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Press Digest- Canada- Oct 2

Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE GLOBE AND MAIL * 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. () NATIONAL POST * 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. () FINANCIAL POST * 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.

Canada renews ties with Somalia

But the combination of a new government appointed in September 2012, and last week’s deadly mall attack in Nairobi, have injected both optimism and urgency into Canada’s approach to Somalia. On Tuesday, Baird appeared alongside his Somali counterpart, Fawzia Yusuf Adam, to herald what he described as not just a new page in the relationship, but a “new volume.” Canada had been wary of engaging the new Somali government too soon as previous iterations have succumbed to corruption and infighting. But he praised the new government, even as he pledged $6 million to help bring peace and stability to Somalia. At the same time, Baird promised to consider other ways in which Canada can help fight the terrorist group responsible for the Kenya attack, al-Shabab. Al-Shabab controlled much of Somalia for years, but has since been forced out of the country’s major urban areas following the African Union’s involvement. It has claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on a highend shopping mall in Nairobi, which killed at least 65 people, including two Canadians. Some analysts have seen the mall attack as a sign the group has shifted tactics to more insurgency-type activities following those losses as well as a bout of internal fighting. Baird acknowledged the gains that have made against al-Shabab in recent years, but added the work is not finished and “in the face of such attacks of despicable terror, we must strengthen our resolve.” Meanwhile, Adam, who is the first Somali foreign minister to visit Canada in recent memory, sought to dispel perceptions her country remains gripped by war and instability. In addition to al-Shabab’s shrunken influence, she noted there have not been any incidents of piracy off Somalia’s cost in more than a year. Somali pirates were considered a scourge in the Indian Ocean several years ago, when they seized several large vessels and held them for ransom, prompting an international military response. “This is a new Somalia,” Adam said. “A Somalia with hope. A lot of challenges. But these challenges are opportunities.” Adam echoed Baird’s assertions of a new era, saying her country was excited to “reignite this flame of partnership” and indicating Somalia is planning to open an embassy in Canada in the near future.

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