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PRESS DIGEST- Canada - Dec 16

Dec 16 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is pledging to put subway construction at the top of the government's priority list - and move other infrastructure projects down - in a bid to break gridlock in the Toronto region. ()

* The federal government's proposal to create a national securities watchdog is a violation of the Constitution and an intrusion into a provincial jurisdiction that defies a recent a Supreme Court of Canada ruling, says Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau. ()

Reports in the business section:

* Prince Edward Island is floating a plan to delay the launch of an expanded Canada Pension Plan to 2018 in a bid to forge a consensus among the provinces, and to push the federal government to act in reforming retirement benefits. ()

* They may take home huge paychecks, but Canada's top CEOs are also writing big checks to cover their income tax bills. The chief executive officers of Canada's 60 largest companies paid about $2.5 million each in income tax in 2010 on average total compensation of $6.2 million, according to a new study by compensation consulting firm McDowall Associates. ()

* Barrick Gold Corp is seeking to align the bulk of its executives' compensation with the gold company's performance and is expected to require top managers to hold their stock until retirement. ()


* Police would have the option of ticketing people for a range of minor offences - instead of laying criminal charges - under a plan that could yield significant savings for the cash-strapped justice system. ()

* Canada's newest union has expanded its membership to include everyone. Unifor - Canada's largest private sector union, which formed on Labor Day from the existing Canadian Auto Workers and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada - has opened its doors to part-time workers, the self-employed, those without a job and even political activists by asking people to organize "community chapters" around a common cause, rather than an employer. ()


* Canada Post's $6.5 billion pension shortfall is just a fraction of the more than $150 billion in unfunded pension liabilities facing the federal government for its employee pension plans, raising new questions about the solvency of those plans, benefits for workers and costs for taxpayers. ()

* WestJet Airlines Ltd has big plans to push into the East in 2014 by expanding its new low-cost regional carrier Encore in the spring, and launching flights to Europe from Atlantic Canada next summer. To accommodate these changes, WestJet will establish bases in Vancouver and Toronto, in addition to Calgary, early next year. ()