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PRESS DIGEST- Canada- Oct 15

Oct 15 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* The Harper Conservatives will hit the gas pedal this week in the race toward the next election in 2015. But the opposition parties are vowing to push down hard on the brakes in reminding Canadians about what they call the government's lapse in ethics in the Senate. In a Throne Speech Wednesday, the Tories will be driving ahead with their jobs and tough-on-crime agendas while steering slightly to the left to pick up passengers on the social and consumer issues track. ()

Reports in the business section:

* BlackBerry Ltd is reaching out to its dwindling customer base with a global communications campaign that seeks to assure them that the Waterloo, Ontario firm is far from dead, despite a calamitous slide in sales, heavy financial losses and a conditional agreement to sell itself at a fraction of its former value. ()

* Contract talks between Canadian National Railway Co and the Teamsters have hit a rut, and the union is blaming an impasse over rail safety, the industry's hot-button issue after a series of high-profile rail disasters this year. The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said on Monday that CN's decision last week not to extend a conciliation process could lead to a strike or a lockout on Oct. 28. ()


* The Fraser Institute added its voice on Monday to what has become a popular call for Ottawa to lift all restrictions on foreign ownership in the telecommunications sector. A report from the right-leaning think tank said eliminating all limits on foreign investment in telecom could be one part of a plan to foster "workable competition". But it could also create a situation where some, but not all, of Canada's large carriers could realistically be sold. ()


* Rogers Communications Inc is launching a retail venture to market its own wireless plans and brands as well as those of Telus Corp, Fido and Chatr, according to industry sources. Sources say the venture aims to roll out 100 kiosks in enclosed shopping malls across Canada during the next 12 to 18 months, to take advantage of heavy consumer foot traffic and bolster the companies' distribution networks. ()