PRESS DIGEST- Canada- Oct 18


Oct 18 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories fromselected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified thesestories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* Canadian provinces have approved the free-trade agreementwith the European Union, but key players Ontario and Quebec areinsisting the federal government open its wallet to mitigatesome of the impact, notably by compensating dairy producers.Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived in Brussels on Thursdaynight and plans to meet with Jose Manuel Barroso, president ofthe European Commission, on Friday afternoon to sign theagreement. ()

* The shortage of skilled employees in Canada is deepening,and government policies that tightened the rules governingforeign workers have made the situation worse. That is themessage of a new study from global recruiting firm Hays Plc,which surveyed the skills gap in 30 developed countries aroundthe world. ()

Reports in the business section:

* Lenovo Group Ltd is joining the list of suitorsconsidering a bid for BlackBerry Ltd , raisingconcerns that the Canadian company's ultra-secure communicationsnetwork for the global elite might end up owned by a firm basedin China. ()

* Imperial Oil Ltd is looking at a major revamp ofits Mackenzie gas project that would see the stalled northernventure reborn as part of an expansive liquefied natural gasdevelopment, the company's chief executive says. A shift to LNGis under "serious" consideration as the Mackenzie pipeline'seconomics remain weak due to the flood of cheap shale gas acrossthe continent, CEO Rich Kruger said in an interview at thecompany's Calgary headquarters. ()


* The Quebec government has announced that it will contestthe latest nomination to the Supreme Court of Canada, adding anew layer of controversy to the process. The provincialgovernment says it is weighing different options to block theHarper government's appointment of Marc Nadon, which is alreadyunder attack. ()


* Canada's campaign to win approval in the United States forthe Keystone XL pipeline may seem pricey, aggressive, andperhaps out of character - but it is a drop in the bucketcompared with the resources and tactics of those rallyingagainst it. ()

* Air Canada's chief executive, Calin Rovinescu,says he is pleased investors are starting to get on board withthe dramatic transformation underway at his airline, includingthe near-elimination of its multi-billion-dollar pension fundingdeficit that has twice threatened to upend the company in recentyears. But he said there are still plenty of challenges aheadfor the country's largest carrier. ()

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