PRESS DIGEST- Canada- March 25

March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:20am EDT

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March 25 (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 GLOBE AND MAIL

* Ontario's Liberal government is planning a budget crafted to be hard for the New Democratic Party to defeat, including left-friendly measures such as better welfare benefits. Despite Premier Kathleen Wynne's bullish posturing in recent weeks, government sources say the Liberals are wary of a spring vote - particularly after two by-election losses last month - and will design a budget New Democrats can support in order to prevent one. (link.reuters.com/ham87v)

* The Alberta Progressive Conservative party leadership vote to replace Alison Redford will take place on Sept. 6, with a potential run off vote scheduled for Sept. 20. The PC party, which has formed the government in Alberta continuously for more than four decades, made the announcement about the leadership contest after a long board meeting on Monday. (link.reuters.com/bam87v)

Reports in the business section:

* Canadian companies operating in Russia are pleading with Ottawa to ensure they aren't hurt by sanctions as the federal government puts global security ahead of commercial interests in the region. On Monday Prime Minister Stephen Harper said commercial interests are now secondary in the consideration of responses to the Russian moves. (link.reuters.com/vyk87v)

NATIONAL POST

* Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his fellow G7 leaders have indefinitely suspended Russia from the Group of Eight until President Vladimir Putin "changes course." The G7 "condemned" Russia's annexation of Crimea in a brief document called "The Hague Statement" that was more strongly worded than had been expected. It described the referendum held in Crimea eight days ago that resulted in a 96.7 percent support for union with Russia as "illegal." (link.reuters.com/cyk87v)

* Prime Minister Stephen Harper has endorsed controversial Calgary Conservative MP Rob Anders, who faces a serious challenge from a well-known former Alberta provincial minister as he seeks his party's nomination for the 2015 election. (link.reuters.com/jyk87v)

FINANCIAL POST

* British Columbia's Liberal government has followed through with its promise to table back-to-work legislation for unionized truckers on strike at Port Metro Vancouver, with heavy penalties for not complying. The legislation includes penalties of up to $400 per day for workers and $10,000 per day for the union or employer for contravening the legislation. (link.reuters.com/kyk87v)

* The clock is still ticking on BlackBerry Ltd's attempted turnaround, but it is clear Chief Executive John Chen has managed to buy some time for the embattled technology company. Chen has moved quickly to jumpstart BlackBerry's transition from primarily a seller of smartphones to a specialized provider of enterprise grade software and services. (link.reuters.com/syk87v) (Compiled by Arnab Sen in Bangalore)

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