Support grows for joining Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank: ‘Clearly in Canada’s best interests’

OTTAWA — From all the recent rhetoric, you would think Canada could soon be on the losing end of free-trade deals with its European and Asia-Pacific partners.
But Canada’s decision this week to join a relatively new global organization, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank — one based on funding projects in the world’s developing nations — could add a new narrative to the current tone of politics and protectionism that has played a large part in slowing progress in the implementation of long-sought and hotly debated international deals.
Momentum for the Trans-Pacific Partnership has slowed amid a divisive U.S. election campaign that is rattling confidence in global commerce with all the talk about tearing up trade pacts and “building walls,” rather than eliminating barriers. Meanwhile, the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union has created trade concerns in Europe.
But moving against that tide of tighter trade rules, …
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Forest Lawn MP Obhrai, running for Conservative leader, says diversity crucial for Canada

As he pursues the leadership of the federal Conservatives, veteran Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai says he’s worried about anti-immigrant sentiment potentially growing within both Canada and the party.
Obhrai filed his papers this week to officially become a leadership candidate, just as the Tory party has been gripped by a debate over fellow candidate Kellie Leitch’s suggestion immigrants and refugees could be screened for anti-Canadian values.
In an interview Thursday, the Calgary Forest Lawn MP said he fears the party is repeating the mistakes of the 2015 election, when issues such as a proposed “barbaric cultural practices” tip line — championed by Leitch — depicted the party as an unwelcoming place for minorities.  
“I am very much concerned,” said Obhrai, who was born in Tanzania and also lived in India and the United Kingdom before immigrating to Canada in the 1970s. 
“This is again a negative message going out.”
Obhrai said …
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No Investigation into Duffy’s Allegations of Election Fraud

Protests followed misleading robocalls in 2011 election; Senator Mike Duffy alleged similar calls in BC in 2008. Despite Senator Mike Duffy’s testimony that Conservative operatives were behind misleading election eve phone calls in British Columbia in 2008, the Commissioner of Canada Elections has refused to reopen the investigation into the case.

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Commissioner Yves Côté said “technological obstacles” and legal constraints prevent his office from reopening the case.
Côté was responding to a request from Saanich-Gulf Islands MP and Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who wanted the case reopened based on Duffy’s 2015 testimony that “black ops group at Conservative headquarters” were behind the calls.
“They used robocalls to misdirect NDP voters, to split the vote and allow Gary Lunn to win,” Duffy testified. He said Lunn didn’t know about the effort.

Côté wrote that the commissioner’s office, which …
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Specialized freelancers shaking up the traditional advertising business model

Art director and designer Nicholas Bujnak goes to work every day at the same ad agency in Toronto, but only until he’s finished covering for employees away during vacation season. After that, he’ll go somewhere else, or more likely to a number of places as he works on a slew of advertising projects all at the same time.

Freelancers such as Mr. Bujnak have long been a significant engine of the ad industry, sweeping in to add creative heft to a pitch for new business; helping to run hard at a client’s demanding deadlines; or simply covering for other employees on leave. Agencies navigating a fluctuating business have always needed extra hands on deck occasionally, but at numbers that may not warrant keeping them on the payroll permanently.More recently, however, there has been a growth in reliance on freelancers in the ad business as the nature …

Most Canadians support transgender rights but divided on bathroom policy

Poll shows 78% of respondents accept trans people, but a split remains on whether identification should be based on gender identity or biological sex

Canada has not escaped the so-called bathroom wars, though they never reached the same fever pitch as in the United States.
Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Most Canadians are now increasingly in favor of extending human rights to transgender people and would support legislation that protects them from discrimination, according to a new poll.
But the Canadian public remains split on some of the more contentious issues relating to trans people, including whether government identification should be based …
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Canada Stocks Edge Higher as Oil Surges on U.S. Stockpile Drop

(Bloomberg) — Energy producers dragged Canadian shares to a slight gain after a rally in crude oil sent the group surging by the most since June. The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose less than 0.1 percent to 14,803.26 at 4 p.m. in Toronto, with nine of 10 groups retreating. Energy shares jumped 2.3 percent to close at the highest level in more than a year.The rally in oil producers helped Canadian shares rebound after yesterday halting a three-day rally of 1.5 percent as the Bank of Canada warned of weaker inflation and economic growth prospects. The group has carried gains in the past …
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CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as gains for energy offset broader losses

(Adds analyst quotes and details on Manulife, ECB and housing
starts, updates prices)* TSX closes up 6.51 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,803.26* Energy is only one of 10 major sectors to gainBy Fergal SmithTORONTO, Sept 8 Canada’s main stock index edged
higher on Thursday as an oil price-driven rally in energy stocks
offset broader losses for the market.The heavyweight energy group climbed nearly 2 percent, the
only one of 10 major sectors to gain.”It is the energy sector that’s propping up the TSX today.
That’s on the huge rally we are seeing in energy prices,” said
Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets …
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Canada economic growth uneven – central bank official

(Adds comments on exports, housing market, household debt)By Xiaoli Li Canada’s economy is
still running on two speeds, with household spending growth
holding up even as sectors linked to low commodity prices
struggle, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Timothy Lane said on
Thursday.Lane reiterated the central bank’s cautious take on Canada’s
tepid economy a day after it held interest rates steady and
struck a dovish tone in its statement.While more new firms were starting up and jobs being created
in the United States, investment in Canada’s key energy sector
has shrunk rapidly, he said.

Lane said policymakers …
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Canadian housing starts fall in August- CMHC

Canadian housing starts fell in
August compared with July, data from the national housing agency
showed on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts
fell to 182,703 units in August from a 194,663 rate in July.
Multiple urban starts fell by 7.3 percent to 111,378 units,
while single-detached urban starts dropped by 3.7 percent to
56,501 units.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Bank of Canada warns of risks to growth, holds rates steady

(Recasts, adds from bank statement, economist comment)By Andrea Hopkins and Leah Schnurr The Bank of Canada warned on
Wednesday that the economy could be weaker than it anticipated
just two months ago as exports disappointed, but the central
bank held rates steady as it stuck to a forecast that growth
will bounce back in the second half.In a statement that was bleaker than the market had
expected, the bank also said the U.S. outlook for business
investment has become less certain, despite a healthy labor
market and solid consumption.”Exports disappointed even after accounting for weaker
business and residential investment in the United States,
adjustments in the resource sector, and cutbacks in auto
production,” the bank said in the statement.

Canada is counting on U.S. demand to boost exports and lift
Canada’s economy out of the malaise as slumping commodity prices
hurt the key resource sector. …
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