expensive hedge funds.

It all makes sense. Many investment managers have failed to prove their worth over the long term - particularly hedge funds, which made hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars in good markets, yet rarely suffered along with their clients during bad times.

It's also hard to justify lofty management fees when yields have plummeted, driven lower by rock bottom interest rates.

But amid the rush to sing from a new hymn book, hardly anyone is stopping to ask whether low fees are always the best approach.

Craig Bodenstab is among the few who questions the new orthodoxy. His Bermuda-based firm, Orbis Investment Management, manages roughly $30-billion (U.S.) for 150 institutions globally, including some Canadian shops. Its compensation model is atypical: One option is for clients to pay performance fees when the fund does well, and for Orbis to refund money when the fund misses its benchmarks.

Hedge funds, meanwhile, typically deploy the "2-and-20 model," charging a 2-per-cent annual management fee and also taking a 20-per-cent performance fee for any profits above a certain threshold. In years when the funds lose money, they don't return anything - actually, they still make the annual fee.

As Orbis's profile grows, Mr. Bodenstab says it's interesting to see how investment committees at some of the world's most sophisticated asset managers react when they learn about his company's pay model. Some firms have so fervently embraced the new low-fee mantra that they are quick to dismiss anything else - even something as smart as the refund approach.

He gets the frustration. Choosing a fund manager is incredibly difficult because there are myriad variables to weigh - past performance, asset allocation, and risk tolerance, to name a few.

"Picking managers is much more difficult than picking stocks. You're trying to make an investment in intellectual capital," he says over an early morning coffee at The Gabardine on Bay Street.

Because there are so many variables, it's easy to resort to fees as the deciding metric. "Clients are smart enough to say, 'I may not get this right, let me at least have low fees.'... And there's some merit to that," he says.

But he cautions them: "Just be careful what you ask for. It's a little bit like saying, 'I just want to buy the cheapest suit, or the cheapest shoes.' ... At some point, price and quality overlap."

Mr. Bodenstab isn't so much pitching me as he is fretting about the future. Sales really isn't part of Orbis's business model - no one at the funds gets paid commissions. "Word of mouth should be how clients generally find you," he says. He's mostly alarmed at the power of herd mentality and at how quickly people tune out ideas that aren't mainstream.

He likens it to picking bluechip stocks. "If you buy IBM, you're probably not going to get fired," Mr. Bodenstab explains, even if IBM's performance lags the benchmark. But if you bet on an emerging company, or a unique fee model, people are quick to point fingers if it proves to be a bad bet.

"I'll never forget it: One of our larger clients said to me, 'Look, Craig, you don't understand - you pose career risk to me.' " Philosophically, it's hard to argue that lower fees, on principle, are a bad thing. The results of hedge funds underperforming their benchmarks are well documented by now.

However, the investment management industry has a long history of playing copycat. Middleof-the-pack managers try to replicate what the top performers, or the biggest names, do, yet simple math dictates only 25 per cent of funds can be in the top quartile of returns.

"Wall Street is a selling machine," Mr. Bodenstab says.

"There's probably no industry where more people add no value, but they're paid amongst the top in the world."

All he's suggesting - rightly so, I might add - is that there are exceptions to that rule, and rather than be swept up in the rush toward low fees, it might pay to do a little homework and be open to new ideas.

Yet another worthwhile Canadian initiative
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

It is a rite of passage for a new federal government to call on some of the best business minds the country has produced for advice on how to turn Canada, a country suffering from a chronic case of innovation envy, into a Hoser Tiger once and for all.

As such, the first report from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Advisory Council on Economic Growth is in keeping with a long tradition of early-mandate brainstorming.

Whether the exercise succumbs like most of the past ones to the political exigencies and institutional inertia faced by the governing class remains to be seen. But odds are that's what left of the "bold" recommendations from superstar consultant Dominic Barton's advisory panel won't look so audacious when and if they ever get translated into actual policy measures.

Still, that doesn't nullify the usefulness of the exercise. Canada faces an urgent need to find a new basis for economic growth that doesn't involve relying exclusively on the increasingly distant prospect of becoming an energy superpower. Since the oil sector began sputtering two years ago, our economy has been essentially firing on the single cylinder of real estate frenzy.

New measures aimed at cooling an overheated housing market will be a drag on economic growth, if they don't smother it altogether. Meanwhile, non-energy exports, which the Bank of Canada had been expecting to accelerate as the loonie declined, have yet to lift off. The continuing export shortfall, the central bank said on Wednesday, may be structural rather than cyclical, owing to "lost export capacity and competitiveness challenges."

It is against this backdrop that Mr. Barton, the Canadian-bred global managing director of McKinsey & Co., officially presented his panel's first set of recommendations to Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Thursday. And none jumps out more than the panel's call for Canada to increase immigration levels by 50 per cent to reach 450,000 annual newcomers a year by 2021.

The panel is hardly the first to identify a slowing expansion (or even contraction in some provinces) of the labour market as a major cause of weak economic growth. Shrinking working-age populations are a global phenomenon, nowhere more so than in China. Provided China's middle class continues to expand, the prospects for Canadian energy and agri-food exports remain healthy, which explains why Mr. Barton is a fervent advocate of a Canada-China free-trade agreement. In the interim, he favours easing foreign investment rules to spur an influx of Chinese capital here.

An FTA with China could be a far easier sell than Mr. Barton's immigration target. Canada remains an exception among Western democracies in continuing to embrace newcomers. But Mr. Barton's target would test the limits of Canadian tolerance. It would also raise hackles in Quebec, where fears about the Frenchspeaking province's declining influence within Canada are palpable as its share of the country's population creeps down toward the 20 per cent level.

To maintain its share of new immigrants, Quebec would need to accept 90,000 immigrants a year under the Barton plan - a non-starter. Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée has called for a reduction in the current 50,000 newcomers the province currently accepts each year. The current Liberal government of Premier Philippe Couillard this year tried to increase the level to 60,000, but backed off after a backlash.

The panel's call for the creation of an arm's-length federal infrastructure bank is sensible. But, to work, it would require politicians to surrender control over choosing projects. And to ensure that new infrastructure projects generate the reasonable and stable rates of return that private investors will demand, user fees will need to increase. That may be politically unpalatable.

Easing immigration barriers for highly skilled workers is not controversial. But neither is it a panacea for the apparent penury of talent faced by Canadian tech firms. The main obstacles firms face in luring foreign talent remain higher Canadian income taxes, a weaker currency and the abundance of opportunity elsewhere.

The Barton panel will really get down to business when, in coming months, it delivers its recommendations on improving Canada's innovation performance. They promise to be bolder than those made to the previous government in 2011's so-called Jenkins report, which led to an overhaul of federal support for private research and development. Those changes met resistance from business, so anything bolder - such as scrapping the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit altogether - would likely face widespread opposition.

To fix Canada's innovation deficit, maybe Ottawa needs to call in a psychologist, not a consultant.

Loblaw investigation slowed down by lack of co-operation
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

TORONTO -- The Competition Bureau's investigation into Loblaw Cos. Ltd.'s pricing practices with its suppliers has been bogged down because vendors have refused to voluntarily provide detailed information, the head of the bureau says.

Competition commissioner John Pecman said suppliers and rival grocers are concerned they will feel some "retaliation" if they come forward with information against Loblaw. The bureau is investigating whether the grocer abused its dominant position in the grocery market to secure favourable terms from suppliers.

"Companies for the most part are reluctant," Mr. Pecman said in an interview Monday after addressing a Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers conference. "They're concerned that they have to continue to operate in the market. This is common not only to this industry but any investigation we conduct involving alleged abuse of dominance.

The concern by smaller players is that there will be some retaliation for co-operating."

The bureau has been investigating Loblaw's supplier pricing practices since early 2014 when the federal agency approved the grocer's $12.4-billion takeover of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp.

Loblaw's practices have led to friction with suppliers and bureau allegations the company may have lessened competition by using heavy-handed practices, such as applying retroactive discounts on orders from vendors and making cost demands as a result of a rival grocer's pricing.

Loblaw early this year ended some of those practices.

Mr. Pecman said he would have liked to have concluded the Loblaw investigation last year but the complexities of the issues as well as the lack of co-operation from suppliers and rival retailers have forced the bureau to take longer. He would not estimate when the inquiry will come to a decision.

The bureau has gone to court to force suppliers to produce information about the allegations and continues to do so, but the process takes time, he said.

He said he asks his deputy commissioner regularly why the investigation is taking so long.

"It's the same answer: 'We're not receiving any co-operation.' We have to use formal tools and that all takes time."

Still, he said the inquiry has had positive ripple effects in the grocery industry, making large retailers more sensitive to practices that could potentially abuse their leading positions.

And, he said the bureau's investigation played a role in Loblaw dropping controversial supplier-pricing rules in January, although "there may have been other factors as well."

Starting Jan. 3, the country's largest grocer introduced an overhaul of its pricing and cost practices with suppliers in a bid to simplify the buying and gain more certainty and transparency.

It discontinued practices with internal names such as "active and passive ad-match bill backs" and "ad-collision bill backs" which, for instance, forced suppliers to match lower advertised prices at competing retailers.

Even so, in early July, Loblaw told its major suppliers it would deduct 1.45 per cent from their bills for orders received on or after Sept. 4. The move, which angered many vendors, reverberated through the grocery sector.

Other retailers, including Jim Pattison's Overwaitea Food Group of Langley, B.C., asked their suppliers for the same price cut.

Mr. Pecman said the bureau is aware of Loblaw's latest price demand and is "incorporating that into our investigation."

Michael Graydon, chief executive officer of the Food & Consumer Products of Canada, representing suppliers, said they have provided information when they've been asked for it under subpoena.

"Part of the hesitation and part of the fear factor is that nobody wants to get singled out as being somebody that has provided information that may be detrimental to Loblaw," he said.

While Loblaw has been targeted by the bureau because of its Shoppers acquisition other retailers also are asking for price breaks. "The current activity of constant 'asks' for rollbacks is not sustainable."

Tom Barlow, president of the grocers' federation and a former president of Coca-Cola Enterprises Canada, said a challenge is that many suppliers are afraid to step forward and provide concrete evidence. "They don't want to be in a written court document having their name out there and having to deal with the repercussions of that."

Mr. Pecman said his team has conducted more than 100 interviews and meetings with suppliers and retailers. "This is an important issue for us and we are committed to doing a thorough review and making the right decision."

Loblaw spokesman Kevin Groh said in an e-mail: "We have been cooperating fully and transparently with the bureau for three years and we will continue to do so."

Laurentian's 'measured approach' to wading into oil market
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Nobody wants to be the one lured onto the bandwagon to start up a business at the very top of a market. There's only one direction from there: down.

Quebec-based Laurentian Bank of Canada can't be accused of that as it makes its first foray into investment banking in the downtrodden oil patch.

The veteran energy banker leading the effort says it's countercyclical. Boy, he's not kidding.

The move has raised a few eyebrows in energy and finance circles.

The past two years of low oil prices have been painful, not just for the producers and oilfield service providers forced to auction off assets, cancel dividends and cut staff, but also for the investment dealers that make their livings from them.

Some smaller shops have left Calgary or shut down altogether while others have merged. International dealers trimmed Canadian energy exposure. A few major domestic banks have been stung by loan losses, notably another Montreal-based institution, National Bank of Canada. In the spring, it surprised investors with a $250-million provision for bad oil and gas loans, most of them made to small companies.

So what is the opportunity for Laurentian Bank Securities in such an environment? It is betting on the relationships of the professionals it's hired and the timing of its move. If the worst is over for the industry - and some experts are predicting it is - the bank is moving into the sector at the ideal time.

If it isn't and another deep trough forms, Laurentian could be forced to retreat, though it's risking a relatively small footprint to start out, especially compared with the Big Six banks.

"It's a measured approach," said Wade Felesky, the Calgarybased investment banker in charge of building up the business. He was previously co-head of energy investment banking at GMP Securities, which is reinventing its energy business with its takeover of FirstEnergy Capital.

"I've been in this business a long time and I have a tremendous amount of respect and belief in its resilience and its future, and that's why we're here."

LBS will conduct investment banking and equity research in Calgary, where it has been seeking to attract potential hires for the past several weeks. Mr. Felesky is already out drumming up business. The other side of the strategy involves trading of energy equities, led by Montrealbased Cameron Baker, who also once worked at GMP.

Both have a long history with the players in the patch and the institutional investors tapped to buy the sector's shares. Their task will be to shake some of this business away from competitors that have come through the downturn and are now looking for some payoff after two lean years.

The bank's main targets among issuers are small and mediumsized energy companies, many of which have been among the hardest hit by the oil-price collapse. A number have raised money this year.

Crude markets - and almost all of downtown Calgary - are watching closely as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries move closer to a key November meeting, where they aim for the first time in years to set production quotas that could help lift oil prices above the recent range of $41 to $51 (U.S.) a barrel.

Investors have bid up oil and gas shares in anticipation of at least some measure of oil-price rebound. The S&P/TSX capped energy index has climbed 12 per cent since OPEC surprised the market in late September with its intention to at least talk about putting a lid on output.

If oil prices step up to the next plateau, it could provide more opportunity for producers to increase spending on drilling and acquisitions, which would push the capital markets back into energy in a major way.

One draw the major banks have in the sector is offering both equity raising and debt financing, and Mr. Felesky suggests that could be in the cards for Laurentian, even if it is not a formal part of the initial energy push. The bank's executives have said recently that the bank's limited exposure to the sector has served it well up to now.

"They have had a long history in western Canada on the commercial side, and this announcement corresponds with Laurentian Bank's strategy to expand commercial and institutional activities," he said.

Whether it goes that route or not, Laurentian certainly isn't doing things the easy way by joining a stampede back into the sector.

A simple fix in the battle over lumber
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The Trudeau government has repeatedly insisted it's doing everything possible to avoid another lumber war with the United States, short of outright capitulation. That includes on-and-off negotiations and countless meetings with top U.S. officials.

"We are negotiating with the Americans in good faith," Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland insisted recently. "We're working hard."

That may be so. But Ottawa has not done one relatively simple thing that could significantly undermine U.S. industry allegations that Canada unfairly subsidizes its lumber. And that is to lift longstanding federal restrictions on log exports from private lands in British Columbia.

The restrictions are an aberration in Canada's generally open economy. Indeed, logging is the only industry where Ottawa dictates to private interests what they can export, beyond reasons of national security, according to a 2015 study by economist Eugene Beaulieu, a professor at the University of Calgary.

The restrictions are a net loss to the Canadian economy, fly in the face of Canada's trade obligations and undermine efforts to expand foreign markets, according to Prof. Beaulieu. "This ... is a costly misguided policy," he said.

A forthcoming study by Eric Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, is even more strident, arguing that the restrictions are a blatant subsidy that is illegal under both the North American free-trade agreement and World Trade Organization rules.

"The peculiar structure of the regime guarantees B.C. wood processors access to cut-rate inputs at the expense of domestic timber harvesters, [creating] an array of distortionary effects up and down the supply chain," according to Mr. Miller, a consultant and former Industry Canada official.

The policy lessens competition for logs, increases the supply of timber available to mills in B.C. and suppresses prices by up to 50 per cent. And that lowers the cost of finished lumber, such as 2x4s, destined for the U.S. market.

The most obvious problem for Ottawa is that maintaining the policy is like waving a flag in front of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, which said recently that it's poised to launch a trade case at any time. A 2006 agreement between Canada and the United States that limited Canadian exports expired a year ago. Under the deal, the United States agreed not to file another case for an additional year.

Experts warn that Canada's log export rules will almost certainly figure prominently in a trade complaint to the U.S. Commerce Department from the U.S. industry, which could come at any time.

The other major irritant for the United States is the way Canadian provinces sell timber-cutting rights to lumber producers.

Getting rid of export restrictions won't entirely defuse that allegation, but it would simplify Canada's defensive posture by eliminating a major vulnerability.

Log-export restrictions aren't uncommon. Many countries have them, including the United States, which has an export-licensing regime for trees cut on federal and state lands. What's unusual about Canada's regime is that it covers trees on private land.

In Canada, roughly 90 per cent of timber available for cutting is on Crown land, and managed by the provinces. But there are vast privately held forests as well - in Atlantic Canada, and throughout B.C. Only in B.C. does Ottawa set rules on what can be exported.

The Federal Timber Advisory Committee, along with a similar provincial panel, applies a socalled "surplus test" that requires loggers to offer the timber first to lumber mills in the province.

One major private B.C. timber owner, who declined to be named, said it often sells timber at a loss to mills in the province as part of an informal quid pro that enables it to export fully priced logs in other transactions.

The policy was put in place to protect mills and jobs in Canada, and generate more high-value processing here. But critics say there are plenty of logs to go around, and that lifting restrictions on private timber would not affect trees cut on Crown land.

It isn't just the United States that objects. China, South Korea and Japan have expressed similar concerns. Japan, for example, insists it won important concessions from Canada on log exports in the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. That creates a wedge for other countries, including the United States, to demand similar treatment.

Perhaps Ms. Freeland and her team aren't working quite hard enough.

MEC eases board-applicant rules
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Bowing to pressure from critics, sporting-goods chain Mountain Equipment Co-op has dropped a controversial requirement that severely limited who could qualify to be on its board of directors and help set the direction for one of Canada's most trusted retailers.

The move addresses long-simmering tensions as the retailer's leaders have tried to navigate its dual roles as both a democratic co-op, owned by and accountable to its members, as well as a commercial operator in an increasingly heated outdoor-sports retail field.

Vancouver-based MEC recently ditched minimum criteria, which were added over the past few years, that candidates for its board needed in order to put their names forward for election.

They were required to have experience serving on another board or senior management in an organization of comparable complexity to MEC, in size, scale and reach.

That requirement had prompted strong pushback from some long-time MEC loyalists, including founding members and former directors, along with governance experts, although MEC chief executive officer David Labistour characterized opponents as "a few disgruntled members."

Now that the board has relaxed the criteria, "I think it's a really positive step," said Steven Jones, a MEC member and software executive in Vancouver who tried to run for a spot on the board two years ago, but didn't get far. He is planning to run again this year.

The victory for the MEC loyalists highlights the struggle at the iconic chain, which emerged as the most trusted brand in this year's Peter B. Gustavson School of Business rankings and the best brand in the Canadian Business scoring. Over the past few years, MEC had made it increasingly difficult for members to put their names and resolutions to a vote in a bid to set the course for the 45-year-old co-op.

At the same time MEC, with 18 stores across the country and $365.6-million in sales last year, is grappling with a growing array of rivals that tout similar outdoor equipment and sporting goods while taking a page from the MEC playbook of backing social and environmental causes.

"The balance is between the need to stay true to the co-op member-driven roots while acknowledging the leadership required to successfully guide a multichannel retailer enterprise of this size and complexity," said David Ian Gray of Vancouverbased retail consultancy Dig360, which has done work for MEC in the past. "It's a really healthy tension that unfortunately other organizations are missing in some cases."

Shona McGlashan, MEC's chief governance officer, said the board made the change after the backlash from critics. "We did hear from members a year ago that a small number of them, I would say, who were engaged in this issue did not agree with the minimum criteria the board had come up with."

She acknowledged that among would-be nominees who didn't make it onto the ballot last year "there were some candidates that would have been interesting to put forward to the membership," she said. She emphasized the board had already filled gaps in an array of criteria, such as retail and governance experience.

The board eliminated seven nominees from its past election because they didn't meet the minimum requirements. The board excluded seven potential nominees from the ballot the previous year and three the year before that.

"I wouldn't characterize this as mass disquiet among MEC members," she said.

The governance changes come as MEC pushes into an array of new offerings in a bid to broaden its customer base. It has added such categories as bicycles, downhill skis, snowboards and yoga wear as it tries to draw younger, female and non-Canadian shoppers to take on rivals ranging from Lululemon Athletica Inc. to Nike Inc. But the moves also shift MEC from its backcountry roots of activities such as hiking and camping.

MEC's 2015 sales climbed to $365.6-million from $336.1-million a year earlier, but its operating profit tumbled to $3.3-million from $8-million in 2014.

Vancouver-based governance expert Mark Latham said the recent board nominee revision "makes MEC director elections significantly more democratic than they were." But he said more reform is needed to restore democratic member control.

Associated Graphic

A Mountain Equipment Co-op store in downtown Toronto is seen in October, 2015.


Can recovery be rescued by infrastructure?
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Exports have been at the heart of Stephen Poloz's narrative for the Canadian economy since he took the helm of the Bank of Canada.

Everything good starts with exports, Mr. Poloz explained in his first speech as Governor of the central bank in June, 2013.

The former head of Export Development Canada confidently predicted a growing 'appetite for everything Canada produces - particularly from its No. 1 customer, the U.S. - would put the country on a solid path to recovery.

"The sequence we can anticipate is the following: Foreign demand will build; our exports will strengthen further; confidence will improve; existing companies will expand; companies will invest to increase capacity; and new ones will be created," he told members of the Chamber of Commerce in Oakville, Ont. "This sequence may already be under way."

The subsequent sharp drop in the Canadian dollar - to roughly 75 cents (U.S.) from above parity - made the narrative even more convincing.

More than three years later, it hasn't happened - at least, not in the steady sequential trajectory envisioned by Mr. Poloz.

This week, the Governor acknowledged he was wrong, his confidence in the narrative badly shaken.

"The level of exports is well below where we thought it would be by now," he told reporters in Ottawa after the bank's rate decision on Wednesday.

It's not just that exports haven't recovered.

A chunk of them may never come back because Canada's competitive position in the world has been permanently impaired by lower-cost economies, leaving the economy desperately searching for a new growth driver.

The Bank of Canada has run a simulation showing that if exports are one percentage point weaker than expected over the next two years, it would knock 0.5 per cent off overall GDP.

As it is, the central bank expects the economy to grow just 1.1 per cent this year and 2 per cent, respectively, in 2017 and 2018.

So what's the new thing that will save Canada's economy? It's not the private sector; it's government stimulus, including federal government infrastructure spending and tax breaks.

"The Bank of Canada is essentially depending on a fiscal lift to get the economy back to its full potential," said Craig Alexander, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada.

In addition to its lowered expectations for exports, the central bank has slashed its forecast for economic growth this year and next.

The result is that if you take government spending out of the equation, the economy would be essentially "stagnant," according to Mr. Alexander.

Government stimulus will add 0.7 of a percentage point to GDP in 2017, and a full percentage-point by the end of 2018, according to the bank's latest monetary policy report.

But that boost could prove too optimistic, if Canadians choose to save rather than spend the estimated $23-billion being doled out under the new Canada Child Benefit in 2016-17, pointed out Ben Homsy, a fixedincome analyst at Vancouverbased Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.

"The Bank of Canada may be overreliant on the benefit they're going to get from stimulus," he said.

Already, there's evidence that consumer spending, which had been propping up the economy, is faltering.

Retail sales declined for a fourth consecutive month in August, dropping 0.1 per cent, according to figures released Friday.

It's no coincidence then that Finance Minister Bill Morneau's Advisory Council on Economic Growth, a blue-chip panel of advisers, this week recommended the creation of a national infrastructure bank. The council predicts the bank could leverage $40-billion in federal seed money to raise additional private capital and deliver more than $200-billion in infrastructure over the coming decade.

The council has in mind largescale projects that would boost the economy's competitiveness, over and above the money spent on construction.

These might include toll highways and bridges, high-speed rail, port and airport expansions, city infrastructure, national broadband infrastructure, power transmission and natural resource infrastructure.

Instead of scanning the trade data for clues about where the economy is headed, Mr. Poloz may now be logging onto Infrastructure Canada's Project Tracker website.

Performance Sports in talks with Fairfax, Sagard Capital
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Investment firm Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is circling beleaguered sports equipment manufacturer Performance Sports Group Ltd. and has formally teamed up with the company's largest shareholder.

Fairfax said Monday it has entered into a confidentiality agreement with Sagard Capital Partners LP, the U.S. investment firm backed by the Desmarais family's Power Corp. According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Sagard, Fairfax and PSG have discussed a host of possible strategic alternatives related to the sporting-goods company's future including restructuring, equity issuances or debt refinancing.

This agreement aligns the two investment firms for any future transaction involving the Exeter, N.H.-based company, which controls the well-known Bauer and Easton sports equipment brands.

Fairfax, which has no known stake in PSG, recently acquired another struggling sports-equipment company, buying Canada's largest golf retailer, Golf Town, from out of bankruptcy protection just a few weeks ago.

PSG has been struggling against a heavy debt load since its acquisition of the Easton Baseball and Softball business from Easton-Bell Sports in 2014.

Troubles were compounded when U.S. sporting-goods retailer and major customer Sports Authority went bankrupt earlier this year, forcing PSG to take a writedown that squeezed the profits needed to meet its obligations to lenders.

The company soon came up against a wall: PSG revealed in August its audit committee is reviewing accounting issues, and said it could not meet the deadline to file its financial statements for fiscal 2016. Its syndicate of lenders has given PSG until Friday, Oct. 28 to finalize its financial statements. The company is at risk of defaulting on its $440-million (U.S.) loan if it could not complete the work by that date.

PSG also revealed that it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has received inquiries from Canadian regulators. The company is additionally defending itself from a class-action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders, alleging it engaged in accounting manipulation in 2014 and 2015.

PSG has seen its share price tumble more than 80 per cent from its high in 2015.

Sagard, which owns 17 per cent of PSG, signalled in early September it was reconsidering its options for its investment and has its own confidentiality agreement with the company. The investment firm terminated a shareholder-nomination agreement with the company, which would have given it the right to nominate a director to PSG's board.

Instead, Sagard said Sept. 2 that it was considering its strategic options, Bauer's selling its stake, acquiring more shares or participating in a recapitalization of PSG. Among its options, Sagard said it could take part in a proposal involving a sale of the company in whole or in parts.

Representatives from Fairfax, Sagard and PSG did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In addition to Sagard and Fairfax, large asset manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc. has also taken an interest in PSG. The company recently began accumulating shares in PSG and was weighing a bid for the company, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Fairfax has made other bets on struggling companies, including BlackBerry Ltd. The most recent deal came in mid-September, when Fairfax and investment firm CI Investments said they would acquire the Canadian operations of Golfsmith International Holdings Inc. Both firms were Golfsmith debtholders and the company had become similarly distressed and filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada with the aim to restructure its business.

PSG's Bauer division, which makes skates, hockey sticks and protective hockey gear, has changed hands several times in recent decades. The company was sold by an investment group to Nike Inc. in 1995, and Nike sold the company in 2008 to U.S. investment firm Kohlberg & Co.

PSG went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2011 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. Kohlberg sold most of its stake between 2011 and 2014, but still owns 5.3 per cent of the company.

Fairfax Financial (FFH) Close: $706.90, down $8.28 Performance Sports (PSG) Close: $5.30, unchanged

Which funds beat the 5-year S&P 500? None
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

By at least one measure, active fund management in Canada has hit a new low.

A new report shows that the number of Canadian funds focused on U.S. large-cap stocks that outperformed the index over the past five years was precisely zero.

Not a single Canadian manager investing in U.S. stocks delivered higher returns than the S&P 500 index over that time, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

"The numbers are ugly. There isn't any other way to describe it," said Dan Hallett, vice-president of HighView Financial Group.

"The S&P 500 is a much harder index to beat," he said.

But, he added, "I can't remember it ever being that bad."

Active management still has merit. But it's best suited to less diversified, less crowded parts of the market, where a shrewd stock picker might still find inefficiencies to exploit, Mr. Hallett said. In other words, not the U.S. largecap space.

Stock picking in general is increasingly being scrutinized amid the failure of many active fund managers to beat their benchmarks.

Countless studies have shown that, for many investors, exposure to the stock market through low-cost, passive index funds would improve returns.

Even those professionals that do manage to rise above the index seem to be benefiting more from luck than skill. Top-performing fund managers fail to maintain superior returns over even a couple of years, according to a recent S&P analysis.

This year has been a particularly bad one for active investing. Just 18 per cent of U.S. active managers beat a basic stock index in the first six months, which made for the worst first half on record, according to Merrill Lynch data going back to 2003.

Relatively high stock correlations this year has made it difficult for managers to identify market-beating opportunities.

Most Canadian funds have similarly fallen short of their mandates. The second quarter saw 17 per cent of Canadian large-cap equity fund managers beat the market, which was the lowest rate of outperformance among data going back to 1999, according to a recent Russell Investments analysis.

Canadian money managers have typically had the least success in trying to generate excess returns in the United States - the world's largest, most competitive, most efficient stock market.

Over the past year, 6 per cent of Canadian-based U.S. funds bested the S&P 500. The beat rate declined to 1 per cent over a twoyear period, the S&P report said.

And over five years, nil.

To be fair, it's not easy for any investor to find an edge among the largest U.S. stocks, no matter where you're from. The S&P 500 beat more than 90 per cent of U.S.-based managers over the last five years.

"With U.S. equities particularly, it's extremely difficult for anybody to consistently outperform," said Dave Paterson, a fund analyst with D.A. Paterson & Associates.

"There are a couple [of Canadian funds] that are pretty solid, but none of the them would really add any value over and above what you can get by buying the ETF that replicates the S&P 500."

The high rates of underperformance by active funds, in the latest data and in general, is not for lack of talent in the fund management business. Most managers do tend to beat the index, before fees, Mr. Hallett said. "The skill is there, but it's being diluted by relatively high retail costs."

If TFC wants to paint Toronto red, it's going to need a hefty-sized brush
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- Toronto FC won its final game of the regular season on Sunday, 3-2 over the Chicago Fire, sending it into the playoffs on a - here's a first - high note.

It will play the Philadelphia Union at home in a midweek knockout game.

Every postseason matters to every team, but few have mattered so much to any particular one. This is another of Toronto FC's last chances to spread the message beyond the diehards.

"[Head coach] Greg [Vanney] said something about it at the start of this week - this can be our city now," defender Drew Moor said earlier in the week.

"We want this city to be red."

That's doubtful. Not to start, at least. Toronto FC shares the same problem of most Major League Soccer teams - it has a few thousand committed fans, and all of them are at the games.

Ten feet outside the perimeter of the stadium, this team is a non-entity on the Toronto sports scene.

Toronto FC has only itself to blame. Two playoff games (including the one still to come) in 10 years of existence will tend to tamp down excitement. It remains a remarkable opportunity missed.

When Toronto FC started in 2007, the team did so amid what might have been the most downbeat moment in the city's sports history. The Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors were not just bad, they were boring. Predictably, helplessly and hopelessly boring.

You could not see light at any one of those teams for all the murk surrounding their futures.

It was a difficult time to care about anything sports-wise.

Toronto FC shrugged off that malaise, here and abroad.

In those early days, playing in a league that was being slowly crushed by apathy elsewhere, Toronto was suddenly a city that mattered.

MLS executives were rushing north with regularity to point out all the things Toronto had done right - the new soccerspecific stadium situated in the downtown core, the Euro feel to its fandom, the low-price tickets and ambitious marketing at young professionals.

It is fair to say that, however far the league has come in 10 years, Toronto FC is the catalyst for a great deal of it. Toronto FC showed everyone the proper way of running a soccer team.

Everything except the "soccer" part of it.

In Year 1, the quality of the roster hardly mattered. Toronto FC didn't score its first goal until a month into the season. Nobody minded.

Brand-new teams have the freedom to be the Bad News Bears. In fact, people seem to like it. It lets them prove their true-blue bonafides up front.

They'll show up for a loser at the outset, but they won't do it forever.

Back then, a Toronto FC game was an event. It helped that tickets were both hard to get and cheap once you found them.

(They are neither any more.)

The Leafs and Raptors were big arena rock shows. TFC was the Stones at the El Mocambo. Getting in wasn't a function of paying through the nose. It was a being-in-the-know sort of thing.

People love being in the know.

Considering the attention span of the average 21st-century urbanite, that sense of a secret everyone wanted in on lasted a long time.

Back then, when it was all still possible, the club was repeatedly entrusted to a series of European charlatans who ran it like a failed state. Every new regime had to start over. Every single one of them got it horribly wrong. Long before Aron Winter - ("He must be good at this.

He's Dutch!") - was warring with his players over whether they could wear flip-flops at the team hotel, it had got farcical.

No one likes being part of a farce. The casual fan began drifting away.

The arrival of Jermain Defoe was a pick-me-up. By the time that malingerer had fled the city, the momentary buoyancy he'd provided only made the return to Earth farther to fall and the landing harder.

Though nothing changed at Toronto FC, things were changing around it.

The Raptors got good, hiving off the hipsters who'd underpinned Toronto FC's base. The Jays got good, taking away everyone else. Even if they're not yet good, the Leafs got smarter and more interesting.

Though Toronto FC had never been in the top three in the pecking order, it has never been so far behind the pack. Every time the team fails, it's lapped.

While that happens, Toronto FC is wasting the prime of Sebastian Giovinco, the greatest player in the history of the MLS.

(One can only imagine the ambivalent feelings he elicits for the few people at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment who really care about soccer. His presence highlights all the things they did wrong.)

But there are glimmers of hope.

If the Jays had made the World Series, the MLS playoffs would be occurring within a black hole.

The end of local baseball creates an opening through which light might pass.

The Raptors begin their season on Wednesday, but there's nothing new and shiny about that team. The Leafs are intriguing, but they're also losing.

There is a small wedge in the schedule that Toronto FC can exploit.

Toronto FC won't do it with one win. Or even with two. But if it is on its way to a conference championship, that could be enough to bring back the jaded supporter who gave up a few years back. Going beyond that just might be the excuse to get them painting the town. Toronto has proved in the past that it likes winners more than it likes any sport in particular.

But blow it early and we're back to square (minus-) one.

Toronto FC will have confirmed everyone's opinion of it - that its only purpose is to absorb all the negative energy in a town emerging from its Age of Sports Darkness.

It shouldn't be thought of as pressure. Toronto FC can't get much lower than it has already been. Instead, it's another of its umpteen opportunities. Maybe the team will finally take one of them.

Associated Graphic

TFC's Sebastian Giovinco, the greatest player in MLS history and whose prime is being wasted by the Canadian club, celebrates a goal against the Chicago Fire on Sunday in Toronto.


Timing important in schedules too
When during the season you play a team can be just as important as who you play
The Associated Press
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

That Patriots-Steelers matchup Sunday sure looked like a Game of the Year candidate. Then all of the air went out of it when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger damaged his knee.

Don't get us wrong, it still could be a terrific meeting of the AFC's two best teams. It also could be a major dud: Tom Brady versus Landry Jones doesn't have much spice.

The Steelers can talk bravely as much as they want, and they should. As linebacker Arthur Moats says, "Responding to adversity, that's what we do.

Yeah, we know Ben isn't playing, but we have confidence in Landry. You know he's going to go out there and let it fly."

But the reality in the NFL is that often it's when you play a team that matters as much as who the opponent is. Facing the Steelers in Heinz Field is daunting for anyone when Big Ben is on the field. Patriots luck prevails this week.

The obvious cases of whenover-who tend to come in the heat of September - anyone really eager to play outdoors in Florida or Nashville then? - or in the bitter cold of winter. Tundra is a dirty word to folks outside of Green Bay, Buffalo and New England.

For years, reporters covering the Jets immediately looked for two games when the schedule came out: when the team was in Miami (hopefully late in the year) and when it was in Buffalo (September, please).

Then there's the chore of facing a well-rested team coming off a bye. Rarely are both opponents in a specific game in that situation: It happens only once in 2016, when Pittsburgh is at Baltimore on Nov. 6.

Indeed, the Eagles play three opponents who had a bye the previous week, including the Vikings on Sunday. The Panthers, Giants, 49ers, Cardinals, Jaguars, Bengals and Texans each play two opponents who were idle the week before.

Fair? Perhaps even less fair is that nine clubs never take on a team coming off a bye: Dallas, Washington, Green Bay, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Miami, Buffalo, Indianapolis and San Diego.

At least the Rams get a break there. Few teams have had more potential to be plagued by the when than the Rams.

Aside from their nomadic existence as they moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles, then had three different Southern California locales to work out of, they had a road game in Detroit in Week 6. Immediately after the loss to the Lions, they headed to London for their annual (until they get their new palace in Inglewood, Calif.) hosting venture.

Meanwhile, the Giants were winning last Sunday at home against Baltimore.

Plus, the Giants-Rams midafternoon kickoff in London translates to 6:30 a.m. on the West Coast.

"Let me go back. Clearly, coming off a difficult loss in Detroit, and then leaving almost immediately after the game for here was a challenge for us," Rams coach Jeff Fisher says. "But, they knew well ahead of time, and they accepted it. We got here, they settled down. We tried to keep them awake, but we weren't as successful as we thought, but they got rested up.

"Yeah, it was different in that we came over on Monday following a home game [last season] ... in the National Football League, it's an inherent challenge to go from the West Coast, and then play a 1 p.m. [Eastern] game, which is in essence a 10 a.m. game on the West Coast.

That in itself was a challenge for us that we dealt with last week."

Often not apparent when deciphering the schedule are advantages that crop up. Facing a team in turmoil should provide an edge, something the Jets got in Week 2 at Buffalo, when they won for the only time so far. Or what the Bills experienced last Sunday when the Niners' circus came to town with Colin Kaepernick making his first start. Rex Ryan's club, which has turned around its fortunes since that Jets loss, romped past San Francisco.

There are always contrasts, though.

Star running back Adrian Peterson might be back with the Vikings for the final six or so games, so opponents would want to get Minnesota while he is rehabbing his knee injury. Problem is, the Vikings are 5-0 anyway.

And Dallas is 5-1 without Tony Romo, so taking on Dak Prescott has been anything but an edge for the opposition.

Still, timing is a tremendous factor in the outcome of NFL games. If you are banged up and your bye isn't until Week 10 or 11, your playoff chances might be gone by then.

And if you come out of the gates like a hot rod and then have an early bye, well, that's not so good, either. Remember, Philly won its first three games and looked very strong. Then the schedule told the Eagles to take a week off.

They are 0-2 since.

Associated Graphic

Quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will take on the Steelers on Sunday, but Pittsburgh will be without their star pivot Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured last week.


Cleveland blasts two homers to top Jays
Win moves team within a game of a World Series berth and sets Toronto way back in the best-of-seven series
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- If ever there was a game that was teed up for the Toronto Blue Jays to win, it was this one.

The team was playing at home in the friendly, not to mention frenzied, confines of Rogers Centre.

Trevor Bauer, the Cleveland Indians starting pitcher, with the drone-mangled pinkie finger on his throwing hand leaking blood like a faucet, could not get out of the first inning.

And the Blue Jays had Marcus Stroman on the mound; the tightly wound right-hander has displayed a knack for coming up big when the stakes are at their highest.

But Stroman was off, the Toronto offence continued to sputter, and the hometown crowd, try as they might, could not lift the Blue Jays out of their continuing doldrums.

The result was a 4-2 Cleveland win that has dumped the Blue Jays in a huge 3-0 crater in their best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

The Indians are in position to sweep the Blue Jays on Tuesday when Game 4 will be played at Rogers Centre.

With the scored knotted at 2-2 heading into the sixth inning, Stroman allowed a leadoff home run by Jason Kipnis. Stroman left the game after he surrendered a subsequent walk to Mike Napoli, the next batter.

On the night, Stroman would allow four runs off just three hits, but two of them went for home runs and proved his downfall.

With Joe Biagini on the mound, Napoli - not exactly renowned for his speed - was easily able to get to steal second base on a wild pitch. Napoli then came around to score to move Cleveland ahead 4-2 on a flare to right by Jose Ramirez.

A two-run lead heading into the late innings is money in the bank for the Indians, who called upon relievers Cody Allen and the dominating Andrew Miller to work from the seventh inning on to polish off the Blue Jays.

Stroman entered Monday's game battle-tested in key moments - he did a good job in Toronto's AL wild-card win over Baltimore when he allowed just two runs on four hits over six inning in a game the Blue Jays would go on to win 5-2 in 11 innings.

But he's never had a 12-day layoff for a postseason start like he had going into Monday's game - not that something like that would ever concern the cocksure Stroman.

"I'll be locked in regardless of how many days it is in between starts," he insisted on Sunday.

But Stroman did not exactly get off the start he wanted when he walked Carlos Santana, the Cleveland leadoff batter, on five pitches to begin the game.

And that's rarely good.

With two out, Napoli drove one to right-centre that sent Jose Bautista scampering back to the wall.

He did a good job just to get his glove on the ball, but the ball flipped out of the pocket as his momentum carried him into the wall and Santana scored all the way from first on the double that provided Cleveland with the early 1-0 lead.

Bauer was supposed to get the start in Game 2 on Saturday but had it pushed back to Monday after he sliced open the pinkie finger on his throwing hand while trying to repair a drone.

But the blood soon began to flow from the cut as he started into the game and, with runners at first and second and two out in the first inning, Bauer was forced to leave the game after only 21 pitches.

Dan Otero replaced him on the mound as the conga line from the Cleveland bullpen was on, and Otero got Russell Martin to ground out to end the inning.

Bauer's early exit will mean that Corey Kluber, Cleveland's winner in game one, will get the start on Tuesday on just three days rest. The Blue Jays will counter with Aaron Sanchez, arguably their best pitcher on the year.

The Blue Jays drew even in the second on a Michael Saunders home run to left field, his fifth hit of the series.

Saunders' blast snapped a string of 28 consecutive innings by the Blue Jays without hitting a home run.

Napoli responded with a solo home run of his own, his first of the postseason, to straightaway centre in the fourth to restore Cleveland's one-run lead.

But Toronto fought back when Ezequiel Carrera - dropped to eighth in the batting order when Toronto manager John Gibbons elected to insert Jose Bautista into the leadoff spot to try an ignite a stagnant attack - tripled leading off the fifth.

It was Carrera's second hit of the night and he would come in to score to tie the game at 2-2 on a ground out by Ryan Goins.

Associated Graphic

Cleveland's Carlos Santana, right, is congratulated by teammate Jose Ramirez after scoring against Toronto on Monday.


Toronto's not 'too worried' about lull
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- When the Toronto Blue Jays were last seen at the Rogers Centre eight days ago, they were mashing the ball, with 27 runs and 10 homers in a franchise-high four consecutive playoff victories. Their offence has hit a dramatic lull since then, but they're saying all the right things for a team in this predicament.

The Jays scored one run through the first two games of their best-of-seven American League Championship Series with the Cleveland Indians. Now back at home in Toronto preparing for Monday's Game 3, they say they don't feel like a team trailing 0-2. They say they don't agonize over games in which both teams pitched extremely well, and the Indians won so narrowly - 2-0 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.

In Cleveland, Toronto had just one run on 10 hits and the core of its batting order - hitters two through five - went 5-for-29. Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller struck out 10 of the 12 Toronto batters he faced in two games, often troubling them with his slider.

"In this room I don't think anyone feels too down or too worried. There's no panic or anxiety because we've played good ball games," said Toronto slugger Jose Bautista, who is 0-6 in the ALCS but was talkative and casual with reporters in the Jays clubhouse on Sunday. "Nobody can predict the future, but I haven't seen 18-plus innings where pitchers get away with a lot like they've been getting away with. We need to continue putting runners in scoring position and then get them in any way we can."

Bautista hinted at - but declined to elaborate - whether he thought the umpire was calling the strike zone accurately in the first two games.

"All you have to do is look at video. How many times have they thrown pitches over the heart of the plate? Not many. But they've been able to do that because of the circumstances that I'm not trying to talk about ... because I can't ... that's for you guys to do," Bautista said.

Neither team seems surprised the series has been low scoring.

Toronto's pitching staff led the league with a 3.78 earned-run average in the regular season while Cleveland's was second at 3.84.

Now as the Jays return home to play before more than 50,000 bellowing hometown fans, the fiery Marcus Stroman takes the hill. He brushed off concerns he could be rusty after sitting nearly two weeks since his last start - the wild-card victory for Toronto over the Baltimore Orioles.

"I'll be locked in regardless of how many days it is in between starts. I feel like I have a very good routine, and I'm able to prepare my body to throw on how many days' rest," Stroman said. "I feel just as good as if it was my normal five days, so I'll be ready to go."

Cleveland will trot out Trevor Bauer in response - a pitcher making his Game 3 start after one of the most peculiar injuries of the season and an equally peculiar day-before news conference. Bauer came to the podium on Sunday with a small drone and his right pinkie finger bandaged - ready to explain how one led to the other and why he hadn't pitched in Game 2 as scheduled.

Bauer - a huge Star Wars fan and self-professed "nerd"- designs and builds his own drones so he can fly, race and battle with them. The player, who had studied mechanical engineering at UCLA, was fiddling with one of his drones on Friday when one of the propellers spun at full speed and clipped the front of the pinkie finger on his pitching hand. He cabbed to a Cleveland hospital for stitches - enough that the Indians had to push his scheduled Game 2 start to Game 3.

"I definitely felt bad. Just one of those things, freak accident you can't really control," Bauer said.

"Literally I was worried that I wouldn't be able to pitch at some point in the series. I got pretty lucky."

The Jays will be without second baseman Devon Travis, who has been dropped from the team's ALCS roster because of an injured knee. Justin Smoak has replaced him. Travis had an MRI on the injured knee on the weekend, which revealed a bone bruise and a flap of cartilage caught in the joint. That ends his season. The team said he will likely need a knee scope and should be back for spring training.

Associated Graphic

Blue Jays centre fielder Kevin Pillar takes part in a team practice at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Sunday.


Shapiro gets a warm, if unexpected, homecoming in Cleveland
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

CLEVELAND -- After a year under his belt as the leader of the Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Shapiro has returned to the city where he cut his teeth on how to be a baseball executive.

After 24 years in the Cleveland front office, Shapiro has a legion of friends and business associates that he is trying to touch base with as his Blue Jays prepare to meet his old employer in the American League Championship Series. Game 1 is at Progressive Field on Friday night.

Shapiro spent some of Thursday catching up with Cleveland co-owner Paul Dolan and having lunch with several of his former cohorts in the Indians front office.

Asked who paid, Shapiro said it was his former team that picked up the tab.

Shapiro, who left Cleveland after last season to supplant the retiring Paul Beeston as the Blue Jays president and chief executive officer, said he never contemplated the possibility that the two teams would square off in the league championship.

"I wasn't thinking about that even 10 days ago," Shapiro said during an interview at Progressive Field. "I didn't allow myself. I parked those thoughts and only focused on the Toronto Blue Jays and that was it.

"Once we advanced I certainly was pulling for the Indians to advance mostly because I want them to do well. I care about the people."

Shapiro said that, when he started in Toronto, he was certain the Blue Jays had the wherewithal to enjoy the same kind of success as last season, when they made the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 1993.

He said he also had the same thoughts for the Cleveland team, which he played a major role in building. But there, he said, the comparisons between the franchises, and cities, end.

The baseball team's place in the hardscrabble Cleveland market is a difficult one.

Despite a successful season in which it won the Central Division with a 94-67 record, Cleveland only drew roughly 1.5 million fans to Progressive Field, the third worst total in baseball.

"The fan base here is passionate, it's just smaller," Shapiro said.

The Blue Jays are at the other end of the spectrum, especially when the team is winning. This season the Blue Jays packed more than 3.3 million into Rogers Centre, the third highest total in the majors.

"I just look at Toronto as such a vibrant city with such an incredible number of people that live so close to the ballpark," Shapiro said. "And I always know winning is the biggest lever, and you've got to win to get people to ultimately come out in the biggest numbers. But I guess I just feel like, it's just a robust market.

There's so much more depth to it."

The support that the Blue Jays garner, not only in Toronto, Canada's largest city, but also across the country, is still something that Shapiro is marvelling at and coming to terms with.

He has taken note of the incredible engagement the Canadian public has with its baseball team, as 4.7 million TV viewers watched the Blue Jays' wild-card victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Oct. 4. More than 10 million people tuned in at some point to see what was going on, roughly 30 per cent of the country's population watching the Blue jays.

"Think about that," Shapiro said. "That's not lost on me, especially in light of where I'm coming from.

"If you don't take that personal, if you don't feel like that's an extra motivation, then there's something missing in your DNA."

The topic of conversation also swung around to John Gibbons, the Blue Jays manager Shapiro inherited when he took over as team president.

There has always been speculation that Gibbons would be fired as soon as the team started to falter, which has yet to happen.

But Shapiro speaks only in glowing terms about the Texan after working with him closely over the past year.

"Just a high character individual, a good person that I enjoy spending time with and being around," Shapiro said.

But Gibbons's biggest asset, Shapiro said, "is how incredibly consistent he is. This guy, regardless of what's going on around us, whether it's turmoil, whether there's celebration, whether there's consolation, he's the same person, he's the same leader."

Shapiro was asked if he felt Gibbons is underrated as a manager.

"I don't know what the rating is so it's hard for me to say whether he's underrated or not," Shapiro said. "I just think he's good."

Cleveland KOs punchless Jays' World Series dream in deflated dome
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- It was the fourth inning on Wednesday and the Toronto Blue Jays were already down 3-0, getting schooled by a 25year-old rookie pitcher making his major-league postseason debut.

Ryan Merritt was merely perfect up until that point for the Cleveland Indians before surrendering a one-out single to Josh Donaldson, Toronto's first hit of the game.

And suddenly the somnolent capacity crowd of close to 49,000 at Rogers Centre was jolted to life with Edwin Encarnacion, who led Toronto with 43 home runs in the regular season, striding confidently to the plate.

After working the count to 3-0, Encarnacion rolled over on a Merritt changeup for a ground ball that the Indians easily converted into an inningending double play.

You could almost feel the momentum gushing out of the Blue Jays dugout after that, their season soon to come to an inglorious end thanks to an offensive attack gone stone cold at the worst possible time.

The Indians, behind Merritt's solid start and another splendid effort from the Andrew Millerled bullpen, beat the Blue Jays 3-0. Cleveland won the best-ofseven American League Championship Series 4-1, the second consecutive year Toronto's World Series hopes have been dashed at the same stage.

And when the Blue Jays look back on the reasons behind their failure, the lack of punch, for a team that was constructed around a feared offence, will stand out.

"You can't really point to anything else," said Michael Saunders, one of the few Toronto hitters who consistently showed up in the series.

In a playoff in which there wasn't much to differentiate between the teams, a big hit here and there would have made all the difference. The Blue Jays did finish with a better batting average - .201 to .168.

But the Blue Jays, who were shut out twice in the five games and outscored 12-8, couldn't come through when the limited opportunities were presented.

Toronto, which pounded 221 home runs in the regular season, only counted two in the ALCS and seven extra base hits in total.

And the Jays' 50 strikeouts, including eight on Wednesday, point to a glaring inability to make adjustments on the fly.

Other than Saunders (.429), Donaldson (.333) and Ezequiel Carrera (.235), there were just too many passengers along for the ride in the Toronto batting order to overcome Cleveland's tough pitching.

Slugger Jose Bautista, in perhaps his final game in a Toronto uniform, only had three hits in the series and a .167 ALCS batting average. Encarnacion, his free-agent running mate who also might be playing elsewhere in 2017, hit .211.

"We never really had a big inning, never were able to string some hits together or get a rally going," said catcher Russell Martin, one of the worst offenders offensively, who was a miserable 2-for-17 with 10 strikeouts.

"You can point the finger at us and say we didn't do a good job," Martin said. "Or you can point the finger at those guys [the Indians]. To get us out you have to pitch well - you have to. And they did."

The Indians got the early jump, with Mike Napoli doubling to the wall, which scored Francisco Lindor from first after Carrera mishandled the ball in left field for an error.

If Merritt was uneasy on the big stage, it didn't show as his pitching made the Blue Jays look like amateurs.

Encarnacion was his first strikeout victim in the first inning, staring at an enticing 71mile-an-hour curveball that floated over the outside portion of the plate.

In the second inning more of the same from Martin and Melvin Upton Jr., both rung up looking on called third strikes, both on fastballs down the pike and just too good to simply stare at.

Through three innings, Merritt was perfect, having tossed only 31 pitches.

Meanwhile, Cleveland's lead had increased to 2-0 when Carlos Santana clubbed a no-doubter to right with one out in a third, and silence suddenly cloaked the Rogers Centre.

The misery really started to take hold in the fourth when Coco Crisp took Toronto starter Marco Estrada deep to right for a solo home run that brought the score to 3-0.

In the fifth inning, Toronto had another opportunity, with runners at first and second and one out. But strikeouts to Carrera and Kevin Pillar dashed those hopes.

"I think not winning games is the biggest disappointment," Pillar said.

"I mean, if you look across the board I wouldn't say they were swinging it either. They just came up with the big hit when they needed it."

One must win, and now another
After losing the first three games of the series, Toronto strikes back with much-needed hitting and commanding pitching from Sanchez
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- You got the sense when Russell Martin worked a walk in the fourth inning in the Blue Jays survivor outing against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday that things might finally fall into place.

Here was the Toronto catcher, who skulked into the batter's box carting a sub-.100 playoff batting average, somehow conspiring to earn a free pass off Corey Kluber, the Indians ace, who was beginning to wobble like a Jenga tower.

It marked just the second time in four games of the American League Championship Series that Martin had reached base. But it left Toronto with runners at first and second and, with one out, Ezequiel Carrera looped a fly ball that dropped into shallow centre and easily scored Troy Tulowitzki from second base.

It was only one run, but that passes for a windfall for the offensively challenged Blue Jays these days.

The Blue Jays milked the breaks for all they were worth Tuesday and, with Josh Donaldson adding necessary flair both offensive and defensively, the Blue Jays would go on to record a 5-1 victory over the Indians at Rogers Centre.

The win provided faint light at the end of the Blue Jays' proverbial tunnel, and it avoided what would have been an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the Indians.

But the Blue Jays, now trailing 3-1 in the series, still have their work cut out for them. Game five of the series will go Wednesday afternoon here.

"We have everything to gain and nothing to lose, that's the position we're in," said Toronto pitcher Jason Grilli, who pitched a perfect eighth inning in relief to do his part. "You can judge who the pressure's on, really. Call it as you see it. We know where we're at, and we're confident with what team we've got."

The lineups to pass through security to get into Rogers Centre for the beginning of the game, likely as a result of the afternoon start time, were massive. The delays resulted in a huge number of seats being vacant when Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez hurled the game's first pitch.

Sanchez would not need much offensive backup on this day, with his curveball fooling the Indians at every turn. Sanchez pitched six solid innings, allowing just one run off two hits while striking-out five.

Cleveland missed a good opportunity to open the scoring in the third inning when Tyler Naquin collected the first hit of the game for the Indians, leading off with a double.

A Roberto Perez sacrifice bunt moved him to third, but Naquin wasn't able to score on a ground ball to second by Carlos Santana because Toronto's Ryan Goins, with the infield drawn in, made a solid defensive play. After looking Naquin back to third, Goins got the out at first, and another groundout to second by Jason Kipnis kept the game deadlocked.

Rogers Centre had mostly filled in by this point and the gathering was rather sombre, with an expecting-the-worst block mentality.

That changed with a quick swing of the bat by Donaldson in the bottom of the third, launching a 2-2 Kluber curveball over the wall in left.

The crowd erupted with elation as Donaldson hustled around the base paths after his first homer of the postseason. It gave Toronto its first lead of the series.

"I thought we did a good job of battling," Martin said. "Donaldson got it going, got a curveball in the middle of the plate and put a good swing on it. [Kluber] is definitely a tough guy to score runs against, but we found a way to get a couple there."

Martin eventually worked a walk before Carrera's blooper scored Tulowitzki for made it a 2-0 lead for Toronto.

That would stand up as the winning run.

"It just seems like runs in this series aren't coming too easy," Martin said. "So whenever you get one you feel pretty good about it."

Cleveland got one back in the top of the fifth when Perez doubled to score Coco Crisp from second. But an Edwin Encarnacion bases-loaded double in the seventh off reliever Bryan Shaw brought home two more Toronto runs to all but seal the victory.

CIS rebrand aims to bring student stories to Canadians
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- In the latest attempt to catch the attention of the public, which included moving its offices to the Greater Toronto Area from Ottawa, the governing body of university sports in Canada changed its name.

U Sports, known as Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) until Thursday, wants to operate as a sports business rather than a governing association and sell its athletes and their competitions to sports fans across Canada. It is an ambitious goal but not a new one for the organization, which was established in 1906 and was known as the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union for decades until it adopted the CIS moniker in 2001.

"What we do in Canada is excellence, we really do pursue excellence," former Toronto Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald, now director of athletics and recreation at McMaster University, said Thursday about university sports in Canada. "We need to understand and appreciate that. We need to find a way to get these stories told because right now they are not."

The problem is, despite attempts over the years by many university administrators to get more media attention and sell more tickets, their efforts have largely gone unnoticed by sports fans outside of the university communities.

"You're not going to do it overnight," said U Sports chief executive officer Graham Brown, who brings a missionary's zeal to a job he took one year ago after a long run as CEO of Rugby Canada.

"This isn't an exercise to take attendance from nominal in some cases to the Panda Bowl two weeks ago [in Ottawa] where they had 24,000.

"This is a road and a journey to continue to build the brand and make people aware that what they're going to see if they decide to watch U of T play basketball or UBC or Calgary is a very good brand of athletic competition. It's just telling the story differently.

"I've now gone to over 100 sporting events in CIS and even I'm surprised, because I went there with enthusiasm, at the level of ability of these young athletes. It's pretty amazing. The schools are now working harder on marketing. It's just about tying all that together."

Along with the new name, U Sports also has a new logo, which Brown said is meant to appeal to young people and give them a connection to university sports.

The new name and logo and what U Sports calls "new branding" were created by the Vancouver design company Hulse & Durrell.

The firm has worked with several sports organizations on rebrands, including the Canadian Olympic Committee, Swimming Canada, Curling Canada and Equestrian Canada.

In its news release, U Sports said the U represents, "United.

Unbeatable. Unsurpassed.

Undaunted. Unrelenting. One title, instantly recognizable and identical in both French and English." The emphasis during the search for a new name was that it had to be bilingual.

U Sports represents 56 universities with 12,000 student-athletes, 500 coaches, 21 national championships and 12 sports. The organization's website address also changed Thursday. It can now be found at

Similar changes were made to its social-media channels.

"This is an important step towards a total transformation of our organization, which started almost a year ago," Brown said.

"Although the mission and the passion remain the same, the new brand will shine the spotlight on our dedicated studentathletes at our 56 universities across the country. [Thursday's] announcement also aims to create a massive change in the way university sports are consumed in a fast-changing digital era."

Since Brown was hired in September, 2015, the CIS changed locations, going to Richmond Hill, Ont., from Ottawa, and there was much change among the staff. Brown said the launch of the new name and logo marks the start of a new approach for U Sports.

"With all of that change comes a new enthusiasm," Brown said.

"There are going to be many challenges. It's really about repositioning and re-establishing ourselves and being more vocal about what we do.

"The fact of the matter is in typical Canadian form, we often don't pat ourselves on the back.

We want this brand to represent the next generation of young athletes. We will talk about our student athletes, their accomplishments."

Power forward Sullinger could be sidelined for months after foot surgery
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors imagined their key free-agent acquisition, Jared Sullinger, would be starting at power forward, throwing his weight around in the paint and grabbing rebounds, when the team began the 2016-17 NBA season. Instead, Sullinger will be recovering from foot surgery, leaving the team with a depth problem at the position.

When the Raptors open at home Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, they'll start either veteran reserve Patrick Patterson or rookie Pascal Siakam at the four spot in place of Sullinger, who signed with Toronto on July 14 after four seasons with the Boston Celtics.

Sullinger, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward, had a screw inserted into the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in New York City on Monday, a procedure performed by Dr. Martin O'Malley. The team called it a

"preventative measure to alleviate symptomatic stress reactions" after the foot was injured in a preseason game versus the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 1.

Sullinger had not played preseason games since, but he did try to work out and the foot seemed to get worse last week. The Raptors say they aren't sure how long he will be out. Although this injury is separate, he missed 24 games with a stress fracture in the same foot in 2014-15. This layoff could be even longer.

"You never know, but a couple months or three months is what we've heard," said Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who with Raptors director of sports science Alex McKechnie accompanied Sullinger to see O'Malley, a foot reconstruction specialist at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery. "But we don't know. It could be less, could be more."

Over his NBA career, Sullinger has averaged 11.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 24.9 minutes a game. Although he has struggled to keep his weight down, he is known to take advantage of that heft and physicality under the hoop to nab rebounds. The Raptors also like his passing ability and his basketball IQ. Sullinger was going to play a key role in replacing some of the skills Toronto lost when Bismack Biyombo chose to sign in Orlando rather than re-sign in Toronto.

"[Sullinger] was a big piece to what we wanted to do" Ujiri said. "That's the nature of the NBA. You don't cry about it.

It's opportunity, and this is how you find players. From [DeMarre Carroll's] injuries last year came Norman Powell, and we're hoping something comes out of this that will make us a stronger team when he returns."

Raptors coach Dwane Casey called Patterson the "leading candidate" for the starting job, but also said he's likely to use both Patterson and Siakam - who was the second of Toronto's two first-round picks in the 2016 NBA Draft (27th overall). The 22-year-old rookie - a native of Cameroon - comes to the league after two standout seasons at New Mexico State University.

Patterson started two games in the preseason, averaging 5.3 points and three rebounds over 19.8 minutes, while Siakam started five (7.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 20.7 minutes). Although Patterson averaged 25 minutes a game during his first three seasons in Toronto, the team has usually preferred to bring him off the bench. Siakam, meanwhile, started against the Pistons in exhibition play, so he would be facing familiar faces on Wednesday.

"Pascal brings energy and defensive flexibility, while Patrick's got the veteran leadership and veteran experience at that position, so it will probably be a back and forth until Sully comes back," Casey said.

Lenders to shoulder more mortgage risk under Ottawa's plan
In response to hot housing market, deductible proposed for insurance payouts on defaulted loans
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Ottawa has unveiled plans to introduce a deductible into Canada's taxpayer-back mortgage insurance system, a move that could force the country's financial institutions to shoulder more of the risks of the hot housing market.

The proposal to require risk sharing for mortgage lenders, outlined in a 22-page public consultation paper put out by the Department of Finance on Friday, represents the first step in what could be the most significant retrenchment of the country's mortgage insurance program since the system was set up in 1954.

It comes as the federal government has been under mounting pressure, both domestically and internationally, to tackle rising household debt levels in Canada as well as soaring home prices in Toronto and Vancouver.

"Experiences in other countries have shown that high household indebtedness can exacerbate an adverse economic event, leading to negative impacts on borrowers, lenders, and the economy," federal officials wrote in their consultation paper. "A high level of public sector involvement, for example through government guarantees of mortgage loans, may dampen market signals and lead to excessive risk taking."

Under Canada's current mortgage insurance system, taxpayers shoulder virtually all of the costs of mortgages that default, paying lenders for lost principal and interest, as well as for the costs of foreclosing on a property, such as legal fees and property maintenance.

Financial institutions are on the hook for little, if any, of the costs of dealing with defaulted mortgages. Taxpayers guarantee 100 per cent of the costs of mortgages insured by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and 90 per cent of the costs of CMHC's private sector competitors.

According to government figures, 56 per cent of the roughly $1.4-trillion in outstanding mortgage debt in Canada is insured, although that share has been declining in recent years owing to several rounds of rule tightening by Ottawa since the 2008 financial crisis.

CMHC controls little more than half the market, with $523billion in total outstanding insured mortgages as of the second quarter.

Genworth MI Canada Inc.'s share was roughly 32 per cent of total mortgage insurance premiums as of last year, while Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co. had an 11-per-cent market share, according to estimates from rating agency DBRS Ltd.

The government's consultation paper lays out two scenarios for risk sharing that would see lenders absorb between 5 and 10 per cent of the total outstanding value of a defaulted mortgage. Ottawa is also proposing to implement the deductible in the form of a fee for lenders. Mortgage insurers would continue to pay out 100 per cent of mortgage default claims, but then charge lenders a fee based on the total value of mortgages on their books that default in a given quarter.

That structure would protect CMHC's $426-billion mortgagebacked securities programs.

Ottawa has been quietly studying the idea of risk sharing since CMHC chief executive officer Evan Siddall first raised it shortly after taking the helm of the Crown corporation in 2014. But the release of the consultation paper marks the start of formal negotiations with industry that will run until Feb. 28.

Financial institutions declined to comment on the government's proposal on Friday. In a statement, the Canadian Bankers Association said that it is "looking forward to engaging constructively with the government during the consultation process."

However, when Ottawa introduced the idea of lender risk sharing earlier this month, the CBA warned of "negative side effects," setting up what could be a heated exchange between Ottawa and lenders, who say that they already share risks associated with the housing market.

Half of the portfolios of the bigger banks consist of uninsured mortgages. Those that are insured, the banks point out, come with significant costs related to underwriting and management. Since mortgage defaults will likely hit other products, such as auto loans and credit cards, which aren't insured, banks say they already have a strong incentive to lend appropriately.

Privately, however, the majority of Canada's biggest banks have started to embrace the idea of some form of risk sharing, admitting they've felt more pressure to scrutinize their portfolios and to play ball with a new Liberal government that is more prone to intervention than its Conservative predecessor.

Risk sharing represents a more significant problem for the country's non-bank lenders, whose funding relies more heavily on selling insured mortgages to investors through CMHC's mortgage-backed securities programs.

In a paper put out in December, the Credit Union Central of Canada warned that a deductible on mortgage insurance could be a major blow to its industry, which controls roughly 15 per cent of the mortgage market.

"If a deductible is significant, the likely impact will be increases in mortgage credit costs for consumers and a reduction in mortgage credit availability for some aspiring home buyers," the trade association wrote. "The impact of these changes will be most significant for lower-income Canadians, Canadians living in rural/remote regions, or in areas with a fragile economic base."

Ottawa estimates the measures would add 20 to 30 basis points to lenders' mortgage costs, although mortgage insurance premiums would likely fall, meaning consumers are unlikely to face sharply higher costs for insured mortgages. (A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point.)

Any risk-sharing plan would apply only to new mortgages and would be rolled out gradually, needing as long as 20 years to fully take effect, the government said.


Canada's housing rules have been revamped six times since 2008.

October, 2008: Ottawa reduces the maximum amortization period to 35 years, effectively killing the 40-year mortgage; introduces a 5-percent minimum down payment and tightens loan documentation standards.

April, 2010: The government clarifies debt-servicing standards, limits refinancing to a maximum of 90 per cent of the property value and imposes a minimum 20-per-cent down payment on investment properties that are not occupied by the owner.

March-April, 2011: The government reduces the maximum amortization period to 30 years, limits refinancing to a maximum of 85 per cent of the property value and withdraws government guarantees on low loan-to-value non-amortizing secured lines of credit.

July, 2012: Reduces the maximum amortization period to 25 years, limits refinancing to a maximum of 80 per cent of the property value, imposes a maximum total debt service ratio of 44 per cent, a maximum gross debt service ratio of 39 per cent and introduces a maximum purchase price of less than $1-million.

February, 2016: Imposes a minimum down payment of 10 per cent for the portion of a house priced above $500,000.

October-November, 2016: New stress tests ensure that the debt-servicing standards for all insured mortgages must meet either the mortgage contract rate or the Bank of Canada conventional fiveyear posted mortgage rate (whichever is higher). As well, eligibility criteria for highand low-ratio insured mortgages will be standardized.

Source: Department of Finance

Associated Graphic


Rogers dumps Laurence as CEO
Firm plans to hire past Telus head Joe Natale, but must wait due to a non-compete clause in his contract
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Guy Laurence, the brash British telecom executive who promised to revitalize the fortunes of Rogers Communications Inc. but clashed with the family of late founder Ted Rogers, is out after less than three years as chief executive officer.

Joe Natale, a long-time telecommunications executive who was ousted as CEO of Telus Corp. in 2015, will take Mr. Laurence's place, but cannot take the role immediately because of a noncompete agreement with Telus, which is believed to expire next summer. In the meantime, Alan Horn, chairman of the board and a steadfast adviser to the Rogers family, will step in as interim CEO.

It was only a month ago that Mr. Laurence, who previously led Vodafone Group PLC's telecom business in Britain, gave a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto in which he talked about buying a home in the city and noted that he recently acquired permanent resident status in Canada.

But while the departure - hastily announced Monday morning along with the company's thirdquarter financial results - seems sudden, sources close to Rogers say there have been rising tensions between Mr. Laurence and the Rogers family, which has voting control of the company.

When he joined the company in late 2013, Mr. Laurence was charged with turning around its wireless and cable operations, which were plagued by customer service problems.

Mr. Laurence set about overhauling the company's structure, building a new executive team and removing Edward Rogers and Melinda Rogers, the children of the company's founder, from operational roles. The handling of those decisions caused friction with the family, sources said, but Edward Rogers initially remained supportive of Mr. Laurence, whom he had backed for the CEO role. But it is said that he too lost patience with Mr. Laurence for perceived operational failings.

He poked BCE boss George Cope in the eye and paid for it. He made questionable deals, but never seemed to own up to them when they went wrong.

It all started with so much hope.

When he took over in 2013, Mr. Laurence was a jolt of energy for a company that needed it. His Rogers 3.0 plan was full of sound ideas. He said Rogers needed to make great strides in improving customer service. He argued that it was too bureaucratic and its products too complicated. He said the company should be able to take customers away from Bell and others in the business telecom market, where Rogers has long underperformed, and hired Nitin Kawale, a spark plug from Cisco Systems, to run the effort.

Mr. Laurence also sought to lower the walls separating the wireless, cable and media divisions and get all of them working together for the good of the company. "One Rogers" was his mantra. He crafted a 100-word mission statement for the company. It was poetic, and it ended with the late Ted Rogers' signature line: "The best is yet to come."

It was a fine strategy. But its implementation exposed some of Mr. Laurence's weaknesses as an executive - such as arrogance: As part of his grand restructuring, he pushed Ted Rogers' children to the side. When he announced to staff that Melinda Rogers was moving aside as a senior vicepresident (while remaining on the board), the statement was a few terse lines. It was cold. That was one of the first visible signs of tension between Mr. Laurence and the family that controls the business.

A former media executive who'd worked in Hollywood, Mr. Laurence had a showman's touch.

He signed a splashy $100-million deal with Vice Media and appeared on a stage wearing a leather jacket beside Vice supremo Shane Smith, talking about the attraction of great programming for millennials. The arrangement saw Rogers fund a major expansion of Vice's Canadian operation in return for access to its content and a stake in a new cable channel, Viceland.

Was it worth the amount of money Rogers sunk into it? Not a chance. More than one Rogers manager has suffered under the pressure of trying to make the CEO's bad deal work with a difficult partner. But Mr. Laurence rarely missed an opportunity to talk up the Vice partnership to staff.

The Vice deal was a minor error.

A bigger mistake happened in Mr. Laurence's first year, when he publicly rebuked Mr. Cope's BCE for complaining to the federal broadcast regulator about Rogers' treatment of hockey content.

"Crybaby Bell," he called them.

Several weeks later, the crybabies struck back, not with words but with money. BCE signed a deal for $594-million to acquire Glentel Inc., owner of a large chain of outlets selling Rogers products, including Wireless Wave.

Glentel is a big deal in telecom retailing. Had BCE kicked Rogers out of those stores, it would have been devastating to Rogers' wireless results, at least in the short term. Mr. Laurence had been outmanoeuvred. Eventually, Rogers was forced to overpay to buy 50 per cent of the Glentel business from his rivals - paying $473-million, according to the company's latest annual report. That was one expensive mistake.

Inside the company, Mr. Laurence became known for an odd form of micromanagement. He became obsessed with a plan to renovate the offices and talked of driving a bulldozer through the cubicles at one of Rogers' buildings in suburban Toronto. At one of his quarterly management meetings, he declared that all managers should get a Rogersbranded credit card from the company's banking division.

Then, at the next quarterly meeting, he displayed on a large screen the names of all those who hadn't bothered to apply for one.

Funny stuff. But is this what the CEO of a $28-billion company should be worrying about?

In the end, Mr. Laurence achieved some good things at Rogers. He brought in some new executive talent, shifted the culture, and made important steps on customer service, including the introduction of a much friendlier roaming scheme for wireless users.

Even so: Monday's third-quarter report shows that while the company is adding lots of new wireless customers, it still churns them at a much faster rate than Telus. The cable TV business continues to shrink and Rogers can't seem to get a cable product off the ground that is as good as Bell's Fibe. That will be the legacy of Guy Laurence's short tenure at Rogers. Big promises. Modest results.

BoC's mixed message trips up traders
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA, TORONTO -- Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz prides himself on his communication skills, relishing every chance to turn economic complexities into the stuff of everyday life.

The overheated housing market is like a tree with a hairline crack that might topple in a storm. A retractable dog leash illustrates the link between the dollar and trade. The aftermath of an asset bubble is like simmering spaghetti sauce.

But something was lost in translation this week as Mr. Poloz and his Bank of Canada colleagues held the bank's key interest rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent for a 10th straight period . The bank delivered a generally downbeat statement and economic forecast that accompanied Wednesday's rate decision - yet the Canadian dollar and yields on government bonds spiked unexpectedly .

The markets fixated on a change in one sentence - that the bank's inflation outlook is now "roughly balanced," rather than "tilted somewhat to the downside," as it judged in its September statement. The grimmer outlook overall would normally suggest downside risks to inflation and a greater chance of future interest rate cuts - conditions that should have driven currency and bond yields lower - but those few words mistakenly signalled to some that the bank had upgraded its inflation view.

But that was nothing compared with the shocker Mr. Poloz delivered at his news conference 75 minutes after the misinterpreted rate statement. He used his opening remarks to tell reporters that he and his top deputies "actively discussed" a possible rate cut in the lead-up to the announcement. The revelation whipsawed the currency and bond markets, and left observers shaking their heads.

"That was intense," said Charles St-Arnaud, a foreignexchange strategist at Nomura Securities Co. Ltd. in London and former Bank of Canada economist. "We weren't expecting that."

To a lot of people, the rate announcement suggested one thing, and then Mr. Poloz abruptly changed the channel.

"In terms of communications, it was not the best day that the central bank has had," acknowledged Sébastien Lavoie, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities.

Under Mr. Poloz, the central bank has overhauled how it communicates what it's doing, including ending the practice of providing an explicit indication of interest rate bias - so-called forward guidance. And financial markets are still struggling to keep up with the Bank of Canada's evolving messaging techniques.

"Most traders have been used to forward guidance," Mr. StArnaud explained. "They've been taken by the hand for so long that they've kind of lost their ability to think for themselves. ... You need to take a step back and think about it.

You can't expect to be spoonfed."

Ben Homsy, a fixed-income analyst at Vancouver-based Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd., says what happened Wednesday wasn't a communication snafu, but a belated mea culpa by the bank for its optimism that non-resource exports would lead the recovery. "We need to look at the data and form our own views on the economy, and [determine] what that means for what the central bank is likely to do," he said.

Central bank watchers continue to wrestle with the bank's practice under Mr. Poloz to essentially rewrite every rate-decision announcement from scratch. Other central banks, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, use the previous rate announcement as the template for the new one, changing only a handful of words; market participants can easily focus on the few small changes to determine what is new.

But Mr. Poloz has said he wants to tell "a fresh story" with each announcement, and insists that his communications team begin each rate statement with "a blank page." The result is a more nuanced and informative document; but with so much of the statement changing from announcement to announcement, it makes for harder work to interpret the changes in the message. "Whether the bank likes it or not, every word matters," said Douglas Porter, chief economist at the Bank of Montreal. "People are going to notice anything you change."

An even bigger innovation under Mr. Poloz has been the governor's opening statement for quarterly news conferences when the bank releases its Monetary Policy Report in conjunction with the rate decision, as it did this week.

Before Mr. Poloz, these news conference preambles merely repeated and summarized the contents of the MPR and the rate statement.

But starting in mid-2014, Mr. Poloz expanded the statement to incorporate a discussion of the key issues the bank's Governing Council (Mr. Poloz and his deputy governors) wrestled with in their deliberations.

Unlike most other major central banks, the Bank of Canada does not publish the minutes of its monetary-policy-setting body's meetings.

But the expansion of the news conference opening statement provides a brief summary of those discussions, offering people "insight into which issues were really on the table during deliberations and how those issues influence the decision," explained Jill Vardy, the bank's chief of communications.

Over the past two years, the opening statement has taken on growing importance in delivering key and increasingly candid messages from the bank. But Mr. Poloz raised the bar further with this Wednesday's opening-statement bombshell.

Now, some bank watchers are wondering whether the press conference opening statement may be supplanting the rate announcement as Mr. Poloz's goto communication vehicle for delivering his strongest messages, an aberration from most other central banks.

"The statement [opening] the press conference has become as important as the formal [ratedecision] statement and the MPR. That's certainly a different approach to what we are used to," BMO's Mr. Porter said.

"It's a very different style than every other central bank we deal with. As analysts, we have to react to them differently."

Associated Graphic

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, right, and Carolyn Wilkins, senior deputy governor at the Bank of Canada, arrive for a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday.


Home builders push for slow energy plan
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Builders who have constructed "net-zero" houses are urging Ottawa to go slow with any proposal to change the building code to require super-energy-efficient buildings to ensure the rising costs don't add to Canada's housing affordability problems.

Their warning comes as the federal government is set to announce a series of measures this fall aimed at improving energy efficiency and boosting the use of renewable energy in residential and commercial buildings. Ottawa will announce plans to phasein changes to the national building code, eventually reaching a "net-zero" standard that would require all new houses to be virtually energy self-sufficient.

Toronto-based Mattamy Homes constructed five net-zero houses in Calgary as part of a demonstration project with Natural Resources Canada, but CEO Brian Johnston said consumers were unwilling to pay a significant mark-up for the houses, which cost an additional $100,000 each to build.

"I would say measure twice and cut once and involve the industry" in enacting policy, Mr. Johnston said. "Builders are generally in support of making homes more energy-efficient. They just want to make sure it is done in a proper way.

"Let's face it: there are some huge affordability issues, and the government risks exacerbating that issue.

"And that's an enormous issue - the affordability problem - that will run counter to this idea of increasing the energy efficiency of homes," Mr. Johnston said.

The Liberal government is unveiling a series of measures - including a minimum national carbon price - ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's meeting in December with premiers, in which he hopes to conclude a pan-Canadian climate strategy.

While the government promotes its carbon-pricing plan as a crucial "market-based" policy, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna argues regulatory measures are also needed to meet Canada's international commitment to reduce greenhouse gases.

Environment and Climate Change Canada calculates that 11 per cent of the country's annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from building, although that figure does not include the generation of electricity needed for lighting and cooling. The proposed changes to the building codes would occur in stages over the next 15 years, and are part of a long-term strategy that aims to cut emissions by more than 80 per cent by 2050, as countries try to put the brakes on global warming.

On the building code, the federal government does not set regulations but produces a model code - updated every five years - that most provinces adopt to avoid a balkanized regulatory system. Ottawa is expected to gradually toughen energy-efficiency standards in the model code until it reaches a net-zero level.

Ottawa-based Minto Group Inc. has built five net-zero homes, including four townhouses that were completed in September and are now on the market. The company is generally supportive of a gradual toughening of standards but it must be done "with a degree of prudence," said Derek Hickson, its director of sustainability.

He said "2030 would be a lofty goal," although Ontario has announced it will have a net-zero standard by that date or sooner as part of its climate action plan.

Minto found the additional cost of building a net-zero house was between $40,000 and $60,000, and it remains to be seen whether buyers will accept that higher price. Mr. Hickson said the higher mortgage payments can be fully offset by lower utility bills.

He said the costs of building high-efficiency homes has dropped by 65 per cent since 2008 when Minto built its first one, and those costs will likely continue to decline. "Now we're using technology that is off-theshelf; it's technology people are familiar with," he said.

Mattamy Homes' Mr. Johnston said his company supports a gradual toughening of standards, noting houses are now dramatically more efficient than they were a generation ago. But he added consumers are not willing to pay a significant premium in order to reduce their annual energy bill.

And banks don't take into account lower energy costs when they assess whether they are willing to provide a mortgage to a home buyer. Ottawa also recently made it tougher for home buyers to qualify for large mortgages in order to reduce the risk of defaults.

Environmental advocates are urging the government to move as quickly as possible to implement the net-zero standard. Vancouver - one of the few cities with its own building code - has said that, by 2025, all new buildings must be energy self-sufficient. But they say the policy must be complemented with programs to encourage retrofits of the existing building stock.

"Net-zero building codes drive an energy transition from fossil fuels to clean power, so they're a fantastic tool for new homes and buildings," said Clare Demerse, federal policy adviser for the advocacy group Clean Energy Canada.


'Net-zero' 101 Minto, an Ottawa-based real estate development and property management company, has built five net-zero energy ready homes in suburban Kanata that are designed to use 65 per cent less energy than a typical new home.


The sun's energy is collected through rooftop solar panels, producing electricity the home needs year-round.


Two extra layers of rigid exterior insulation.

Triple-pane windows.

Doubling the insulation in the basement walls and under the floor.


A heat-recovery ventilator draws in fresh, filtered air while exhausting stale air.

A drain-water heat recovery system captures heat from used hot water.

A cold-climate heat pump heats and cools the home.

LED lighting is two times more efficient than standard compact fluorescent lights.

The heat-pump hot-water tank is more than twice as efficient as typical gas hot water systems.

Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water use.

Associated Graphic


Still waiting for factory-fuelled revival
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The on-again, off-again resurgence of Canada's manufacturing sector just might be on again. But after so many false starts, how can we be sure that this latest growth spurt is the beginning of that elusive sustainable upswing that the economy so sorely needs?

Maybe when we see the jobs.

Which, unfortunately, is not yet.

Canada's manufacturing sales for August, released Tuesday, did indeed impress: Up a seasonally adjusted 0.9 per cent from July, much better than economists' consensus estimate of 0.3 per cent. And the gain came without any help from higher prices, as volumes were up 1.2 per cent.

The August strength also came despite a sizable drag from motor vehicle makers, whose seasonally adjusted sales were down 2.2 per cent in the month - a function of summer maintenance shutdowns at some plants that would usually take place in July. Excluding the auto makers, manufacturing sales were up 1.3 per cent.

This marked the fourth gain in the past five months for sales at Canada's factories, during which time sales have risen a cumulative 2.5 per cent. It's not a massive number, but given the rough ride the Canadian economy endured during that time with sputtering exports and the Alberta wildfires, it has been an encouraging little stretch.

Of course, it's noteworthy that, even with these gains, monthly sales have only clawed their way back to the levels seen at the beginning of the year, and the August figure was down 1 per cent from a year earlier.

While weaker prices have hurt (reflecting the impact of a higher Canadian dollar on the value of export sales), volumes were up a relatively tepid 1.3 per cent year over year. The bounce-back in sales still looks more like digging out of a hole than climbing to new heights.

A clearer sign of momentum in the manufacturing sector will come when businesses decide they need to start hiring. That will be a critical indicator of the true underlying strength that economists have been waiting to see from the sector, which is such a big part of the nonresource side of the economy that experts are counting on to lead Canada's recovery.

When the factories start hiring, it will be strong evidence that those businesses are feeling the need for more human resources to meet their customers' growing demand and are confident that more demand growth is on the way. Such hiring, in turn, would be a precursor to increased capital spending to expand production capacity, a critical cog that to date has been largely missing in Canada's fitful economic recovery. That's the brass ring.

But the sector isn't there yet.

The latest jobs figures for September show that manufacturing employment is essentially flat over the past four months and is nearly 40,000 jobs below its endof-2015 level. Employment has inched up in each of the past three months, another encouraging sign; but both the level of employment and pace of growth suggest employers aren't ready to jump in with both feet.

There remains good reason for manufacturers to be hesitant, as evidenced by some of the August numbers. Even as monthly sales have shifted higher, the demand coming down the pipeline slipped over the summer. Both new orders and unfilled orders have fallen in each of the past two months. For a sector that has been burned before by upturns that fizzled out, that's justification for caution.

With that in mind, it's notable that the sector hasn't overbuilt its stockpiles. Total inventories dipped 0.5 per cent in August.

The inventory-to-sales ratio (a figure that represents how many months it would take to exhaust inventories) declined to 1.39, its lowest since January. That suggests either that demand is eating into existing supplies, or that manufacturers haven't been cranking out enough to keep pace with sales - either way, it's positive for future output growth. The more that ratio works its way lower, the more it will indicate that pressure is building for factory owners to hire and expand.

In the near term, the continuation of manufacturing's solid run added to the evidence the Canadian economy had a strong third quarter, after contracting in the second quarter. Economists now believe that real gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of north of 3 per cent in the third quarter, and perhaps close to the Bank of Canada's July forecast of 3.5 per cent. It may bode well for the central bank's update of its quarterly economic forecasts, which will be published on Wednesday in the bank's quarterly Monetary Policy Report - although Tuesday's release of the manufacturing data probably came too late to influence the central bank's calculations.

The key in the Bank of Canada's economic update, though, isn't in the third quarter that's already in the books, but rather in the momentum it implies for the quarters to come. And for the solid third quarter for both manufacturing and the broader economy to mean anything, it's going to have to continue into the fourth quarter to translate into the hiring and spending that will really get this ball rolling.

Associated Graphic


BoC expected to stand pat on rates, despite rebound
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The Bank of Canada got what it was looking for with the Canadian economy's third-quarter comeback. This week, we'll see whether the central bank is feeling nearly as good about the far-less-certain prospects beyond the current rebound - and how that colours the outlook for interest rates.

On Wednesday, the bank will release its latest interest-rate decision, together with its quarterly Monetary Policy Report, containing its closely scrutinized forecasts for the Canadian economy.

It's the first update of the bank's economic outlook since July - and the economic data have been on a roller-coaster ride in the intervening period. The question is whether the economy has emerged from the turbulent summer still on the course that the bank had envisioned.

There certainly won't be much drama in the rate decision itself.

The Bank of Canada is almost universally expected to leave its key interest rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent, where it has sat since July, 2015 - which would mark the 10th consecutive rate decision in which the central bank stood pat on rates.

The bond market is pricing in no chance of a rate increase in this announcement, and only a 2.5-per-cent probability of a rate cut.

But the economic outlook is considerably less certain. While the economy's second-quarter swoon has turned out to be temporary - as the Bank of Canada predicted back in July - there remain plenty of unanswered questions about the staying power of the recovery beyond the third quarter. And it's unclear how confident the central bank is in Canada's growth path from here.

The bank itself expressed doubts when it last issued a rate announcement, in early September. It suggested that the secondquarter stumbles might have left "the profile for economic activity ... somewhat lower than anticipated in July," and acknowledged that the risks to its inflation outlook - and, by extension, to interest rates, since the bank sets rates based on an inflation target - had "tilted somewhat to the downside."

At the time, observers couldn't help but wonder whether the bank was opening the door for a possible rate cut, particularly in light of the lack of traction in the export market - a part of the second-quarter slump that couldn't be explained away by the temporary impact of last spring's Alberta wildfires. The cautious tone helped push the Canadian dollar down by nearly two cents (U.S.) since the September rate announcement - a development that, conveniently, adds stimulus to the export sector, even if the central bank insists it doesn't use rate policy to steer the currency.

But since that September announcement, Canada's economic news has been decidedly upbeat. Exports posted their third consecutive monthly gain in August. Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey estimated that employment surged by 67,000 jobs in September, the biggest one-month increase in more than four years. Real gross domestic product, the benchmark for overall economic growth, jumped 0.5 per cent in July - which, together with June's 0.6-per-cent gain, represents the biggest twomonth growth spurt in nearly five years.

The central bank's own quarterly Business Outlook Survey, released earlier this month, suggested that business conditions may have turned a corner. Businesses in the energy sector indicated that they believe their downturn from the oil slump has finally bottomed. Overall investment and hiring intentions have turned upward. The business survey has typically carried considerable weight with the central bank's decision-makers during Governor Stephen Poloz's tenure, and its cautiously optimistic tone could help improve the bank's mood. However, many economists think the bank still has good reason to retain the cautious language it adopted in September. Despite the recent positive indicators, the bank's economic forecasts from July look rosecoloured in light of the secondquarter backslide, an inconsistent U.S. recovery and a sputtering global growth outlook.

Among the economists at Canada's big banks, the median GDP growth forecast for 2016 is now 1.2 per cent, slightly below the 1.3 per cent the Bank of Canada projected in July. More notable, though, is the gap for 2017: a median of 1.8 per cent from the big bank economists, versus 2.2 per cent in the Bank of Canada's July projections.

If the Bank of Canada ratchets back its 2017 forecast, that could have considerable implications for interest-rate expectations. As it stands, economists anticipate the bank will start raising rates about a year from now, as growth should be sufficient to close the output gap - the difference between what the economy produces and what it's capable of producing. But a slower growth trajectory, coupled with the second-quarter setback, could push that timing back to early 2018.

"The Bank of Canada will lean on the dovish side, in sympathy with a slight downward revision to its growth outlook," predicted Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

Associated Graphic


Nortel creditors in $7.3-billion settlement
Pensioners, former employees to see payouts rise as seven-year bankruptcy saga nears end
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Pensioners and former employees of Nortel Networks Corp. will see their payouts rise under a settlement deal expected to end the company's seven-year bankruptcy saga.

Lawyers for Canadian and European creditors said Thursday they had to make concessions to win a settlement deal with U.S. creditors, but said the reduction was not large and will be partly offset by foreign currency gains, leaving significant funds to bolster payouts for former employees and other creditors.

"It's certainly a very good deal for the U.K. pensioners and I think it's a good deal for the Canadian pensioners as well," said Toronto lawyer Michael Barrack, who is representing Nortel's British pension plan members.

Under a proposed settlement deal, which still requires court approval, Nortel's Canadian operations will get 57.1 per cent of the $7.3-billion (U.S.) remaining from the liquidation of Nortel's assets, totalling more than $4.1-billion.

European creditors will get 18.5 per cent or about $1.3-billion and the U.S. claimants will receive 24.4 per cent or $1.8-billion.

Lawyer Mark Zigler, who is representing former Canadian employees of Nortel, said a 2015 court ruling had allocated roughly 62 per cent of remaining assets to Canada, 24 per cent to Europe and 14 per cent to the U.S. division.

U.S. creditors appealed the allocation decision, however, and were seeking a larger piece of the pie, dragging out a resolution of the case.

Mr. Zigler said it was worth giving up a small part of the Canadian allocation to reach a settlement deal because there was still uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. appeal and because a deal would help guarantee payout levels for Canadian employees.

He estimated the Canadian unit would get 4 per cent to 5 per cent less in U.S.-dollar terms compared with the original court allocation, but said the payout will be improved when the money is converted to Canadian dollars because of the currency's relative weakness.

As well, he said a settlement deal is the most cost-effective solution because money is flowing out of Nortel's accounts to pay legal bills.

"This was a way of putting an end to it, and it's about time that would happen," he said.

"This thing has been going on for almost eight years."

Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in January, 2009, and lawyers have fought for more than seven years over the distribution of the company's remaining assets among its key divisions in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Legal and professional bills paid from Nortel's remaining funds topped $2.5-billion (Canadian) as of March, 2016, according to a review by independent analyst Diane Urquhart.

The professional costs are the highest in a bankruptcy in Canadian history.

Mr. Zigler said claims by former employees in Canada - excluding pension plan claims - are expected to receive 45 per cent to 47 per cent payouts if the settlement deal is approved.

The employee claims include long-term disability payments, severance pay and lost health benefits.

Nortel's Canadian pension plans will also benefit, with money from the settlement helping cover a significant shortfall that existed in the plans at the time that the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Ontario plan had roughly a 30-per-cent shortfall, including coverage provided by the province's pension guarantee fund, which meant retirees were expected to get about 70 per cent of their pensions.

Plans in other provinces without a government backstop were expected to provide 55 per cent to 60 per cent of the total owed to pensioners.

Funds from the settlement deal will raise those payout totals significantly, although lawyers said on Thursday they did not know yet what the final payout totals will be.

Nortel's European claimants will also see significant improvements to their payouts, and will benefit even more from currency gains, said Mr. Barrack, who is representing British pensioners.

He said the sharp drop in the pound this year means the U.S. assets will be worth far more than expected at the time of the 2015 court ruling that divided Nortel's assets.

That means the concessions made to reach a settlement with U.S. claimants will be largely offset.

"To get the finality of a settlement and move forward to get the money into the accounts and bring a conclusion to it is something that is a good settlement for our clients," he said.

Payments should begin flowing to creditors in the first half of 2017, according to Nortel's Canadian monitor, Ernst & Young.

As previously announced, shareholders of Nortel will not receive any value for their shares under the deal, Ernst & Young said in a statement.

With growing pains out of the way, TD's Scottrade deal is low risk
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Outside work, TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. CEO Tim Hockey is known as a formidable longdistance cyclist.

The same qualities that allow the discount brokerage boss to set a blistering pace on 100-kilometre-plus rides - perseverance, commitment, focus - should give investors comfort as TD Ameritrade and its biggest shareholder, Toronto-Dominion Bank, roll out a $4-billion (U.S.) takeover bid of U.S. discount broker and retail banker Scottrade Financial Services Inc.

Mr. Hockey and TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani have spent their entire careers preparing for this sort of deal. If a multibillion-dollar, cross-border acquisition can ever be described as low-risk, this is it. Snapping up Scottrade speaks to the unique platform that TD Bank has built in the U.S. market, and the growth potential of the franchise.

Investors can be forgiven for cringing when Canadian companies announce multibillion-dollar U.S. acquisitions. Our corporate history is littered with cross-border deals that destroyed shareholder value. This is especially true in banking - we're looking at you, CIBC and Royal Bank. The common theme in failed forays is a Canadian buyer that entered a highly competitive market where it had little experience, then faced cultural and integration issues.

TD Ameritrade and TD Bank got those growing pains out of the way years ago.

In a briefing on the Scottrade transaction early Monday, Mr. Hockey put up a slide showing that this is the 11th major acquisition undertaken by TD Ameritrade - a series of training runs that build up to a monster bike ride. Mr. Hockey, former head of TD Bank's Canadian retail operations, said: "Integration, while large, will not be as technically complex as others we have done."

The same integration skills exist at TD Bank, which is spending $1.3-billion to acquire Scottrade's banking business as the first stage of the takeover that will then see TD Ameritrade spend $2.7-billion to buy the brokerage business.

Mr. Masrani ran a U.S. retail banking division that melded together a string of rivals before moving back to Toronto to take the top job in 2014.

Along with acquiring Scottrade's banking business, TD Bank will buy an additional $400million of stock in TD Ameritrade to help fund this transaction. The show of faith is easy to justify: The Omaha-based discount broker has turned in an impressive performance for TD Bank, which owns 42 per cent of the company, and its other shareholders.

Bloomberg data show TD Ameritrade stock averaged a 17.6-percent annual return over the past 20 years, while comparable companies in the benchmark Russell 1000 Financial Services Index turned in just a 2.1-per-cent average annual return over the same period.

Enormous savings will flow from combining Scottrade's operations with those of TD Ameritrade. Mr. Hockey estimated that, while there are $550-million in restructuring charges coming, TD Ameritrade can cut annual costs by $450-million and realize another $300-million in long-term opportunities. But this acquisition is about far more than costcutting.

Discount brokers win clients by offering the lowest-cost trades.

They make money by backing up low-margin trading with highly profitable financial products and services. More clients means cheaper trades, as most of this traffic moves through computers, where costs are fixed. More clients also mean more opportunities to sell extra services.

For example, anyone opening a trading account at Scottrade with more than $500 automatically also gets a chequing account.

Scottrade clients are also pitched everything from mortgages to feegenerating advice on investing, retirement and estate planning.

By all accounts, Scottrade has the best client service culture in the business.

The challenge to TD Bank and TD Ameritrade is seamlessly melding their services with Scottrade. Get it right, and the combined company will be a U.S. leader on par with Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments, with 10 million client accounts and $944-billion in assets. Mr. Hockey summed up the rationale of the Scottrade acquisition on a conference call by saying that it will help TD Ameritrade "compete and win on the client experience ... eliminating friction at all client touch points."

TD Bank and TD Ameritrade estimate it will take until 2018 to close this transaction and fully integrate operations - again, a long, grinding ride, but one that Mr. Hockey's team and TD Bank are more than ready to undertake.

There is nothing particularly new or frightening in what lies ahead. In acquiring Scottrade, TD Bank stands to reap the benefits of investments made over the past two decades in the U.S. market.

Health benefits for retirees are steadily disappearing
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Cost-cutting employers are hurting your retirement in ways that go beyond the steady retreat of pension plans paying money for life.

Postretirement health plans that help retirees pay medical and dental costs are also disappearing. This year's HR Trends survey by benefits consulting firm Morneau Shepell found that 41 per cent of employers are offering these plans today. A Conference Board of Canada survey in 2012 found that 51 per cent of employers offered postretirement benefits.

The outlook is actually worse than these numbers suggest. In the Morneau survey, 24 per cent of respondents who offered these plans said they were looking for ways to stop. Also, some employers who claim to be offering postretirement benefits are doing little more than connecting retired workers to insurance products that replace company benefits.

Benefits paid to retirees are an overlooked example of how employers are backpedalling like mad from the commitment they once had to help their workers pay for retirement. This trend demands that we stop generalizing about how well-prepared people are for retirement. There are actually three different situations to consider - those with defined benefit (DB) pension plans and postretirement benefits, those who have second-rate pensions and postretirement benefits and those who have no help at all because they're self-employed or working temporary jobs.

Slot yourself into the appropriate group and develop your retirement savings plan accordingly. If you're in Group Three, no pension or postretirement benefits, saving for the future has to be your top financial priority by far.

In the pension world, the big story today is the way companies are limiting access to their DB plans to current members and shunting new employees into defined-contribution plans. DB pensions are the gold standard - payments are pegged to your years of service and earnings, and last as long as you live. With DC plans, you and your employer contribute to an investing plan that leaves you with a lump-sum amount on retirement. It's up to you to convert that money into a stream of retirement income and make it last.

To see the demise of DB pension coverage in action, check out the latest round of contracts involving the Big Three auto makers and their unionized employees. The pattern is for current workers to keep their DB plans or a hybrid of DB and DC, while new hires get a DC plan.

Recent trends in postretirement benefits mirror what's happening with pensions. Employers that offer these benefits are either eliminating their plans altogether for future retirees, or capping the amount of money they kick in.

This can be in the form of a socalled health spending account, where employees get a set amount a year to use against their health or dental costs. Or it can be through a new type of plan that Morneau Shepell is developing where employers help employees buy their own health or life insurance.

The decline of both postretirement benefits and DB pensions is connected to business and demographic factors. Paul Sywulych, a partner at Morneau Shepell, said companies are increasingly averse to having liabilities on their books related to DB pensions and benefits that keep going after a worker retires.

These programs originated out of a view that companies should look after employees after they retire, Mr. Sywulych said. Today, longer lifespans are making it tough to continue these benefits.

"Obligations which might have lasted an extra five or 10 years after retirement at one point are now lasting an extra 20 years after a person retires," he said.

Replacing traditional postretirement benefits are options such as:

Conversion policies: Private coverage you buy through the insurers your company used for its group plan; Mr. Sywulych said these policies typically offer less coverage than the group plan.

Health spending accounts: Retired workers get a set amount, say $1,000 a year, to cover healthrelated costs.

Morneau Shepell's myFuture: Employers provide retirees with access to health and life insurance coverage options, and possibly contributions toward the cost of premiums.

As with any insurance, you have to evaluate coverage offered by conversion policies and the likes of MyFuture by comparing premiums and the potential costs of paying health and dental bills out of pocket. I'll try to look at these costs in a future column to help you better make this judgment.

In the meantime, be aware of trends in the workplace affecting pensions and postretirement benefits. The pressure on a lot of people to save harder for retirement saving is growing.

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick

The weekend's big outdoor hockey games are a chance for the Prairie city to take a bow and rejoice that the NHL franchise's story no long reads like a sad country song, Marty Klinkenberg writes
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

WINNIPEG -- It seems as though the whole city of Winnipeg is celebrating this weekend. On Saturday, alumni from the Jets will play for fun and bragging rights against their old rivals from the Edmonton Oilers. On Sunday, teams from both cities will compete in the annual NHL Heritage Classic. The Blue Bombers' 33,000-seat football stadium is sold out for each, and tickets for events leading up to the games this week were gone long in advance.

It was a pilgrimage for the thousands who poured into the MTS Centre on a rainy, chill-to-the bone morning on Friday to watch middle-aged men skate during lighthearted practice sessions. Rekindling memories, fans wore vintage jackets, and Teemu Selanne and Dale Hawerchuk sweaters, and delighted as guys well past their prime tugged at their heartstrings from the ice.

They roared when Selanne took a hard fall, not a single strand of his perfect hair out of place. They cheered as Bob Essensa, now the Boston Bruins' goaltending coach, lunged to make a nifty glove save. They laughed when, at the end, fond heroes from the past got down on their somewhat ample bellies and did push-ups before rising and saluting them with their sticks one last time.

"All of the heritage here and all of the memories probably inspired us to go five minutes longer," said Hawerchuk, a Hall of Famer who scored 379 of his 518 regular-season goals with the Jets. "We did five push-ups and I tried to get them to do 10, but was overruled."

Hawerchuk is 53 and the coach of the OHL's Barrie Colts now, and was appointed captain of the Jets' old-timers. The NHL's coveted outdoor game is being staged in one of Canada's most hockey-rabid and grateful cities, a place that suffered the heartbreak of once losing its team only to get one back six years ago. The Jets have one of the league's most prized rookies in Patrik Laine, and the club's owners are spearheading a downtown redevelopment.

It bears resemblance to what is going on in a fellow NHL city to the west, and it is no coincidence that the Jets invited the Oilers to join them in Sunday's big showcase.

They were rivals first in the World Hockey Association, and then became bitter opponents beginning in 1979 in the NHL.

"I think back to the 1980s, and what a powerhouse they were the whole time," Hawerchuk said. "Life changes and I've been out of the game for a while, and when I look back it was a privilege to play against them.

"I think for everybody this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It's a celebration of hockey in the Prairies, featuring two Prairie towns. How good is that?" .

Jets remained a source of pride

There is a signed photo on the wall in Mark Chipman's office in downtown Winnipeg, a large print of Bobby Orr in flight after scoring the famous overtime goal that won the 1970 Stanley Cup for the Bruins.

The Boston defenceman was Chipman's favourite player as a kid - "My childhood hero," he said - and Orr sent a copy of the picture to him after it was announced in May, 2011, that the Jets were returning to Winnipeg after an absence of 15 years.

"To my friend, Mark, congratulations on your big win," Orr wrote.

Chipman was 10 when the Bruins swept the Blues to win their first NHL championship in nearly three decades, and he was a gangly 12-year-old when the WHA was established in 1972 with the Jets as one of the league's founding members. He and David Thomson, whose family owns The Globe and Mail among other entities, are the biggest shareholders of privately held True North Sports and Entertainment, which now owns the Jets.

Chipman spent countless hours watching the Jets in his youth, and they remained a source of pride when he attended the University of North Dakota on a football scholarship and earned degrees in economics and law.

"It was a badge of honour then to say you were from Winnipeg," Chipman recalled while seated at a table with a window behind him that overlooks a $400-million development called True North Square, which will become a jewel in the downtown core. "It was a big deal to say that we were an NHL city."

In 1995, when it was announced that the Jets were being relocated to Phoenix, Chipman was a principal in a group called The Spirit of Manitoba, which failed in a last-ditch effort to save the team. After graduating university, he spent 10 years in Florida as a criminal prosecutor before returning home to join his family's business.

"I was very involved in the process to keep the original Jets in Winnipeg," he said. He is an affable Prairie boy and a beerleague hockey player and as such, without pretenses. "I had a front-row seat and can honestly say it wasn't our fault. The city was starting to regenerate, but the economics of the league were going completely out of control.

"Losing the team only served to stiffen our resolve."

Almost immediately after the Jets left, Chipman began working with partners to lure a minor-league team to Winnipeg and settled on the Minnesota Moose, a failing franchise in the International Hockey League.

"We figured our best chance of getting back in the game was keeping hockey alive, and we invested in the next-best league available," he said.

Within three years, Chipman and associates established True North Sports and Entertainment, and began making plans to build a downtown arena. Merger talks between the IHL and the American Hockey League brought Chipman into contact with Gary Bettman, with whom he became acquainted during those painful days when the Jets were on their last legs.

In 2002, Chipman and a friend drove 2,100 kilometres to take in hockey games at the Salt Lake City Olympics, and bumped into Bettman while walking on the concourse. Chipman used the opportunity to catch the NHL commissioner up on Winnipeg's arena plans, and when they parted company a few days later each promised to keep the other apprised of any developments.

"He extended a great deal of hospitality to me that week and didn't have to," Chipman said. "I was a minor-league guy."

The $130-million MTS Centre opened in November, 2004, and served as the home rink of the then-AHL Moose. In 2007, Chipman was invited to New York to make a presentation to the NHL board of governors, and over the next several years had discussions with NHL teams seeking greener pastures. They came within an eyelash of landing the Phoenix Coyotes in 2009, when the city of Glendale, Ariz., came up with emergency funding 10 minutes before the final deadline.

"We had chairs set up on the floor of the arena for the press conference announcing we had purchased the team," said Chipman, who is now the chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment and governor of the Jets. "We knew there was a chance that Glendale could come through, and they did. In retrospect, that was a blessing because it gave us another year to prepare for an NHL team."

By then, Bettman had indicated that Winnipeg would be rewarded, and on May 31, 2011, Chipman officially announced that True North had purchased the Atlanta Thrashers for $170million (U.S.), and wasmoving them to Manitoba.

For more than a year, Chipman had been negotiating with the NHL, and kept it a secret from all but a few of his closest friends.

"It didn't make any sense to get people here all revved up when it was just a possibility," he says. "Through the process, the three most important things I learned were that we had to have a building, we had to gain the NHL's trust, and we had to keep our head down and mouth shut."

The Thrashers-turned-Jets made their Winnipeg debut at the start of the 2011-12 season and were immediately embraced by the city's hockey-mad fans.

They reached the playoffs for the first time at the end of the 2014-15 season, but lost more games than they won last year.

They are 2-2 heading into Sunday's meeting against the Oilers, and are coming off a victory on Wednesday in which they trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs by four goals. Laine scored the first three goals of his career that night, and he is surrounded by a nucleus of good young players.

"We have had a plan since Day 1, and that was to build a team and we have done that with our six first-round draft picks," Chipman said. "We bought a team but we were able to buy it for a reason. Most of the draft picks and prospects had been traded away, so we had to create our own.

"It was great the year we made the playoffs, but we are trying to build a team that can be there every year. We know a slow and steady pace will get us in a position to win the race."

During the Jets' first season, Chipman asked Bettman if Winnipeg could play host to the Heritage Classic, which has become one of the NHL's marquee events since its inception on a frigid day in Edmonton in November, 2003.

Chipman recalls watching that first outdoor game on TV, and marvelling at the 57,000 fans who endured minus-30 C temperatures.

Upon landing this game, he immediately invited the Oilers to share it with them.

"We have an incredible history together," he said. "We are both Prairie cities and hard-working cities full of great hockey fans.

They became the obvious choice of who we would celebrate our heritage with. A long friendship between us has developed over the years."

There is joy in the air

This weekend is not a defining point in Winnipeg. It is a redefining point, actually. It's a time for the city to celebrate the Jets and to show hockey fans everywhere what has been achieved.

The past is not forgotten, but the franchise's story no longer reads like a sad country song.

There is joy in the air, and a bright future. Construction cranes tower over the new downtown development, which sits on a piece of land surrounded by the Delta Hotel, the RBC Convention Centre, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Jets' home rink.

Earlier this week, Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg were inducted into a newly established Jets Hall of Fame. On Friday night, a sellout crowd filled the convention centre for a gala dinner where as part of the program Ron MacLean interviewed stars from past teams, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Hawerchuck included.

Earlier in the day, MacLean recalled the scene at the Forks, a green space in downtown Winnipeg at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers where 35,000 fans showed up for a save-the-Jets rally in 1995.

He remembered their gutwrenching last game in 1996, a playoff loss to the Detroit Red Wings, and talked about Chipman and his resolve.

"He is a guy who wanted to keep the Jets here all along and worked at it," MacLean said.

"Trying to resurrect them from nothing would have nearly been impossible."

And then, "I honestly think your love for the game supersedes the NHL."

Fans filled the arena and cheered the Jets of old on Friday morning.

In the dressing room afterward, Hawerchuk sat in front of his stall soaking it all in. At one point during the practice, he tried to draw up a play on a chalkboard beside the ice.

"The same old guys screwed it up," he said, laughing. "Some things never change."

He admitted that his body ached from using muscles he had not used in years.

"I am on the ice as a coach, but I can feel it in my legs and lungs," he said. "As a coach, I am not pushing hard out there every time."

Across the room, Brian Mullen was undressing at his locker. He had a scar on his sternum from open-heart surgery, and a cold can of Kokanee waiting in his stall.

"When the team left here, it was like a punch in the gut," said Mullen, 54, who joined the Jets in 1980 as a seventh-round draft pick and played for them in five of his 11 NHL seasons. "I knew what the Jets meant to people here and it was hard to take.

"This is a special weekend here, just a huge event.

"I didn't really realize what a big deal it was until I got in last night. Somebody in the lobby asked for my autograph. I was surprised anyone knew me."

Chipman, meanwhile, is looking forward to taking these next two days in.

"I struggle to articulate what it all means to me," he said. "I am blessed beyond my understanding to be this close to the game I love, and to bring this piece of history together for a few days.

"It is our community, and the city of Winnipeg that will be on display at centre ice on Sunday rather than our team and Edmonton. This is a chance for our community and organization to say we are really back."


1 First-ever NHL outdoor regularseason game for the Winnipeg Jets. They become the 22nd team to participate in such a game.

2 Second-ever NHL outdoor regular-season game played by the Edmonton Oilers, who hosted the first such game, the 2003 NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

2.5 Length, in kilometres, of hot dogs and smokies that is expected to be consumed by fans at Investors Group Field during the Heritage Classic Alumni Game and the NHL Heritage Classic.

4 The 2016 Classic is the fourth game in the Heritage series, following the inaugural contest in 2003, 2011 (Montreal at Calgary) and 2014 (Ottawa at Vancouver).

6 The original Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers faced off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs six times between 1983 and 1990, with the Oilers winning every series.

9 Participants of the Alumni Game on Oct. 22 who are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, including Jets alumni captain Dale Hawerchuk and coach Serge Savard; and Oilers alumni captain Wayne Gretzky and coach Glen Sather.

19 The Heritage Classic will be the 19th regular-season NHL game played outdoors and the first of a slate of four outdoor games played during the 2016-17 NHL regular season (Jan. 1, Detroit at Toronto; Jan. 2, Chicago at St. Louis; Feb. 25, Philadelphia at Pittsburgh).

1,021,055 Total attendance for the NHL's 18 regular-season outdoor games, an average of 56,725 a game.

Source: NHL

Associated Graphic

Workers put the finishing touches to the NHL's Heritage Classic outdoor rink in Winnipeg at Investors Group Field, which is home to the CFL's Blue Bombers.


When the NHL returned to Winnpeg in 2011, the Jets owners patiently built the team the through the draft, with players such as Patrik Laine, who was the second overall pick in this past summer's draft.


More than 30,000 fans cheered on Edmonton and Winnipeg in the NHL's 19th regular-season outdoor game - albeit after a two-hour sunshine delay
Monday, October 24, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

WINNIPEG -- There was barely a nip in the air Sunday as the sun shimmered off the beautiful ice surface fashioned inside Investors Group Field. It was hardly colder than any indoors rink, and hospitable for Winnipeg in the last week of October.

It wasn't the 10 C temperature but bright sunshine that caused a delay at the Heritage Classic. NHL officials believed glare posed a risk to the goalies, so the midafternoon start at one of the league's most high-profile games was pushed back nearly two hours.

Shadows crisscrossed the stadium by the time the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers finally appeared, walking down a narrow corridor as they were enveloped in smoke and fireworks cascaded around them.

The gathering of more than 30,000 cheered the hometown Jets and jeered the Oilers, but it was all in fun. The house was full, copious amounts of poutine and perogies were consumed, and hockey was played beneath a turquoise sky on the prairies. What could possibly be better?

This was the 19th regular-season NHL game played outdoors and the first of four during the 2016-17 season. It was the first time the Jets participated in the Heritage Classic and only the second for Edmonton, which held the NHL's inaugural outdoors adventure at Commonwealth Stadium in -27 C temperatures in November, 2003.

The Oilers built a lead around three second-period goals and silenced the partisan crowd en route to a 3-0 victory. It was Edmonton's fifth triumph in six games, uncharted territory for a team whose playoff drought stands at 10 years. The Jets are 2-3.

The anticipated matchup between both franchises' great young players never materialized.

Connor McDavid, the Oilers' 19-year-old captain, registered an assist on their second goal by feeding a perfect pass to Darnell Nurse. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg's 18-year-old first-round pick, failed to add to the four goals he scored in his first four NHL games.

Result notwithstanding, spectators basked in the atmosphere of a weekend-long celebration.

Former stars from both teams hooked up for fun and bragging rights before a crowd of more than 30,000 on Saturday; for the record, Teemu Selanne scored the game-winner on a penalty shot in the final seconds to secure the Jets' 6-5 conquest.

Mark Messier scored twice for the Oilers but his Hall-of-Fame teammate, Wayne Gretzky, saw only limited action. Gretzky, 55, put the team together as Edmonton's captain, but skates only rarely now and may never again.

"I stink," the self-Deprecating One said afterward. "I didn't have any expectations and didn't tell anybody I'd be the Wayne Gretzky of the Eighties. I am terrible.

"I'm not doing a road show.

That might be my last game."

Dave Lumley, a winger who won two Stanley Cups in Edmonton in the 1980s, collected an assist, despite playing with two torn rotator cuffs and on the same skates he used in 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Craig MacTavish, the Oilers' current vice-president of hockey operations, chipped in a goal and an assist.

"It was good fun," MacTavish, 58, said. "The game had a little bit of everything but speed."

The Jets invited the Oilers to share in the celebration because of their enduring history. Both were original members of the World Hockey Association and entered the NHL in 1979 as part of a four-team expansion. The teams faced off in the Stanley Cup playoffs six times between 1983 and 1990, with the Oilers winning every series.

As such, fans began grumbling Saturday as the Oilers chipped away at the Jets' 4-1 lead.

"It's like every Oilers-Jets game in 86," one wag from Winnipeg said, watching from the press box.

"And 85, 84, 83, ..." The last time Edmonton won the Stanley Cup was 1990. Faced with mounting financial challenges, Winnipeg lost the Jets in 1996, but heartbreak turned euphoria when True North Sports and Entertainment purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and moved them to Manitoba in 2011.

The Jets' fans rank among the most resilient in the NHL and whooped it up both days. The crowd roared on Saturday when a portrait of the Queen was shown on the jumbo screen. The fivemetre by seven-metre painting was unveiled during the Jets' first season in the NHL and remained hanging in the old Winnipeg arena throughout their tenure.

Across generations, players for the Jets used the portrait, hung near the blueline at one end, for target practice.

The pace was light-speed faster on Sunday. Like major-league outfielders, players on both benches painted black strips beneath their eyes as a means to reduce the glare.

Oilers goalie Cam Talbot was a member of the Rangers when they had an outdoor game delayed at Yankee Stadium a few years ago, so he said it came as no surprise.

"I knew it wasn't out of the realm of possibility, so we were prepared for that," said Talbot, who had 31 saves and has now allowed only three goals in the past three games. "We waited longer than expected, but knew we had to be ready once the puck dropped."

The teams played a goalless first period before the wheels fell off for Winnipeg in the second. Mark Letestu put Edmonton ahead with a short-handed goal with 10 minutes 36 seconds left, pulling away for a breakaway after Dustin Byfuglien swung and missed at the blueline.

"The ice played a factor, with the puck bouncing a little bit," Letestu said. "It was bouncing like Bugs Bunny as I headed for the net but thankfully it settled down enough for me to put it in."

Less than two minutes later, Nurse buried a shot past Connor Hellebuyck after a nifty pass from McDavid. Zack Kassian finished the scoring with less than three minutes remaining, hitting the net after receiving a backhanded no-look pass from Benoît Pouliot.

The result was a downer for the Jets' rabid followers, but came at the end of an exciting week in Winnipeg. Gretzky and Dale Hawerchuk participated in the ceremonial pregame puck drop moments after fighter jets flew overhead, and fans cheered their lungs out no matter what. They did the wave, poured more than $400,000 into the 50-50 raffle and booed as stadium staff retrieved pucks and refused to hand them over after they flew high over the glass.

This weekend was a chance for Winnipeg to show itself off to the hockey world, and that was accomplished quite well.

"We would have liked to give fans reason to get out of their seats today, but it was still a spectacular week for us," said Paul Maurice, the Jets' coach. "It was great to have this here, and it was great for the city.

"We showed ourselves in a positive light."

Associated Graphic

The Edmonton Oilers' Tyler Pitlick, right, races to get the puck against the Jets' Dustin Byfuglien on Sunday in Winnipeg.


One must win, and now another
Within the hierarchies of baseball, Donaldson has ascended to the highest plane - the guy who is so good, he doesn't need to follow the rules
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- The "W" will get pencilled beside "Toronto Blue Jays," but Josh Donaldson won a playoff baseball game on Tuesday.

He had the home run that turned it. He made the defensive play that buttressed it. He was the fulcrum upon which Jays began slowly levering the Cleveland Indians.

Toronto is still stuck climbing up an ALCS cliff, but you know how Rome was built: "Brick by brick, my citizens. Brick by brick." Afterward, Donaldson was not exactly keen to take the credit, but he didn't go far in denying it.

He is, if nothing else, a realist.

"If we were going to lose today, there was no way that I was going to leave this series and not feel like I had an impact on it," he explained.

He said some nice things about the team, too. But you felt that was the real Donaldson - the guy who is determined to do well even if everyone else has given up. It felt that way to start. Donaldson singlehandedly changed the mood.

Once it was over, all the emotion you see out on the field - skipping across the bases after his opening home run; close to cartwheeling into the dugout after robbing Carlos Santana of an RBI single in the fifth - had disappeared.

This was Donaldson in his Alistair Cooke-mode - genteelly reflecting on the art he'd just presented to the audience.

He only looked rattled once in the postgame - when someone mentioned that he'd spoken to his teammates before taking the field. His face contorted with irritation for a second. Who let that one out?

"I was just getting everybody's attention," Donaldson (sort of didn't) explained.

When the subject of Donaldson's pep talk was put to the other man on the podium, starter Aaron Sanchez, Donaldson bored his eyes into the side of Sanchez's head. It was a loose-lips-sinkships sort of look.

By some distance, Donaldson has been the Jays' best player this postseason (soon enough, we can start to talk about "best ever").

He's been hurt the whole time.

How hurt you can't be sure. It's got something to do with his hip.

Whenever he takes more than one base at a time, you can see a hitch start to develop in his stride.

"When you step on that field, you hope [adrenaline] takes over," Donaldson has said during this run.

It has with regularity. He is a one-man total baseball operation.

When you spend a good deal of time watching him, you notice that Donaldson is not a leaderly person. He isn't the guy who comes out first to answer questions after a loss (most especially if he did not play well in that loss). He doesn't attract followers in the clubhouse (à la Troy Tulowitzki) or emanate a force field of monkishness (à la Russell Martin).

He is instead a sort of independent contractor. He comes and plays in relative isolation. He takes great pride in his effort and accomplishment. He doesn't require a lot of backslapping or positive reinforcement. He's selfsustaining that way.

"Josh is a very emotional guy.

He's going to say what's on his mind - good and bad," manager John Gibbons said. "I've never seen anybody like that, because he is so very intense."

Think of it this way - Gibbons has spent 40 years in the game around some pretty ambitious and occasionally erratic teams (think of the mid-1980s Mets).

And this is the most intense guy he's ever known.

This is the famous "edge" that Donaldson has talked about. It's the edge that made him great, but also made life hard. A high-school coach once recalled that Donaldson was so driven to succeed at sports that he had neglected to collect a single friend. He was the guy who could not compromise, even when it would have helped him.

"They say perception is reality, so ..." Donaldson once said, tantalizingly leaving the thought unfinished.

Whatever he once was, Donaldson has now become what Toronto thinks of when it envisions how winners should look. How they should comport themselves on the field of play, and what they think about losing.

Whatever they say in front of the mics, a lot of guys are pragmatic about performance - one way or the other, they cash a cheque. Donaldson is the one guy you believe when he says he doesn't care about that. The performance is all that matters.

He can be friendly, even lighthearted, but that's only when things are going well. Once

they've gotten tight, he becomes flinty and robotic. He has less and less interest in the niceties. Many in the American media were taken aback when Donaldson, the senior talent in the room, did not present himself after Monday's Game 3 loss. That's what top guys do - come out and take the heat.

Donaldson is not a heat-taker.

Rather, he is a heat source.

"[I]t's not always an easy bunch, but it's a fun group to be around," Gibbons said admiringly of his team.

Nobody was singled out there, but you just knew Donaldson was top of mind - the guy Gibbons had to be separated from during a dugout flare-up in August.

But within the rigid hierarchies of baseball, Donaldson has ascended to the highest plane - the guy who is so good, he doesn't need to follow the rules. Others are happy to ignore them in this one case.

It's still very unlikely that Toronto can come back and win this thing. But if you need portents of something other than doom, think of the fact that the Jays have just gotten past Cleveland's ace, that they'll face a guy who has only one major-league start on Wednesday and that they've got Josh Donaldson.

He's working to his own plan. If things break just right, he is so good that that could be enough.

"You make your own luck," Donaldson said Tuesday. "You create your own destiny."

That's not true in real life, but this is baseball. In baseball, anything's possible.

Associated Graphic

Blue Jays Melvin Upton Jr., Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera celebrate winning Game 4 of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians in Toronto on Tuesday.


Josh Donaldson, left, makes a diving catch in front of Cleveland's Roberto Perez during Game 4 of the ALCS in Toronto on Tuesday. Donaldson helped the Blue Jays to a win with a homer in the third.


Winning is dragging fragile Toronto out of its comfort zone
Series against Cleveland gives Canada's City of Perpetual and Irritable Regret a chance to become the City That Allows Itself to Enjoy Things and Take a Joke
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

CLEVELAND -- Five months ago, as the Toronto Raptors were getting ready to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs, CBS Sports' online operation made the mistake of being reasonable.

It posted a poll asking readers which team would win the championship: Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City or "Other."

Let's agree at the outset that any reasonable person who has either seen basketball played or had basketball explained to them or heard that there is a thing called 'basketball' knew that Toronto's chances of winning a basketball title were less than nil. But local custom in our most thin-skinned metropolis demands that Toronto be seen freaking the hell out.

Mayor John Tory wrote a gloriously self-pitying open letter, which included this gem: "We're not in the least bit offended. In fact, we're used to being underestimated."

Yes, the biggest, shoutiest city in the country - we're a regular Little Engine That Could. They're always underestimating us up in, like, Vancouver or Montreal or ... what's another city in Canada?

We've forgotten the names of the others. There's the one that starts with O and the ... come on, give us a hand here.

I mean, they all said we couldn't get our public-transportation situation worked out. And guess what, pal? We couldn't! Maybe that's worth an open letter. The useful thing about Tory's pandering fit of pique was illustrating to ourselves how we appear to everyone else. Ridiculous. Occasionally charming in a nebbishy Woody Allen-frets-about-sports sort of way, but mostly ridiculous.

Toronto's pipsqueak tendency to put up its dukes every time someone brushes past it in the international high school hallway is a function of loserdom. Not being in it. But the jarring experience of coming out of it.

When you reflect on the 20 or so years just past when Toronto was uncompetitive at every major-league sport, it was an oddly comforting time. You watched your teams without expectation. If they won, it was a pleasant surprise. When they lost, your disappointment had already been factored into the experience. Eventually, the disappointment became the experience.

There is a perverse pleasure in feeling predictably terrible about something that doesn't matter. It makes all the things that do matter, which you also feel terrible about, seem less important by comparison.

When people outside Toronto made fun of us, we didn't notice.

We were too busy raging at ourselves.

Also, no one bothers to mock the sports culture of a city that is actually terrible at sports. There are no 'Ha Ha Sacramento' jokes.

They only come for you when you've started to achieve something. When this happens, the city is never properly prepared.

It's still living in the 'Nothing good can ever happen here' stage. When something good starts happening, it creates a frenzied sort of joy. You're pretty sure this is going to end any minute. Maybe it's all a trick. But you are going to crouch at one end of the sports buffet table and tip it toward your mouth. You are getting more than your fill.

Now that you've entered the so-so sports-city club, strangers will want to take you down a bit.

Burgs that have been there before find this intercity banter amusing. Toronto wheels around maniacally and has a finger jammed up your nose before you've finished making the joke.

Toronto can't take jokes right now. We're just a little emotional.

That was certainly the feel over the past year as the Blue Jays and Raptors enjoyed a nice performance bump. It was exacerbated by the fact that no one expected those teams to win championships. We became the guy who orders four beers at last call - trying very hard to extend a moment that is slipping away.

As Toronto returns its attention to Cleveland ahead of Friday's Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, this feels different. It's less frantic this time around.

In many ways, Cleveland is Toronto, just a little further ahead in its civic-healing process.

It won that NBA championship, its first major anything in 50 years. America still loves lobbing 'I think your river's on fire' zingers its way, but the easily wounded Cleveland of 20 years ago is gone. Because you're only able to act like you've been there before when you've been there before.

This is the new Toronto's first try at that. Unlike themselves a year ago, or the Raptors in spring, this Blue Jays outfit has the low-key swagger of a team that could actually win a World Series. Nobody wants to say it out loud, but this is the chance.

Given the way the Jays are currently constructed, contract-wise, and how difficult it can be to predict regular-season baseball, maybe the only realistic chance for a while.

That low hum you hear through the city today? That's everybody getting on the same wavelength as far as that's concerned. Now or (what could seem like) never.

Were that NBA poll or any other sort of meaningless, U.S.-based provocation posted today, the reaction would be different.

Among reasonable sorts, there would be no outrage. A few keener minds might find it funny.

The mayor would write no letters. Public figures would feel no need to be seen being offended - the great performance art of our time.

Because Toronto has, in some important ways, grown out of it.

Not grown up. But become used to things as they should be, rather than the way they always have been.

One of the many great things about sports is how they are the advance scout of culture. They forge ahead, chopping down tree branches and clearing paths into new territory. The rest of us follow slowly behind. Eventually, we catch up.

This series can be Toronto's catch-up moment. It's where the City of Perpetual and Irritable Regret has a chance to become the City That Allows Itself to Enjoy Things and Take a Joke.

In the end, making Toronto less brittle may be a bigger achievement for the local baseball team than any trophy.

Associated Graphic

Blue Jays Ezequiel Carrera, left, and Edwin Encarnacion have a laugh during batting practice on Thursday in Cleveland in preparation for Friday's ALCS Game 1.


The Blue Jays gather around the batting cage at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Thursday in preparation for Game 1 of the ALCS.


Mighty Blue Jays strike out
Toronto lost its shot at the World Series in Game 5. And even thought the team could lose some big players in the offseason, the loss seems to have hit the Jays less than it did last year
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- In what was likely his last significant act as a Toronto Blue Jay, Jose Bautista decided to bait the Cleveland Indians.

It might've seemed clever in hindsight if Bautista's "shaking in his boots" shot at rookie starter Ryan Merritt had turned out that way. It rather spectacularly did not.

"That's why you don't say dumb [stuff]," Cleveland's Jason Kipnis said shortly after his team won the game 3-0 and the series 4-1.

As Cleveland celebrated, the Rogers Centre crowd tried to coax the Jays out onto the field for a curtain call. People stood and cheered. They tried chanting. A few sang Happy Birthday to Bautista (it was his 36th).

The players had no interest. A couple flung their gear blindly into the stands behind the dugout. They filed desultorily back into the clubhouse.

A half hour later, perhaps a thousand supporters still waited rowdily. A few photographers stood at the tunnel entrance.

Surely, they were going to come out for one last hurrah.

At the hour mark, the photogs had given up. You could count the die-hards in dozens, still waiting on a goodbye that would never come.

It's been a glorious 15-month ride, but this felt like the end.

"You can point the finger at us and say we didn't do a good job," catcher Russell Martin said. Of course, there was a second part to that quote, but that should have been the end of it. They didn't do a very good job.

"They were better than us," Josh Donaldson said.

Yes. That, too.

It's roughly the same result at the same stage as last year, but also different. You could feel it in the locker room postgame.

When the Jays were bounced last year in Kansas City, the clubhouse was shell-shocked. Guys were laid out on couches in states of undress staring fixedly into the middle-distance. They couldn't believe it had gone wrong.

The only person anxious to do his media duties and leave was free agent starter David Price.

He'd already mentally disengaged from Toronto and didn't want to bother pretending.

Was he coming back?

"I don't know."

Was he open to it?


Not, as it turned out.

When the rest eventually roused themselves to speak, there was a lot of "we'll get 'em next year" talk. That feeling permeated the 2016 season from the first day of spring training.

Bautista was so emboldened, he gave management a take-it-or-leave-it offer. I mean, who in their right mind would break up this band?

When he wasn't signed in spring training, Bautista seemed stunned. Then angry. Then hurt.

Then kind of average. Then momentarily great again once the postseason began. And then very average again.

There was really only one thing that separated Toronto from Cleveland in a series much closer than four losses in five games suggests - confidence.

As in, Toronto had too much of it. Bautista's comment was only a visible symptom of a deeper malaise.

Josh Donaldson showed up.

Everyone else took a week off.

They spent a lot of time spinning angrily out of the batter's box on called strikes, something Cleveland didn't do.

Toronto's many boldface names were reverting to regular type.

Bautista struck out 12 times and often with such thwarted brio that it's a wonder he didn't have to be unscrewed from the turf. Edwin Encarnacion hit under the Mendoza line for the series. Troy Tulowitzki had two hits. Martin became an automatic out. It was made worse by the fact that the pitching was so good.

Again, it happens, but man, it shouldn't have. Not now.

In order, Toronto faced Corey Kluber, a Triple-A candidate, a drone boy and bullpen chum, a tired Corey Kluber and a greenhorn rookie who throws as fast as some very muscular people bowl. And the Jays scored eight runs in total.

What must hurt most is that this looked like a genuine chance. Not a just-happy-to-behere moment, but an opportunity to take a strong across-theboard team into a World Series with home-field advantage and maybe win it.

That chance is probably gone.

Several key cogs on this team will leave. Even assuming whatever replaces them is of equal or greater quality, it will take time to gel.

This was the year. At best, next year is a version of last year. They'll have to learn how to do it together again.

Back in the clubhouse, there was no shell shock this time around, no mourning. This team had started into the stages of grief after going down 3-0. Fifteen minutes after losing the series, they were already at acceptance.

"Overall, they deserved it.

They played really well. I don't know what else to say," Martin said cheerily.

This time around, every man on the Jays was anxious to get out. Bags were being packed at pace. Guys who normally have to be dragged there were running to the centre of the room to do interviews.

Now a free agent, Bautista was waiting when the media hit the room.

"I don't really feel I'm in the proper state of mind to be talking about [free agency]," Bautista said. "I know it's a possibility, but we'll see."

In other words, "Farewell, Toronto. Remember me for my bat flips rather than as I am now."

This is not to say that whatever comes next cannot be as great, as groundbreaking, as magnificently new as the past season-and-a-half. Winning would still feel that way. But whatever it is, it won't be the same.

Every time a team goes from consistently bad to suddenly good, a city rediscovers its baseball innocence. What rarely gets talked about is the next stage - the expectation that the rise will never end. Once it stalls, frustration sets in. It hasn't hit the stands yet, but it has already got to the clubhouse.

That's the challenge for next year - jump-start the bandwagon. But this time, they'll have to do it on an incline.

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder Kevin Pillar sits in the dugout after the Blue Jays were eliminated in Game 5 of the ALCS by the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.


Kiss of life from Shapiro puts Gibbons on notice
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- When John Gibbons was asked ahead of the game that ended the Blue Jays' season what he knew about Cleveland starter Ryan Merritt, he paused for a beat and deadpanned, "He's left-handed."

It got a laugh in the room. The joke seemed less funny a day later. This is the key to understanding Gibbons's managerial style - that he has no style.

By that point, someone such as John Farrell or Mike Scioscia would have committed to memory the colour scheme of Merritt's junior-high uniform. Gibbons leaves the details - and just about everything else - to his assistants.

He's the Jean Chrétien of baseball.

Immediately after the Jays were bounced from the playoffs, team president Mark Shapiro gave Gibbons the kiss of life. According to the big boss, the manager will be back to start the 2017 season.

It was an odd thing to say. This isn't a contract extension. Gibbons will simply return for the final year of his existing deal.

His team had just been among Major League Baseball's final four for the second consecutive year. And yet it had to be made clear that there were no plans to fire him.

Perhaps this had something to do not just with what had happened - a steamrolling by an inferior team - but who was being held up as the hero of the piece.

More so than any player, Cleveland manager Terry Francona was the focus of every post-game paean. The signature celebratory image was Francona in a paternal pose with Merritt, holding the 24year-old's face in his hands.

That's what people want to believe a coach looks and acts like.

That he can move mediocre players to greatness through faith. It's not something you have ever associated with Gibbons.

Francona's also good at the fiddly bits of his job. Based on the head-to-head evidence, better than Gibbons. A coach can't hit for the hitters or pitch for the pitchers, but he can make small choices that turn games, especially at this time of year. In each one of Cleveland's wins, Francona made at least one of those, usually with unorthodox bullpen selections that unbalanced the Jays.

Cleveland came armed with an overarching game plan to defeat one of the best fastball-hitting lineups in baseball - refuse to throw them any fastballs.

Toronto had no such plan, or any countermeasures to that depressingly simple approach (aside from initially denying that it was happening). There were no wrinkles developed or out-of-thebox thinking. The Jays' plan was 'Be good,' which is satisfactory only so long as it works. When things got tight, Toronto was infected by let's-not-do-anythingcrazy-here regular-season thinking.

Trailing 3-0 in the eighth inning of Game 5, Dioner Navarro led off against Cleveland's juju man, Andrew Miller. Navarro singled.

Navarro is slow. Maybe the slowest man on the field. And that's including the umpires. But he was left in to run. Ezequiel Carrera struck out. Kevin Pillar hit a ball into the hole at short.

Cleveland's Francisco Lindor made a fine effort to get to it, but if anyone with even average speed had been on first, there was no play to be made. Since it was Navarro chugging toward the base like a tugboat, there was a play. Two out.

Darwin Barney - sitting on a miserable .067 playoff batting average, a man who has not had an extra-base hit since August - was allowed to hit. He popped out.

Inning over.

They're small things and arguable things, but when you are paid seven figures, you should get the small things right in October. The arguable things are easier to argue if they turn out.

It was deeply apparent which of the two managers did more of that this series.

Shapiro hired Francona in Cleveland. After the series was over, the Jays boss went to the visiting manager's office to congratulate him.

"He's a difference maker," Shapiro said. It's perhaps the most complimentary thing that can be said of any coach.

Shapiro said many nice things about Gibbons on Wednesday night. That was not one of them.

It may be an unfair comparison. Gibbons will never be the sort of manager that players lavish with praise. In many years of covering Gibbons's teams, I can't remember a single one of his charges spontaneously saying something admiring about his work. They'll do so if you ask, but you have to ask.

For the most part, they seem to like him because he leaves them alone. Possibly too alone.

Another hallmark of Gibbons's rooms is a cramped feel as the season goes on, like too many people are living in too close a proximity. They become irritable and occasionally paranoid places.

This is what happens when baseball players - almost all of whom crave a guiding hand - are left to their own devices. They go feral.

Since Shapiro's arrival a year ago, Gibbons has existed on borrowed time. Had the Jays fallen out of it in September, he'd have been fired. Had they lost the wild card, he'd also have been fired. It wasn't until the sweep of Texas that he managed to haul himself to safety.

He's never had what the Franconas or Joe Maddons have - a veneer of authority and wisdom that serves as a sort of force field.

When the players screw up, it's the players' fault. When they rise above themselves, a la Merritt, it's Francona's. That sort of manager can lose and still thrive on his reputation.

Gibbons has no reputation other than one for baseline competence. He has to personally wear every failure by his team, and gets little credit for its successes.

His reward for overcoming that disadvantage is to become Shapiro's human shield.

If Toronto gets cheap with its off-season free-agent dealings, things could get iffy fast. Once the losses pile up and the fans get surly, someone's got to go.

Gibbons will be that guy.

So, really, the professional kiss of life is a precursor to the kiss of death. Nobody's recommitted to Gibbons. Instead, they've put him on notice.

You had to win to keep your job. Now we're going to make your job harder. Keep winning.

Or else.

Get ready for some tin-eared negotiations
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- On Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays began their long farewell to Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

It wasn't put exactly as such.

The Jays braintrust speaks in the soft, reassuring tone of a corporate hatchet man - light on details; heavy with the swing.

For instance, team general manager Ross Atkins was asked if all of the coaching staff will return next year.

"Everyone has been invited back and wants to be back and is motivated to be a part of this," Atkins said. "Other than [assistant hitting coach] Eric Owens, who we've made a decision to let him look for other alternatives."

One can imagine how that conversation went: "Eric, we're delighted with everything you've done this year.

So delighted, we're inviting you to do it in some alternative venue. Like another Major League team. Or a high school. We don't want to limit your professional aspiration."

"But I can still come back here if I want?" "Yes, you absolutely cannot."

One supposes this tendency toward genial obfuscation is meant to spare feelings. I imagine that if you were on the pointy end of it, it would have rather the opposite effect.

That same confusing approach was brought to the key issue of this offseason: How far will the Jays go to keep free agents Bautista and Encarnacion?

Baseball negotiations are not really negotiations. You don't get a guy in a room and grind him down. Both parties come to the tables knowing pretty much exactly what the market is for any one player, based on the salaries of peers with comparable statistics.

You can stumble into a mispriced bargain at the low-end of the talent spectrum, but never at the top. Bautista and Encarnacion are both right up there.

If the Blue Jays were serious about either man, they'd already be making public declarations to that effect. Both sides of the Jays regime - from Alex Anthopoulos to Atkins - did it last year with starter Marco Estrada. That deal was done early and easily.

There was nothing on Monday to suggest that's the case here.

The first issue is the budget.

The Jays don't have one. By the sounds of it, they're not even close to having one.

"The first part of our plan is to understand what our opportunities are," Atkins said. "What we've done in baseball operations is evaluate our team and we will present several alternatives to [team president] Mark [Shapiro]. In turn, we'll then present that to [team owner] Rogers, and from there, based on those alternatives, once we have a payroll number set, we'll have a more concrete plan and strategy."

Translation: To get these two guys back, we're going to need a bucketload of money and right now we have ... (flipping through a sheaf of papers) ... no money.

Back in spring training, Bautista gave the Jays a take-it-orleave-it proposition in the fiveyear, $150-million (U.S.) range.

Has he walked that back?

"We'll find out," Atkins said. "I would expect Jose to be motivated to return here."

That's hinting at a hometown discount, the thing Bautista very specifically said back in February he would not be willing to offer. Mentioning that he should be rethinking his approach now is a very effective goad aimed at a man who might be the most goad-vulnerable in baseball.

Atkins talked up the idea of prioritizing via the "likelihood and reality" of signing anyone.

It's another dog-whistle to the pragmatists in the organization who would prefer not to spend nine-figures re-signing a couple of guys in their mid-30s.

The GM said the 2017 batting lineup would seek "more balance [as in left-handedness], more platoon-effect and potentially more speed." Neither Bautista nor Encarnacion can do any of those things.

Most notably, there was a subtle threat to soften the pair up before anyone starts talking.

"The fact that offence is the area that we need to prioritize, and offence encompasses baserunning and defence as well, it's nice to look up and see the number of very good [freeagent] players that are in that corner-outfield and first-base/ DH area," Atkins said.

Again, translating: We don't need you. We may not even want you. Adjust your salary targets accordingly.

This could be a negotiating stratagem, but if so it's tineared. Bautista and Encarnacion are not going to be begging for work. If the Jays won't hit their respective numbers, someone else will.

This seems like an effective way to sour both negotiations before they've begun. If the Jays are cutting bait with two of their most popular players, it's best done quickly. This is how you hurry that process along without ever saying the words.

Atkins did say both Bautista and Encarnacion will receive one-year qualifying offers. That's never hurt the market for a tierone free agent, but it will provide the Jays with draft-pick compensation and an excuse - "Hey, we tried."

It is no longer conceivable that both players will return.

Doing so would commit the Jays to paying just seven players (Bautista, Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson, Estrada and J.A.

Happ) something in the range of $125-million next year. It would be a sea-change in the way this organization has historically been run.

It's getting much more difficult to imagine either man coming back. If the Jays wanted just one of them (and Encarnacion would be the one to want), you'd already know it. They'd be talking that guy up knowing that it won't change the price, but that it might change a mind.

What has there been instead?

Crickets, leavened with a little "in a perfect world" nodding toward the fans.

This discussion will heat up when the Jays' exclusive window to negotiate with Bautista and Encarnacion opens after the conclusion of the World Series.

They'll hit the market because that's what any sane person in their position would do. Who knows how long it drags on from there. And, of course, anything is possible.

But it's far more likely we'll be remembering back to this week once it's over. That's when the Jays thanked both men for their service and invited them to look for other alternatives.

Odds against Blue Jays shift to steeply uphill
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- About an hour after Saturday's ALCS Game 2, a Clevelander walked slowly down the 100-yard boulevard that serves as the city's downtown entertainment district. He was holding a placard over his head, 'Say Anything'style.

Walking behind him, you couldn't see what was on it. What you registered were the looks of frozen disbelief on the face of every Blue Jays fan who caught sight of it. People on patios swivelled and pointed. Forks stopped halfway to mouths and stayed there. One woman in blue ran up and yelled, "Really? Really?!"

At that point, he did a little pirouette. The sign was a fairly professional printing job showing Toronto's most infamous pugilistic scene - Rougned Odor coldcocking Jose Bautista.

But over Odor's face, this guy had pasted team mascot Chief Wahoo's maniacal leer. He looked pretty pleased with himself. And even more pleased when several equally wellrefreshed Cleveland fans stood up from their dinners to give him a long, slow ovation.

This series felt friendly on Saturday afternoon. By the evening, after a few drinks, it didn't seem quite so friendly at streetlevel.

Cleveland has taken notice of Canada's offence and is offended in return. Not in a Mark Shapiro 'Hey, I'm personally offended (though I didn't want to actually do anything definitive about it)' way. But in a seething 'stay in your lane, Canada' sort of way.

Having knocked the Jays around for a couple of days, the reactionary elements of the Cleveland fan base (i.e. the ones wearing gear with Wahoo frontand-centre) were emboldened.

There were a lot shirt fronts popping around Progressive Field once the sun went down.

If Canada would like to shut them up, let's suggest that the best way to do that would be winning on Monday evening.

Maybe not winning it all, but winning just one thing for a start.

Obviously, Toronto doesn't have to take Game 3 to remain alive. But if it doesn't, a lot of bad things you wouldn't have thought likely a few days ago suddenly become possible.

A comeback to win the series is already doubtful. Twentyseven teams have gone down 2-0 in a league championship series. Only three have come back to win. That suggests the Jays have an 11-per-cent chance of advancing to the World Series.

But many of those eventual losers fall while fighting (the Jays managed this themselves last year, pushing the series against Kansas City to six games after losing the first couple).

Three-games-to-none is a different story. Once you get in that hole, the next move is surrender. Thirty-five teams have gone down 3-0 in either an LCS or a World Series. Twenty-eight of them were swept. Those are not good odds.

This year is different than the 2015 run in several ways, most of them perceptual.

Last year, it was all new. Every victory was huge. Coming back against Texas - especially the way it was done - felt just as big as a World Series.

In the next round, Kansas City was billed as the better team, and evidently was. There was no shame in losing there.

There would be a great deal of chagrin in being swept at that same stage this time around.

For starters, it doesn't feel new any more. It kinda feels old.

Anything short of meeting the 2015 standard is a de facto regression.

Unlike the Royals, nobody believed Cleveland would win this.

On and off paper, Toronto has a better rotation and a more glamorous lineup. All Cleveland has is decent defence and a great bullpen, the baseball equivalent of good personality.

Everyone understood that the wild card against Baltimore was a coin toss. Had Toronto lost at that point, it would have been disappointing, but not existentially meaningful. All it 'meant' was extra baseball.

Everyone agreed the Rangers were the better team this time around.

Steamrolling Texas in three games created an expectation that had not previously existed.

This Jays team wasn't just decent. It was arriving. Even the bookies noticed it.

The Jays were very careful not to be seen looking past Cleveland, so other people did it for them. Wouldn't a Toronto-Chicago World Series be dreamy?

Think of the history. Never mind the story lines involving the most loved team in baseball versus the most hated.

Even Cleveland played into this with its 'oh, shucks, we'll sure give it a try' attitude and their drone mishaps. What was missed is how loose the players seemed once they'd been freed of the favourites tag.

It's a purely subjective observation, but over a few days, Cleveland's players just seemed to be having more fun than Toronto's. And that was long before they had won a game or taken a lead.

It's no fun for anybody now.

Cleveland is favoured again.

Toronto is in real danger of pooching what only days ago seemed like a dream season.

If that happens, there won't be any cries to keep the band together. People - and many of them inside the club - will want some measure of change. Not total turnover, but a hunt for what went so badly wrong when it really counted and a subsequent attitude readjustment.

If you're one of those who'd like to see, say, Jose Bautista (3for-21 in the postseason) back, that would be a wrinkle in your plan. Or maybe Joey Votto starts to seem like a better mediumterm bet than Edwin Encarnacion? Maybe neither. Maybe you start over.

That gets harder to do if the Jays make a series of this. It becomes close to impossible if they slog their way to Chicago (let's not even pretend that's going the other way).

Moving back in that direction starts with one win on Monday.

If it goes the other way, it's time to get a start on sharpening the knives.

Associated Graphic

Toronto's Jose Bautista strikes out in the ninth inning of Game 2 in Cleveland on Saturday. The slugger has gone just 3-for-21 at the plate in the postseason and might near the end of his tenure with the Blue Jays.


Ed Whitlock, 85, breaks records in ancient Brooks
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S1

Ed Whitlock was at home Monday feeling a bit worse for wear a day after he ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. As he described it, his body was in post-race protest: hamstrings howling, legs carping, knees grumbling.

"After I finished and later in the day on Sunday I was okay, but I am not feeling too good today," Ed says. "I am stiff, and not moving too well. I have so many aches and pains, I have kind of lost track where."

The phone in his home in Milton, about a half-hour west of Toronto, hadn't stopped ringing.

First, CNN requested an interview. Then, he happily gabbed with a journalist from The Times of London.

"There are an awful lot of people in this world, but there are not many idiots of 85 running a marathon," he says good-naturedly.

Ed does more than run marathons, he chews them up, spits them out and annihilates them.

A fleet octogenarian, he sets records just about every time he laces up his ancient Brooks running shoes. He has four identical pairs, but only one he wears while racing. They are just too comfy to replace, even if, like him, they are getting on in years.

"My memory is going, even if my legs aren't," he says. "I would think I have had them at least 20 years, but I can't say for sure.

They are certainly well past their due date, that's for sure."

A former engineer who worked in the mining industry, Ed Whitlock retired in 1989. He was the oldest by six years among 4,833 participants in Sunday's marathon, and he set a world record in the 85-to-89-year-old group by finishing in three hours, 56 minutes and 33 seconds. He broke the existing mark by nearly 40 minutes, even though it was his first marathon in three years.

He says he would have run another before now, but niggling injuries prevented it.

"This one even was in doubt until a couple of weeks ago," Ed says. "The training I did was less than ideal. I am sure I could have finished a lot faster if I had been better prepared."

He complains that he ran too quickly at the start, and that took its toll on him by the time he was a little past the halfway mark.

"I was having serious doubts about the situation," he says.

"I was very despondent. I thought the finish was going to be very ugly, if I got to it. Fortunately, things didn't go downhill as much as I anticipated."

A bare wisp at 5-foot-7 and 101 pounds, Whitlock caught his umpteenth wind and crossed the finish line looking fresh as a daisy. After wrapping himself in a heat blanket, he trundled off to a news conference and tossed one-liners about like Marcus Stroman fastballs.

It is hard to keep track of the records Ed sets, but he owns about three dozen now, including age-group records at distances ranging from 1,500 to 10,000 metres, as well as marathons. He has set six at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, including marks in the 75-to-79 and 80-to-85 divisions.

In 2003, at age 72, Whitlock completed a marathon in 2:59.10; he remains the oldest man to run a marathon in under three hours.

A runner in his youth, he gave it up about the time he emigrated from England to Canada. He was in his early 20s then, but he didn't run again until he was 41, when his wife, Brenda, suggested it to get him out of the house.

He first dropped in on a local club with the notion that he might offer to be a volunteer coach. When nobody was interested, he did what came naturally and began making laps around the track.

"It was really before the time that the jogging craze started, and teenagers there watching told me they had never seen anybody so old run," he says.

About 15 years ago, he nearly quit again. His knees were giving him trouble, so he went to a joint specialist. After examining him and doing an MRI, the doctor suggested he had run his last race.

"Being the contrary person that I am, as soon as I heard that, my knees felt remarkably better immediately," Ed says.

Unlike many elite masters runners, he doesn't have an elaborate training regimen and isn't terribly particular about what he eats. He runs nearly every day, doing loops around a cemetery 100 metres from his house.

"I doubt that I would run for my health," Ed says. "The incentive to me is to race. I suppose, to an extent, it's an ego trip to set world records. That's an incentive to me."

He is not sure how much longer he will do it. Age is creeping up on him.

"I will just do it for as long as I can."

He was taking a day off from training on Monday. His body was in full protest, and in the last 24 hours, he had lost six pounds. Well, he conceded, maybe he will stretch his tired legs by taking a little walk.

"There are not many idiots who are doing this at 85," he says again, chuckling.

There is a fellow in Toronto, a sprinter and middle-distance runner named Earl Fee, who is 87.

"He just took up high-jumping," Ed says. "You won't catch me doing that."

Associated Graphic

Octagenerian runner Ed Whitlock poses on his favourite training ground, the local cemetry in Milton, Ont.


National Bank's slip-up in the oil patch
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Barry Olson's relationship with National Bank of Canada goes back more than a decade through two small oil companies he started. Now, the relationship is in tatters.

This month, his Calgary-based junior energy producer, Toro Oil & Gas Ltd., cancelled its credit facility with National and he won't rush to the bank for other services in the near future either.

It was the culmination of months of frustration for Mr. Olson, Toro's chief executive, who says he's been penalized by the institution despite the fact he's run his company conservatively through the oil-price collapse. The move followed decisions by National, the most active major lender to small and mid-size oil firms, to cut its $7-million operating line of credit and scrap an $18-million facility it had in place for specific projects.

For the latter, Toro was paying fees even though it did not use it.

"It really didn't cause too much of a fuss internally, but on a market optics perspective those things matter, because the market thinks you've got full access to $25-million, but indeed you've only got access to $7-million," Mr. Olson said in reference to the first cut. Toro issued stock to help shore up its balance sheet, but that $7-million credit line was cut to $4-million, and on Oct. 1, $2-million.

It all occurred after a semiannual redetermination of the value of oil and gas reserves last spring, the likes of which saw borrowing bases slashed throughout the industry by National and other lenders. Mr. Olson doesn't mince words about National's tough medicine, saying a "longterm relationship has been tossed to the curb."

"Toro has elected to terminate our operating line of credit with National as they continue to be disruptive to our ongoing business," he said. "We would rather not pay standby fees to a bank that will not allow us to use the facility in the first place and who constantly change the rules to their benefit."

Stories like Mr. Olson's are not rare in Calgary after two years of financial pain due to the oil-price crash. Several small producers have had to go to their shareholders to explain their credit capacity shrinking after tense meetings with National. The bank had worked for years to become the go-to lender and investment banker for the small and mid-size energy segment. That part of the industry was hit quickest and hardest in the downturn, and National's energy loan book became a major source of worry.

In its second quarter, it surprised analysts and investors with a $250-million sectoral provision - as much as 10 per cent of its energy lending - to account for bad loans. Including its credit card and commercial banking divisions, the bank booked a total of $317-million in losses. (In the previous quarter, the bank's total loan-loss provision was just $63million.) The losses were one of several factors that saw National's share price tumble 35 per cent from late 2014 to early 2016, following the drop in crude oil prices.

It is now seeking to shore up its energy business, and cut its risks, by courting larger companies with more financial wherewithal.

A key step in that effort is its recent hiring of three respected banking and research professionals who come with strong ties to the industry.

At the same time, National is trying to assure oil-patch executives that it did not cut credit indiscriminately and is still open to serving the junior sector, albeit a shrinking one.

"I want to be clear about that, because that's important to me," said Yanick Blanchard, National's Montreal-based head of corporate and investment banking.

"I know there's been a lot of negative talk about that; the reality is that we will have a $250-million loss in that segment, mostly the smaller size. ... So we need to reinvent ourselves because we don't see any new guys coming in with $5-million to $10-million saying, 'Okay we're going to start a company.' We don't see that.

"Our bet is that we're going to continue to be there for the smaller guy, for sure, because we're a bank that funds entrepreneurs in Quebec, Calgary, Toronto, across Canada. But if they're not showing up, we need to find another way to deploy our capital."

The bank must assuage concerns among oil-patch clients that there's a dichotomy between raising equity and corporate lending - one side of the business in search of fees while the other is reducing exposure. Another worry in downtown Calgary was that the bank was planning to exit the energy business altogether as the downturn dragged on - speculation that its CEO, Louis Vachon, put to rest in a conference call in June.

"There will be structural change to the industry, but the industry will continue to exist and we intend to continue to support the industry," he said.

Indeed, all the major banks have been careful to express their commitment to the sector, as producers and oil service providers coped with dwindling cash - and high debt levels - by auctioning off assets, slashing spending and laying off staff.

"That was kind of the mantra and National Bank was no different, especially earlier in the year when the Street was freaking out," said Meny Grauman, bank analyst at Cormark Securities Inc.

"All the banks were very careful to mention that they were in the oil business for the long haul.

They emphasized that they've seen cycles before and the impression you got was they learned from their mistakes. For a sector that is such a big user of investment banking services, they realize that it doesn't make sense to make enemies. You want to make sure your risk is protected, but you need these customers on the other side of this oil cycle."

"The energy sector is very important to the big investment banks," said Joe Kan, a veteran Bay Street headhunter. "At the worst of times, energy represents about a third of total capital markets revenue and at the best of times it represents closer to half."

It is in National's loan book that the energy bust hit hardest. Its top executives conceded they had failed to consider how dire conditions in the industry could get.

The bank rushed to cut its exposure as crude prices sank below $30 (U.S.) a barrel from more than $100, with spring borrowing-base evaluations representing the main event. Its energy loans were slashed to $2.5-billion (Canadian) in the third quarter of this year from $3.2-billion in the first quarter. Even healthy companies were caught up in what they considered to be a wholesale cut.

Heading into discussions with National and other lenders last spring, Delphi Energy Corp. had cut debt by a third and squeezed costs from its operations. But in May, its borrowing limit was shaved to $115-million, from $132.5-million. A month later, it dropped to $85-million, even though the company had not run afoul of its debt obligations. To shore up finances, it issued $60million in new debt at a higher cost.

The reduction came as a jolt.

David Reid, Delphi's chief executive officer, had built a 23-year relationship with the bank. Suddenly the lender was playing hardball, eager to cut its exposure to an industry in the throes of a generational slump. "It's a shotgun approach," he said in an interview. "Who can do it and by how much? The more you can do and help them, the more they're going to expect out of you."

For National, the smallest of the six major Canadian financial institutions, it wasn't a matter of being tougher on customers than the other banks, but rather a function of who its customers are. The juniors are known for lean operations but have less financial heft than larger rivals such as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc.

Now, with oil markets still shaky, the bank is attempting to add more of the industry's big players to its lending and investment banking client base. Its recalibration underscores broader changes in the energy industry - not least a sharp contraction in the junior end of business. Since the oil crash began more than two years ago, 17 Canadian oil and gas companies have filed for bankruptcy, law firm Haynes & Boone LLP said in a recent report, the vast majority being small.

That has accelerated a dropoff in corporate lending and financing fees that for years helped sustain a food chain of independent and bank-led deal-makers. As recently as five years ago, banks and investors alike poured in as oil prices rebounded to triple-digit highs and panic sparked by the financial crisis subsided. The cash flowed freely, and buzzwords carried weight.

"Frankly, all you had to do was just drop a name like Cardium or Viking and they were writing cheques," said Richard Thompson, CEO of Marquee Energy Ltd., another National client, referring to two prominent Western Canadian oil formations.

The industry's debt pile grew as drillers borrowed heavily to fund an emerging style of development that harnessed new technologies, often requiring in excess of $10-million for a single well. It was a hefty price tag that left Marquee and others overextended when oil markets began to buckle in mid-2014. Marquee has sold assets, cut staff and renegotiated its downtown office lease to save cash. But, still, in August, the company saw its borrowing base slashed to $50-million - less than half what it was two years ago.

Indeed, dozens of National clients struggled to cover basic expenses, let alone make debt payments, as the downturn intensified. Mid-cap heavy-oil producer Twin Butte Energy Ltd. was pushed into receivership by the lender in August carrying about $205-million in bank debt after a proposed takeover was torpedoed by the company's bondholders. It followed numerous other small players whose assets were auctioned off after they missed debt payments.

National helped ease investor fears by reassuring them that the higher provisions would cover any future risk resulting from the bank's lending in the sector. But it also reflects its outsized role as a lender-of-choice to more vulnerable producers and their service providers. Just 46 per cent of the bank's loans to oil and gas producers were considered investment grade as of the third quarter. That compares with about 52 per cent at Bank of Nova Scotia, another lender viewed as having relatively high exposure to the sector.

Mr. Blanchard says National has winnowed its client base to 90 companies from 125. It's now targeting bigger names that have weathered the oil slump and are expecting a return to growth, he said.

In investment banking, a new team is putting the plan in gear.

In August, the bank rehired a former National investment banker, Arun Chandrasekaran, from private-equity firm Stream Asset Financial Management, to lead the effort. It added Cristina Lopez, who had been an analyst at Macquarie Capital Markets Canada and vice-president of corporate development at PrairieSky Royalty Ltd., to the banking team.

National brought aboard Travis Wood, formerly with TD Securities, as analyst for large-cap energy companies. In recent weeks, Mr. Chandrasekaran has met with Calgary clients in an attempt to help patch up some strained business relationships and explain the bank's strategy in the oil patch, as has John Swendsen, the bank's vice-chairman of corporate and investment banking.

It certainly will not be a quick transition to a large-cap segment that is already well served by National's Canadian banking rivals as well as U.S. and international institutions. The energy banking business is heavily dependent on relationships within a city where most energy executives know each other, if not sit on boards together and socialize.

"Memories are long in this business," Toro's Mr. Olson said. "We would not rush back into a scenario with National should they offer it."

Associated Graphic

A Delphi Energy Corp. project in Alberta: Delphi's credit limits were cut even though the company had not run afoul of its debt obligations. To shore up finances, it issued $60-million in new debt at a higher cost.

'Memories are long in this business,' Toro president Barry Olson says. 'We would not rush back into a scenario with National.'


Housing forecast: Cool-down ahead
Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Analysts are predicting that Canada's housing market will take an immediate hit from the latest round of mortgage rule tightening Ottawa unveiled this month.

But they are divided on just how dramatic the effects will be.

Some say the changes - including higher qualifying rates for borrowers with low down payments, restrictions on how lenders use mortgage insurance and a crackdown on tax loopholes for sales of investment properties - will trigger a hard landing for the market. Others expect housing prices to keep rising, but at a slower pace.

"We believe that the new measures will both speed up and harden the landing that we previously expected to occur in the year ahead," Royal Bank of Canada economist Robert Hogue writes, "although they are unlikely to cause a 'crash.' " One reason it has been difficult to forecast the impact of Ottawa's new rules is that financial institutions release few details about their mortgage businesses, making it hard to estimate exactly how many buyers might be affected by the changes, or where they live.

This week, the Bank of Canada forecast that the tighter regulations will reduce the country's GDP by 0.3 per cent by the end of 2018. But even the central bank cautioned "there is considerable uncertainty around the overall impact of these new measures on the economy."

Analysts agree on one thing, however: The Canadian housing market is headed for a cool-down in the coming months.

Moody's Analytics and Brookfield RPS Prediction: Home prices will continue to rise, but price growth will slow from 7.9 per cent this year, to 5 per cent in 2017 and 2.9 per cent in 2018.

Time period: Now until 2021 U.S.-based Moody's Analytics believes that Canadian home prices will continue to rise over the next five years, but at a much slower pace thanks to the new mortgage insurance rules. Benchmark price growth will slow from nearly 8 per cent this year to less than 3 per cent by 2018.

Using data from the Brookfield RPS home price index, Moody's predicts that the only major urban market that will see prices fall will be Edmonton, while prices will continue to rise in other centres.

Vancouver will be harder hit by the slowdown than Toronto. By 2021, average single-family housing prices will have grown 6.7 per cent in Toronto, but just 1.8 per cent in Vancouver. Meanwhile, smaller markets including Saskatchewan and Newfoundland "are in for a rough two years."

Ontario will remain the country's strongest housing market for the next five years, although Moody's also pointed to a recovery for Calgary's housing market as well as for Saint John.

Moody's forecasts hinge on its predictions that oil prices will see a modest recovery and that the Bank of Canada will be forced to hike its key interest rate by two percentage points within the next five years.

Economist Will Dunning Prediction: Resale market activity could fall 25 per cent over the next two years. Prices could fall 8 per cent to 10 per cent. Housing starts will fall 15 per cent a year over the next two years.

Time period: Now through 2018 Economist Will Dunning believes the new rules will have a broad and significant impact on the Canadian housing market, so much so that he argues the risk that the changes would trigger an economic slowdown might now outweigh the risks of rising household debt that Ottawa is trying to address.

He estimates that roughly one-third of all new home buyers in Canada will be affected by the stricter "stress test" for fixed-rate insured mortgages. Of those, a quarter to a third may not be able to qualify for a mortgage under the new rules.

The rule changes will initially slash home resales by 6 per cent to 10 per cent. But Mr. Dunning predicts sales could slide as much as 25 per cent over the next two years given that decreased demand from first-time buyers will make it harder for some current homeowners to sell their properties to buy larger homes or downsize.

Housing starts could drop a total of 30 per cent, with a slowdown starting in the second half of next year and hitting bottom in 2018.

Home prices will be slower to react to the changing market, he says, with prices beginning to fall in the middle of next year and dropping a total of 8 per cent to 10 per cent by the end of 2018.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland will be hardest hit by the new rule changes, he says. Vancouver's market will continue to cool thanks to the new rule changes and B.C.'s foreign buyers tax, while Toronto will shift from "extremely hot" to merely "hot."

Mr. Dunning is the chief economist for Mortgage Professionals Canada, a mortgage broker industry group, but published his analysis of Ottawa's new rules independently.

Central 1 Credit Union Prediction: Resale activity will fall 10 per cent to 20 per cent. Prices will drop 5 per cent to 10 per cent. Housing starts will fall 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

Time period: Now until mid-2017 Home buyers could lose as much as 20 per cent of their purchasing power thanks to Ottawa's new income stress test for mortgages to borrowers with down payments of less than 20 per cent, writes Helmut Pastrick, chief economist for Central 1 Credit Union. Central 1 is a financial clearing house and trade association for credit unions in British Columbia and Ontario.

First-time buyers represent about 25 per cent to 35 per cent of the housing market and Mr. Pastrick estimates as many as three-quarters of "low-equity" home buyers will be affected by the tougher new qualification rules.

That will have a "domino effect" on the market, pushing down home sales, new home construction and economic growth, but encouraging the Bank of Canada to keep interest rates low.

While it will take several months for the changes to show up in national home-sales data, the market's reaction will be immediate. Home sales will fall as much as 20 per cent over the next six months, while prices will drop as much as 10 per cent.

Mr. Pastrick expects the change to have a more significant impact on less-expensive local housing markets, which tend to have a higher share of home buyers with low down payments than the costly markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

Even so, Mr. Pastrick predicts Canada is in for a "mild correction" and that the market will begin to rebound starting in the middle of next year, driven by continued low interest rates, along with population and income growth.

Bank of Montreal Prediction: Home sales will rise 5 per cent this year before falling back 5 per cent in 2017. Prices will drop 1 per cent to 2 per cent next year, after rising 12 per cent in 2016 Time period: Now through 2017 The new mortgage insurance rules will likely cause "broad softening" in Canada's market, with the most significant effects felt in what a trio of Bank of Montreal economists call the "terrible twos" of Toronto and Vancouver.

Ottawa's changes to capital gains tax rules and government-backed portfolio insurance will have only a modest impact on home sales, BMO says. But the more stringent income stress test for borrowers with low down payments will be a big hit to home buyers, particularly in the country's most expensive markets.

While the economists say it's hard to estimate how many buyers may no longer be able to qualify for a mortgage, they warned "the pool could be deep."

With the latest rule changes, detached houses are now firmly out of reach in both Toronto and Vancouver. But even condos will be a challenge for most Vancouver buyers with down payments of less than 20 per cent. Less expensive markets in Alberta and Saskatchewan will be less affected by the new rules, BMO says.

In the long run, the bank predicts the changes will make Canada's housing market more resilient. "By reducing the risks of a destabilizing price correction and a sharp retrenchment in household spending, the new rules should help sustain Canada's economic expansion," the economists wrote.

Toronto-Dominion Bank Prediction: Resale market activity could fall as much as 10 per cent. Average home prices could drop up to 1 per cent.

Time Period: Now through 2017 Toronto-Dominion Bank economists predict the new rules could affect 2 per cent to 3 per cent of all resale home transactions across the country and roughly 10 per cent of home buyers who take out insured mortgages.

In contrast to other economists, who say that less expensive housing markets will bear the brunt of the changes, TD's analysts believe the new rules will be felt the most in Toronto and Vancouver.

They estimate that tougher income testing for borrowers with down payments of less than 20 per cent has boosted the minimum income needed to qualify for a typical mortgage by $5,000 across the country. That rises to as much as $17,000 in Toronto and $20,000 in Vancouver.

Vancouver and Toronto are the likely targets of Ottawa's crackdown on foreign buyers and speculators who claim tax exemptions when selling investment properties, as well as new limits on portfolio insurance, a type of insurance for mortgages with down payments of 20 per cent and above, the economists say.

However, they predict the new rules will affect the entire Canadian housing market and "may dampen the still-fragile recovery" in oil-sensitive regions such as Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The recent round of mortgage-insurance rule changes come on top of other moves to cool the market. Those include Ottawa's plans to introduce risk-sharing for lenders who insure mortgages and separate rules announced last month by the country's banking watchdog, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, requiring mortgage insurers to hold more capital against mortgages in high-risk segments of the housing market. TD also expects interest rates to creep higher over the next few years.

Combined, the measures will help push down home sales "to more normal levels" in overheated markets, the bank's economists say.

Royal Bank of Canada Prediction: 10-per-cent to 11-per-cent drop in home sales next year. Home prices will be flat or fall as much as 5 per cent.

Time period: Over the next year Ottawa's mortgage insurance rule changes will make it more difficult for Canada's housing market to achieve the expected soft landing, but aren't likely to set off a correction, writes Royal Bank senior economist Robert Hogue.

Mr. Hogue predicts that as many as 20 per cent of home sales will be affected by Ottawa's stricter stress test for insured mortgages with low down payments, although some buyers may still be able to qualify for a mortgage.

Nationally, home sales could fall as much as 11 per cent next year, a far more dramatic decline than the 3.7 per cent drop the bank's economists were forecasting before Ottawa unveiled its new housing measures on Oct. 3.

Royal Bank had also expected home prices to rise 2 per cent next year, but now believe the federal rule changes will push prices down 0.2 per cent in 2017.

In a separate analysis, the bank's equity analysts estimate that prices will fall as much as 5 per cent over the next year. That will push down that volume of new mortgage approvals by 12.5 per cent, from $275-billion in 2015 to $245-billion. The second analysis also includes the effects of OSFI's stricter capital requirements for mortgage insurers, which take effect next year.

Associated Graphic

Pessimism among analysts is growing after Ottawa's latest round of mortgage rule changes.


Goodbye, Guy: Why a visionary CEO failed
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Guy Laurence arrived promising a revolution at Rogers Communications Inc. He leaves behind a company that is vastly changed, but still suffers from legions of unhappy customers and confused employees.

His sacking is proof that you can't violate the two immutable rules of the Big Red Machine. One, don't cross the Rogers family.

Two, you must produce results.

Mr. Laurence did too much of the former and not enough of the latter, and that is why he's gone.

Full disclosure: I spent two years inside Guy Laurence's Rogers as a mid-level grunt in its media division. I arrived in March, 2014, two months before he unveiled his strategic plan, which he called Rogers 3.0, and resigned this past spring to rejoin The Globe and Mail as editor of Report on Business.

I could count on my fingers the number of times I interacted with Mr. Laurence, but the experience was always pleasant. He is an engaging person and an excellent speaker, never better than when he was on a stage or in small groups, laying out his vision to the staff.

Yet all that charisma didn't translate into success. And for most of my time at Rogers, the air was thick with discussion of the CEO's mistakes. It was said that he failed to cultivate allies in the Rogers boardroom and alienated members of the founding family.

He rebuilt his senior executive team mostly with outsiders and declined to put a single woman on it.

Wireless subscriber numbers have improved under Mr. Laurence and the company's push on Internet services has also been seen as mostly successful. But the company is still bleeding cable TV subscribers as customers either cut the cord or migrate to its rival Bell, which sells internet-protocol television service (IPTV) under the Fibe brand. Rogers' plan to develop a new cable TV product using similar technology to Bell has been repeatedly delayed.

Earlier this year, the company surprised investors by failing to increase its dividend payment amid concerns about its $15-billion long-term debt. Rogers has also struggled to show it was making good return on its 12year, $5.2-billion deal for national NHL broadcast rights - which was signed after Mr. Laurence was named CEO, but before he officially started the job - and make other media ventures pay off.

The company said last month it will shutter its video streaming service Shomi, recording a $140-million writedown in the process.

The move to displace Mr. Laurence now appears to have come in part because of the existence of a credible replacement in Mr. Natale.

"The board has made a decision and it was greatly influenced by the fact that Joe Natale was available," Phil Lind, vice-chairman of the Rogers board of directors, said in an interview. "Joe is seen as the most valuable player that's available."

Mr. Natale is no stranger to the Rogers board. When the company was looking for a new CEO in 2013 before hiring Mr. Laurence, many telecom observers believe Rogers was interested in Mr. Natale, one of the architects of Telus's successful customers-first strategy, which has led it to the lowest churn of wireless subscribers in the industry. Telus's desire to retain Mr. Natale is said to have been a factor in his promotion to CEO in May, 2014.

However, long-time Telus CEO Darren Entwistle remained executive chair of the board and never fully surrendered operational control. In August, 2015, he took the CEO job back and Toronto-based Mr. Natale departed later that year. His compensation last year included a $6.2-million "transition payment" that Telus said was due in part to his two-year non-compete clause. Telus declined to comment Monday.

Mr. Natale has deep roots in Toronto. Sources close to the executive said he took some time off before considering his employment options, including opportunities outside the telecom business. That may explain why Rogers sought to lock him down now, before he is eligible to work for the company.

"You should look at this as the opportunity to secure the services in due course of Joe Natale, and that's a unique situation and that's the one we moved on," Mr. Horn said on a conference call with analysts Monday, responding to a question about whether Mr. Laurence's term was cut short.

Mr. Horn could only say that Rogers is "working on" the issue of timing and when Mr. Natale will be free to start. Meanwhile, Mr. Horn said the company would continue to pursue the strategic vision Mr. Laurence put in place and had dubbed Rogers 3.0, a reference to his role as the third CEO of Rogers, following Ted Rogers and Nadir Mohamed, who became CEO after the founder's death in 2008.

"Our view is we've got a great management team and the team has been delivering," Mr. Horn told analysts. "I met with them this morning and got a commitment that the team is focused and they'll have their teams focused on delivering the results for Q4 and beyond, if necessary in terms of the transition."

Rogers non-voting shares were up almost 14 per cent this year as of the close of markets on Friday. The stock gained about 2 per cent in early trading Monday morning, but closed for the day down 0.29 per cent, or 15 cents, at $54.19.

In its third-quarter earnings report, Rogers said it added a total of 114,000 contract cellular customers in the third quarter, well above analyst expectations for about 69,000. Revenue at that unit was up 3 per cent to $2.04-billion.

Rogers' profit for the quarter slipped 53 per cent to $220-million, which it attributed to the wind down of Shomi.

On an adjusted basis, Rogers reported earnings of 83 cents per share, lower than consensus estimates of 88 cents per share.

Revenue across the company increased 3.2 per cent to $3.5-billion.

In a statement announcing the move, Rogers did not give an explicit reason for the CEO swap. Edward Rogers, who is the deputy chairman of the board, remarked, "We have appreciated Guy's leadership over the last three years."

"He has moved the company forward re-establishing growth, introducing innovative programs like Roam Like Home, while getting the company ready for its next phase of growth. On behalf of the Rogers family and the board, I'd like to thank Guy for his competitive spirit and many contributions."


For the three months ending Dec. 31, 2013 Blended average revenue a user:

Rogers: $58.59

BCE: $57.92 Telus: $61.86 Wireless churn:

Rogers: 1.34 per cent

BCE: 1.29 per cent

Telus: 0.97 per cent Wireless subscribers:

Rogers: 9.5 million

BCE: 7.8 million

Telus: 7.8 million

For the most recent quarter Blended average revenue a user:

Rogers (Q3, ending Sept. 30, 2016): $62.30

BCE (Q2, ending June 30, 2016): $64.32

Telus (Q2, ending June 30, 2016): $64.38 Wireless churn:

Rogers: 1.26 per cent

BCE: 1.15 per cent

Telus: 0.90 per cent Wireless subscribers:

Rogers: 10.1 million (includes 154,000 prepaid subscribers added after Rogers acquired discount wireless carrier Mobilicity)

BCE: 8.2 million

Telus: 8.4 million

Andrew Willis, James Bradshaw

Associated Graphic

Guy Laurence, then CEO of Rogers, is seen in the Hockey Central studio in May, 2015.



Holding steady - for now: Poloz makes case for a rate cut
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

The Bank of Canada just came much closer to cutting interest rates than anyone would have dreamed before Wednesday's rate announcement. Now, there's nothing blocking the path to a rate cut early next year - including the housing-market dilemma that until recently formed an imposing obstacle.

The bank's rate announcement and accompanying quarterly Monetary Policy Report made for bleak reading: slashed economic growth forecasts, lowered inflation expectations, structural damage in the export sector that may have permanently impeded its progress, an anticipated hit to growth from Ottawa's recent tightening of mortgage rules.

Adding those up, the bank concluded that the economy's output gap - the difference between what it is producing and what it has the capacity to produce, effectively the bank's bottom line for setting interest-rate policy - will remain open until the middle of 2018, roughly six months later than it estimated in its July report.

A gap nearly two years wide represents a gaping wound, pushing the limits of the central bank's tolerance. The bank opted against stitching it up with a rate cut - but it came awfully close.

In a news conference following the rate decision and MPR release, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz revealed that the bank's decision-making Governing Council "actively discussed the possibility of adding more monetary stimulus at this time."

This is more candour than we typically see from the bank about the backroom deliberations of Mr. Poloz and his senior brain trust, so the fact that he mentioned it at all is a strong signal. That he characterized it as being under active consideration implies that a cut was on the centre of the table, where they stared at it long and hard while debating the pros and cons.

Officially, the bank held off making a cut because it feels that many of the key factors it sees weighing on growth - the new mortgage rules, the surprising lack of traction in non-resource exports, the U.S. political uncertainty that may be contributing to slow business investment south of the border - are both hard to measure and still evolving.

It wants to let them play out a little longer to see if some of these problems go away, or at least turn out to be smaller than the bank has calculated.

Unofficially, the biggest argument against a cut was that it would have floored the financial markets, which were utterly unprepared for any such prospect.

The day before the rate decision, the bond market was pricing in a negligible 2.5-per-cent chance of a rate cut. Central banks sometimes like the shock value of an unexpected rate move, but that big a shock likely would have done more harm than good.

So instead, the bank presented a strong case for a rate cut, while saying it wasn't making one. A "yet" at the end of that sentence was pretty strongly implied.

Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Poloz went out of his way to make clear that the federal government's recent tightening of mortgage-qualification rules, designed to keep the highest-risk borrowers out of the housing market, have essentially removed an important impediment to a rate cut.

For a long time, the central bank's nagging misgivings about the financial-system risks from record-high consumer debt loads (largely driven by big increases in mortgage debt) have been perceived as a key reason why the bank was very hesitant to lower rates further, lest it further stoke mortgage borrowing. (Indeed, the bank was criticized when it cut rates twice in 2015 for pouring gasoline on the real estate market while continuing to publicly fret about it.)

But the bank said in the rate announcement that the new mortgage rules "should mitigate risks to the financial system over time," while Mr. Poloz volunteered that the new rules "were not seen as an impediment to easier monetary policy." But he didn't stop there. In answering a reporter's question, he further suggested that the rule changes could actually "work together" with low rates - with one encouraging more borrowing while the other improves the "quality" of those new debts. "Those two things working together gives us a better outcome," he said.

It wasn't quite a pledge to cut rates. But it might be as close as Mr. Poloz is ever going to get to saying that a cut has been loaded into the chamber and he's prepared to give the "fire" order.

One key factor that could lean against a rate cut is this: Now that the bank is talking out loud about it, the prospect will likely weigh down the Canadian dollar, especially given that the U.S. Federal Reserve may well raise its key rate at its December policy meeting. A lower dollar would lend a hand to the Bank of Canada's biggest concern - the struggling export sector. A lower currency would prop up price competitiveness and at least help offset the impact of some of the sector's structural shortcomings in the relatively near term - and, crucially, could lift the bank's outlook for growth and the output gap.

But a rate cut is now squarely in play, and we'd need to see a meaningful improvement in the economic trajectory over the next three months to change that. By late Wednesday the bond market was pricing in a 20-per-cent chance of a rate cut in January - the next time the bank issues a Monetary Policy Report, and thus the most likely next opportunity for such a move.

You could probably double those odds and still be undershooting. The bank's tone suggests that as things stand now, a January cut is at least a 50-50 proposition.

Associated Graphic

Governor Stephen Poloz said Bank of Canada officials 'actively discussed' adding stimulus.




Tips for the next guy: How to be a Rogers CEO
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Dear Joe Natale, As someone who welcomes the 'To Do' list of household tasks my wife occasionally leaves on the kitchen table, I appreciate how helpful it is to be given a road-map to happiness.

In that spirit, here is a list for you, sir, the future CEO of Rogers Communications, perhaps very soon, perhaps next summer - no one is quite sure yet. We know you must wait until a non-compete agreement with Telus Corp. expires or is renegotiated before you can start the job. But it's never too early set priorities.

Job one is to win and maintain the trust of the Rogers family.

Job No. 2 is to never, ever forget job No. 1.

Your predecessor made this mistake. Guy Laurence is now booking flights out of town, less than three years after he arrived.

This may be a $28-billion company with 26,000 employees, but it is controlled by a family determined to honour the legacy of founder Ted Rogers.

It may be futile for children to seek approval from a father who passed away eight years ago. But that doesn't stop them from trying.

You may want to ensure that any Rogers offspring who want roles at the company have something to keep them busy. Edward Rogers seems at peace with his current role as deputy chairman, overseeing strategy and major deals and maintaining a deep involvement in some ventures, including the Toronto Blue Jays.

Melinda Rogers, however, was stiff-armed by Mr. Laurence, losing her post as senior vice-president of strategy and development. She's passionate about finding new and innovative technologies for the company to use. Perhaps it's time to revive the company's venture capital arm?

That brings us to item No. 3: Delivering an early win for all shareholders, including the family. For instance, consider pushing a sale of Rogers's $1-billion stake in Cogeco. The Audet family clearly isn't selling Cogeco, which makes this investment dead money. The cash can be used to restart dividend increases and buy back shares. Analysts at Scotia Capital estimated this simple move would add $2 or more to Rogers's share price.

Item No. 4 on our little list: Remember what made you successful at Telus, and repeat. Telus enjoys fierce customer loyalty by relentlessly focusing on service.

That's why its churn - the rate at which is loses postpaid wireless customers - is less than 1 per cent a month. Mr. Laurence made improving Rogers's service culture a priority, but you know there is much more to be done.

(Its latest churn rate is 1.26 per cent.) Which bring us to your team ... Priority No. 5: Remember who made you successful at Telus, and recruit with that in mind.

The guy who dumped you at Telus so he could take back the top job - Darren somebody, right? - must already be spinning at the prospect of competing with both you and George Cope, two of his former deputies.

Poaching a few of Telus's top performers can only add to the fun.

The Rogers management team was handpicked by Mr. Laurence over the past few years. Few have deep roots in the company.

While some members of Rogers's management are going to be keepers, any new CEO has the right to be ruthless in picking a team that can execute on his vision. And speaking of vision ... The sixth item on your to-do list: Remain true to your contrarian view of the future of telecom. Telus was the one major telecom company that avoided investing heavily in the ownership of media assets. Over the past decade, rivals snapped up TV networks, radio stations, sports teams and league broadcast rights. Telus invested in its wireless and high speed Internet networks. It worked.

Rogers now owns a media and sports portfolio that makes little impact on the company's bottom line. The best of the bunch are low-maintenance and generate consistent cash. And the radio stations are touchstone investments for the Rogers family. Recall Job #1. Don't mess with those.

There's a case for hanging on to cash-spinning media assets, in the short term. But eventually, surgery will be needed. Cablevision Systems, a major U.S. cable company, spun out Madison Square Garden Co. as the owner of real estate and New York's Knicks and Rangers in 2010 and shareholders embraced the move. Again, Scotia Capital ran the numbers and estimated a similar spinout at Rogers would goose the stock by more than $4 a share. There's probably a way to do it while still allowing the family to maintain control of the assets to which it feels a strong emotional attachment.

And don't be afraid to be truly radical. Ted Rogers somehow managed to acquire Rogers Centre, the solid concrete nest for the Blue Jays, for $25-million.

The site is now surrounded by condo towers. The stadium is hopelessly outdated. And the mayor of Toronto, a former Rogers executive, wants to build a major park in the area. Is there a deal to be done that gets the Jays a downtown baseball field, with real grass, while liberating the value of Rogers's real estate through a massive redevelopment?

This is a partial summary, to be sure. But who doesn't see their to-do list grow as time goes by?

The opportunity is there, Joe, to make your mark, to thrive - and yes, to survive all the family politics. Good luck.

Associated Graphic

Job No. 1 for Joe Natale, the future chief executive of Rogers, is to win and maintain the trust of the Rogers family.


Joe Natale, centre, is pictured next to then-outgoing Telus CEO Darren Entwistle, right, in May, 2014. Mr. Natale replaced Mr. Entwistle in the position and is now moving on to helm Rogers Communications.


Executives fear protectionism
Only 12% of business leaders think conditions in North America, Europe will improve in next five years
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canadian executives are worried that the protectionist political environment emerging in North America and Europe could damage trade agreements that help boost the economy.

The latest quarterly C-Suite Survey of corporate leaders shows that more than 80 per cent say they are concerned that isolationist politics will slow the shift to freer trade and hinder the creation of new trade deals.

And many think the situation will deteriorate further. About four out of 10 executives say the political environment for business in North America and Europe will be worse in the next five years than it has been in the past half-decade.

Only 12 per cent think it will get better.

Nolan Watson, chief executive officer of gold mine financing company Sandstorm Gold Ltd., is among those who are uneasy about the more inward-looking policies promoted by some global leaders.

"As a concerned citizen and as a business person who understands the implications of these policies, I am very worried about the direction the world is headed, with respect to protectionism," Mr. Watson said.

Currently, Asia appears to be more open to globalization than North America or Europe, he said. The increasingly protectionist view in the West may be partly due to the rise of China's economic power, particularly in manufacturing, he added. "That has caused a lot of people to be very angry, and that anger is spilling over into policy implications that are just bad for people."

In the United States, both presidential candidates have tapped into this sentiment by saying they don't like the TransPacific Partnership trade deal.

Donald Trump has also said he would renegotiate, or even rip up, the North American freetrade agreement (NAFTA).

In Europe, there are additional pressures caused by large refugee movements and the economic disparity that has grown between nations, Mr. Watson said. There is also increasing resentment of central control within the European Union, he added. "Politicians are feeding off the anger of people ... taking advantage of the situation."

The Brexit vote in June, in which Britain opted to leave the EU, was the most obvious manifestation of this anger. But now the Canada-Europe free-trade deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is also in trouble after a key regional parliament in Belgium rejected the accord last week.

Three-quarters of C-Suite respondents said the Brexit vote will have a negative impact on the European economy and 57 per cent said they think it is likely that more states will leave the EU in the near future. However, fewer than half of the executives said Europe will be an important market for their companies over the next five years.

China, on the other hand, is increasing in importance, and almost 60 per cent of business leaders said it will be a key market for their organization in the coming years.

China is the "economic giant" of Asia and will certainly be crucial for Canadian trade going forward, said Rupert Duchesne, group chief executive of Montreal-based Aimia Inc., the company that runs the Aeroplan points system and other international loyalty programs.

Mr. Duchesne described the apparent backlash against trade deals as "very troubling." These deals "are being blamed for things they didn't cause. But it is so easy to draw that correlation that you can see why it becomes a political football," he said. "In Canada, we cannot survive without trade deals that help us get better access for products and resources in other markets."

Our participation in trade - and two-way tourism - with China will also help encourage improved human rights in that country, Mr. Duchesne said.

He characterized the federal government's efforts to open trade with China as a "good start" after years of neglect. "We are making good progress, and it is appropriate to do so after a decade of very little discussion."

The vast majority of C-Suite respondents - 83 per cent - said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent trip to China was important to Canada and its economy.

Indeed, the efforts by the Liberal government, which has promised to double trade with China by 2025, appear to be paying off.

A group of wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs is currently in Canada scouting out possible investment opportunities here.

But the C-Suite leaders - who are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the negotiation of a freetrade deal with China - have some reservations about Chinese investments in Canada. Seventy per cent of survey respondents said they support placing limits on the ability of Chinese stateowned enterprises to invest in strategic Canadian industries such as the oil sands.

Willy Kruh, global chair of consumer markets at KPMG, said the relative enthusiasm about trade with China shows executives want Canada to spread risk when it comes to trade. "The C-Suite rightfully is looking at the global environment and saying: We see issues in the U.S., we see issues in Europe ... and we need to diversify our risk, but let's go slow."

Mr. Kruh said China and India will be key trading partners for Canada. "These are countries that we cannot ignore if we are going to play on the global stage and improve our economy."


The quarterly C-Suite Survey was conducted for Report on Business and Business News Network by Gandalf Group and sponsored by KPMG.

The survey interviewed 157 executives between Sept. 7 and Oct. 3, 2016. Watch for coverage Monday on BNN and view the full survey online at


Canadian executives are concerned that the political turmoil in Europe and the United States, and the apparent shift to protectionist sentiments, will slow the implementation of new trade agreements. One consequence may be an acceleration of trade between Canada and Asia. Whatever happens, the United States will likely remain our biggest and most important trading partner

Associated Graphic


TD, Ameritrade to acquire Scottrade
Ameritrade buys Scottrade Financial Services' broker chain while TD Bank absorbs retail banking arm in $4-billion deal
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

In a world where the cost to buy and sell stocks online has tumbled from $29 to less than $10 per trade, discount brokerages are pushing to get leaner and bigger.

That's the drive behind TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.'s complex $4-billion (U.S.) deal to acquire Scottrade Financial Services Inc. with TorontoDominion Bank: Ameritrade will take the brokerage operations for $2.7-billion, while TD adds to its substantial U.S. retail operations with a $1.3-billion tuck-in deal for Scottrade Bank.

For Ameritrade, the deal will give it greater heft in the discount brokerage market, while also increasing opportunities to diversify beyond the slim margins associated with stock trades.

"It is a deal that adds significant scale to our retail business, extends our leadership in trading, and more than quadruples the size of our branch network," Tim Hockey, chief executive officer of Ameritrade, said during a conference call with analysts.

The Globe and Mail reported last week that TD and TD Ameritrade had put forth a joint bid for Scottrade.

It follows considerable speculation over the past few months that TD could add to its operations on the U.S. eastern seaboard, where its retail branches outnumber those in Canada.

Scottrade Bank will add $4-billion in loans and $15-billion in deposits. In the third quarter, TD's existing U.S. retail arm had $71-billion in assets under management.

At the same time, the deal also furthers the trend of discount brokerages consolidating amid weak profit growth and dwindling fees. Most recently, E*Trade Financial Corp. announced a $725-million deal for OptionsHouse in July.

With Monday's deal, which is expected to close in the second half of 2017, Ameritrade gains 500 Scottrade branches, three million additional accounts and $170-billion in client assets.

The goal, though, is to streamline the combined operation by closing redundant branches and reducing the work force by about 20 per cent, according to Reuters. Ameritrade expects total cost savings of about $450-million.

As a result, Ameritrade believes the acquisition will deliver profit growth of 15 per cent to 20 per cent three years after the deal closes.

In its full-year financial results, also released on Monday, Ameritrade reported a profit of $842million, up just 3.6 per cent from 2015. Worse, transaction-based revenues, which include trading commissions, fell 2 per cent, underlining the difficult environment for online brokerages amid price wars over fees.

Scottrade charges just $7 per trade. In Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce charges $6.95 (Canadian) per trade, while National Bank of Canada does not charge for buying and selling exchange-traded funds.

"This is a competitive industry and it has been forever," Mr. Hockey, former head of TD's Canadian banking division, said on the conference call. While lower trading fees don't tend to lead to a migration of assets from one brokerage to another, he added, they can hit revenues.

"Having said that, scale really matters in this business," he said. "Having clients by which you can improve your wallet share, by offering them better services on the advice side and consolidate their assets - that's been our strategy all along, to reduce the overreliance on commission trades."

Ameritrade will help finance the deal by issuing $1.4-billion in new common equity. TD will purchase $400-million of the new shares, leaving the bank's ownership stake in the discount brokerage relatively unchanged, at more than 42 per cent.

"This announcement allows TD and TD Ameritrade to further strengthen our relationship," Bharat Masrani, TD's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"We are pleased to see TD Ameritrade expand its business and solidify its leadership position in the market."

For Mr. Masrani, the U.S. expansion marks his biggest deal to date since taking the reins as CEO in 2014. However, he would have been instrumental in TD's deal for Commerce Bank in 2008, when Mr. Masrani headed TD's U.S. retail operations.

In TD's third quarter, ended July 31, TD Ameritrade contributed $125-million (Canadian) in profit to the bank, or 5.3 per cent of the bank's total quarterly profit and 16 per cent of its profit from U.S. retail operations. However, TD expects this contribution to fall to $93-million in its fourth quarter results.

The deal for Scottrade Bank will reduce TD's common equity Tier 1 ratio - a measure of financial health watched closely by regulators - by about 0.3 percentage points, from 10.4 per cent.

"Over all, we view these transactions positively for TD as they are expected to be accretive to earnings beginning in year 1 and not overly costly for TD in terms of capital," Darko Mihelic, an analyst at RBC Dominion Securities, said in a note.

But Robert Sedran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets Inc., believes that in terms of strategic implications the deal is more important to Ameritrade than TD, with the bank getting a modest boost in profit three years out.

"It would be an oversimplification, in our view, to suggest that the bank was involved simply to facilitate the transaction for Ameritrade," Mr. Sedran said in a note.

"That said, we do not believe TD would have pursued Scottrade Bank as a standalone acquisition."

TD Ameritrade (AMTD) Close: $35.46 (U.S.), down $1.62 TD Bank (TD) Close: $60.16, up 16¢

Associated Graphic

TD and Ameritrade plan to streamline their new combined Scottrade operations by closing redundant branches and reducing the work force, saving about $450-million in costs in the process.


Sellers losing grip on Vancouver market
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Call it a markdown, Vancouver-style.

A high-end property with an asking price of $38.8-million in mid-January saw a price cut of several million dollars but still didn't sell after six months. The listing expired in mid-July, before the B.C. government implemented its 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers in the Vancouver region, effective Aug. 2.

While it is unclear what date the property finally sold, B.C. land-title records for registrations in September show the mansion on a large lot along Vancouver's prestigious Belmont Avenue changed hands privately for $29.48-million. That amount is much lower than the asking price, but still 39-per-cent higher than the assessed value of $21.18-million in July, 2015.

The transaction is an example of how sellers who list roughly 40 per cent or more above assessed values are no longer able to attract eager buyers lining up during the slowdown in Vancouver's real estate market, whether it be for luxury or entry-level sales, industry experts say.

Bidding wars seem a distant memory as the housing psychology undergoes a shift away from a seller's market, though not yet into the territory of a buyer's market. Standoffs are a common theme today, with sellers refusing to budge much from they see as their now-reasonable asking prices while buyers are in no rush to bid because they sense little competition, either locally or from abroad, agents say.

From February through June, some prospective buyers scrambled to have home inspections completed even before sellers began accepting offers because making a bid with strings attached meant being at a competitive disadvantage when stacked up against clean bids without conditions.

"Before, I saw four or five inspectors on the same property. It was so frustrating for buyers because they would spend money on an inspection and not even get the home," said Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. "Realtors can now write in subject conditions for inspections and financing."

Sales volume has been cooling month over month since peaking at a record high in March, well before the new B.C. tax on foreign buyers kicked in. Benchmark prices - which the industry says are representations of typical properties - have levelled off recently, and there are forecasts of outright price declines.

The benchmark price for detached houses sold last month hit a record $1.58-million in Greater Vancouver, up 0.1 per cent from August and a 33.7-per-cent gain from a year earlier.

Helmut Pastrick, the chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union, forecasts that benchmark prices in the Vancouver region could drop 5 per cent to 10 per cent from current levels within the next nine months. "I don't view that as a crash, and the market will grind ahead in 2018 after this mild correction," Mr. Pastrick said.

New data from the TeranetNational Bank house-price index show that September marked the 21st consecutive time the index has climbed month over month in the Vancouver region.

The index for the Vancouver area showed large monthly jumps from February to August, but advanced a modest 0.2 per cent in September, compared with August, National Bank senior economist Marc Pinsonneault said. The year-over-year gain was 24 per cent for the region's index, which is derived from landtitle registrations.

Jonathan Cooper, Macdonald Realty Group's vice-president of operations, said the impasse between buyers and sellers is reflected in reduced sales activity.

"At the very least as a seller, if you perceive there to be a high percentage of new immigrant buyers in your market, you would set the price higher and be stickier on the price," Mr. Cooper said. "It comes down to supply and demand. Foreign investment is a factor, but the vast majority of those buyers are in some phase of the immigration process. You have this new immigrant money, low interest rates, limited land supply and zoning constraints on new supply. It's a constellation of factors."

Back at 4726 Belmont Ave. on Vancouver's coveted West Side, no one answered when a reporter buzzed the intercom. The seller, former Spence Diamonds chief executive officer Sean Jones, sold to Bi Xia Dong, who describes herself as a housewife in documents that she filed as the new registered owner.

Mr. Jones reduced the list price of $38.8-million to $33.8-million at one point. The number eight, deemed lucky in Chinese culture, is a common sight in Vancouver in real estate pricing for listings and sales.

The still-lofty sales price of $29.48-million is a statistical outlier, so wasn't included as part of the Teranet-National Bank index.

The Belmont Avenue property's history underscores the huge spikes in Vancouver housing values over the decades. The mansion, built in 2012, isn't on the waterfront but there is a grand view of the mountains. The property sold effectively for land value in 2009 for $10-million, compared with selling for $3.6million in 2001 and $750,000 in 1985.

Associated Graphic

A large house on Vancouver's west side didn't attract buyers at the asking price, but was still sold at almost 40-per-cent higher than assessed value.


Friday, October 21, 2016 – Print Edition, Page A8

The August killing of a First Nations man on a Saskatchewan farm has set the province on edge, igniting racial tensions. Joe Friesen reports on police documents that reveal new details about the shooting, and talks to a family in anguish

The flash of headlights in the darkness drew Debbie Baptiste to the window. Outside she could see a convoy of vehicles barreling down a quiet dirt road that runs through Saskatchewan's Red Pheasant reserve. The cars pulled in to her yard at speed and cut across the rainsoaked grass to surround the trailer.

"I think they're here for us," Ms. Baptiste said to her son William, who was watching TV on the couch.

The two of them went to the door. Thoughts of her son Colten, who was late getting home that night, ran through Ms. Baptiste's mind. He was the baby of the family, the one who normally stayed close to her. So many police descending at once couldn't be good news.

Four uniformed RCMP officers approached their trailer, while several others stood watch outside, Ms. Baptiste said. Some officers had their weapons out and were scanning the property as though they were prepared for trouble, according to several witnesses.

"Is Colten Boushie your son?" the officers asked.

"Yes, he is," Ms. Baptiste replied.

"He's deceased," one of the officers told her.

Ms. Baptiste couldn't comprehend what she was hearing. Colten was the gentle one, the optimist, the one who persevered when his crippled arm briefly prevented him from working. He was a ceremonial fire keeper whose certificates of good citizenship she'd kept in a folder since he was five.

She let out a scream so urgent and anguished that those who heard it recall it with a shudder.

She fell to her knees right there on the porch.

One of the officers said, "Somebody take her inside."

Ms. Baptiste lay on the floor of the trailer with her hands pressed to her head, rocking back and forth. The officers entered without asking permission and without offering much comfort, Ms. Baptiste said, an account confirmed by William.

"They were all in the living room. It was standing room only, all cops," Ms. Baptiste said.

The officers walked through each room with flashlights, waking William's two young sons.

"They searched everything, like they were looking for somebody, or something," Ms. Baptiste said.

The way they were treated struck them as callous, Ms. Baptiste and her sons later said. They want to know why, at a time of such distress, police rummaged through the family home, as though they'd done something wrong.

The RCMP have not provided a detailed response to the complaints raised by Colten's family, saying the matter is before the courts.

"These reports are concerning to us," Saskatchewan RCMP said in a written statement. "Full details will be released through court proceedings and we encourage the public and media agencies who wish to learn the circumstances to follow the court process."

Ms. Baptiste's son William said he knows they were searching the home because he had shut Colten's pet Chihuahua, Chico, in the closet, planning to jokingly tell Colten that his dog had run off because he'd been gone too long. When the officers entered the back room Chico, now free, ran into the living room.

After a few minutes an officer

tried to force a weeping Ms. Baptiste to her feet.

"He grabbed my wrist right here and he said 'Ma'am, get yourself together.' And I told him, 'No,' " Ms. Baptiste recalled.

She was in denial, begging the officer to take her to the body so she could prove it wasn't her son: "You've got the wrong person.

That's not my son lying out there. He's not dead. That's not Colten. It's somebody else," she told him.

He responded by asking if she was drunk.

"He said, 'Ma'am, was you drinking?' And I said 'No.' And then he smelled my breath," she said.

At her most desperate hour she recoiled. She felt insulted, hurt, confused. She hadn't been drinking. Why would they ask that?

William and his brother Jace Baptiste said the officers also asked if they'd been drinking.

They hadn't. They were waiting for Colten to return home. They even had his dinner ready in the microwave, they told the police.

An officer walked over and opened the microwave to check if this was true, an act so presumptuous Ms. Baptiste and her sons dwell on it every time they tell the story of that night. Would the officer have acted the same way in the home of a white family that had just been notified of their son's murder? Ms. Baptiste doesn't think so.

Tash and Marie Baptiste, relatives who had watched in alarm as the convoy of police vehicles swept in, were initially blocked from joining their family inside.

They were eventually allowed in, and their accounts match those of Ms. Baptiste and her sons.

They counted roughly a dozen officers inside and outside and at least six police vehicles surrounding the trailer. Police were searching the home and surrounding area and some had guns drawn. Tash and Marie said they gathered the two young children to shield them from the chaos.

"They were going in and out of those bedrooms," Tash Baptiste said. She remembers vividly that William's three-year-old son J.J.

was wide-eyed with fear.

"That kid wouldn't let me go," she said. "He was shaking like he was traumatized. He didn't know what was going on."

Jace said the officers were inside the house for about 20 minutes. When Jace asked why they were searching, the officers told him they were looking for Cassidy Whitstone, who had been with Colten earlier that day.

"The first thought that came into my mind was, "What did we do? Why are all these officers on us?," Ms. Baptiste said. "My son was the victim. But I thought that we did something wrong."

The killing of Colten Boushie has set Saskatchewan on edge.

On Aug. 9, 22-year-old Colten and his friends set out from the Red Pheasant reserve, about 150 kilometres west of Saskatoon, for a day of swimming and drinking.

The car they were riding in had a flat tire and they pulled into the yard of a local farmer named Gerald Stanley. What happened next is uncertain, but one thing is clear - Colten wound up dead. To summarize the competing views of the tragedy in their extremes: either Colten was the victim of a racially motivated killing, or Colten's friends were trespassers and thieves who met swift, vigilante "justice." There are a number of other possibilities, too, of course.

The farmer may have acted in self-defence, the gun may have fired accidentally, or it may have been something else entirely. As the court process plays out, tensions are high and the facts contested.

The aftermath has brought angry protests and signs that the white community is fearful of a backlash. One local pastor told the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix that Colten Boushie "is the Rodney King of Western Canada," and said his killing had unleashed a lot of hidden ugliness.

Hundreds of people gathered to protest outside the court house for Mr. Stanley's first court appearance, watched carefully by RCMP on rooftops, and there was anger when he was granted bail on a $10,000 cash surety. Five days after the shooting, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall called for an end to the flood of racist comments on social media directed at Indigenous people.

And in late September, after armed, masked assailants threatened a farm hand in the province, local news was flooded with stories of farmers arming themselves for the harvest season. In response to the growing tensions, including Facebook pages featuring photos of farmers carrying firearms, the RCMP superintendent held a news conference to ask residents to put their guns away. Mr. Boushie's killing lingered like an unspoken subtext.

His slaying has become a symbol of a broken relationship between indigenous people and their white neighbours.

The anger that fuelled protests outside the bail hearing for Gerald Stanley, the 55-year-old farmer accused of second-degree murder in connection with Mr.

Boushie's death, has not subsided. T-shirts and buttons saying "Justice for Colten" are common here, as is the feeling among indigenous people that the justice system treats them unfairly. Saskatchewan's First Nations chiefs say the RCMP has fostered that current of thought by linking the news of Colten's death to a recent surge in thefts in the area. The RCMP's first news release, which said two women and a man were taken into custody as part of a related theft investigation (for which no charges have been laid), provided "just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified," Bobby Cameron, chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said in a statement.

Kimberly Jonathan, a vice-chief with Saskatchewan's Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said one of the principal reasons that violence hasn't erupted is that the Boushie family has called for peace. Ms. Jonathan, who urged that the shooting be investigated as "a crime based on race," said she met with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and warned him of the seriousness of the situation.

"I said, 'You ought to thank the family, because they came out with peace in memory and love for Colten. They could have gone the other way and there would have been, and I'm not exaggerating, there would have been a lot more blood shed.' "But I said we can't promise it's going to continue that way, because of how the [justice] system has been lacking."

A preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial is set for January. The case against Mr.

Stanley, and its success or failure, could have explosive consequences.

The Globe and Mail has obtained the police ITO (an Information To Obtain a warrant) filed to get authorization to search the Stanley farm. The document lays out in detail for the first time the police perspective on the facts of the case and the information gathered in the early stages of the investigation.

These documents are intended to persuade a judge to issue a warrant; they are not produced with balance in mind, nor do they weigh possibilities that run counter to police theories, but they must be full, frank and fair.

According to the ITO, that afternoon Colten Boushie and his girlfriend Kiora Wuttunee went swimming in the Maymont River with their friends Eric Meechance, his girlfriend, Belinda Jackson, and a young man named Cassidy Whitstone.

The young people had been drinking during the day and some of them said they were drunk, according to the statements they gave police. They were riding in Ms. Wuttunee's grey 2003 Ford Escape. At about 5:30 p.m. they arrived at the Stanley farm, after, according to the document, visiting a neighbouring farm belonging to the Fouhy family, where they "attempted to steal vehicles and items," the ITO says.

The story provided by Colten's family is that he and his friends were having car trouble. A police officer who was at the scene said the car had only a rim, no tire, on the front driver's side. According to Colten's brothers, Colten and his friends may have been looking for help.

Sheldon Stanley was helping his father Gerald build a fence when Colten and his friends drove up the gravel driveway from the main road that runs in front of their property. Leesa Stanley, Gerald's wife, was mowing the lawn a short distance away.

Sheldon told police he saw the Ford Escape slow near a pickup parked in their yard. Then he saw a young man, it's not clear who, but almost certainly not Colten Boushie, get out of the Escape and jump into the pickup. Then Sheldon said he heard the Stan..

leys' ATV starting up. Sheldon and his father started to yell, and the young man jumped back into the Ford Escape. Sheldon said the vehicle swerved in his direction.

Sheldon, who was carrying a large hammer, smashed the windshield of the Escape as it was reversing. His father, meanwhile, kicked in the taillight. The Escape lurched forward and collided with a parked car belonging to the Stanleys.

Sheldon said he saw two men get out of the Escape and run off, while two women, and Colten Boushie, stayed behind. At this point Sheldon said he went to the house to get truck keys.

While he was inside he heard two gunshots, and then as he stepped outside again, he heard a third.

He saw his father, Gerald Stanley, standing at the driver's side window of the Ford Escape with a gun in his hand. His father looked sick, Sheldon said. He said his father told him he was trying to scare the kids and the gun "just went off."

Gerald Stanley gave a separate statement to investigators. In his account he told police that after he kicked in the car's tail light, he went to get his gun. He says he went to a nearby shed where he kept what police believe was a Russian-designed Tokarev TT33 semi-automatic handgun (one of two handguns registered in his name), and loaded it.

When he came back to the car he fired twice in the air to scare the group. Two people got out of the car and ran away, he said.

Eric Meechance, in his interview, said he believes the bullets were fired at him because he heard two shots and could hear bullets buzzing by him as he ran away.

Gerald Stanley then agreed with the RCMP officer interviewing him that he "went up to the driver's side window and shot the male driver once in the head and killed him."

The bullet that killed Colten Boushie was fired into the back of his head, just behind his left ear. That was confirmed by the forensic identification officer who attended the scene.

According to Kiora Wuttunee, Colten's girlfriend, Colten was sitting in the car's back seat next to her as she slept. When Ms. Wuttunee awoke she saw Eric Meechance and Cassidy Whitstone get out and run. Colten clambered into the front seat and tried to make the vehicle go, but "it wouldn't go anywhere," as it had a flat tire.

Ms. Wuttunee says she saw a tall man in sunglasses approach the driver's side of the vehicle.

Without saying a word he shot Colten once in the head, she told police. She and Belinda Jackson got out of the back seat and tried to help Colten. When they opened the driver's door Colten's lifeless body tumbled out. He lay face down on the ground as blood trickled from his head. As she tried to come to grips with her boyfriend's slaying, Ms. Wuttunee said she approached Leesa Stanley, Gerald's wife, who was standing near the car. Ms. Wuttunee said she asked Ms. Stanley why they'd killed Colten. Ms. Stanley replied by saying "something about property," the ITO states. Ms. Wuttunee later told Colten's relatives the phrase was: "That's what you get for trespassing on private property."

Leesa Stanley told police that she did not see the shooting, because she was mowing the lawn a short distance away when the confrontation began. When she walked over to see what was happening she heard her husband yell "Oh my God." At that point she saw a body slouched over the steering wheel, and she believed the person was dead.

She told her son to call 911, and went over to Ms. Wuttunee and Ms. Whitstone. One of the women punched Ms. Stanley and knocked her down, but backed off when Sheldon Stanley shouted at her to stop.

After Colten's body fell out of the car, both Sheldon and Ms. Stanley say they saw the barrel of a .22 calibre bolt-action rifle lying near his body, with the stock and trigger missing. An officer said there appeared to be a live round in the chamber. There were no spent casings in the area. The police theory laid out in the ITO seems to be that the group had attempted to break into a vehicle on a neighbouring farm, where residents reported finding a broken rifle stock. The residents told police it appeared the stock broke when someone tried to force their way into a locked truck.

Mr. Stanley's lawyer, Scott Spencer, issued a statement addressing the details contained in the ITO.

"The ITO in this matter reflects the RCMP's earliest theory of the case and is of course not admissible evidence. The Stanley family will continue to respect the judicial process and will not comment until the legal process is complete," Mr. Spencer said.

He added that his preference would have been for the RCMP to seal the ITO to prevent the media from reporting on its contents.

"I encourage all to respect the judicial process and reserve judgment until all evidence is presented, and tested, in open Court.

To do otherwise will only compound the tragedy that has occurred and cause further pain to the Boushie family at the expense of Gerald's right to a fair trial. Now is not the time to cast stones or refuel the sometimes destructive debate that this incident generated."

About two dozen members of Colten's family gathered at the court house in North Battleford on a brisk September morning prepared to express their anger.

They carried signs saying "Justice for Colten," circulated letters to the Prime Minister about racism in Saskatchewan, and materials that decried the 1885 hangings of eight indigenous men in North Battleford convicted of crimes after the Northwest Rebellion.

The crowd was bitterly disappointed not to see Mr. Stanley in person. Many were angry that he was free in the community despite the gravity of the charge against him. Almost no one believes that the justice system will be applied to Mr. Stanley as it is to First Nations people.

"There's a history of this in Battleford. It goes back to the 1880s," said Alvin Baptiste, Colten's uncle. "We have hidden racism in this town. First Nations people never get a fair shake in the justice system at all."

That morning Mr. Baptiste and his niece Jade Tootoosis held a meeting with the RCMP's lead investigator and a senior officer from the force's major crimes unit in Saskatoon. They were joined by Chris Murphy, a Toronto criminal lawyer who grew up in Saskatchewan and has represented clients in the province. He said he was hired by the Boushie family to represent their interests and hold police and prosecutors to account. After the meeting, about 20 family members gathered in Alvin's backyard to discuss the case.

"This is what I said to the investigators," Mr. Baptiste began. "I told them we want equal justice.

This is our land, this is their land.

We have to share it, and I want equal justice for us, for my nephew."

He said the RCMP told him they are doing everything they can; the family would just have to trust them. Mr. Baptiste and Ms.

Tootoosis told the RCMP that the family is experiencing a lot of anger, a lot of sadness and that they're reluctant to trust police.

"That's part of the history with the RCMP but also part of this investigation. All they want is reconciliation, and they want the truth. They want assurances that they can start moving together with the police in a stronger way," Mr. Murphy said.

The family sat in a circle and listened to each speaker. Ms. Tootoosis told the family she was particularly troubled to hear from one of the witnesses, Ms. Wuttnuee, that the confrontation was fuelled by anger over trespassing.

"We share the land. To say they killed him for trespassing means they violated the Treaty. Nobody owns the land," she said.

At one point Colten's mother broke out in loud sobs, asking why this had happened to her son. She carried with her a folded sheet of paper from the local newspaper bearing a photo of Mr. Stanley, taken as he tried to hide from the cameras outside court.

"I keep this so I can look at the man that did this to my son," she said.

The pain she feels is palpable.

Later that day Ms. Baptiste hesitates before inviting a reporter into her home. She describes the field of raw sewage beneath the trailer, as their system hasn't been hooked up for about two years.

"Our water's shut off. Our sewer's not hooked up ... There are three broken windows that have not been fixed for two years," she says.

In the harsh Saskatchewan winter they all sleep in the living room with the oven door open and blankets stuffed in the broken windows to block the wind.

"We've asked for help but we're talking to deaf ears," Ms. Baptiste said.

She has a folder full of mementos and family photos on her kitchen table. The program from Colten's high-school commencement ceremony in Billings, Mont., from 2011, a junior historian award, a school-spirit certificate, a program from the 2005 Cascade County spelling championship, when Colten was one of two fifth-grade representatives from his school. She was proud of him, she says.

Colten had a neurological problem in one arm that affected his hand, she said, but he did not let it stop him from working. When he was still a teenager living in Montana he worked at a Mexican restaurant and later at a motel, where he worked his way up from housekeeping to a more senior role.

A few years ago Colten and his brothers decided to move to Canada, where her roots are. She said Colten dreamed of going to college and knew there were supports for indigenous people in this country. His brothers say they weren't prepared for the treatment they received as indigenous people in Saskatchewan.

"The racism, it's different in Saskatchewan. You can feel it. In Billings, it's not like that," William said. "I didn't believe it, until we came here. And this happened to my brother."

Colten loved to work outside, cutting lawns and felling trees for firewood, his brothers said. He recently got a qualification as a forest-firefighter. He had worked in the North as a catering employee in the fly-in camps, and wanted to go again to save money for a car, and to help his family improve their living conditions.

"I moved from Montana to Canada to be with my sons and we lived in this trailer and it was already trashed," Ms. Baptiste said.

"I used to get up in the morning and complain and whine and I'd say, 'Why do we have to live like this? Why do we have to be poor?' And he'd say, 'Mom, there's worse [off] people out there than us. There's homeless people out there that have nowhere to live. You're selfish, you've got a roof over your head.

Be happy [with] what you have, Mom.' And then I'd always stop myself and he'd always hug me and say, 'Mom, we're poor, but we're happy.' "She holds on to that memory.

Associated Graphic

The killing of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man from North Battleford, Sask., has united aggrieved indigenous communities, stoking racial tension in the province as the troubling details of his last day and the experience of his family emerge in police documents.

Gerald Stanley leaves his bail hearing in police custody in North Battleford, Sask., on Aug. 9.


Colten Boushie's mother, Debbie Baptiste, right, is comforted by elder Jenny Spyglass during Gerald Stanley's bail hearing.


Debbie Baptiste stands with former chief Sheldon Wuttunee outside her family's home on the Red Pheasant reserve.


A page from Colten Boushie's journal, in which he doodled and wrote about indigenous experiences in Canada.


A story of what happens next
'It's all melding together,' the Tragically Hip front man says on the band's tour bus, amid the frustration of a faltering memory. And while he's still creating and making plans, he's also trying hard not to get ahead of himself
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page A12

None of what follows is to say that last summer's glorious national outpouring wasn't the astonishing thing it was, when the Tragically Hip and its lead singer, Gord Downie, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last December, took a goodbye tour and stopped the country still.

The self-described King of the Hosers and his band had composed the true national anthems of a generation. The Hip's last waltz created something else again: a collective stillness that reminded millions of Canadians of what it meant to be here, and what it will mean when Gord Downie isn't.

But that was last summer. This story isn't about that. This story is about what happens to Gord Downie next.

'It's about patience, and respect'

On the band bus last Monday, halfway between Peterborough and Ottawa, Gord Downie is talking about reading and writing and listening to music, which means he is talking about his memory.

Two craniotomies since last December to remove a glioblastoma multiforme in his left lobe, plus radiation and chemo, have left him with an unreliable one.

For the ultra-literate, hyper-wordconscious Downie, this is a cruel fate.

You can see his scar, a sunken valley dropping down his left temple from under the ever-present fedora or ballcap. He has his hats made at Lilliput Hats in Toronto, "at College near, what's the name of that street, the one that's west of Spadina, but not as far as" - "Grace?" - "not as far as Grace. Oh, God, you know, starts with a B," and on it goes, until finally someone says "Bathurst!" and Downie says, "Good boy!"

and is so visibly relieved you would think his house had just been rescued from a flood.

"It feels like it's all melding together," is how he sometimes describes his memory. He can change subjects faster than a hockey team can change lines, but he always has, and it's not clear that it's not intentional.

Downie has been in Peterborough with five of the best musicians in the country - Kevin Drew, Dave Hamelin and Charlie Spearin of Broken Social Scene, Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies and Josh Finlayson of Skydiggers - to rehearse Secret Path. It's a collection of songs Downie wrote with Drew and Hamelin, set to an animated film based on a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, who is to graphic novels today what Downie was to rock in the late-nineties.

The songs, book and film tell the true story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12year-old Ojibwa boy who ran away from residential school in 1966 and died of exposure, 50 years ago on Sunday, trying to walk back home to his family, 600 kilometres away. It's Downie's latest, proudest project, and possibly his last. The next night, in Ottawa, where the band bus is headed, the lads are performing their rock opera for the first time at the National Arts Centre.

Downie hates the fact that he can't remember names, which leaves holes in his patter. He gamely tries to fill them. Favourite Dylan album? He can remember the album cover but not the name of Street-Legal. He knows Van Morrison made an album in four days, but no longer recalls that it's Astral Weeks. "Hey," he says to the group when someone asks, "do any of you know what my favourite Hip song is? What's the song, Vienna ... "Springtime in Vienna."

"Yeah. Good. Jesus."

His conversation flows like that now, forward but sometimes around. "I'm thinking the way I talk now is like the way a native person walks. And the way they talk. And if we want to take a moment" - he pauses - "and prepare our thoughts" - "no one's going to jump in. It's about patience, and respect." He appreciates the consideration more than he ever did before. "I appreciate it, because I just discovered it."

His portable pill box, mostly anti-seizure medication, has at least 50 compartments. He gets the pills from his younger brother Pat, a former sound engineer in Boston who has moved to Toronto to take care of Gord (Pat, 48, has separated from his wife, as Downie did from his before he became ill). "I can't be left alone," Downie says. "Apparently." Their older brother Mike, 56 (a documentary filmmaker and co-producer of Secret Path) is on the bus as well. They're the kind of family that under duress takes refuge in family. When their father, Edgar, died last Halloween, each brother took a souvenir from his belongings. Mike took his wedding ring; Pat took a gold chain; Gord took his false front tooth, which he carries in a jewel bag and occasionally produces in meetings. No further description necessary.

Downie has started to read again - he couldn't remember anything long enough to do so immediately after his operations - and can now put in 15 to 20 minutes with a book at a stretch. He feels stronger than he did, but doesn't know how long he has: His cancer is the kind that can change its mind. "But I may be one of the lucky ones. I'm reluctant to say, because I'm kind of throwing the snake eyes. What if I live another seven years, and people say, 'You asshole!?' " He worries more now about his emotional ledger. He has always tried to be like his father, "but it's impossible. Because I'm conveniently cutting out all the times I was a dick. But all the people forgave me for that. Or it feels like that. I think those people knew that I didn't want to do that, didn't want to be like that. And after this thing happened" - he makes a judo chop toward his head, his standard move - "they all were friends."

Still, his recovery has been uneven. A month after the first seizure last December, he wrote and recorded 17 as yet unpublished songs with Kevin Drew, in four days. The songs were about people who have meant something to him, and contain a detail only that person will recognize. Very Gord. It was a freer way of writing.

"I kept trying to write them in the way I'm talking to you, or the way I talked to, you know, Mansbridge. Taylor Mansbridge." This time it's an intentional joke. (He makes lots of those.) "I came home from that recording session thinking that I had reached the peak of the hill, the, you know, learning curve. And then two days later I had this horrendous seizure." That led to operation two, to chemo and radiation. Six weeks before the summer tour, he couldn't remember the names of his albums. He has recorded some music with the Hip since, but has written very little in his ever-present Moleskine notebook. He labels them with letters of the alphabet. He's up to Y. He says he's not worried.

He claims to forget the names of his kids, but it seldom occurs. Will he miss them? "I won't know, will I?" he asks, fake sneering. Louie, his 16-year-old son, is on the bus too, sitting on a bench under the bus-brown enamelized walls - it's like riding inside a large intestine - in the protective custody of all the people keeping each other company while Gord Downie fades away. Louie had a panic attack when he first learned his father had had a seizure. He's tall, skinny, wants to be a drummer.

He played his first gig last Saturday; his father, 52, was his roadie.

"That was exciting for me to see," Downie says. The band's name was Lois Lane - until they discovered that another band, a Dutch girl group, had already taken it.

Now Louie's band is considering Dutch Girl Group as an alternative.

The other name Downie never forgets is Edgar - his father's. The Downie boys worshipped him, and still do. Three days after they buried him, Gord Downie had his first seizure. It was a bad winter.

"He was so Zen," Downie says.

"And if you said that to him, he'd say, 'What's Zen?' " Edgar sat down when he peed, out of consideration for his wife and daughters. "We all do that," Gord says, and the brothers nod. "Small little guy." Edgar hated anything really frightening, really upsetting, really ugly. Downie now understands he was the same, but couldn't admit it as a teenager. "Maybe that's why I became a writer."

There's a long pause. "That could be my sensation as I'm going out," Downie muses. "'Oh, there's Edgar.' That'd be fabulous."

'If this is the last thing I do, I'm happy'

Today, the morning of the big show, 27-odd members of the Wenjack family are allegedly visiting Ottawa's Museum of Civilization. But Pearl Wenjack is hitting the Rideau Centre to shop.

"I wanted to do something, naturally," says Chanie's older sister as she makes her way to the indoor mall. "But I didn't know how." She had been praying to the Creator that she might get a call from Oprah Winfrey - "that's the only show we watch" - when, one morning a year and a half ago, the phone rang. "Hello?" Pearl said.

"Hi," a man's voice replied. "I'm Mike."

Mike Downie first heard about Chanie Wenjack in a short CBC Radio documentary in 2013. The story shook him. He'd heard of residential schools, but like most Canadians didn't know much about them. Mike began to dig into the story. He found a 1967 Maclean's story about Chanie's death, by Ian Adams. Mike told Chanie's story to his pal, the novelist Joseph Boyden, hoping they might write a screenplay together.

Boyden mentioned it to Gord, also a friend. The following morning, Gord called Mike. He too was hooked. It happened so fast it was almost weird.

When, according to one insider, Boyden's screenplay didn't seem to be materializing, Gord Downie started to write poems tracing Chanie's fatal walk down the tracks to home. The poems became songs and an album recorded three years ago by Kevin Drew and the band. The songs were followed (after Mike and Gord suggested it) by a graphic novel courtesy of Jeff Lemire.

Eventually, after Edgar's death, Gord's cancer and the Hip's famous last tour, Mike and his production partner, Stuart Coxe, persuaded the CBC to take on an animated film version of Lemire's book, to be attached to Gord's music. (It airs Sunday on CBC at 9 p.m. ET.)

All of which was impressive, but for the touchy question of cultural appropriation. Was Chanie Wenjack's story fair game for a bunch of white guys? As if to underscore the question, a (fairly) good-natured artistic rivalry sprang up: Boyden - who is of mixed Scottish and Anishinaabe heritage, and a friend of the Downie brothers - wrote a Heritage Minute about Chanie last summer, scooping the anniversary of his death. He also recently published Wenjack, a slim book, with a rival publisher. (The DownieLemire book is already scaling the bestseller list and being reprinted, despite a run of 50,000 copies.)

Boyden has also collaborated on a new album by A Tribe Called Red, a crossover First Nations hip-hop band. This game could be called Downies and Indians.

Mindful of their outsider status, Gord, Mike, Pat and a slew of First Nations elders went to Ogoki Post in Northern Ontario to visit Pearl Wenjack in September. The result was the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, dedicated to "cross-cultural education to support healing and recovery." Between the 1880s and 1996, 150,000 children were sent by the federal government to residential schools in Canada. More than 20,000 are thought to have died while at school. It isn't clear Chanie ever understood why he had to go away.

This is the darkness Downie and his cohort are drawn to. "I've spent my last 10 years with the Barenaked Ladies playing If I Had a Million Dollars," Kevin Hearn says. "It's a thrill to be part of something dark, something serious." But it was Gord who seemed to feel it most intensely.

He was muttering about Secret Path as he came out of one of his surgeries. During the tour he knew the lyrics to The Stranger, one of its songs, better than he knew the words to the Hip hit Bobcaygeon. There are spiritually inclined elders and partners on the Downie team who think the Secret Path project is making Gord Downie stronger.

"I didn't know there were residential schools up there until 12 years ago," Downie says. The more he learned, the more he wondered why he didn't know more about them, why they weren't talked about in school.

(The subject is only now being included in the history curricula of all provinces.) He thought the presence of a 10,000-year-old indigenous culture had the potential to make Canada unique in the world. Instead, "we decided to put them away in a third-floor bedroom and lock it. It's just baffling to me." Canada had never felt like a real country to Downie (as fans of his Hip songs know); without reconciling the twin solitudes of the indigenous and nonindigenous, which he considers to be a 150-year-project, it never will.

"You start looking at all this stuff," Downie observes, and "and it does start putting a damper on all the stuff we're doing to celebrate 150 years of nationhood."

Secret Path is his attempt to change that path in the uncertain stretch of time he has left. "If this is the last thing I do," he says, "then I'm happy." So far, it's working. The fund opened with $3-mil.

lion in major donations, but since the premiere on Tuesday has raised another $100,000 in small gifts. The average donation is $8.

'This is the only place to be'

At first, when the lights went down in the National Arts Centre on Tuesday, the audience didn't know how to react: It didn't know what it was watching. There was Gord Downie's familiar shovel-ofgravel of a voice, the familiar jean jacket with the lapel compass and a beaded poppy commemorating First Nations veterans. But everything else was unfamiliar: the six monitors to help him remember the words, the haunting, almost orchestral music, the spare chanting lyrics, the tom-tom pulse of the drums driving the starkly drawn boy's journey down the endless railway tracks in the huge animated film on a screen behind the band.

By the third song they were applauding. By the end, they were standing. The Governor-General was there, and you could hear the Wenjack relatives whooping it up in front. Placards throughout the lobby warned of an emotionally difficult evening, and offered professional counsel to anyone who needed some. (Several did.)

Weepers were asked to deposit their Kleenexes in birch-bark baskets, so their sadness could be burned away, according to native custom. The ushers collected 30 bags of snotty tissue by the end of the show.

Of course, as grave as Chanie Wenjack's story is, it was the added irony of Gord Downie's situation, his own looming stagger down the short track ahead of him, that gave the show its extra shudder. Never mind that the lyrics had been written three years earlier, before Downie was dying.

You could feel the resonance especially in the penultimate number, The Only Place to Be, as Chanie, frozen and hungry, lies down beside the tracks for the last time: I'll just close my eyes/I'll just catch my breath ... I've got lots of time/My whole life ahead/This is the only place to be. The end is very near by then, and in his fevered mind he sees his home, and his father, and happily leaves this world and enters whatever place it is the mere memory of someone can come from.

Then the final anthem rolled out, the lyrics riding over resolving chords: I feel here ... I hurt here ... I lived here, here and here, I die here, here and here. More places than we ever know, that is, more significant than we ever imagine.

That seems to be the way a life goes, whether it is white or native.

That was Gord Downie's point, and his retort to the anti-appropriationists.

"The white man will only listen to the white man," Claudette Commanda, a local Algonquin elder, said of the play's intentions.

"If Gord Downie's gonna be the white man that is going to go out there and raise the social conscience of Canadians and government, so be it." Sheila North Wilson, the Grand Chief of Northern Manitoba who had been with Gord up in Ogoki Post, took a more generous view. "One of the greatest gifts a man can give is to give his life for his friends," she said. "And that's what he's doing.

Decades later, that's what we'll look back on."

Maybe. Reconciliation has eluded Canada for 150 years, and while a more inclusive school curriculum is an improvement, it's still a long haul. On the other hand, three days after the Downies left Ogoki Post, Pearl had another call.

It was Mike again. The brothers wanted to build a log cabin next to hers. She couldn't believe it.

"That's where Gord wants to spend his last days, up there," Mike said. "You and I are gonna take care of Gord." Pearl is okay with that. She's taken care of dying people lots of times, and her brother-in-law is the local builder. He'll be cutting the logs in the spring.

And if the house becomes a visiting artist's residence after Gord dies, one of a future string of such houses on indigenous lands across the country financed by the fund, well, Mike Downie is a guy with a lot of ideas. Until then, Gord says, "I need to see my kids, so I'll go back and forth. I dream about it, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Because of the feeling you get when you go up there. The people I've met, they're so beautiful." Which is another way of saying they don't judge you, because they too know what it's like to face extinction.

For a video about Gord Downie's Secret Path, go to

Associated Graphic

The story of Chanie Wenjack's tragic death, 50 years ago, has drawn the terminally ill Gord Downie into a reconciliation role for his country.


Gord Downie performs his new album, Secret Path, at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday. T

The show features haunting, almost orchestral music, spare chanting lyrics and a tom-tom pulse of the drums.


Pearl Wenjack, in Ottawa on Tuesday, prepares to take in the live performance of Secret Path, the story of her brother Chanie.


Despite its scale and dazzling beauty, there's a harsh truth to digest: Australia's Great Barrier Reef could be extinct by 2050. The Lizard Island Research Station offers a backstage look at how climate change is killing one of the natural wonders of the world
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 – Print Edition, Page L1

I didn't expect the vomiting.

The ferry churns in the choppy sea. With each rising swell, the sound of retching echoes across the swaying ship, packed with queasy tourists. A beefy man covered in tattoos staggers toward the outdoor vestibule, shouldered by a kindly crew member.

"You'll be okay, mate," he says, patting Beefcakes on the back.

"Let's get you some air."

Sweaty and seasick, I grab my barf bag and join the puking party, thinking one thing: There's gotta be a better way to see the Great Barrier Reef.

Turns out, there are 99 ways to see the world's largest living structure, and a tourist boat isn't the only one. It's why this woozy writer ventures 240 kilometres north of Cairns to Australia's Lizard Island, a far-flung protected park located right on the Great Barrier Reef. Because here on this idyllic isle, there's no commute to see colourful coral and marine life - just snorkel or dive from any of the 24 whitesand beaches.

Whether you're a tourist or a scientist, Lizard Island is one of the best places on Earth for reefspotting. And considering that many scientists believe that the Great Barrier Reef is critically endangered, now is the time to see this natural wonder just in case it vanishes forever.

I get my first glimpse of the magnificent reef from the air. For an hour, the tiny plane chartered to Lizard Island soars over waters swirling with 50 shades of turquoise, cerulean and sapphire blue.

"The reef's giving you a million-dollar view today," the pilot says into his mic.

It's an incredible aerial spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef, which spans 2,300 kilometres down the east coast of Australia.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is the only living thing on Earth visible from outer space, and is home to 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 1,625 species of fish and countless other marine life.

Despite its scale and dazzling beauty, there is also a harsh truth to digest: The Great Barrier Reef is damaged and dying, but not from natural causes. Some (like The Guardian newspaper) are even calling this a "murder."

Human influences have resulted in a 50-per-cent decline in coral cover from 1985 to 2012, and despite recent conservation efforts, some scientists are predicting the Great Barrier Reef's extinction by the year 2050.

Of course, this reality flies under the radar: Most visitors flock to Lizard Island Resort for a luxurious eco-retreat rather than to witness a possible slow death of one of the natural wonders of the world.

I'm here for the reef, not relaxation. Soon, a tropical island appears in the distance, fringed with white sand and lush hills, and as the plane touches down, conjures images of King Kong's Skull Island. But it's far less ominous: If you've ever fantasized about being castaway on a dreamy, deserted island, this is your chance. Here in Lizard Island National Park, there are no shops, exactly one luxury resort and lots of lizards.

"Captain Cook named the isle," the pilot explains, helping me out of the plane. "His ship got stuck in the reef in 1770. Climbing to the hilltop to chart out a course, he kept seeing giant goannas everywhere."

Although the beach beckons, on my first day, I trek down the bumpy road to visit the Lizard Island Research Station. For 27 years, this leading institute for coral-reef research has attracted scientists from all over the world, and was recently featured on the TV series Great Barrier Reef, narrated by David Attenborough.

"The station was set up here because of its proximity to different parts of the reef," says Suze Garrett, our naturalist guide. "It's only an hour by boat to the outer reef, which keeps costs down, especially for new researchers. A lot of the science has to do with climate change."

Touring the facility, we get a backstage look at how climate change is endangering the Great Barrier Reef. Using clamps, Garrett reaches into an aquarium and warily pulls out a spiky starfish, currently considered an aquatic A-bomb of sorts.

"These crown-of-thorns can strip away a huge amount of reef," she says. "It can produce approximately two million eggs a month. Researchers have developed a single-shot lethal injection to kill off the crown-of-thorns."

With global warming, this coraleating culprit has morphed into a breeding machine and destroyed the reef in "plague proportions."

They feast on coral, sucking the tissue of all nutrients and colour and leaving a stark, white skeleton - all within one to three hours.

Since the 1980s, the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral, with the bulk of damage caused by this creature. The outbreak is so severe that the Australian government is funding dive teams to manually inject the starfish one by one. Scientists are doing what they can: The singleshot injection has limited success for the short term, but it doesn't address the devastation from cyclones or coral bleaching.

"It looks like someone ripped [the coral] off, dumped it into a bucket of bleach and put it back," says Garrett, holding up a bonewhite piece of coral.

When the ocean gets too warm for too long, the coral gets stressed and "bleaches" - spewing colourful algae living inside them and leaving behind a stark white skeleton. Without this source of energy, the coral starves, dies and eventually rots. Surveys have revealed that 93 per cent of the almost 3,000 individual reefs have been affected by bleaching, and an average of 35 per cent of coral is now dead or dying in the northern and central sections.

"We don't even know what we're losing," Garrett says.

"Because we haven't even discovered particular species. A lot of scientists believe that we've gone past the tipping point. So even if we stop what we're doing right now, it might be too late."

There's more than just a tourist attraction at stake. As I learn, the Great Barrier Reef contributes an estimated $5.2-billion annually to the Australian economy, and acts as the world's medicine cabinet, providing possible treatments for everything from cancer to heart disease. Suze plunges her hand into an aquarium and pulls out an oval-shaped coral. Cupped in her palm, the creature begins to drip a stringy goo.

"See that mucus?" she says. "It naturally protects against the UV rays. Right now, scientists are close to synthesizing it into a sunscreen pill that could significantly reduce skin cancers."

Absorbing all this info, I'm eager to explore the reef before it's gone forever. Back on the beach, I don a mask and flippers, and follow one of Lizard Island Resort's professional divers into the sea. Within minutes, I'm drifting over a sunken wonderland of colourful coral, clown fish and giant clams.

And then I see him. Lurking on the sandy floor, there's a pancakeshaped critter with a menacing stinger.

"It's a marble ray!" the guide says when we surface. "He won't hurt us, but let's give him some space."

What else lurks in these waters?

While marble rays aren't on my wish list, I'm jonesing to swim with sea turtles.

"Try snorkelling near the research centre," my guide says.

"We call it Turtle Highway. They love it there."

On my third and final day, a boat drops me on a deserted beach with a lonely stretch of powdery white sand. Here, it's desolate and quiet, with only the sound of waves lapping the shore.

For an hour, I snorkel around reefs and grassy areas, admiring the beaming coral and lively schools of fish until my legs ache.

Where are the turtles?

Suddenly, I see something bobbing in the water, and seconds later, I'm swimming with a sea turtle, side by side. It feels magical to be floating with this gentle creature, so close that I can almost touch his wrinkled face and checkered shell.

I get one last wildlife encounter before leaving paradise. Climbing aboard the boat, I turn around and wistfully gaze out onto the sea, looking for my sea turtle.

Instead, there's a black-tipped fin circling in my snorkelling spot.

"It's just a reef shark," the boat's captain says. "They're mostly harmless. Although he could bite off your leg."

Because that's how nature rolls in Australia - it's a fine line between dazzling and deadly. I'm a little rattled by the Jaws sighting, but not enough to want to depart from this dreamy island, which I hope will survive for future generations to enjoy.

"No one ever wants to leave Lizard Island," says the captain, revving up the boat's engine. "It's always one more day."

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Australia. The tourism board did not review or approve this article.


The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from April to November, when rainfall is rarer, bringing clearer visibility and better snorkelling and diving conditions.

As the most northern resort on the Great Barrier Reef, the best time to visit Lizard Island is July to September. This is well outside of the wet season (which can bring cyclones), before the hotter summer months, and a season described by locals as "heavenly."

Whether you're swimming or snorkelling, wear a "stinger suit" - a full-body Lycra outfit that makes you feel like a Teletubby. But it'll protect you from both the sun and excruciating (and potentially deadly) jellyfish stings, especially during the higher-risk period from October to May. Many resorts and outfitters provide stinger suits for guests, including the Lizard Island Resort.


A member of the Star Alliance, Air New Zealand connects to most major Canadian cities and features overnight flights from Vancouver to Auckland, with a connecting flight to Cairns. Bonus: Break up the trip and do a free stopover in New Zealand or even the tropical Cook Islands.

Since the Great Barrier Reef is located miles offshore, some form of travel is usually required. Most day trips by ferry depart from coastal cities such as Hamilton Island, Cairns or Port Douglas, and take roughly two hours or more each way. Bring seasickness pills! If this option doesn't float your boat (no pun intended), there are many enchanting islands to use as a jumping point for reef exploration: from Hayman Island, a private isle marooned in the reef, to Lady Elliot Island, a tiny isle ringed by stunning corals and home to manta rays and green turtles. Of course, there's always the magical Lizard Island.


The Lizard Island Resort is situated right on the Great Barrier Reef, fringed with coral reefs and 24 powdery white beaches to explore. Accessible only by a one-hour chartered flight from Cairns, this secluded all-inclusive resort is the sole lodging on a protected national park and offers fivestar accommodation in 40 stylish rooms and suites.

There is also an excellent day spa, as well as tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness centre and beach club that arranges reef activities and fishing excursions. If you ask nicely, staff will arrange a gourmet picnic hamper for you to enjoy on a desolate beach.

Those seeking the pinnacle of luxury should stay at the resort's new villa - a twobedroom suite with a butler's kitchen, private eight-metre plunge pool, and expansive deck perched high above the Coral Sea.

While guest pampering is paramount, remember that the Lizard Island Resort is on a far-flung tropical island and some mainland offerings (such as WiFi) may be limited. Rates from $1,800 per night, twin share.


By "Reef Sleep": Departing from Hamilton Island, you can sleep on a floating pontoon at the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays. As the sun sets, watch for sea turtles and other creatures, while enjoying a gourmet barbecue on the deck. Then lie back on your swag bag, and stargaze late into the evening. Wake at dawn for one last snorkel or scuba before heading back. Rates from $440 per person.

By seaplane or helicopter over the Heart Reef: There's only one way to see this stunning naturally heartshaped coral: from the air.

Take a seaplane or helicopter tour from Hamilton Island, and get a bird's-eye view of this famous natural wonder.

The Heart Reef is a popular site for proposals and declarations of love. The pilot will help to make the flight special if you plan on making a romantic gesture. Rates from $600 per person.

By sea walking: From Green Island, secure your noggin with a space helmet, and then walk underwater with Seawalker. On a marked trail at the bottom of the reef, helmet divers come face to face with coral and fish life.

This is easier than scuba diving, because it requires only a 10-minute briefing versus a long diving course. Rates from $172 per person.

From a glass-bottomed boat or kayak: If you don't like crowded boats or getting wet, this is a fantastic option from Lizard Island. Led by a marine expert, a flat glass-bottom boat whisks over shallow reefs, as corals, turtles, giant clams and other critters appear underneath. The boat is smaller, accommodating up to 18 passengers, and allows for a more intimate reef experience. Or for the ultimate solitude, hop in one of Lizard Island Resort's glass-bottomed kayaks, and gently glide over the reef from the shoreline.

By cruise ship: From Cairns, set out the seas with Coral Expeditions, a boutique cruise line that accommodates up to 44 people on multiday excursions to the most colourful, pristine and rarely visited sections of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the underwater world at your leisure on a glass-bottomed boat or snorkelling tour, or just laze on deserted tropical beaches or take a guided rain forest walk during stopovers.

Some trips include a morning at Lizard Island. But the best part? There's a resident marine biologist on board as your private guide, giving you the inside scoop on the reef.

Prices start from $1,596 per person, twin share, with no single supplement fee.

Associated Graphic

Top: Snorkelers swim above the Great Barrier Reef, near Lizard Island Resort, Australia. Middle: An aerial view shows a luxury lodge. Bottom: Visitors paddle through the shallow, teal waters.


A diver observes some fish in the Great Barrier Reef near Lizard Island Resort, Australia.


Joanna Slater and Affan Chowdhry take a close look at how Donald Trump's bellicose talk is riling up his core, undermining confidence in the electoral process - and flirting with all kinds of danger
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page F3

LAS VEGAS -- Only 17 days remain until the U.S. presidential election, and Robert Kuniegel believes Donald Trump is poised to win a landslide victory. Only one thing stands in Mr. Trump's way, he says - rampant voter fraud.

So, on Nov. 8, Mr. Kuniegel will travel from his home near Scranton, Pa., to the heart of Philadelphia to conduct his own independent poll monitoring. He's recruiting a group of like-minded Trump supporters to join him. They don't plan to confront anyone, he says, but will photograph the alleged abuses they've read about on right-wing websites, like people being bused from one polling place to another.

Mr. Kuniegel has long worried about the influence of powerful elites and corporations in American life. But it's only during this campaign that he began to pay attention to conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, who believes the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were an inside job.

"The country's basically been overthrown by internationalists," says Mr. Kuniegel, a newly retired corrections officer.

"They would never put up somebody like Hillary Clinton, who's so openly corrupt, if they didn't feel they could do some shenanigans and steal the election."

In a stunning turn to a campaign that has broken with nearly every norm of American politics, Mr. Trump has repeatedly declared - in rallies, on Twitter and on national TV - that the election system is somehow rigged. The last-ditch manoeuvre is part of a long pattern of attempts by Mr. Trump to divide Americans, and could have lasting consequences.

At Wednesday night's debate in Las Vegas, he made a startling assertion in response to a question about whether he would abide by a cherished principle of American elections - that, at the end of a presidential campaign, the loser respects the result and concedes to the winner. Unlike any nominee in modern memory, Mr. Trump refused to uphold that tradition. "I will tell you at the time," he said. "I will keep you in suspense."

On Thursday, he turned his debate statement into a punchline. "I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election - if I win," he told a cheering crowd in Ohio. He then pledged to honour "a clear election result," while reserving his right to challenge anything "questionable."

By making claims that the election system is beset by fraud, without any evidence, Mr. Trump has taken what was once the feverish fringe of American political discourse and placed it into the national spotlight. The question that remains for the country - and for Ms. Clinton, who is likely to become the next president - is whether this is a fever that will break on Nov. 8 or smoulder in the U.S. body politic and within the Republican Party for years to come.

Mr. Trump's rhetoric has raised fears that his supporters could engage in voter intimidation on election day in the name of uncovering ostensible fraud. And his unwillingness to declare that he will abide by the outcome of the election has introduced a destabilizing element into the most vulnerable period of the U.S. political calendar: the transition from one president to the next.

Mr. Trump's ultimate intentions remain murky. By keeping Americans in suspense about them, is he simply orchestrating a cliffhanger to keep people watching until the end of his highly rated political melodrama? Or does he seriously mean to contest the electoral results? If he does dispute the outcome, some believe, his goal is not to lead a new political movement but rather to start a new business: a right-wing television venture catering to his fervent supporters.

Whatever his goals, the Republican Party will have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces. This year's presidential campaign has revealed a party paralyzed by cleavages between its elite and its grassroots, and unable to neutralize the threat posed by a candidate like Mr. Trump. The reckoning ahead for the party promises to be a brutal one.

The realm of the preposterous For the people who deal with the nuts and bolts of U.S. elections, Mr. Trump's contention that the election result will be rigged against him belongs to the realm of the preposterous.

Indeed, Republican officials in charge of the voting process in Ohio, Georgia, Indiana and elsewhere have all publicly stated their confidence in the final counts.

Mark Braden served as counsel to the Republican National Committee for a decade and has supervised election recounts across the country. "Rigging the election system on a national basis is really impossible," he says. That's because national votes are organized by the states, and counted in a decentralized way at the precinct level. Plus, members of the two parties keep watch on each other both at polling stations and on county election boards.

There are also provisions for automatic recounts if the margin separating two candidates is slim.

Mr. Braden says it is unprecedented for a presidential candidate to question the integrity of the system prior to the vote, as Mr. Trump has done repeatedly.

"What happens if you win by 100 votes?" he asks. "Do you want to have been on record that the system is buggered?" While he's confident in the overall election process, that doesn't rule out occasional irregularities, Mr. Braden adds, especially in local elections.

Absentee ballots sent by mail have proved vulnerable to manipulation and, on occasion, poll workers have colluded to try to influence results. But research has shown that the number of such cases is minute: A study by Justin Levitt at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles found only 31 cases of voter fraud out of more than a billion ballots cast in the United States between 2000 and 2014.

Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, says that Mr. Trump's claims that the election is rigged undercuts Americans' confidence in the electoral process and could encourage rogue Trump supporters to threaten voters at polling places - or worse. Prof. Hasen pointed to a photo shared on Twitter in August by an avid Trump supporter in Florida: a pickup truck with a cage in the back and a caption saying he would watch for "shenanigans" at the polls and "haul" people away.

Mr. Trump's talk about elections being rigged sounds right to his core supporters. Part of their attraction to him is his apparent willingness to take on what he describes as a rotten system. Asked if the election is rigged, Blake Wassmann, a 20year old Trump supporter in Las Vegas, smiles and says, "It might be, because I feel that government is corrupt on the inside." He adds that he has no trust in either the media or the pre-election polls.

Jeffrey Voda, 47, another Trump voter in Las Vegas, expressed similar distrust while showing support for his candidate at Wednesday's debate at the University of Nevada.

"I just think the establishment, together with the Democrats, always seem to have some last-minute surprise - that's how they control people," he says. A fellow Trump supporter nearby is wearing a sign that reads, in large capital letters, "Rigged Biggly" - combining Mr.

Trump's assessment of the electoral system with an adverb the candidate helped coin.

Conciliatory or disruptive?

What will Mr. Trump say if he loses? Perhaps in the end, he will congratulate Ms. Clinton and move on to his next realestate venture. Or perhaps he will claim the election was stolen, undermining Ms. Clinton's legitimacy and setting off an unusually tense transition from one president to the next.

The peaceful passing of the torch is the pride of the American political system. Most historians agree that the country has maintained a track record of success in that department for well over a century.

The last hostile transition came in 1876. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes eventually became president after a hotly contested result amid widespread allegations of voter fraud. There was talk of two separate inaugurations for Mr. Hayes and his opponent, Samuel Tilden, says Edward Foley, an election-law expert at Ohio State University and the author of Ballot Battles. Some Democrats at the time dubbed president Hayes "His Fraudulency."

"In the U.S., we definitely don't have perfect institutions and we don't have perfect virtue among politicians. We have been fortunate for a century or so to have an adequate supply of both," Prof. Foley says.

"I would like to think that no one individual can destroy the system as a whole."

The last difficult presidential transition occurred in 2000, when George W. Bush lost the popular vote, but prevailed in the Electoral College, thanks to a razor-thin victory in the state of Florida. The month-long legal battle that followed centred on whether a recount could proceed in that state. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court quashed the recount and former vice-president Al Gore conceded, saying it was time for the country to come together.

Mr. Trump has not shown a great capacity for similar graciousness. And, between social media and cable news channels, he could find platforms to continue his fight against an allegedly rigged system long after losing on voting day, if he chooses. In one scenario, he could attempt to form a thirdparty to rival the GOP.

But McGill University historian Gil Troy, author of The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, is skeptical about that prospect.

Building a third party requires discipline, infrastructure and an ability to forge the kind of alliances "that Donald Trump has shown a complete disinterest in building," he says.

A more likely role for Mr. Trump, should he lose, is that of disruptor, travelling across the country to speak at rallies, and perhaps even using a new television platform to undermine the Clinton presidency, and reap profits in the process.

Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law, recently floated the idea of a new Trump-backed television venture with investment bankers, the Financial Times has reported. Stephen Bannon, Mr. Trump's campaign chairman and the founder of right-wing website Breitbart News, hasn't denied such a possibility. When asked by CNN about the rumoured media venture, he simply responded, "Trump is an entrepreneur."

Into the wilderness For America's political class, the larger question is how to put the genie back in the bottle. Mr. Trump has rampaged through the Republican Party, rewritten how presidential campaigns can be run, and inflamed passions across American society.

One distasteful consequence of the election has been to embolden extremist voices.

"The spike in hate we've seen online this election cycle is extremely troubling, and unlike anything we have seen in modern politics," Jonathan A.

Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement this week.

"A half-century ago, the KKK burned crosses. Today, extremists are burning up Twitter."

White supremacists increasingly and openly espouse their beliefs online, viewing Mr. Trump's plan to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and to ban Muslims from entering the country as part of their vision to protect the white race, says Ryan Lenz of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

In that environment, calling the election rigged is a dangerous game. "To throw that question or that suspicion into the pool of gasoline that is the American radical right, who knows what's going to happen?

But it doesn't look good," says Mr. Lenz.

"I'm not just distressed by the election. I'm distressed by the consequences of this election. I think it's going to be long-term damage," says Donald Critchlow, a political historian at Arizona State University and the author of Future Right: Forging a New Republican Majority.

"It's going to take a while for the body politic to get healthy after this."

Prof. Critchlow sees the emergence of a one-and-a-half party system. In other words, an ascendant Democratic majority and a hobbled Republican party that drifts through the political wilderness after alienating Latinos and suburban voters with its 2016 standard-bearer.

There are parallels, he adds, with the Republican Party that was locked out of the White House for two decades beginning with the 1932 election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

That party also faced a demographic challenge. It had lost support of black voters, as well as white working-class and middle-class voters hit hard by the Great Depression, says Prof. Critchlow.

In theory, the GOP could also enter a period of rebuilding, take its cue from a fed-up electorate, and work more closely with Democrats. Ms. Clinton could be swept up in national pride at having elected the first female president in American history, adds McGill's U.S.-born Prof. Troy.

But these read like wishful scenarios.

"What I'm calling the great American stress test of 2016, which we're failing, will continue. And we'll continue to fail it," he says.

Mr. Trump's supporters see the election in even more dire terms. Mr. Kuniegel, the retiree who lives in Pennsylvania and intends to monitor polling places on election day, says that, if Mr. Trump loses, "the United States will be no more - no, really," he says. "We'll have elections, but sovereignty will slowly move to the international stage."

Mr. Kuniegel points to to a speech Mr. Trump gave this month in Florida in which the Republican nominee described "a small handful of global special interests rigging the system" and a "corrupt political establishment" with "virtually unlimited" resources out to stop him at all costs.

"That's the truth, there's nothing they would not do," says Mr. Kuniegel. "They cannot let him have it."

Joanna Slater is a U.S. correspondent for The Globe and Mail.

Affan Chowdhry is a reporter with The Globe.

Associated Graphic

Below: A young fan impersonating Donald Trump at a campaign event in Cincinnati may have to cope with fallout from his hero's actions when he grows up. 'I'm distressed by the consequences of this election,' says one observer. 'I think it's going to be long-term damage.'


Above: Voter wristbands at an advance poll in Chicago this week. There is now fear Trump supporters could disrupt election day in the name of uncovering alleged fraud.


... Trump fires up an Ohio rally at his first appearance after the final debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, in which he repeated his allegations of electoral abuse.


Family matters
How Guy Laurence lost control
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B10

Joe Natale, the one-time chief executive officer of Telus Corp., spent the last weeks of summer on his dock at Lake of Bays, Ont., pondering two of the biggest moves of his life.

One was, quite literally, a move: Mr. Natale and his wife, Melissa Martin, had decided to relocate from the affluent suburb of Oakville, Ont., where they'd raised three daughters, to a home in Toronto. The second, more difficult decision was what to do next in his career - and when to get on with it.

He had been shoved aside in August, 2015, after just 15 months in charge at Telus and left the company late last year, following a short transition period. After such a bruising public exit, Mr. Natale was telling friends and colleagues in the spring that he planned to spend the summer relaxing at his cottage, then consider his work options in the fall.

But in the meantime, someone with huge power began to show an interest in him: Edward Rogers, son of the late Ted Rogers, the founder of Rogers Communications Inc.

The Rogers empire had been run since late 2013 by Guy Laurence, a British transplant who had been hired from Vodafone Group Plc, and quickly embarked on a huge restructuring.

By this summer, he had reason to believe it was finally paying off. When Rogers announced second-quarter results in July, Mr. Laurence could point to 65,000 new wireless contracts - double what analysts predicted - and surging wireless service and Internet revenue. The stock price, $46 when Mr. Laurence arrived, rose to nearly $59 in August, a record high. And the third-quarter numbers announced this week included 114,000 net contract subscribers, the most in six years.

He might have thought that numbers like that would protect his job, despite his often-bumpy relationship with members of the Rogers family. How wrong.

On Sunday, after a hastily called board meeting, Mr. Laurence was summoned to the Rogers head office and fired by Alan Horn, the chairman of the board.

By late Sunday evening, stunned senior executives were being briefed on a confidential call: Mr. Laurence was out, Mr. Horn was in as interim CEO, to replaced soon by Mr. Natale.

What happened?

Sources close to the company say that Mr. Laurence's undoing was his testy relationship with the children of Ted Rogers, and his blithe attempt to run the business as though it were a regular public company - and not one controlled by a sometimesfractious family with a deep desire to protect the founder's legacy.

In fact, sources confirmed that the Rogers board had its eye on

Mr. Natale ever since he left Telus last year. The long courtship to land him began in earnest about six months ago, with efforts to sound him out about the idea.

Support grew for dumping Mr. Laurence within the company's board too, driven by Edward Rogers, one of the most active members of the Rogers family, along with Mr. Horn and vice-chairman Phil Lind, longtime Rogers loyalists who were key players in its rise to become the country's largest wireless provider.

Mr. Natale likely won't join the company until some time in 2017 because of a non-compete agreement with Telus that is believed to expire next summer. But when he does, he'll find it an easy commute: on Sept. 21, he closed a deal to purchase a house on one of the more desirable streets in Rosedale, a convenient five-minute drive from the complex of Rogers buildings at Bloor Street East and Jarvis Street.

It is not the first time that Rogers has had a messy succession.

In 2013, Nadir Mohamed, the man who'd taken over after Ted Rogers's death in 2008, stepped down unexpectedly with no heir apparent in sight.

Thus began a months-long search for a new CEO that eventually brought Mr. Laurence to Canada. The hiring was championed by Edward Rogers, one of four Rogers family members on the board.

Mr. Laurence's first move was to crisscross the country on a "listening tour." He did individual interviews with dozens of executives and senior managers and heard from many more through a written survey of "seven questions" about how the company could improve. Mr. Laurence documented his progress with words and photos on "Guy's blog" on the company intranet site.

One of the last stops on his listening tour, in the spring of 2014, was a visit to Loretta Rogers, Ted Rogers's widow. It's believed that in that meeting he explained the rationale behind his plan to remove her children, Edward Rogers and Melinda Rogers, from their operating roles in the company - a delicate task that had broad support in the company's senior ranks. (Melinda Rogers was senior vice-president involved in corporate strategy while Edward Rogers held an executive vice-president role.)

Some close to the company say this move, and the way Mr. Laurence handled it, was the start of ongoing friction between the CEO and key family members, which would grow more acrimonious as time went on.

Still, Mr. Laurence seemed unaware the axe might be about to fall until the day that it did - perhaps thinking the company's gains in share price and wireless subscribers would insulate him from criticism.

While there was no obvious trigger or definitive clash with the family that sealed Mr. Laurence's fate last week, key directors in charge of wooing Mr. Natale worried that he was in danger of slipping away. Sources say that in addition to the Rogers job, he was considering an investment in a smaller company where he would take an operational role.

"He had options, too. So we had to move," said Mr. Lind said in an interview this week.

Mr. Laurence, Mr. Natale, Mr. Horn and Edward Rogers declined to grant interviews.

The role will give Mr. Natale a second chance to run one of Canada's Big Three wireless companies - under different circumstances than he'd been afforded at Telus. Mr. Natale was promoted to CEO there in 2014 - in part to keep him on the Telus team and away from Rogers - but former CEO Darren Entwistle remained a domineering presence, still actively involved in operations as executive chairman of the board.

Mr. Natale first joined Telus in 2003 and had ambitions to sit in the CEO's chair from the beginning. After a stint heading up the company's enterprise and small and medium-size business division, he took over the crucial wireless business following the departure of George Cope and others for BCE Inc.

Mr. Natale, whose leadership style is based on building good teams and encouraging the talents of his staff, thrived in the role. He spearheaded the development of its "customers first" revamp of customer experience, an idea some telecom veterans questioned at the time, warning it could erode revenues. But it paid off through reduced rate of customer turnover and lower marketing costs and has now become close to gospel at Telus, copied elsewhere in the industry.

Mr. Laurence made turning around Rogers's reputation for poor service his first priority when he arrived. He frequently recounts a story of arriving at customs when he first came to Canada. While waiting for the agent to stamp his work visa, he revealed where he was going to work, and the agent replied, "Welcome to Canada. Your service sucks."

Mr. Laurence instituted a new way of tracking progress on customer service that became evermore important at the company - and tied to performance bonuses - over the last two years: Net promoter score. Customers are asked to rate their experience and after subtracting the ratings of "detractors" from those of "promoters," a score is produced on a scale from minus-100 to plus-100. The higher the score, the more likely it is that customers would recommend the company or its services to others.

Rogers began tracking two types of NPS, one for front-line employees - call centre operators, field technicians and store agents - and one for the overall relationship people have with the company. Mr. Laurence and the new team of executives he recruited implemented new measures like an easier-to-understand bill, streamlined cellphone, Internet and cellphone packages, and a simple (and relatively affordable) international wireless roaming package. Rogers has been investing $100-million per year on customer service improvements and says it has made encouraging progress on the front-line NPS.

But improving overall perception of the company has been more difficult. At one point part way through Mr. Laurence's tenure, the NPS score for Rogers as a whole was minus-27, according to one source close to the company. (Rogers does not publicly disclose its scores.) And although Mr. Laurence had set an ambitious goal to turn the score positive, and Rogers says it has made progress on the NPS metric, it has been harder to repair the company's brand than many of its executives had hoped.

During a town hall-style meeting with hundreds of the top managers at Rogers on Tuesday, Edward Rogers and Mr. Horn reassured employees that the company was doing well, making strides on wireless subscribers and Internet sales, and that Mr. Laurence's sudden departure was not an indictment of their work.

But the pair also suggested that more work was needed on customer service as well as Rogers's outdated cable television product. And the meeting cast doubt on the future of some of Mr. Laurence's pet initiatives - such as Sharespace, a high-priced plan to renovate the Rogers's offices with open seating instead of cubicles to encourage more teamwork and collaboration.

Many believe Mr. Natale will be able to apply his experience driving customer relations at Telus to his new job at Rogers. While at Telus, Mr. Natale was also closely involved in the launch of its IPTV (Internet protocol television) product known as Optik TV, which quickly became a headache for western cable rival Shaw Communications Inc. as Telus gobbled up television market share. IPTV offers advantages like the ability to pause and restart on different TVs and watch content on a range of devices plus navigation menus that can browse content on services like Netflix as well as conventional TV stations.

Rogers faces the same challenge in the east, primarily due to competition from BCE's Fibe TV, and its own plan to roll out a next-generation IPTV service developed in-house has been in the works for more than five years and plagued by delays. Mr. Laurence prided himself on a reputation for delivering results on time, without excuses, but the project has taken far longer than expected to complete.

"Yes, I think it's very clear to everyone that our TV product is not as good as it needs to be and there are better products out there," Mr. Laurence admitted during an investor conference in September, adding that the company has a product it is proud of but still not quite ready to launch. "We'll introduce it in a beta format towards the end of the year... but I'm not promising that. We'll launch it when we're ready. It looks great, it is great, it will be great."

But IPTV, along with his other projects, will now remain unfinished business for Mr. Laurence, as Mr. Horn takes over as interim CEO. Mr. Natale signed a two-year non-compete agreement with Telus and while a source close to the Telus board says Rogers is currently negotiating with the company over an earlier end to the deal, it is unclear when he will be able to join the Toronto company and it could be as late as next summer.

"As with any leadership change, we expect Natale will need several months to fully learn the organization... adding to the timeline is Natale's non-compete commitment to Telus, on which we believe Rogers is currently seeking legal clarity," Barclays Capital analyst Phillip Huang wrote in a report this week.

"In any event, 2017 is now poised to be another year of transition for Rogers, following several years of disruptive changes," Mr. Huang added, referencing the CEO change in 2013 as well as the company's move to a wireless strategy that preferred higher-value customers over high volumes of subscribers (which saw Rogers report several quarters of low and even negative subscriber additions). "As such, we continue to stay on the sidelines despite Rogers' improving momentum."

Rogers has also paid a heavy price for its apparently fickle approach to leadership, at a time when it has slashed hundreds of jobs and paused dividend hikes amid concerns over cash flow and debt leverage. It paid Mr. Mohamed $26.8-million in 2013, a sum that included a $17.1-million retirement package, and has paid Mr. Laurence $32.9-million over the past three years, including about $10-million in cash signing bonuses and stock-based compensation to recruit him away from Vodafone.

In addition to that, Rogers' corporate filings indicate the company must pay Mr. Laurence $16-million in the event of termination without cause.

Associated Graphic

Out: Guy Laurence came into the Rogers family less than three years ago as the ultimate outsider. His failure to embrace that family may have been his undoing.


Edward Rogers, Ted Rogers's son, shown in 2014, was removed by Mr. Laurence as deputy chair of Rogers Communications.


On Sunday, after a hastily called board meeting, Alan Horn, the chairman of the board summoned Mr. Laurence to the Rogers head office and fired him.


Melinda Rogers, Ted Rogers's daughter, seen in 2013, was removed as senior vice-president, strategy and development at Rogers by Mr. Laurence.


In: With expertise in the Canadian telecom landscape built over more than a decade at Telus, Joe Natale is expected to drive a customer-service overhaul at Rogers.



The all-black palette that has become ubiquitous in everything from supercars to timepieces is creeping into the world of cuisine. Karen Pinchin introduces the most curious additions to baking this autumn - charcoal and squid ink
Friday, October 14, 2016 – Print Edition, Page P42

In the winter of 1783, Grimod de la Reynière, a wealthy Parisian known as the "prince of gastronomes," served a black banquet staged as a funeral. In a candlelit hall adorned with black bunting, dishes were served to guests who were flanked by their own coffins. After being accused of madness, the eccentric host ordered the doors locked and guests were held hostage until almost dawn.

It is in this tradition that we are both attracted to and repelled by black breads. Not to be confused with dark Russian-style pumpernickel loaves, these breads are truly black, tinted with squid ink or powdered, food-grade charcoal. Big in Japan for years now, the trend is finally hitting North American menus.

For Ottawa chef Antonio Vacchio of Zolas Restaurant, the initial allure of black pizza crust was aesthetic. Using Indonesian coconut charcoal powder he orders online, Vacchio flavours his black dough with fennel pollen and rosemary, pinching it with white dough for a two-toned pizza. "It's a cool conversation piece," he says. "When it comes out of the oven, when you brush it with a bit of olive oil, it really pops."

One challenge for bakers is that it's nearly impossible to see when these breads are ready, as the tint obscures the rich chestnut-brown of a perfect crust. "When you're dealing with black bread, you never get to see that. So you have to be on it," says Vancouver baker and Tartine alum Annabelle Choi, who uses fine charcoal sourced from bamboo. "Even in the smallest amounts, you're changing the structure of your dough to make it more billowy, softer," she says.

And while the hue is striking, she says diners are often uncomfortable with it. "Visually, things that have gone black, we associate with carbon or mould. In nature we're attracted to things that are bright and full of colour," she says. "It jolts us because it's going against what we know. But if your foundation is black and then you have a garnish that's the exact opposite, it's jarring - and quite stunning."

* * *


The coconut filing adds a nice contrast to the deep hue of these classic croissants. Making croissants from scratch takes time, so start this recipe on Friday evening if you plan to serve them at Sunday brunch. Using a pre-ferment develops both gluten and flavour in the dough. Think of it as a cheater's sourdough starter.



1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp charcoal powder

⅔ cup water

1/8 tsp active dry yeast


Pre-ferment (above)

2¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp charcoal powder

2 tbsp sugar

1¼ tsp salt

1½ tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

½ cup water

¼ cup plus 1 tsp milk

1 tsp active dry yeast


250 g unsalted butter at room temperature


1 large egg

Pinch salt

1 tsp water

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ingredients for the pre-ferment until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 10 hours.

In a large bowl, make the croissant dough by combining the flour, charcoal, sugar and salt. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until well combined. In a small saucepan warm the water and milk until body temperature, sprinkle in the yeast and allow it to dissolve for a few minutes. Combine the liquids, flour and pre-ferment. Mix until combined.

Turn dough out onto a clean, floured surface. Knead for around 4 minutes until it has become smooth and elastic (it should make a small transparent "window" when stretched). Place dough on a sheet pan, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

On a clean, floured surface roll dough into a 10-inch by 20-inch rectangle, dust off excess flour. In a bowl, work the butter by hand until it has the consistency of toothpaste. Place the dough long side in front of you and imagine you're going to fold it into three, like a pamphlet. Spread all the butter on the left two thirds of the dough using your fingers or a spatula, leaving a ½-inch border. Fold the unbuttered right third over the middle third. Fold the remaining left side overtop. You should have 3 layers of dough, each separated by a layer of butter.

Turn the dough so the ends are facing left and right. Roll dough into a 10-inch by 20-inch rectangle and fold into thirds again. Place on a sheet pan, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Repeat the folding process, again folding the dough into thirds. Place it back onto the sheet pan, wrap well and freeze for 1 hour.

Make the egg wash by combining the egg, salt and water. Roll the dough into a 20-inch by 12-inch rectangle, with the long side closest to you. Using a ruler, mark the dough at 4-inch intervals along the bottom and top of the rectangle. Cut the dough into triangles 4 inches wide at the base. Make a 1-inch long nick in the base of each triangle.

Holding both sides of the base taught, roll it towards the tip, forming a croissant. Place the finished croissants on parchment-lined baking sheets, 5 per sheet. Brush croissants with egg wash, cover with plastic wrap, let rise until at least double in size. Gently egg wash a second time and allow the croissants to sit for 10 minutes uncovered.

Preheat oven to 425 F with the racks in the lower half. Put croissants in the oven and reduce temperature to 400 F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, rotating trays after 10 minutes, until bottoms are browned. If in doubt, break one open to check if it's cooked. Allow to cool.

* * *


1½ cups coconut milk

1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

5 tbsp sugar

6½ oz cream cheese, softened

1 tbsp dark rum

¼ tsp coconut essence (optional)

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

1 tsp water

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350 F.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milk, desiccated coconut and sugar to a boil, stirring often, until thick and reduced by two thirds. Add cream cheese, rum and coconut essence if using. Stir to combine.

Split the croissant in half lengthwise. Fill each croissant and replace the top.

Mix the egg and salt with water. Brush each croissant with the egg and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake 10 minutes until filling is hot and top is browned.

Makes 10 servings.

* * *


The hot dog buns created for this recipe are tinted with squid ink, though cuttlefish ink will work as well. You will get 10 buns out of the dough, or shape the mixture into balls before flattening them to create hamburger rolls instead. Gochujang is a sweet Korean chili paste. If it's not available, substitute sriracha to your taste.



2 tsp active dry yeast

¾ cup warm milk

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp squid or cuttlefish ink

2 large eggs

1 tsp salt

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and shaping

¼ cup unsalted butter


3 tbsp melted butter

1 large egg

Pinch salt

1 tsp water

⅓ cup black or white sesame seeds

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over milk and let dissolve for 5 minutes. In another bowl, combine honey, ink and eggs. Mix well. In a large bowl, combine salt and flour. Add the milk and ink mixtures, and the butter, to the flour mixture and combine with a wooden spoon. Turn onto a clean, well-floured surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and springy, around 4 minutes.

Place 1 tbsp of melted butter in a large clean bowl. Add dough and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, around 2 hours.

Turn dough onto a clean, floured surface and knock down. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces. Flatten a piece of dough into a small rectangle, and roll it up into a long cylinder, about 6 inches long, tapering the ends slightly. Repeat with remaining dough. Place buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet in 2 rows, equally spaced, with the seams down. Brush with 2 tbsp of melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size (1 to 2 hours).

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To finish, in a small bowl, combine egg, salt and water. Brush on buns and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Bake in lower third of oven until buns sound hollow when tapped. Drizzle with remaining butter and allow to cool.

Makes 10 buns.

* * *


5 large boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 small onion, grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)

¼ cup ketchup

¼ cup honey

½ tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 large eggs

½ cup flour

⅔ cup cornstarch

Oil for deep frying

1 large bunch watercress, washed

1 cup mayonnaise

Toasted sesame seeds

Shredded nori

Salt and pepper

Slice each chicken thigh into 6 strips. Mix with onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, mix gochujang, ketchup, honey, sesame oil and lemon juice. In another bowl, mix eggs and 2 tbsp of the gochujang mixture. In a third bowl, mix flour and cornstarch, season with salt and pepper. In a large pot, heat oil to 350 F.

Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg, then the cornstarch mixture. Deep fry until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.

To build sandwiches, spread mayonnaise on each bun, dress with watercress, chicken and gochujang mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds and nori shreds.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

* * *


Colourful toppings including cherry tomatoes, ham and parsley oil stand out on this tonal take on a gourmet pie. The recipe includes enough dough and toppings for two pizzas that, together, can easily serve four people as a main course.


1 tsp active dry yeast

1 cup warm water, plus more as needed

2½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp charcoal powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and allow to dissolve for 5 minutes. Add flour, charcoal powder, salt and sugar. Mix well with a wooden spoon until dough comes together. If dough seems stiff, add an additional 1 tbsp of water.

Turn onto a clean, floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic but not overly tight, around 3 to 4 minutes. Grease a large bowl generously with olive oil, add dough and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours, or overnight in the fridge.

Makes 2 pizzas.

* * *


2 cups milk

1 bay leaf

3 cloves garlic, roughly smashed

5 peppercorns

¼ cup flour

6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

3 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

1 large onion, sliced

1 small bunch parsley, stems removed

½ cup olive oil

1 cup cherry tomatoes

10 slices cooked ham, roughly torn

Salt and pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, bay leaf, 2 garlic cloves and peppercorns to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and discard solids.

Clean the saucepan and return it to the heat with the flour and 4 tbsp of butter. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring and being careful not to brown. Remove from heat. Whisk milk into flour and butter until combined. Return to medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in mustard and cheese. Cool and refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 550 F with a sheet pan turned upside down inside (if using a pizza stone, follow manufacturer's directions). In a frying pan over medium-low heat, melt remaining butter and gently sauté onion until soft but not browned. Season with salt and pepper. In a food processor, chop parsley and remaining garlic with a good pinch of salt. Add olive oil and set aside.

Divide pizza dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch the dough until it forms a thin, 12-to-15-inch circle. Carefully remove sheet pan from oven and place dough on the bottom of the pan, keeping the pan upside down. Return to oven and cook for 1 minute or until dough is cooked through. Remove dough from oven and dress with half of the Gruyère sauce, onions and cherry tomatoes.

Return the dough to the oven and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, until pizza is browned and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and dress pizza with ham and parsley sauce. Cut and serve. Repeat the recipe with remaining dough and toppings.

* * *

Food styling and recipe creation by Michael Elliott for Judy Inc. Prop styling by Stephanie Saunders for Judy Inc.

Associated Graphic







Agent of abuse
When young male models stepped forward to accuse Toronto agent Norwayne Anderson of sexual abuse, they exposed the ugly side of a world obsessed with beauty By Eric Andrew-Gee
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page M1

As usual, he was sharply dressed. Pointy black shoes, blue suit, a trench coat.

And thinner now - almost gaunt. Norwayne Anderson had become the sort of man that he liked.

Supporters trailed him into the courtroom, speaking in hushed voices. The modelling agent, a fixture of Toronto's fashion scene for two decades, was facing five counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation for molesting three young male models over a dozen years.

At times, Mr. Anderson seemed almost to be enjoying himself. When his lawyer at the time, Joseph Neuberger, told the judge his client was "a lot skinnier now than he was," owing to a bout of liver disease, Mr. Anderson gave an amused snort.

His insouciance would not last.

As two of his victims testified that morning in Toronto's Superior Court of Justice, Mr. Anderson's thick eyebrows knitted into a look of alarm.

The court heard about a man who lured teenagers into his care with promises of glamour and fame only to abuse them in ways that would leave marks of confusion and self-doubt for years.

Nearly 15 years after he was sexually assaulted by Mr. Anderson, one victim said, the experience had left him "messed up" and in therapy. (The names of the three men, two of whom were minors when the incidents took place, are protected by a publication ban.)

According to industry observers and insiders in Canada and the United States, it is a sequence of events that is all too common in the world of fashion - goes on in the shadows and rarely meets the spotlight of the criminal justice system. A complex of factors makes models especially vulnerable: the sexualized nature of their work, their youth and precarious position in the business, and a culture that discourages criticism of industry leaders.

Susan Scafidi, founding director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University School of Law in New York, said the surprise in Mr. Anderson's case was not the assaults, but that they were prosecuted.

Mr. Anderson denied all the allegations against him, saying he never touched his clients inappropriately. In May, a jury sided with his accusers, convicting Mr. Anderson on five of the six counts he faced. The sixth, a sexual assault charge, resulted in a hung jury.

'Part of the job' I heard about Mr. Anderson's arrest from a friend, who e-mailed me a story about it almost exactly three years ago. He knew I would be interested - for years, I had been getting laughs with a breezy, self-deprecating story about my brush with the modelling agent.

When I was 18, one of his female employees spotted me on the street and said she liked my "look." Eager for a summer job before starting university, I accepted her offer to pose for him.

My look, however, did not please Mr. Anderson. Although I cut a waifish figure after half a year of backpacking on a tight budget, he concluded I had too much "baby fat" and needed to look more "gaunt."

By that time, the court heard, Mr. Anderson had sexually assaulted at least two male models.

The first victim he met in 1998.

John Smith (victims' names have been changed) was standing on the northbound platform of the Bloor subway station with a group of friends, when a tall, Jamaican-Canadian man approached the boys and said John should consider modelling.

Instead of handing over a business card, Mr. Anderson wrote his contact information on a Lotto 6/49 ticket. Mr. Smith was skeptical about the offer, coming from a stranger without credentials. But he was also flattered, he recalled at the preliminary hearing and later the trial, which is documented in court transcripts.

Eventually, Mr. Smith contacted Mr. Anderson, who told him to come by his home office near Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue, and bring Polaroid selfportraits. He went alone. He was about 16.

Mr. Anderson sparked the teenager's interest with grand talk of travelling to New York and building a portfolio, and took some photos of his new client in underwear and without a shirt. Mr. Anderson assured Mr. Smith "the body was part of modelling."

It was their second or third session when Mr. Anderson had Mr.

Smith change out of his boxers and into a pair of briefs and asked whether he had shaved his pubic hair. When Mr. Smith said he had not, Mr. Anderson asked if he could look anyway.

"He indicated that it was of some importance that he see my penis," Mr. Smith testified.

The agent used two fingers to pull out the elastic of Mr. Smith's underwear and looked at his penis for about five seconds. Mr. Smith said he entered what he later called a "non-reactive state."

"I don't recall saying anything," he said. "Part of me took it as part of the job."

Unwanted come-ons In an industry that revolves around the objectification of beautiful young bodies, often scantily dressed and needing to be manipulated by photographers, art directors and agents, opportunities for sexual abuse are rampant. The innocence of young models leaves them especially vulnerable, Ms. Scafidi says. "It's natural for a 16-year-old to think, 'Okay, I guess this is what we do here.' And to want to please the grownups. And that can lead to uninformed consent."

The modelling world is rife with stories of sexual abuse and impropriety. The former supermodel Carré Otis wrote in a 2011 memoir that when she was 17, she was raped by her agent, Gérald Marie, one-time head of the model management firm Elite Europe. (Mr. Marie has never addressed the allegation, although he was forced to resign from Elite in 1999 after video surfaced showing him boasting about plans to have sex with underage models.) Accounts of unwanted come-ons by the rockstar fashion photographer Terry Richardson, meanwhile, are common. (He denies these.)

Lower-profile cases at the margins of the industry are even more common. In March and April, the Toronto photographer Mark Holland was charged with sexually assaulting five women between the ages of 15 and 27, beginning in 1994 and as recently as this year. Mr. Holland is one of at least four Toronto photographers charged with sexually assaulting female models since 2012.

Although it receives less attention, the sexual exploitation of young male models is also a problem in the industry, Ms. Scafidi said. Male models have come to the legal clinic she runs at the Fashion Law Institute looking to break off contracts because bookers or agents have sought unwanted sexual contact.

'Ooze sexuality' At first, John Smith did not mention his experience with Mr. Anderson to anyone. In the summer of 2000, he was still represented by Norwayne Anderson Models, and attended a fashion show in Toronto's posh Yorkville neighbourhood with Mr. Anderson. That is where the modelling agent met Mark Wilson.

Mr. Wilson was also about 16 and remembers feeling "excitement" when Mr. Anderson told him he could be a model. He went to the agent's office for a photo shoot, and Mr. Anderson asked the young man to strip to his underwear and took photos.

When the photo shoot was over, Mr. Anderson sat at his dining room table and asked Mr. Wilson to come over. With his face at the teen's waist, he pulled down Mr. Wilson's boxer briefs slightly and said he should shave his pubic hair. Then he continued pulling the underwear down, and started stroking Mr. Wilson's penis.

"He spoke about being comfortable with my sexuality," Mr. Wilson later testified. Mr. Anderson said that to be a successful model, "you had to have a look of sex in your eye," and "ooze sexuality."

"I just sort of froze up," Mr. Wilson recalled. "I didn't know what to think or feel. I was in disbelief that it was happening, and I just wanted it to end."

Mr. Anderson continued, cupping Mr. Wilson's penis in his hand and moving his hand back and forth for about five minutes, trying to arouse the 16-year-old.

"I remember just trying to go somewhere else in my mind a little bit," Mr. Wilson said.

Afterward, Mr. Anderson told him the process was called "fluffing" and that it was "something that's done, in fashion ... to make models feel more comfortable being sexual."

Weeks later, Mr. Anderson brought up the incident in a phone call, and asked the young man how it had made him feel.

"I remember just laughing it off nervously," he testified.

Tough love Over the next decade, Mr. Anderson grew into an industry player, representing models who appeared in campaigns by Calvin Klein and Burberry, among many others. Mr. Anderson had a toughlove attitude toward his clients, said Marek Matwiejczuk, a wardrobe stylist and art director who has worked with Mr. Anderson and remains friends with him.

He said that approach instilled a sense of respect in his young clients. "He's sort of a mother figure.

He represented a model, and he would sort of put them in their place when they needed to be put in their place," Mr. Matwiejczuk said. "He was grooming them to become stars."

Mr. Wilson became one of those stars. His career flourished with Mr. Anderson. He had shoots for fashion retailers and glossy magazines alike, and still models parttime. Mr. Anderson remained his "mother agent," setting up gigs in Toronto and relaying bookings from abroad.

The 2000 assault was never repeated, and for years, Mr. Wilson kept it to himself. He and Mr. Anderson continued to see each other socially, going to nightclubs or Mr. Anderson's King Street condo.

It is relatively common for people in the fashion industry to hold off on reporting harassment or abuse, researchers and insiders say. A veteran of the Toronto fashion scene who asked not to be named to preserve her professional relationships said she had been sexually abused in the workplace and not reported it. The precariousness of many fashion jobs leaves those on the industry's bottom rungs vulnerable to exploitation.

"There aren't many jobs in the industry where you can make a living, and the people in authority really take advantage of that," she said. "How can it go on for so long? Because people have to pay their rent. And that's the really sad truth about fashion in Canada."

Men in the fashion world face especially tall psychic barriers to reporting abuse, Ms. Scafidi said, because of persistent stigmas around male vulnerability and gay sex.

"I think perhaps the reason we hear less about it is because there is even more shame among the young men, especially the straight young men," she said. "I think there is a sense that it is less than masculine not to be able to protect yourself."

'Bad-boy look' The tipping point came for Mr. Smith, who had long-since given up modelling, when he saw Mr.

Anderson in a club with a group of young men and decided that his abuse must still be going on.

Soon after, Mr. Smith called the Toronto police Sex Crimes Unit.

Mr. Wilson, whom he knew, soon followed suit.

Another client also went to the police with a claim of sexual assault. In court, he testified that when Mr. Anderson was photographing him in a hallway outside the agent's office, he grabbed the young man's penis over his underwear and adjusted it without asking. Several months later, he said, Mr. Anderson touched his penis for several minutes in the agent's office.

I met Mr. Anderson in that same office, around the same time. He paid me a series of rather stilted compliments - "You have a blueblood, bad-boy look ... like Prince Harry" - and had me pose for photos with odd directions, including a request that I put my thumbs in my pockets "like Marky Mark."

But my experience with Mr. Anderson was innocuous. My father accompanied me.

In January, Mr. Anderson appeared in court to face another count of sexual assault, also against a male model, whose name is protected by a publication ban. One condition of Mr.

Anderson's bail: that he not be alone with anyone under the age of 18.

Associated Graphic

Norwayne Anderson, a well-known agent for models, enters the University Avenue courthouse for sentencing on Sept. 15. He was convicted on five sex-related charges.


Artist led Indian Group of Seven
Considered the grandmother of contemporary indigenous art, she also drew on European influences
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page S12

Daphne Odjig blended aboriginal experience with what she had learned from European artists to produce a uniquely expressive style of contemporary painting that helped propel aboriginal art out of the anthropology museums and kitschy gift shops into galleries of fine art - a tectonic shift in Canadian art history.

Works by the self-taught artist now belong to the collections of the National Gallery, the McMichael gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Imperial Oil, Kamloops Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, El Al Airlines, and countless other public and private collections. Her paintings have appeared on postage stamps and been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Lahr, Germany.

Her 1978 masterpiece, The Indian in Transition, an 8-metre-long mural hanging in the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization), has provided a colourful backdrop to many government announcements and awards presentations. The First Nations artist and curator Robert Houle has described it as a depiction of Ms. Odjig's "personal struggle as an artist, as a woman and as an Indian in modern Canada ... a monumental canvas fired with the same passion of social and political justice as Pablo Picasso's famous Guernica."

Its four parts depict the intact Indian culture, symbolized by the drum and protected by the mythic thunderbird; the arrival of a European sailing ship carrying white-faced men; the destruction of the culture and impoverishment of the indigenous people, symbolized by a broken drum and empty whisky bottle; and finally the rekindling of the culture and reappearance of the protective thunderbird.

Ms. Odjig herself lived the transition she painted: from the child of an Ojibwa father and an English mother raised on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, on Ontario's Manitoulin Island; to a young woman looked down on by her own white relatives on the mainland, to the point where she and her three siblings came to fudge their origins and change their name to Fisher (a translation of Odjig); to a proud reclaiming of her aboriginal heritage when she was 45 and the long-suppressed powwow was just being revived.

Reluctant to join in the dancing while on a visit back to her birthplace, she was soon drawn into the circle by family members: "I began to dance to the drum and I became an Indian," she later said.

Ms. Odjig died on Oct. 1, in a long-term care home in Kelowna, B.C., at the age of 97, after a long and fruitful artistic career. Her son, Stanley Somerville, who lives in Kelowna, transferred her there from her home in Penticton four years earlier, after she lost her husband. "I was holding her hand when she left us," he said in a phone interview. "Her heart finally gave out. There was no cause of death other than old age."

Daphne Odjig was born Sept. 11, 1919, in Wikwemikong (Wiki to locals) the first of four children of Dominic Odjig, the village constable of Ojibwa-Odawa heritage, and his English wife, Joyce Peachey Odjig. Dominic had fought in the First World War, and Joyce followed him home to Manitoulin Island as a war bride.

Ms. Odjig spoke Anishnabe until she left the reserve and lost her fluency. She had an idyllic childhood growing up in a house with hand-carved door posts that was built by her grandfather Jonas. Their home had no plumbing or electricity, but the family was relatively prosperous since they owned a team of horses, an apple orchard, pigs and dairy cows. It was the children's job to milk the cows before school and separate the cream.

Grandfather Jonas was a gifted stone carver with strong Christian values; he made all the tombstones in the local cemetery and would not tolerate any profanity in the house. The children went to a Jesuit-run school where art was a young Daphne's favourite subject; Daphne dreamed of being a teacher until she developed rheumatic fever and had to drop out of Grade 8. She remained fragile for the next three years and was often confined to bed. It was during this period that she grew close to her grandfather, who encouraged her to draw, and let her watch him work. "I was his little shadow," she later recalled.

Many years later she painted a triple portrait of her mother, father and Grandfather Jonas and called it Three Powerful Influences.

Her mother, Joyce, was fragile and lacked the strength to run a large household. Her energy was further drained when her mother (Daphne's widowed English grandmother) showed up with Joyce's eight younger brothers and moved in. According to the 1992 biography, A Paintbrush in My Hand by Rosemond Vanderburgh and Beth Southcott, the Odjigs were relieved when Grandma Peachey and her boys moved to Parry Sound, Ont.

When she was 18, her beloved mother and grandfather both died. Dominic Odjig quickly remarried and started another family. There was no place for Daphne, her brothers Donald and Stanley, and sister Winnie. The four adolescents moved to Parry Sound, but if they expected compassion or help at the home of their white grandmother and uncles, they were disappointed.

Jobs in Parry Sound were hard to find in the 1930s and not likely to go to Indians.

Donald and Stanley Fisher, as they were now called, eventually returned to the reserve on Manitoulin while the Fisher sisters headed south, having heard that there was work for women in munitions plants in Toronto following the outbreak of the Second World War. They found jobs at the Dr. Ballard's dog food plant and later at the John Inglis factory on the assembly line, making Colt Browning guns. In Toronto, no one cared that they were halfIndian. Daphne bought stylish clothes and professional art supplies for the first time. Tall and slim, she cut an elegant figure and had many admirers.

She discovered the library, with its books on art, and frequented the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Eaton's College Street, then an important showcase for artists.

Eager to learn the technique of oil painting, she visited the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University) to inquire about studying there but could not afford to give up her job. She would teach herself to paint through intense solitary artistic experimentation over the next decade. She did not know other artists.

After the war ended, she moved to British Columbia to marry Paul Somerville, a Mohawk RCAF veteran with whom she had fallen in love in Toronto. She became stepmother to his son, David, from his first marriage, and in 1948, gave birth to their son, Stanley.

Paul worked in a psychiatric hospital but dreamed of starting a strawberry farm. The couple bought 30 fertile acres on Cultus Lake, B.C.

In 1960, before they could bring in their first harvest, Paul died tragically in a car accident. Two years later, she sold the farm and married Chester Beavon, a friend and colleague of her late husband at the psychiatric hospital.

Whenever she could, she painted furiously in the European Impressionist manner, read art magazines, visited art museums and sought out the works of Picasso.

When her new husband was hired as a community development officer in Northern Manitoba, the couple were posted to Easterville, a community of Chemawawin Cree displaced from their traditional fishing grounds by the hydroelectric dam at Grand Rapids. Ms. Odjig saw first hand the misery of indigenous people who were losing their soul-sustaining traditions and culture. She started filling her sketchbooks with pictures of the local people.

In 1964, she revisited her home village on Manitoulin Island and reconnected with her native heritage. From the older women of the community, she heard the legends of her people and gradually found a new subject matter and style for her paintings and drawings, influenced by Picasso's distortions but distinctly nonEuropean. From then on, she signed her work with her birth name: Odjig. She began to sell her work instead of giving it away and in 1967, had her first solo exhibition at the Lakehead Art Centre in Thunder Bay. That same year her work was shown at Expo 67, in Montreal.

Around that time she was commissioned by Dr. Herbert Schwarz to paint a suite of erotic images to illustrate his book, Tales from the Smokehouse. Curator and artist Bonnie Devine has called these paintings unique in the history of indigenous art.

Winnipeg was a gateway city, a meeting place of east and west where she finally found her peer group. She and her husband had moved there to start a small print shop, selling reproductions of her work. They later added the New Warehouse Gallery, which became a gathering spot and exhibition venue for a group of talented indigenous artists including Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Alex Janvier, Carl Ray, Eddy Cobiness, and Joseph Sanchez, all hungry for recognition as serious artists. None wanted to be seen as an ethnographic curiosity. With them she cofounded Professional Indian Artists Inc., sometimes dubbed the Indian Group of Seven.

"I consider Daphne to be the grandmother of contemporary indigenous art especially for us Anishinaabe. She was instrumental in helping other artists blossom, too. She kicked in doors for us all," said Wanda Nanibush, curator of indigeneous art at the AGO.

By the end of the 1970s, Ms. Odjig was tired of running the gallery. She had received major commissions and needed time to paint. She was now moving away from legend paintings to expressions of her own feelings and history, as well as the history of her people. She and Chester sold the gallery and moved back to B.C. to Shushwap Lake, where she built a studio large enough for her murals. Thus began Ms. Odjig's most productive period as an artist.

Many honours were bestowed on her, including the Order of Canada in 1986, an Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1998, a Governor-General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2007, and seven honorary degrees. She was the subject of a play, The Art Show, by Alanis King, and of several documentary films, including one made for Japanese television. Chief Wakageshig presented her with an eagle feather on behalf of the Wikwemikong reserve, an honour previously reserved for warriors or great hunters.

In 2007-08 a major travelling retrospective of her work was organized by Ms. Devine, who teaches at OCAD University. It was seen in galleries across the country including the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the McMichael and the National Gallery in Ottawa.

And in 2014, the Indian Group of Seven, which Ms. Odjig helped to found four decades earlier, finally received a full retrospective, curated by Michelle LaVallee, that included 120 paintings and drawings. It was seen in the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Mackenzie Gallery in Edmonton among other places. By then, not many of the group's members were left. Mr. Beardy died of a heart attack at 40, Mr. Morrisseau was destroyed by Parkinson's disease and alcohol, Carl Ray was murdered at 35, stabbed in a dispute over money.

But Daphne Odjig went on painting. In her senior years, she was an elder among Indian artists, a vivid silver-haired presence adorned with plenty of chunky turquoise jewellery. "She established a path forward for native artists," Ms. Devine said. "There was a template to follow."

Ms. Odjig leaves her son, Stanley Somerville; stepson, David Somerville; brother, Donald Fisher; granddaughter, Shannon; and a great-grandson.

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Daphne Odjig smiles in front of her 1984 work Spiritual Renewal, on exhibition at the Kamploops Art Gallery in June, 2008. Ms. Odjig was widely celebrated for her influence on aboriginal art.


Tribute to Picasso (1986) by Daphne Odjig.


In Umbria, just a 90-minute drive from Rome, Ellen Himelfarb discovers some of Italy's most striking 'ghost villages' - towns of haunting beauty where mere handfuls of residents struggle to keep their way of life alive
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page T1

MONTECCHIO, ITALY -- A slender road winds between hills dense with woodland that could sustain us for weeks.

Shooting downward, the terrain suddenly opens up and we emerge into undulating green, fading to blue on the misty horizon. On distant hilltops, a medieval village, or two. With barely another soul on these roads, just 90 minutes from Rome, the car lurches into top gear. Something about all that open space means the girls in the back seat, normally hunched over barf bags or fixed nervously to the road straight ahead, are gazing out at the olive groves, having thrown caution to the wind.

As we cross the Tiber Valley into Umbria, I wish I could say I hadn't expected this. But from postcards and Pinterest and years of marketing, I knew exactly what to expect. I just hadn't believed it. The region is just as green and quietly quaint as they say. And empty. In August.

We need groceries, to stock up the kitchen of the rambling modernist villa we're sharing, at a ludicrously reasonable $100 per bedroom per night. So I pull off the exit for Montecchio and ease onto an upward spiral of tarmac - not so much a road as the incidental space between buildings from the Middle Ages.

Some way back, a sign has promised a supermercato, but before it gets to that I manage to wedge us awkwardly between low stone walls and iron barriers, at the dead end of a oneway route. In the great tradition of tourists getting into tight spots, three elderly men in flat caps watch from a bench, barely amused.Soon enough, though, I'm in the shop, running back and forth to the cash with zucchini, tomatoes, produce, milk jugs, cereal and rounds of focaccia, there being no means of carrying it around with me. The grocer weighs and scribbles his tally. His wife comes out of the back to watch. Nobody, it seems, has ever bought so many groceries.

The next afternoon we're following an untethered donkey around Parco dei Mostri, a jungle-knotted dale cut back to reveal stone sculptures carved in grotesque animal forms, mouths agog, eyes gaping. Commissioned by a grieving nobleman in the 1500s, it was restored only in the last 40 years - a sort of Angkor Wat in pastoral Lazio. So spectacularly creepy, it could be the most universally alluring attraction in the Tiber Valley.

And yet next door, in the elegantly peeling hilltop village of Bomarzo, life barely holds on.

Searching for a shop, a café, a single bench, we find nothing.

Our footsteps actually echo.

Finally, a resident. My husband, competent in Italian, strikes up a conversation. She wants to know why we've come, as if one requires justification for visiting the living history of 1,000 years, nearly 1,000 feet in the air. "Nobody comes here," she tells him. Looking out from Bomarzo's only stop sign, over a gorge combed with vineyards, I think: incomprehensible.

What will happen to the towns of central Italy when the seniors are gone, when the abbey is vacant and the swaddled grandchildren, shown off at the morning market by nonna, have moved to Bologna or Milan?

How will their children hold together family businesses, the oils and liqueurs produced by small holdings? I felt, suddenly, as if I were standing on the edge - not of a gorge but of an era.

My family are city people, dependent on new culture: theatre, galleries, cocktail bars, all within walking distance. That has gone for vacations as well.

When the kids were younger, flat pavements and wall-to-wall novelties were good; remote hinterland, bad. We once found ourselves, on the second night of a holiday, atop a mountain in rural China stricken with food poisoning, our only choice to cut and run.

We had forsaken Italy. It's not going anywhere; we'll get there, eventually. I'm glad we didn't wait long.

Another day, another village.

This time it's Civita di Bagnoregio; its population: 10. In fact, it's two villages.

We park in Bagnoregio, then walk along a brick road flanked by butchers with striped awnings and cafés out of Fellini. At the edge of town we purchase $4.50 tickets to cross a vertiginous bridge ending at a cliff topped with Renaissance towers and cottages built by the Etruscans.

But the volcanic-ash foundations are prone to landslides, and most of Civita has decamped next door. It has yet to be awarded UNESCO status, despite a fervent local campaign. All people have to help save this place at death's door are the tickets, and homemade banners screaming for more funds.

Every morning, merchants creep over to Civita to sell souvenirs and wine, to play music in the little square. But is anybody buying? From the empty chairs on the terraces and the echo from inside the medieval church, it didn't appear so. At last count, there were 20,000 socalled "ghost villages" across Italy.

The rise of volcanic tufo (tuff) is firmer beneath Orvieto, one of the most vibrant towns in Umbria. We begin our exploration from its base, where a 175foot-deep well, or pozzo, draws us deep into the cool earth via a double-helix staircase. It is barely signed from the road, and thus mostly ours for a damp half-hour.

Climbing back out is our warm-up for the route cutting through Orvieto's almost healthy town centre, selling designer clothes and antiques.

As the yellowed-stone villas close in to narrow the path, it lurches upward to a piazza acres wide and, at its centre, a cathedral of striking black and white stripes, almost on trend in its bold, monochrome motif. The Gothic façade is coated in gold mosaic, so in late afternoon it shimmers against richly painted ecclesiastical scenes.

If so many of its neighbours are dying, Orvieto is the opposite. It's near impossible to get a clear shot of the church, or even a seat on the curb opposite.

Masses come out of nowhere to line up at Gelato di Pasqualetti, an all-natural ice-cream parlour around the side.

In the queue is a couple from San Francisco who decided to move to town with their son after a single visit last spring. All the vast distances and Italian classes are worth it, they say, to experience the culture firsthand, before all that remains are big-box olive oils and frozen meatballs. But they've taken early retirement. Who else could afford to make a life here?

Back at our villa, I am rushing inside every hour to grab my camera. The sun's movement has an enchanting effect on the hillsides, filtering them with yellow, orange, green, blue. In the distance is Civitella del Lago, vaulted up over Lake Corbara, on the path of the Tiber.

After a gentle warning from our landlord not to attempt the journey on the poor back roads, my husband and I brazenly take the bait.

We're a minority, for sure.

Pushing our feeble engine up the steep approach, we idle behind gnarled old men, hunched from the effort of climbing, like exiles from the Thriller video.

Eventually, we pass, park in a communal lot outside the carfree zone, and wander in. At Trippini Market, past the medieval church tower, we buy a tin of olive oil named for the shop.

The Trippini family owns the groves down below - not to mention the B&B next door.

At midday, labourers in coveralls are sitting outside Bar Pazzi and filing into a two-storey tavern with views over the lake - called, unsurprisingly, Trippini.

It sits next to a municipal lookout, all new bricks and shiny iron lampposts, and someone has had the idea to place three picnic tables out on the edge of the precipice, in the shade of an old olive tree.

If there were glass between us, we'd be pressing our noses against it. We should sit down for fettucine with the local truffles, washed down with the area's exceptional Grechetto wine. Alas, lunch is waiting for us at home.

We head to the car through a scrum by the main road. A pair of roller trucks have managed the climb, however impossibly, to repair the old blacktop, and the entire village has come to watch - probably a Trippini or two, and the hunched old men.

"At least they made it," we said to each other. Then we bumped on down the road home.



Locanda Palazzone For the money, you get twostorey apartments with arched stone terraces and access to acres of gardens and the outdoor pool. Just outside Orvieto, the palazzo is remarkably well-kept considering it's one of Italy's oldest hotels, dating back to the 13th century. The owners make their own wine on site.

Localita Rocca Ripesena 67, +39 0763 393614;; suites from $294.

Ripa Medici An old-school townhouse with dark wood furniture and dramatic silk drapes, this B&B is a little bit town and a little bit country - on the edge of medieval Orvieto with views out to green, cypress-studded hills. Families or those with mobility issues will love the new groundfloor apartment, done up all in white, with its own terrace.

From here, you can walk to some of the finest gelato in the country, and the most spectacular cathedral this side of Siena.

Vicolo Ripa Medici 14; +39 0763 341343;; doubles from $94.

Borgo Fontanile This small farmhouse villa on the Tiber River has a pool, common rooms indoors and out and owners who cook for you on the outdoor grill.

There's a sheep farm on the property alongside the eponymous spring and an olive grove. Rooms are big, clean and have their own entrance.

The market town of Montecchio and the hilltop village of Civitella del Lago are each 15 minutes away.

Vocabolo Fornace 159, +39 377 179 9329; doubles from $86.


Il Fontanile Kids play on beanbag chairs out by the bank of the Tiber; adults clink glasses of Montepulciano and debate toppings for the wood-fired pizza. The owners make their own salume, sausage and fettucine.

Via Teverina 3, Montecchio, +39 (0) 744 951024;

La Pergola A sweet stone room with colourful bistro tables looks onto a private courtyard out back. It's refreshingly modern for village-Umbria, but the food is traditional: ragu pastas, grilled meats and creamy desserts.

Via dei Magoni 9, Orvieto, +39 0763 343065;

I Gelsi Fresh steamed greens come with simple cuts of meat that seep into wooden boards. But seafood - clams, prawns and calamari - is the thing here, piled on pastas or chopped into salads.

Localita Madonna Del Porto 53, Guardea, +39 0744 906085.

Associated Graphic

Civita di Bagnoregio in Umbria is made up of two villages. Civita has a population of 10 and most residents have moved to Bagnoregio. The volanic rock Civita is built on is prone to landslides.


The hills of Umbria can make driving perilous, but provide stunning vistas throughout the day.


The village Civita di Bagnoregio is beautiful, but prone to landslides and many locals have moved away.


The village and cathedral of Orvieto.


Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page R1

Baby I've been down, but never this down I've been lost, but never this lost - Bruce Springsteen, This Depression H e was 60 years old, and in the jaws of a blackness without end, and his old friends were dying, and one autumn morning Bruce Springsteen found himself alone on a beach in New Jersey with his paddle board and his tears. Not just any tears, either: "Bambi tears," as he writes in his new autobiography, Born to Run. "Old Yeller tears. ... Fried Green Tomato tears."

But then he discovered, as many of us do at a particularly low point, or sometimes in a Bruce Springsteen song, that he was not alone.

An old woman walking her dog happened across this bawling man, having no idea who he was - that he was the Brruuuuuccee of legend, the rock stud of a million dreams - and she did a simple thing: She asked if there was anything she could do to help.

"I was sinking pretty low, and the beach was empty," Springsteen says over the phone from New York. "It was in September. I'll swim into November sometimes. I was going through a period of serious depression. This lovely woman saw me in some duress, and just started up a conversation. It was pretty sweet."

It was a reversal of the usual course of things. Normally, he was the musclebound shoulder people leaned on: the members of his E Street Band, for 40 years. His audience, for just as long, getting high on those threehour shows. The guy leaning out the window of his car on the morning of 9/11, yelling, "Bruce, we need you!" But even strong men crumble; they often do in his songs. So, to thank the elderly woman, he did the one thing he could think of: He promised her tickets to his concert. Rock 'n' roll had saved his life, over and over; why wouldn't he share the gift?

Possibly the woman went home with her dog and told the story of the strange man on the beach who offered her concert tickets. Possibly her grandchildren told her who the strange man was, and she went to the concert herself, and if she did she would have seen him come alive on stage. Nobody who has seen Springsteen live can doubt that it is where he is most himself. What's interesting is that he admits it: "In truth," he writes in his memoir, "offstage I never really had the ease or ability to enjoy myself very freely."

Over the phone, in his distinctive low-gear-on-gravel voice, he says: "I believe it's the same for most performers. You're looking for something, some place, where you feel comfortable, where you're able to express yourself; some place you feel safe. It was the answer to a lot of the conflicts I had as a child. It was a way of rebuilding the safety that I felt in my grandparents' house when I was young."

That house is at the centre of his spellbinding memoir, and of his life; he still dreams of it. "It was," he writes, "the greatest and saddest sanctuary I've known."

His grandfather rebuilt radios - a magical pastime - and his grandmother treated young Bruce like a king. In recent years, when he returned to his paternal grandparents' tiny house in Freehold, N.J., where he spent his early years sheltering from his unhappy father's scorn, he found it had been torn down to make way for a car park for the nearby church.

They had paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.

Equally crucial to his story is his turbulent relationship with his late father, Doug, a lonely drinker who suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness and who found little satisfaction in his only son, the long-haired, guitar-playing weirdo. It was a relationship that they mended, haltingly, later in life, when Springsteen had grown up enough to forgive. "My father and I were difficult together," he says, "but not so difficult that toward the end of his life we weren't able to be close and realize how much we loved each other."

His mother, Adele, the daughter of Italian immigrants, was a powerful, loving and supportive presence all through his life (she's still alive). She is the one who encouraged his musical exploration, he says. "If you build yourself a full life, you look back and you have the generosity to take a compassionate look at your parents' life. If you've been damaged permanently, it's much more difficult. ... I have friends who are completely estranged from their parents or their families. There's no real road to going back. If you're fortunate enough to have that road, it's good to make use of it."

It occurs to me that this, perhaps, is Springsteen's great gift, on top of his Herculean strengths as songwriter and a performer: He is the chronicler of each of America's ages. He was the horny teenager sweating it out on the streets of a runaway American dream, the working stiff waiting for the factory whistle to blow, the scarred boomer learning to live with his own failures and his country's at the same time.

In his songs, he also imagines his way into the life of a hobo, a factory drudge, a state trooper, a Vietnam veteran - and the crazy thing is that he has been none of these things. He's never had another job except for singing and playing guitar, which he took up after seeing Elvis and the Beatles on TV. He's never been a busboy or a babysitter or a clock-puncher, and when his draft letter came in 1968, he and his freak buddies took the bus to Newark and were judged unfit for military service.

Yet, he is America's great contemporary chronicler of the betrayed working class, from Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978 to the anti-establishment fury of Wrecking Ball in 2012. I tell him that one of his songs, Downbound Train, has haunted me for years since I heard it on his 1984 album Born in the USA. This is how it begins: I had a job, I had a girl I had something going mister in this world I got laid off down at the lumberyard Our love went bad, times got hard Now I work down at the car wash Where all it ever does is rain Don't you feel like you're a rider on a downbound train "Huh," he says when I tell him this. Clearly he doesn't get asked much about Downbound Train.

But its themes are familiar, and the narrator is an archetype found in many of Springsteen's songs, a man who wonders why he's on a downbound train while the fat cats in New York and Washington are riding their elevators to the penthouse. These are the men and women who live in small-town New Jersey and Ohio and Pennsylvania, the same towns a teenaged Springsteen toured with his band in a clapped-out car he didn't even have a licence to drive.

He says: "What we see in the States at the moment are the results of 30 or 40 years of neglecting the effects of deindustrialization and globalization on a large part of the population. ... The world changed and a lot of people didn't have the ability or the circumstance or the preparation to change with it. That's a very difficult thing. If someone told me tomorrow that I couldn't play music any more, I don't know what I'd do. I'd be at a complete loss. If your steel mill shuts down, if your factory shuts down, and the job you've done for 20 or 30 years goes away, you're abandoned. You're orphaned."

An orphan might be susceptible to a demagogue with a grifter's confidence and a powerful line in empty promises.

Springsteen, as you might imagine, has many thoughts about Donald Trump, and not one of them is happy. "I hope Donald Trump goes down hard, and Hillary Clinton is elected president.

I like her; I think she'd be a very good president.

"Donald Trump is simply a very dangerous man who has ruined the political discourse of the nation, and is a real danger to democracy. He's taken his followers to a place that is beyond democracy when he talks about rigged elections. There's a lot of very, very dangerous talk out there that subverts democratic processes."

He's still irate about the financial crash of 2008, and is worried about the state of American political life, but it's not all bleak: Springsteen sees great hope in social-justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter. In 1999, he faced a disturbing moment when police publicly protested his song American Skin (41 Shots), about the shooting of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo by undercover officers in New York. Now, though, he takes heart from the protests that roil America's streets, unsettling though they are in the short run.

"If you look at the civil-rights movement, it looked like all hell was breaking loose, and of course it was. At the same time, the gains that were made in that time have benefited Americans from the 1960s to now. Now we're going through another period of racial tension to further the cause of justice. This often happens in an ugly and violent way, but it does push the nation to deal with its problems. Martin Luther King said that the arc of history is long, but it tends to bend toward justice."

And his own personal arc?

Now, at 67, it bends toward contentment, or something like it.

The man who had his first drink at 22, who proclaims to be afraid of living near the edge, found his own edge in depression, and has learned to cope with it. To that end, he has a support network consisting of his wife (and E Street band singer) Patti Scialfa, and their three adult children.

"Without her strength and calm," he writes, "I don't know what I would have done."

There's also that band of brothers he plays with, although the death of saxophonist Clarence Clemons left a ragged hole at its heart, and in his heart: "It created a hole in me that's never going to be filled. And that's life, once you get to a certain age.

You're going to end up with a life that has a lot of holes in it."

That's life, if you're lucky enough to survive it, and find yourself not running, but moving at a reasonable pace, enjoying the world in all its cracked splendour.

Associated Graphic


In his autobiography, titled Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen recounts how he has suffered from depression periodically.


The death of E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons 'created a hole in me that's never going to be filled,' Springsteen says.


Jaswant's Kitchen is one of many small manufacturing companies setting up shop in Toronto thanks to the city's effort to replace large industrial factories with smaller, more entrepreneurial ventures
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, October 20, 2016 – Print Edition, Page E1

Nimi Kular and her three sisters loved their mom's Indian home cooking. But when they asked for recipes, she'd tell them to add a pinch of this spice and a dab of that.

"Like most moms and grandmothers, she just threw things together," says Ms. Kular, a cofounder of Jaswant's Kitchen. "We could never get anything written down."

To help her daughters learn about Indian cooking, their mother, Jaswant Kular, began to mix up spice blends. "She knew if she didn't make it easy, it would be lost to our generation," admits Nimi Kular. The resulting mixes became wildly popular not only with her daughters but with friends and relatives. And the family began to think about marketing them.

"None of us had a background in the food business," says Nimi Kular. "It was really a passion project." The women rented a commercial kitchen in a friend's banquet hall when it wasn't in use. Together they'd roast, grind and blend the spices and package them for sale at local food shows and farmer's markets.

But as their business expanded, they faced a new set of problems.

They needed more, and readily available, space to work in, as well as specialized equipment.

What's more, they were plunging into unknown territory and sorely in need of advice from food industry veterans.

That's when Ms. Kular came across a website for Food Starter, a not-for-profit accelerator for food startups launched last November, and one of the City of Toronto's many initiatives meant to nurture home-grown manufacturing and food processing in the city.

The Kulars took over a small unit in the 20,000-square-foot building. "It's our own little space where we have our own equipment," says Ms. Kular. "And we're able to use some of the equipment that they have in the shared space - things like the huge industrial ovens we use to roast the spices. We'd never be able to afford them on our own."

Even better, other businesses on the premises can offer advice on food safety, production, marketing and accounting. When the Kulars were seeking a distributor, for example, other Food Starter businesses arranged introductions and offered insight.

Jaswant's Kitchen is one of many small manufacturing companies setting up shop in Toronto, thanks to the city's concerted effort to replace old-style large industrial manufacturers with smaller, more entrepreneurial ventures. Rather than focusing on low-cost production of commodity goods, these companies often create unique, custom products in the area of technology, hardware, fashion and food.

Food Starter works daily with dozens of such firms, says executive director Dana McCauley.

She believes the strength of Toronto's future economy depends on developing such home-grown success stories.

"Those companies will not necessarily be as tempted to move to the U.S. when they're offered all kinds of tax incentives," she says.

Indeed, while it may seem like madness to try to encourage manufacturing and processing in the heart of the city, it makes good sense, says Chris Rickett, manager of entrepreneurship services for Toronto. "Manufacturing is still one of the largest employers in the city," he says. It employed more than 130,000 in 2015, according to StatsCan.

What's more, the number of manufacturing firms has increased in recent years. "We attribute the growth to a lot more micro-manufacturing, as well as the 'maker movement'" of independent inventors, designers and tinkerers, as well as tech hardware companies, says Mr. Rickett.

"Part of making sure manufacturing continues to exist is making sure that people know it is this very creative job opportunity. It needs rebranding, and the maker movement is really good at that."

New tech tools help What's more, he says, new tech tools are making it a lot easier to open a manufacturing business.

"It used to be if you wanted to make a product, the process of prototyping that and getting it to market was very long," he explains. "Now you can prototype it down at the library, using their MakerBot [3-D printer], then put that prototype on Kickstarter and presell the product."

The upshot is that the timelines and barriers to starting a manufacturing company have been drastically reduced.

That doesn't mean, however, that opening a manufacturing or processing business in the city is easy. Space is at a premium, and labour costs are high compared with overseas locations such as India, China and Vietnam. Advice can be difficult to come by as well.

"We brought together a lot of early stage manufacturers as well as postsecondary institutions and incubators in June to try to lay out their pain points," says Mr. Rickett. "Now we're working with them to develop some solutions."

One of the major barriers is finding production space in the city, he says. Although there's plenty of prototyping space, "we find that piece of going to the next level of starting some smallrun production is missing," says Mr. Rickett. "As is getting access to mentors and training and advisory support on, say, developing supply chains, raising funding and marketing."

The city hopes to at least partially fill the gap with a new dedicated manufacturing accelerator to be built in a residential condo building at Dufferin Street near College. It will operate similarly to Food Starter, offering shared equipment and services, mentorship and support to fledgling manufacturers.

The project came about when builder Siteline Group Inc. applied to demolish 60,000 square feet of employment space at the Dufferin site several years ago to put up two residential towers. The city balked. "We don't want to lose manufacturing space, especially in the core," Mr Rickett says. So the city proposed a novel solution: If the developer were to replace every foot of that employment space in one of the condo towers, the project could go ahead. The builder agreed, and the project was approved in June.

Manufacturing and residential The building is still "a few years off," says Mr. Rickett. "But it will be the first time you'll actually see manufacturing in a residential building. It will be very unique to Toronto."

Mitch Debora, a co-founder and chief executive officer of Mosaic Manufacturing, says that having access to such a space would have helped him immensely in getting his business off the ground.

The germ of his business came from his experience running a small 3-D printing company to make some extra cash while at Queen's University. Inevitably, Mr. Debora received requests to print items in several colours and materials. "Believe it or not, that was just not possible," he says. "About 97 per cent of 3-D printers are limited to printing something in one colour or material."

Mr. Debora and his three cofounders smelled an opportunity and founded Mosaic Manufacturing. Their first product, the Palette, converts low-cost 3-D printers from single-colour to multicolour at a cost of $1,000.

A Kickstarter campaign to get the project off the ground raised $230,000, mainly from hobbyists, enthusiasts and artists - all of them willing to prepay for a product they wouldn't receive for eight months or more.

"That was really, really huge in terms of demonstrating demand from the market," says Mr. Debora. "Then we had to decide where to build this company."

Big-city pluses Toronto won out, largely because it offers access to angel investors and venture capital firms, as well as plenty of talent. "There's a really strong business and engineering talent pool in the city, which has helped us form a really strong core team," says Mr. Debora.

Mosaic wanted to manufacture its first 1,000 units in the city as well. "We didn't want to make the mistake of going overseas, running into a million problems and then folding because the quality of our product was low," says Mr. Debora. "Even though it's more expensive to produce them here, it means that there's no language barrier and little problems can be dealt with in a matter of hours, rather than weeks."

But finding space wasn't easy.

They looked at 10 to 15 properties over two months.

In the end, they chose an office building at Church Street and Richmond. "We don't do heavy manufacturing there, just assembly, quality control and shipping," says Mr. Debora. The other occupants include law firms and recruitment offices, so there's no one to bounce ideas off of or consult regarding manufacturingrelated issues.

Eventually, though, once the bugs are worked out, Mr. Debora expects to manufacture offshore.

"It makes so much sense to have them produced in countries where labour is cheap," he says.

Certainly urban manufacturers in Toronto can't compete with offshore locations in terms of labour cost. That's why many of the city's new manufacturers are smallscale operations focused on limited run, high-quality specialty items, says Tony Mammoliti, owner of YNOT Cycle.

Mr. Mammoliti started his firm with a single product - a Velcro pedal strap for cyclists. "Taking the product overseas wasn't an option," he says. "My order runs were very small." Neither did the equipment and expertise he needed exist in Toronto, "so I had to start my own little urban manufacturing business."

In 2010, Mr. Mammoliti cleared out a space in a friend's garage, bought a used sewing machine on Craigslist and started production.

His product line has since expanded to include bags, tool rolls and other bike accessories that are sold around the world.

And while he originally manufactured in the city out of necessity, what keeps him here, he says, is a focus on quality. "I've done some designing for other companies that then send the prototype to China," says Mr. Mammoliti. "The difference between what I send and what they get back is extreme."

Speed counts, too Another advantage of manufacturing at home: speed. "I can design something and have it out in a week," he says.

New online tools have had a tremendously beneficial effect on the city's small manufacturers.

YNOT has raised about $200,000 through Kickstarter campaigns in the past three years, and the platform gives the company a biggerthan-usual purchase order with higher margins, since the sale is direct to the consumer.

In addition, tools like Etsy (a global online marketplace) and Shopify (build your own online store) make it easy to find a market for products online.

Mr. Debora speculates that in two to 10 years, labour costs may not even be a consideration because 3-D printers may be able to do the manufacturing. "We can already 3-D print a flashlight and then pop the batteries in and it works," he says. "I think we're going to see some really disruptive technology in the manufacturing space."

The ultimate irony: That would effectively eliminate many of the high-value jobs the city has been working so hard to save.

Associated Graphic

Jaswant Kular, centre, with daughters Nimi, left, and Simran, work at the industrial kitchen that's home to their spice company, Jaswant's Kitchen, in Toronto.


The new (non-tech) tech luminaries
Not every founder of a technology-oriented startup has a tech background. Here are five non-techy entrepreneurs who saw a niche
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Print Edition, Page B10

There's a classic image of the tech entrepreneur - a young man dressed in a hoodie and jeans.

But as technology starts to play a bigger role in more and more fields, a new group of startup founders is emerging. They don't necessarily have tech backgrounds, but they are building tech companies to solve problems they were able to see only because of their experiences.

"A startup is someone with a great idea who wants to change the world," says Margaret Magdesian, a former university professor and medical researcher who founded the medical-tool startup Ananda Devices. "It can come at any age, to any person, from any background."

Professionals without tech backgrounds have been starting tech companies for years, says Aron Solomon, senior adviser for education technology at Toronto's MaRS Discovery District and innovation lead for the LegalX Cluster, which helps startups in the legal sector. He thinks it's becoming more common.

The most successful tech companies are founded by people who have a deep understanding of a problem, he says, and in areas such as medicine and law, that can come only with specialist knowledge.

Many of the tools released by tech startups with no first-hand knowledge of medical practice miss the mark, says Joshua Landy, the co-founder and chief medical officer of Toronto-based Figure 1, an image-sharing tool for doctors.

"These tools are only really good if they take something that you're doing that's hard and make it easy," he says, and the majority of apps aimed at doctors don't do that.

Still, according to Mr. Solomon, it's important for non-tech founders to have an understanding of technology.

"Even if they're not physically building it themselves, even if they're going to find a technical co-founder, they have to have an understanding of what they're doing because otherwise it's not going to work," he says.

Mark Hobbes, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Halifax-based FundMetric Inc., says that as a non-technical founder building a tech startup, he has developed a new level of respect for developers. But finding the right ones can be hard.

"You're relying on other people. The biggest challenge is you have to get someone technical to believe in you and you have to believe in them," Mr. Hobbes says. "You've got to take that leap of faith and you've got to share a common vision."

Allison Suter, the co-founder of Vancouver-based SimpleTax Software Inc., an online tax filing startup, says her business succeeded because of three key people. As a non-technical co-founder, she brought legal expertise, one of the co-founders brought business experience and the other brought technical skills.

"We happened to have the three right people at the right time, so there's an element of luck and then just sheer hard work," she says.

Here is how each of them got their start.


As a child, Mr. Hobbes attended an Easter Seals camp for physically disabled children. It was a life-changing experience. For some campers, it was the only week in their lives where they didn't feel different.

Later, as an adult sitting on the board of the group's Nova Scotia chapter, he says he wondered whether people who donated to the charity really knew the impact they were having.

At the same time, while he was working at a boutique advertising agency in Halifax, he noticed something; His business clients were increasingly using data to create more targeted campaigns.

His charity clients weren't.

They were raising money based on the old premise that to raise more money, you have to ask more people. "But what the data is telling us is that charities are going to have to know more about who their donors are, and why these donors want to give to that charity," he says.

That idea turned into FundMetric, which uses big data and predictive analytics to help charities learn more about their donors and automate the sending of targeted messages. A hospital charity could, for instance, send some donors messages about medical research, while others receive information about improvements to patient care.

Mr. Hobbes says a big part of the platform's appeal is that it allow charities to build and maintain relationships, especially with those whose donation was tied to an event, such as a walk or run. While those donors may be interested in a charity's cause, they don't usually come in contact with the organization itself, and thus end up being one-time contributors.


When Ms. Suter left her job as a tax lawyer, she didn't realize that within months she'd be starting a tech company.

The co-founder of SimpleTax, an online tax filing startup, says that while she liked tax law, she didn't enjoy being a lawyer.

"I never really liked my job," she says. "Going into the office every day, I didn't love. I didn't love the very traditional atmosphere of a law firm, I've always been a bit more entrepreneurial than that."

After two years of practicing, she left the field intending to become a wedding photographer.

But, that first April, when she looked for tax filing software to use for her new business, she couldn't find anything she liked.

Everything on the market looked and felt, she says, like it had been designed in the 1990s.

It was a problem her husband, Jonathan Suter, had noticed as well. A mutual friend who had a background in video game design, Justin Reynen, was also looking for a new project.

"We had a product background, that was my husband; we had a development background, that's Justin, our partner; and then my tax background. We were like, it can't be that hard to develop tax filing software," she says.

Having a subject matter expert on the team was essential, she says.

"Tax law is extremely complicated. I think we would have needed an accountant or a lawyer, somebody familiar with reading the income tax act and deciphering the jargon."


Mr. Forestell says his business had a problem - the snow removal side was growing faster than the summer landscaping work.

That meant he had front-end loaders and other pieces of heavy machinery sitting idle for more than half the year. It was "costing us a huge amount of money," he says.

He entertained a few ideas to solve the problem, but none of them seemed quite right.

"We were away on vacation and we were sitting on a beach in Florida and had a rental house through one of the sharing companies, similar to Airbnb," he says. "We were just sitting there, thinking about how great this was, and we realized, hey we should be doing this with our equipment."

That idea led to Dozr, the twosided online marketplace for construction equipment rentals that Mr. Forestell founded. It allows contactors, landscapers and construction companies to rent equipment they're not using to their industry peers.

He knew his company wasn't the only one that sometimes had a mismatch between how much equipment it needed and how much it had, he says.

Sometimes, contractors will purchase a specific machine for a single job. "It may sit for a year or two before the next job comes that they need that type of equipment again," he says.

And some pieces of equipment could be used by varied businesses - a tractor used for snow clearing can work just as well on a farm.

"Being a contractor, and knowing the problem so well, made us be able to come up with the solution," he says.


Ms. Magdesian was frustrated. Then a researcher at McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute, she was having trouble with the spinal cord cells she was studying.

The only way to grow them was in a petri dish, but the cells don't grow in a dish in the same way they grow in the human body.

Instead of growing straight, they get tangled. It made her work harder, slower and more prone to error.

Her solution was to build a silicon mould with channels for the cells to grow in, similar to how they grow in the body. Her idea worked. "Instead of having one or two good cells, I had 120 and I could finally perform a lot of work," she says.

When she presented her idea, other scientists became interested.

"I started giving them away and, after a certain point, we decided to start selling them so that we could cover the costs. In one year I sold 2,000 units," Ms. Magdesian says. "Then a company called me and said they would like to buy 10,000."

That was when the university told her that if she wanted to keep selling the moulds, she would have to start her own company. It was the first time she'd ever thought of starting a businesses.

But, she says, she soon realized that by helping other scientists accelerate their work, she could have a bigger impact. "My mom died of cancer very early, and she had a lot of pain," she says.

"Whatever I can do to help accelerate research, I will do."


Doctors have been sharing medical cases since the beginning of the profession, Dr. Landy says.

"You buy old medical textbooks and it's just stories about all the different types of diseases people had," he says.

Historically, cases have been written up in medical journals and presented at conferences.

But young doctors are sharing cases through text messages and social media. "Now, that everyone's armed with an interconnected device with a camera, these sharings have become much more commonplace."

The startup Dr. Landy cofounded, Figure 1, shares pictures of medical cases in a way that protects the privacy of patients and complies with privacy laws and regulations.

Dr. Landy says he started thinking about the way doctors use social media when he was doing research about young doctors and medical education at Stanford University in California. But it was at a dinner with friends that the idea of a case-sharing network became a business idea.

Two of those friends became his co-founders. "It was serendipitous," he says. "Two weeks later they had pretty much dropped everything to focus on this one project, as had I."

Dr. Landy still practises medicine, working as a critical care physician in a Toronto hospital.

Balancing the time is a challenge, but he says it's worth it.

"Having these two careers is symbiotic," he says.

"Certainly, I could not do this job without having my medical career."

Associated Graphic

Margaret Magdesian was a medical researcher who came up with a new way to grow spinal cord cells. She then founded a company, Ananda Devices.


The appetite for luxury alcohol is growing, and it's not limited to Champagne. As Christine Sismondo reports, premium whisky, rum and tequila are being sought out by enthusiasts for immediate enjoyment, not future appreciation
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page L6

In a perfectly appointed, modern-rustic cottage with surroundings of ripe grapevines climbing the base of Argentina's snowcapped Cordillera, 30-odd wine writers gathered earlier this year for the launch of a new $640 Champagne - Moët & Chandon's MCIII. A hushed and serious event, the focus of those in attendance was on the winemaker's explanations of the quality of the bottle and its stopper, and of course, the wine itself. Since it is a blend of several vintages, before MCIII was unveiled, everyone got to try the separate components first - one of which was so good that a few people mumbled their preference for it. I was in that latter camp. Although the final blend was mellow, creamy and had a nice minerality, it lost some of the smoky, rich toast flavour and lightly bittered finish of some of the straight vintage Champagnes we tasted throughout the night.

Perhaps anticipating a question about the price, chef de cave Benoît Gouez points out there's a growing global market for bubbly that costs more than the average person's monthly car payment. Ontario and Quebec's liquor boards agree: They've already put in an order for over 100 bottles between them.

"We've seen a lot of growth [in this market segment] in the past five years, with some categories being outstanding - like, double," says Paul Farrell, category manager for European wines in LCBO's Vintages.

"The categories that we've seen the most growth in are premium Champagne and ultra-premium spirits."

The growth of premium Champagne sales, Farrell says, is driven largely by bottle service at clubs, a niche market that has inspired the invention of new labels, such as Jay Z owned Armand de Brignac, a.k.a. "Ace Z-owned Ace of Spades" ($299.95), which seems to be taking aim at the h comparably priced Krug, the reigning club king.

The market for ultra-premium spirits, however, is a more complicated story. Research outfits such as Euromonitor International have projected that sales in the super-premium luxury spirits market will double between 2015 and 2020 - a figure that factors in optimistic expectations for a robust economic recovery in China. But industry insiders anecdotally report that the sales for super-premium products in China have not rebounded in part because of the existence of anticorruption laws that limit gifting in official circles.

As such, the super-rich in the United States and the United Kingdom are still playing a larger than anticipated role, as are drinkers in Japan and Germany.

Still, aside from a sound educated guess at the household income required to enjoy a $3,000 bottle of cognac, it's hard to know precisely who is doing the spending. For one thing, the consumption of luxury spirits is less conspicuous than premium fizz because it's less likely to take place in a hotel bar or nightclub.

Of the recent release of 100 bottles of $25,000 Glenlivet 50-year-old scotch whisky, for example, a few will be snapped up by licensed venues, but the majority will be sold to individuals. And, unlike 20 years ago, when we would have expected almost every bottle to disappear into a cellar to age and increase in value, many will be cracked open by enthusiasts upon delivery.

"People want to have exceptional moments with these spirits and they don't want to wait 20 or 30 years," says Noah May, wine and spirits specialist at Christie's Auction House in New York. "We have a real split between people who are buying them to speculate and people who want to enjoy them more or less immediately."

The market for super-luxury spirits at Christie's has grown wildly in the past 10 years, a change May attributes to an overall growing interest in food and drink. Compared to wine, spirits are relatively accessible. That said, not every lot is entry-level. On Oct. 21, Christie's offered a unique edition of the Glenlivet 50-year-old. Usually reserved for the distiller, "Bottle One" was auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Scottish Craft Council.

The liquid is beyond whisky. Dark red - almost port-coloured - it's rich in vanilla, fruitcake, caramel and icing sugar flavours. Slightly heavy on the tannins - as you might expect after 50 years of soaking in an Oloroso sherry cask - it tastes like Glenlivet, but with the volume turned up to 11, since the subtle notes you might discern in a younger scotch were pronounced and right up front. When I tasted it, I didn't leave a drop, though I spent a bit of time trying to analyze what exactly I was tasting. Bordering on something like an intriguing and complex, bone-dry sherry-like liqueur, it was missing that pleasing whisky burn.

The interest in this liquid goes way beyond flavour, however, and into esoteric territory. Laid down in 1966 by a previous distiller, it's more of a time capsule than a premium product. People talk about it in terms of liquid history, a personal connection to the past, a testament to the continuity of the distillery's flavour profile, as well as a celebration of 50 years of tradition and craft. With this in mind, the launch, which occured in September in New York, helped celebrate birthdays for two other venerable institutions - the 250-year-old Christie's (which got into the wine business 50 years ago) and the 50-year-old Metropolitan Opera House where La Bohème - a boozy little opera about people who hang out in taverns and can't afford to pay the rent - was performed.

It's not just high flyers in Manhattan who will have a chance to buy this special release; Canada will get a small allotment, too - further evidence of the critical mass of one per-centers, even in our seemingly modest market.

"The demand must be there for them to be bringing in all these special releases," says Chris McCrabb, head bartender at the Thompson Toronto hotel. "Since Toronto's growing so fast, it's getting more attention from spirits companies, but I think it also reflects a more educated market."

The demand he refers to extends beyond special whisky releases. The LCBO has 20 bottles of $1,009 Thomas Hine Triomphe Grande Champagne Cognac at the moment and nobody expects them to outlast the holiday season. Even on the lower end, where it was once okay to gift a nice bottle of super-tasty Hine Rare VSOP cognac ($95), an increasing number of people will show their appreciation for all that mom's done with a bottle of next-level refi ned Hine Antique XO Premier Cru at two-and-a-half times the price - $250 is the new $100.

Both these expressions are a steal: Hine Rare, with its bold fruit, full body, silky smoothness and subtle caramel, far outmatches other VSOPs in this price range. When I recently tried an upgrade to the XO Premier Cru, I recognized the signature taste of this house's cognac, but was drawn in by the elegance, maturity and spectacular structure.

It almost sparkles.

Quebec's liquor board reports a 50-per-cent year-over-year growth in sales of Rémy Martin's Louis XIII cognac ($3,100 per bottle), a number that exceeds the company's global sales of 30 per cent year over year.

It's impossible to quantify whether or not a liquor is "worth" the price when it gets beyond a certain cost, but I can report that this cognac is wildly aromatic and complex. Very few liquors have such pronounced candied fruit, chocolate, tobacco and spice notes, which can be identified immediately and last, seemingly forever, on the finish. Those who wish to trade up from run-ofthe-mill Louis XIII are in luck, too.

One bottle of a special Louis XIII blend, housed in a crystal decanter and packaged in a bespoke Hermès suitcase, will be released here. The retail price has yet to be revealed, but in the United States, the bottle netted $134,750 (U.S.).

Luxury tequilas and rums are piquing interest as well. This summer, for example, the LCBO hosted a special dinner with El Dorado distiller Shaun Caleb to mark the arrival of two cases of $3,500 Grand Special Reserve rum - a blend chosen from barrels laid down between 1966 to 1976 (as well as a splash of a special 1983 spirit), bottled to mark the 50th anniversary of the distillery and raise money for Guyanese highschool students. El Dorado has an extremely loyal following with rum drinkers, who love that the spirit is the result of old-school distillation methods that bring out a slightly funky tropical-fruit profile. I'll admit to being a part of the fan club and I was happy to discover that the Grand Special Reserve still tasted like ripe pineapple and banana but, in this expression, with pronounced dried date, chocolate and cinnamon notes. The dinner, as well as all the bottles, sold out.

On the tequila front, Alberta's Liquor Barn stocks a Patron Gran Burdeos Anejo for $499, but the real agave connoisseur will snap up the $1,499 Clase Azul Ultima Extra Anejo. Even five years ago, the idea of a bottle of tequila or rum over $1,000 was far-fetched.

Now, industry forecasters are tapping tequila as the next big super-premium product and high-end clubs and hotel bars consider them a must-have. "We've been discussing stocking the Clase Azul Ultima lately," says the Thompson's McCrab. "Just based on the number of people who drink the Don Julio 1942 as regular tequila shots." Admittedly, it's easy to approve of this choice, since it's the kind of vanilla-rich, citrusy-herbal agave spirit that could almost pass for cognac. The price per shot of 1942 at the Thompson: $29.


DON JULIO 1942 Aged in oak barrels for over a year, it tastes not unlike cognac. PRICE $139.95

HINE ANTIQUE XO PREMIERE CRU A blend of 40 cognacs exclusively from the Grande Champagne region. PRICE $250

RÉMY MARTIN LOUIS XIII Blended from many eaux de vie, each at least 40 years old. PRICE $3,100

GLENLIVET 50-YEAR-OLD From a single cask laid down by the last surviving descendent of the distillery's founder. PRICE $25,000


MOËT & CHANDON MCIII It took 15 years for the winery to perfect the blend. PRICE $640

EL DORADO GRAND SPECIAL RESERVE A blend of rums aged 33 to 50 years, including special aged pot still rums. PRICE $3,500

Associated Graphic

TASTING NOTES Warm tropical fruit, t, dried date and baking spice.

TASTING NOTES Raw honey, ney, vanilla sugar and caramel. amel.

TASTING NOTES Pronounced P candied fruit, ca chocolate, tobacco and spice.

TASTING NOTES Vanilla, Va fruitcake, fruit caramel ca and icing ssugar.

Employing voter algorithms, modern mapping software, and a whole lot of cynicism, writes Marcus Gee, American politicians have turned gerrymandering into a science
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Print Edition, Page F8

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Donald Trump says the election is rigged. His enemies are trying to steal it from him. That's nonsense, of course. Out-and-out cheating at the ballot box is vanishingly rare in the United States, thanks to a host of safeguards.

But he's right in one sense.

American politics is rigged. Both parties do the rigging, and they do it in plain sight, shamelessly and legally and even democratically.

They draw the boundaries of the country's electoral districts to their own advantage, grouping voters in a way that gives their party the greatest number of wins in Congress and in state legislatures.

Instead of the voters choosing the politicians, the politicians, in effect, choose the voters.

The process is called gerrymandering and it's as old as the United States. Patrick Henry, a hero of the American Revolution, is said to have colluded in redrawing a Virginia district in an attempt to thwart his rival, James Madison.

The word itself goes back to 1812, when the administration of Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, created a revised map of electoral districts for the state Senate.

The new districts were designed quite deliberately to help his Democratic-Republicans, forerunner of today's Democrats, win as many seats as possible, and his Federalist rivals as few. One new district in the Boston area was thought to resemble a salamander. A cartoonist for The Boston Gazette, Elkanah Tisdale, took note and sketched a mythical salamander-like beast: "the GerryMander." Ever since, the act of drawing contorted electoral districts to tilt elections has been known as gerrymandering.

Of course, American politicians have evolved since Governor Gerry drew his beastly map. These days, they're a lot better at it.

Thanks to advances in mapdrawing software and ready access to online data about voters, U.S. political parties have turned the crude craft of gerrymandering into a science. The districts they draw often break every commonsense rule of district-making.

Instead of following natural geographical or political boundaries, such as rivers or county lines, they dodge and meander all over the place to gather like-minded voters together (a technique called packing) or split them apart (cracking).

Many of the resulting districts make Governor Gerry's look compact by comparison. One in Illinois is nicknamed the "earmuff district"; another, in Texas, "the upside-down elephant"; still another, in Pennsylvania, has been said to resemble "Goofy kicking Donald Duck." One judge said that a Maryland congressional district, this one engineered by Democrats, reminded him of "a brokenwinged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the centre of the state."

First casualty: moderation Gerrymandering's critics say that it hardens the political divisions that are so evident in this season of Trump. When parties draw safe, secure seats for themselves, they don't have to reach out to moderate voters. The most important election becomes the primary, where party voters select the party's candidate for the general election. Primary voters tend to be party activists - leaning to the right of the Republican party and the left of the Democratic. Succeeding in the all-important primary means appealing to the extremes.

"Nobody has to compromise, because they know that their constituency is going to support them," says Jane Pinsky, director of the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform. In her state, which has seen bitter struggles this year over issues such as a law that governs washroom access for transgender people in public buildings, "We've become increasingly partisan. The whole culture has become angry and vicious. It mirrors what's happened on a national level."

Creative map-drawing can widen racial divides, too. Many oddly shaped districts sprang from civilrights legislation designed to increase black representation in the halls of power. Their boundaries reach this way and that to gather in African-American voters and create so-called majority-minority districts that tend to elect black representatives, usually Democratic. The effect, though, is to bleach surrounding districts white.

That suits Republicans, because those districts often tend to vote for them. The result has been what was once called an unholy alliance between white Republicans and black Democrats.

A good place to see how gerrymandering works is Asheville, a city of about 90,000 in North Carolina's mountainous western corner. Every 10 years, when new census information comes out, state governments are required to look at the new data and redraw districts so that they have roughly the same number of voters. It's called redistricting and it's supposed to ensure that each person's vote carries similar weight.

In practice, it is gerrymandering time.

When the results of the 2010 census appeared, Republicans were in control of the state legislature - so they were the mapmakers. They took maximum advantage.

Asheville had been at the heart of the 11th Congressional District.

The city is a liberal bastion in conservative country, the kind of place where bumper stickers read "Jesus Saves, Buddha Recycles," the local spice emporium sells alderwood-smoked sea salt, and affluent retirees come to enjoy a glass of Pumpkin Up the Volume ale at the Wicked Weed brew pub.

It was represented by Heath Shuler, a six-foot-two former football star. He was a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, opposing gun control, same-sex marriage and abortion, but moderate enough to work with opponents to get things done in Congress. To put the boots to Mr. Shuler, the mapmakers simply carved a big part of heavily Democratic Asheville out of the 11th, leaving the district mainly rural and overwhelmingly Republican. With the writing on the wall, Mr. Shuler decided not to run for a fourth two-year term.

His replacement, Mark Meadows, is a rock-ribbed Tea Party conservative. He joined many fellow right-wingers - and Mr. Trump - in their campaign of lies and innuendo about Barack Obama's citizenship. "We're going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is," he said at a 2012 rally.

Central Asheville, meanwhile, ended up in the rejigged 10th district, where incumbent Republican Patrick McHenry was comfortable enough in his still very conservative district to absorb the infusion of urban Democrats and keep his seat.

"We got carved up," says Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, a Democrat. "We used to be part of a district that a Democrat could win."

In a trick called "double bunking," or sometimes "scorpions in a bottle," the North Carolina mapmakers even put two Democratic state legislators in the same district, forcing one to drop out of the 2012 election.

Tough luck, say the Republicans, who had seen the opposing party lord it over them for decades when North Carolina was solidly Democratic. Asked if his party gerrymandered districts to hurt the Democrats, local official Jeff Foster says, "Sure. I also think they did it to us for 100 years."

The Republicans got their revenge. North Carolina, a closely watched swing state, split almost evenly in the 2014 midterm congressional voting: 51 per cent Republican, 49 per cent Democrat.

Yet the Republicans took 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Democrats just three.

In a candid moment, Republican state legislator David Lewis said the party would have gone .

further if it could have. "I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it's possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats," he said during debate at a legislative committee.

The Republican success at sewing up North Carolina was part of a nationwide push. In his new book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, journalist David Daley, former editor-inchief of Salon, shows how, after losing the White House to Mr. Obama in 2008, the GOP struck back by launching a sophisticated campaign to seize control of state governments, thus giving it the power to gerrymander congressional districts.

Thanks to all the data that party operatives now have about voter preferences and attitudes, they could draw detailed, block-byblock maps to almost guarantee a win for their candidates. As Mr. Daley writes, "The same computer algorithms that recommend your next purchase on Amazon and know the exact Netflix show you want to binge-watch can also determine, in this time of hardened partisanship, how you are likely to vote."

Aimed at painting the electoral map Republican red, the effort was called REDMAP, and it worked like a charm. Republicans poured resources into state races and took many legislatures and governorships, then drew new GOP-friendly districts from North Carolina to Wisconsin.

It was so successful that the Democrats are copying it. This week, they announced that they are establishing the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, headed by former attorneygeneral Eric Holder, to prepare to win back ground for the party in the next round of electoral mapmaking after the 2020 census. Mr. Obama himself will get involved after he leaves the White House.

What can be done Is there hope for ending this peculiar form of American madness?

Not that much, sad to say. A handful of states, including California and Idaho, have done the sensible thing and given the job of redistricting to an independent commission. That's the way it works in Canada, where each province has a commission headed by a judge.

"The United States is the only advanced democracy in the world where politicians directly participate in the districting process," says a website, End Gerrymandering, that tracks the issue.

In the meantime, lawsuits have managed to alter some of the worst gerrymanders, at least those drawn on racial lines. A court ruling last February forced North Carolina to redraw the notorious 12th Congressional District, a bizarre squiggle, 120 miles long but just 20 miles wide, that ran along the I-85 interstate to gather up black voters who live near the highway corridor. One legislator joked that the district was so narrow that, if you drove a car through it with the doors open, you would kill every voter.

But judges have been more reluctant to outlaw districts drawn for solely partisan reasons.

Legislators themselves naturally resist handing redistricting to the courts or to impartial commissioners in the first place: If they did, they would lose a power that they have enjoyed since Elbridge Gerry's time. And what a magical power it is. American politicians can draw voting boundaries and influence election results more or less at their whim. While tut-tutting over Mr. Trump's rants about rigged elections, they're busily rigging districts left and right. Expect them to keep doing it as long as they can.

Marcus Gee is a Globe and Mail columnist.

Associated Graphic

Below: A year after Governor Elbridge Gerry's radical (and self-serving) redrawing of the Massachusetts political landscape inspired the Boston Gazette cartoonist's 'Gerry-Mander,' this version appeared in the April 2, 1813, edition of the Salem Gazette.

Copyright © 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.