Nov 20 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Three of Canada’s largest provinces are leading a revived effort to create a single agency to oversee the country’s securities markets, an initiative that comes nearly one year after the Supreme Court’s rejection of a national regulator.
Ontario has long been the closest provincial ally of the federal government in its fight to reform the country’s patchwork system of securities regulation. But British Columbia and Alberta are also expressing a new openness to replacing Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial regulators with a single entity that would police the buying and selling of securities. ()
* The pressure is on Ontario’s Education Minister to avert further labour strife and approve five tentative deals that secondary school teachers say are within the stringent financial parameters dictated by the province.
The agreements, which Laurel Broten insisted must be “substantively identical” to terms agreed with the English Catholic teachers’ union in July, came this weekend after school boards asked the Minister to define the phrase. ()
Reports in the business section:
* A new private equity firm, backed by members of Atlantic Canada’s McCain and Sobey families, looked at 100 Canadian companies in a search for its first investment - but, in the end, it didn’t travel far for its inaugural deal.
The McCain-Sobey vehicle, SeaFort Capital Inc, is buying A.W. Leil Holdings Ltd, a crane rental business based in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, the home community of the Sobey supermarket family and not far from the McCains’ New Brunswick frozen food base. ()
* Agrium Inc says a U.S. hedge fund’s efforts to replace much of its board and spin off its retail unit is not supported by most shareholders, and is doomed to failure.
“We listen to our shareholders and the overwhelming majority continue to support the company’s position,” Mike Wilson, Agrium’s president and chief executive officer, said as Jana Partners LLC launched a proxy battle to replace five of the company’s 11 board members. ()
* Documents show the sister of Alberta Premier Alison Redford used her position as a health board executive to attend and hold Progressive Conservative party events on the taxpayers’ dime. There was money for liquor, travel, hotels, flowers and bug repellent.
Wildrose party Leader Danielle Smith, while releasing the documents Monday, said a bigger investigation is needed since Lynn Redford and those who signed off on those expenses remain executives with Alberta’s health superboard. ()
* Amid growing investor discontent at Rona Inc, its U.S. suitor is retreating backstage as the battle for control of the Canadian company plays out in the weeks ahead.
Lowe’s Companies Inc on Monday reaffirmed its interest in a Canadian acquisition as a way to build size. The comment was important because it means it still wants to do a deal after failing to win the backing of Rona’s board and withdrawing in September its C$14.50 ($14.56) per share offer. ()
* A decision that killed BCE Inc’s multibillion dollar bid for Astral Media Inc may have, ironically, helped pave the way for the deal’s completion.
The country’s largest telecommunications and media company filed a fresh offer for Astral with broadcast regulators on Monday, outlining changes and concessions it will make in order to win approval. The amendments are based on the lengthy and detailed decision issued by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Oct. 18 that flatly rejected BCE’s original C$3.38 billion offer. ()