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Canada Report: Election over, back to oil

Canadians could be shipping their oil to the U.S. after all and will find it easier to cross the border after the re-election victory of President Barack Obama and a vote in Michigan.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said while sharing "one of the closest and most extensive relationships in the world," he wants Canada and the U.S. to "continue finding ways to increase trade and investment flows."

Some Canadian politicians were quietly pulling for Republican challenger Mitt Romney based on his commitment to approve the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to ship Alberta oil to Texas.

Although Obama deferred a decision on the pipeline until after the election, Canada's Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said he expects the project will go ahead because it's in the "national interest" of the United States.

Harper said he was "very pleased" that voters in Michigan supported a Canadian-financed $1 billion project to build a second bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.

Canada and the U.S. have the world's largest trading partnership with some $2 billion in goods and 400,000 people crossing between the two countries every day.

Holiday tunes on hiatus at drug store

Canada's largest drug store chain has temporarily shelved the playing of Christmas music after protests.

A Facebook campaign prompted Shoppers Drug Mart to temporarily suspend the playing of all Christmas music in its 1,181 stores.

More than 2,600 people commented in several hours after an initial Facebook posting saying early November was much too early for Yuletide tunes.

"We've always started our Christmas music around this time of year … after Halloween you move into the next holiday," said Tammy Smitham, vice president of communications.

"What we decided to do is delay it by a couple weeks and sort of play it by ear and align it close to the holidays," she added.

News in brief

• Prime Minister Harper is on a six-day trade mission to India to encouraging trade and investment and to recognize the 1 million people of Indian descent living in Canada. Trade between the two countries is $5.2 billion annually with a goal of having it rise to $15 billion by 2015. "Our trading relationship and the economic relationship in general is really beginning to blossom," said Stewart Beck, Canada's high commissioner to India.

• More of Canada's colorful currency is turning plastic. The Bank of Canada is now circulating a new $20 bill made of polymer after earlier introducing new 100s and 50s. The new $20 bill, designed to thwart counterfeiters and last longer than the previous paper bills, is the country's mostly widely used bank note. New $5 and $10 bills are to be issued by the end of next year.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar has dipped to below parity with the U.S. current to 99.96 cents U.S. on Friday while the greenback has advanced to $1.0003 Canadian before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,195 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,301 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Nov. 7) 20, 36, 42, 43, 45 and 48; bonus 5. (Nov. 3) 9, 22, 34, 35, 46 and 47; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (Nov. 2) 1, 2, 5, 26, 29, 36 and 47; bonus 13.

Regional briefs

• David Eby will again seek to defeat British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in next May's provincial election. Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, will run for the New Democrats in Clark's Vancouver-Point Grey riding. He came within 500 votes of defeating Clark in last year's by-election.

• Two tobacco companies have asked Ontario's top court to dismiss a $50 billion lawsuit launched against them by the provincial government. Attorneys for British American Tobacco and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company said there is no evidence the companies conspired in the 1950s to withhold information about the harmful and addictive ingredients in cigarettes.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Canada Report: Election over, back to oil 11/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 10, 2012 3:32am]

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