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PRESS DIGEST- Canada- Oct 2

Oct 2 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* Canada's recreational firearms lobby is telling the Harper government to avoid signing a landmark United Nations arms trade treaty, arguing it could lead to an insidious return of the federal long-gun registry. ()

* The provinces are gearing up to battle Ottawa this fall over the federal government's signature skills-training program, with British Columbia's Christy Clark and Ontario's Kathleen Wynne hunkering down to plan strategy for the coming fight. ()

Reports in the business section:

* BlackBerry Ltd is looking at options to quickly unlock value from its substantial real estate portfolio in its hometown of Waterloo, Ontario as the company works to finalize a $4.7 billion takeover plan. The smartphone maker owns more than 20 buildings in the Waterloo area, a collection built up during its rapid expansion over the past 10 years. ()

* Rogers Communications Inc is looking to strike it big in the oil patch, with a C$700 million ($677.93 million)investment that will see its cellphone network extended to the far reaches of Alberta. Albertans spend more on voice and data plans than subscribers in any other part of the country, making the province a key battleground as Canada's established cellphone companies try to find new customers in a highly competitive market. ()


* Canada's economy is being overshadowed by its big neighbour. Despite data on Monday showing a strong rebound in growth in Canada, it's the funding crisis in the United States that dominates the spotlight. ()

* Former Ontario speaker and cabinet minister Chris Stockwell is on the verge of a political comeback after winning the endorsement of Etobicoke York Community Council to fill the ward seat left vacant by Doug Holyday. A majority of councillors agreed, after three ballots, that city council should appoint Stockwell to represent Ward 3 at a meeting later this month. ()


* The head of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce's retail banking operation says he is "comfortable" with the bank's business mix despite continuing rapid growth of the consumer mortgage portfolio. All the big banks have been aggressively pursuing the consumer loan business, especially mortgages. Canada's fifth biggest bank by assets is confident the issue won't come back to haunt it as CIBC has worked hard to cut its exposure to potential losses. ()

* After promising bold action to remake Encana Corp into a winner, newly appointed CEO Doug Suttles cleared much of the remaining old guard from the natural gas producer's executive team Tuesday and appointed a smaller, next-generation group. ()