Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ontario, Canada

Telus Unlikely to Seek Merger With BCE, Globe and Mail Says
Telus Corp. is unlikely to seek a merger with BCE Inc. whether a planned buyout of BCE by a group led by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan succeeds or fails, the Globe and Mail reported, citing unidentified people close to Telus.
Vancouver-based Telus, Canada's second-largest telephone company, isn't interested in a deal with BCE under either scenario because federal regulators would make merger approval conditional on the divestment of the companies' wireless businesses, the newspaper reported. BCE is the country's largest phone provider.
Telus, which considered a bid for BCE last year, would prefer to see its Montreal-based rival burdened with debt if Teachers' record C$52 billion ($52.5 billion) buyout proceeds, the newspaper said, quoting a person who works with both companies. Telus executives declined to comment, the newspaper said.
BCE's bondholders oppose the Teachers' transaction because they say it would load the company with debt and increase the risk of default.
The Supreme Court of Canada is considering whether to hear an appeal by BCE to overturn a May 21 ruling by Quebec's appeals court that blocked the proposed buyout.

Ontario man dead, Penticton resident hospitalized after stabbings
A 27-year-old Ontario man is dead and a Penticton, B.C., man is in hospital after an early-morning fight in which both were stabbed at a beach in the Okanagan city.
RCMP say two groups of men were involved in the incident which ended with the stabbings.
Cpl. Rick Dellebuur says a 23-year-old Penticton man remains in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
No names are being released at this time.
The Penticton and District Major Crime Units is continuing to investigate.

Ontario Appeal Court tosses ailing autism lawsuit thin lifeline
Parents fighting to have their autistic children receive expensive, specialized therapies within the public education system were tossed a thin lifeline by Ontario's highest court Friday.
In a unanimous ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal essentially handed back the parents some of their claims against the Ontario government and seven school boards, saying they need to be substantially reworked if they are to have any hope of succeeding in their lawsuit.
"I would say it's a mixed outcome," said David Baker, the lawyer representing the parents.
"The issue of charter damages and the issue of negligence (was) reopened - to a degree."
Baker said it was still too soon to say whether the group would now go back to the lower courts to try again on those issues.
The five families are trying to sue the Ontario government and the school boards for negligence and damages, accusing them of failing to provide or properly fund the specialized autism therapies - known as intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) and applied behaviour analysis (ABA) - in schools.
The therapies for autism, a poorly understood neurological condition that causes developmental disability and behaviour problems, can cost between $30,000 to $80,000 a year for each child.
The parents, who say they are forced to go to financial "extremes," filed a $1.25-billion lawsuit in 2004. They argued their children were victims of discrimination because other kids with special needs get therapy and an education within the publicly funded school system.
"The crucial issue is the issue of discrimination," Baker said.
"The reason why children with autism are out of school is that they are not being accommodated by being provided with ABA support while in school."
The court said that argument remains alive, if barely, but will require "substantial redrafting."
In its written ruling, the court was critical of the various claims for their fuzziness, at one point lamenting that the lack of clarity "makes it difficult to know" what the parents want.
"It continues to be difficult to correlate the appellants' allegations of fact with their proposed causes of action," Justice Susan Lang wrote on behalf of the three-member appeal panel.
The plaintiffs were also hoping to be allowed to sue for damages if their class action is eventually certified.
As with several of the other claims, the court ruled they could try again "with the necessary concision."
Taline Sagharian of Richmond Hill, Ont., whose 11-year-old son Christopher has autism, said the court had at least not shut the door entirely on their claims, but the decision needs further study.
"It's a little bit confusing," Sagharian said.
"But we're dedicated to the case, we're dedicated to the cause."
In March last year, Ontario Superior Court Justice Maurice Cullity sided with the provincial government in striking down several of the key claims, including negligence and damages.
The Appeal Court rejected the parents' negligence claims against the Ontario government, but left open the possibility that the school boards might yet be on the hook for how they ran programs aimed at accommodating children with special needs.
The court also tossed out a claim based on age discrimination related to Ontario's now-rescinded decision to pay for ABA for children only until age six.

New Ojibway reserve opens in northern Ontario
Members of an Ojibway community who have struggled for more than century for a home to call their own were celebrating the official opening of a new reserve in northern Ontario on Saturday.
Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek (Lake Nipigon Reserve) consists of 12.5 square kilometres at Partridge Lake, along Highway 11, between Jellico and Geraldton — about a three-hour drive northeast of Thunder Bay.
Almost 70 per cent of the 310 community members now living throughout the region say they're planning to make the new reserve their home.
Chief Yvette Metasinine says her people always thought of themselves as a community, even though they were not part of a reserve.
"We were called 'Lake Nipigon, Various Places,'" she said. "We didn't belong anywhere. We were always recognized by the federal government, but we didn't have a place to call home, I guess"
Elder Mary Ann Nord says she remembers her parents working with the government to get a reserve, but wondered whether the day would ever come.
"Every time we'd get a letter it would say, pretty soon, pretty soon, and then all of a sudden we got it," she said. "I almost started crying."
Unlike most First Nations in Canada, Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek has more elders than children.

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