MONTREAL—The candidacy of Quebec media baron Pierre Karl Péladeau for the Parti Québécois raises many questions but exposes just one clear truth — the fight for power in Canada’s most left-wing province will be decided by voters on the right of the spectrum.
PQ Leader Pauline Marois’ star candidate, who is the former president and majority shareholder of Quebecor (which owns the Sun chain and the TVA network, among others), has drawn a fiery burst from the far-left Québec Solidaire about the “union-buster” par excellence.
The phones are ringing non-stop in regions like Abitibi, in western Quebec, where there is strong union presence, but more importantly in two urban Montreal ridings where the party’s candidates placed a strong second in the last election, co-leader Amir Khadir said in a news conference outside Quebecor headquarters Monday.
“There are people who have previously voted for the PQ who say that with Pierre Karl Péladeau in the Parti Québécois, there’s no place for (them). I understand their disappointment.”
But in a race where the Quebec Liberals and Coalition Avenir Québec have already laid claim to economic and fiscal issues, the addition into the mix of the multi-millionaire Péladeau is tantamount to a hostile takeover bid.
The boost of credibility that the 52-year-old will bring to the PQ’s economic platform will be a serious challenge for Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, who has spent the first week of the campaign denigrating the PQ’s track record after 18 months of minority rule. This is, after all, a race in which opinion polls indicate the economy is the priority issue for nearly half of Quebecers, a recent Crop survey for La Presse found.
Indeed, Marois wasted no time highlighting Péladeau’s economic pedigree, trotting out her new superstar candidate as the main attraction of her newly formed financial dream team, which also included finance minister Nicolas Marceau and the head of the Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec, Simon Prévost.
“We have assembled the strongest economic team in the history of Quebec,” she beamed, speaking with reporters in an aerospace parts factory east of Montreal.
For the Coalition Avenir Québec, which had 18 seats when the election was called, the Péladeau factor risks being a critical blow. Already, the pollsters have noted the path to a Marois majority passes directly through CAQ-held ridings like the Saint-Jérôme seat Péladeau is seeking, as well as in the Quebec City area, where Péladeau’s Quebecor has been the driving force behind a push to bring back an NHL franchise to the city.
It will make for a charged debate when the four party leaders — Marois, Couillard, the CAQ’s François Legault and Françoise David of Québec Solidaire — face off on television March 20.
In the news conference Monday, Marois said her party continues to be the “progressive” movement founded by René Lévesque, even if it has been led by left-leaning individuals since the resignation of Lucien Bouchard, a one-time federal Conservative MP, in 2001.
“I invite (conservatives) again to vote for the Parti Québéois, which is a party that has grown Quebec, that has put public finances in order, which has brought back integrity into public management and which proposes an ambitious economic plan,” she said.
On the PQ’s left flank, Québec Solidaire’s Khadir warned if Péladeau is a member of any government, “you can be sure that that government will fight unions.”
One of Khadir’s candidates, former union leader Gaétan Châteauneuf, calculated that brutal labour disputes at just three Quebecor properties — cable provider Videotron and two tabloid newspapers, le Journal de Montréal and le Journal de Québec — works out to five years of workers being lockout by their employer.
The Liberals, meanwhile, say they are concerned about the influence Péladeau may have held at his media outlets in the period to the election, when it was rumoured that he would run for the PQ and was still serving as vice -chairman of the Quebecor board and chairman of the board at both Quebecor Media and TVA Group. He resigned his post as president and chief executive last year.
“What influence has Mr. Péladeau had over the course of the last few weeks . . . on the journalistic treatment of political news? What will it be over the course of the election campaign . . . and after the election?” Couillard asked.
“I’m asking the questions. It’s for Mr. Péladeau and Madame Marois to answer.”
Péladeau said he has never interfered with the editorial stance of any Quebecor media properties.
“Whether its TVA, or the Journal de Montreal or the Journal de Quebec, or all the other papers, Sun News, Toronto Sun, no one has ever intervened with political editorials,” he said Monday.
Yet more difficulties still may lie ahead if the media titan actually makes it to the Quebec legislature.
The province’s ethics commissioner told reporters Monday that a case like Péladeau’s — where an individual’s stock holdings and business interests extend into so many facets of government business and political life — will immediately set a precedent for how to avoid a conflict of interest.
Péladeau, who has offered to put his controlling shares in Quebecor in a blind trust if elected, said that he will do whatever it takes to comply.
Premier Kathleen Wynne is warning the trade deal Prime Minister Stephen Harper is about to sign with South Korea could be a double-edged sword for Ontario.
With Harper in Seoul to sign the historic accord Tuesday, Wynne was asked about the concerns of Canada’s most populous province.
“We are very supportive of opening up opportunities for Ontario and Canadian business. In terms of the agri-food sector, we are very optimistic about the opportunities that a Canada-Korea deal might provide,” the premier told reporters Monday at a cheese factory in St. Albert, near Ottawa.
But mindful of 93,000 auto manufacturing jobs in the province — and hundreds of thousands of ancillary positions — Wynne expressed unease at aspects of the deal.
“We do have reservations about the auto sector and our Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment Eric Hoskins has been very clear with the federal government and has been working on making sure that the appropriate protections are in place,” she said.
“So we are of two minds, we are optimistic and at the same time we are cautious on the auto sector. We will be looking for the appropriate protections and framework around the auto sector.”
Sources familiar with the accord told the Star that Ottawa’s deal with Seoul does not boast all the protections for the auto sector that the industry and the Ontario government demanded.
Queen’s Park and General Motors Canada, Ford of Canada, and Chrysler Canada wanted an arrangement virtually identical to the 2012 U.S.-Korea trade deal.
They sought a lengthy five to seven-year phase-in to allow for the Ontario-based industry to adapt to the new marketplace realities and a “snap-back” condition so that tariffs could be slapped on South Korean vehicles if Seoul imposes any “non-tariff” barriers on Canadian products.
But Ottawa failed to get such provisos in the deal — as Washington did in its agreement with South Korea two years ago.
Even so, Detroit-based manufacturers are complaining of non-tariff barriers — related to vehicle standards and regulations — that hinder them in South Korea.
Insiders confided that Harper’s government was able to get assurances that South Korean automakers, such as Hyundai and Kia, which already sell extensively here, would not be able to flood the market.
Unlike the recent Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, Ontario did not have a seat at the table in the nine-year Korean negotiations.
The latest deal will be Canada’s first trade liberalization agreement with an Asia-Pacific country and is expected to provide an opening to the region for Canadian exporters hoping to take advantage of the fast-growing economies there.
It also adds momentum to the Harper government’s economic strategy, which is linked to expanding trade beyond the United States, long the main market for Canadian exports. Ottawa is also working toward free-trade agreements with Japan and through the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
International Trade Minister Ed Fast has been stressing the importance of the Korean pact for Canadian companies.
“We need to make sure that Canadian businesses have a level playing field upon which they do business, and as you probably know, our exports to Korea have declined quite precipitously since the Americans and the Europeans got their trade agreements with Korea,” Fast told CTV on Sunday.
“So we’re looking to level the playing field, make sure that our businesses can compete fairly with some of our biggest competitors.”
Canadians exports to South Korea have dropped by $1.5 billion — or about one-third — since the Korea-U.S. free-trade agreement was signed several years ago, according to the federal government. A deal with Korea should help Canada’s agricultural sectors, particularly pork and beef producers as well as makers of ice wine.
Officials say will take a year for the two governments to finalize the trade pact and put it into effect.
With that in mind, Wynne’s government is expected to ask for a task force of federal, provincial, and auto industry officials to improve the deal, much as the Americans were able to do before their accord was finalized.
Mobile users can click here to follow updates from the Leafs-Ducks game in Anaheim.
BROOKLYN—Beforehand, you could read the power imbalance in the posturing.
One coach was downplaying reality. The other was hallucinating his way through it.
On the subject of how big this game was, Dwane Casey: “All the games are important at this time of the year . . . ” (Ed. Note: Aw, jeez) “. . . but with them being close, it puts a little more importance on it . . . ” (Ed. Note: Better) “. . . but it’s not going to break either of our seasons.” (Ed Note: Plausible)
On the same topic, Jason Kidd: “It’s a regular game . . . ” (Ed. Note: Don’t even start with us) “. . . Just gotta protect home . . . ” (Ed. Note: Are you talking? Or do you just move your lips while the pre-game tape from the home opener rolls?) “. . . We can’t think about the playoffs.” (Ed. Note: Here’s a good bet — you’ll be thinking about them after you’re clipped)
If Kidd really believed that were the case, he probably wouldn’t have pulled Paul Pierce out of the triage tent to start this one. He tried to bait Casey by putting out the story that an injured Kevin Garnett would join him. He didn’t. Another odd mind game. This is what Kidd has been reduced to in Brooklyn.
Though Toronto was in a good spot to seal things off, this was the season for the Nets and (just maybe) Kidd’s job on the line.
With all that to play for the Nets came out looking as they often do against the Raptors recently: overawed.
Brooklyn scored the first four points of the game.
Game Ops confidently plastered a stat on the scoreboard: the Nets hadn’t trailed at any point in their last three home games.
Toronto went on a 12-0 run prompted by the outside shooting of Terrence Ross. While the howls of some Game Ops mope being beaten with reeds could be heard off in the distance, the Raptors were getting their forearm on Brooklyn’s throat and pressing down.
As ever, this has everything to do with Kyle Lowry’s poise. Sure, his game has improved, but the team’s ballast has impressed far more in his make-up makeover. As the first quarter drew to an end, Tyler Hansbrough began sliding off the rails (a personal specialty). He got snitty with Andray Blatche. They shared a great deal — their thoughts, their hopes, their technicals.
When Hansbrough was dumped under the basket as the quarter ended, he began to berate the officials. Lowry sprinted out onto the court to calm . . . KYLE LOWRY.
The flip side to this is that whenever Lowry isn’t on the court, everything looks like it’s moving far too fast for the rest of the team — and Greivis Vasquez in particular. Vasquez is only nominally Lowry’s point-guard back-up. More to the point, he’s a spotty shooter who just happens to handle the ball intermittently.
Lowry sat for six minutes in the second quarter, and a 12-point lead began to dry up.
It was 51-50 at the half.
If we expected playoff intensity coming out of the locker rooms, we got it from the wrong one. The Raptors emerged lethargic. The Nets were energized. Four consecutive Brooklyn three-pointers gave the Nets a 13-point advantage.
Nonetheless, Toronto would not be buried. They were in it until the final minute, when Terrence Ross lost the handle in the offensive zone. Lowry called his own number with a chance to tie it, but came up short. Brooklyn won 101-97.
There is no way to compare the Raptors’ disappointment with the Nets’ relief. You could see that in the teams’ respective faces post-game.
Brooklyn now trails Toronto in the Atlantic by three games with 20 remaining.
Though the Nets have been rolling in the new year, they’re still banged up and have the tougher schedule.
Of the Raptors’ rose-strewn path to the playoffs, 11 upcoming contests are against sub-.400 teams. The Nets get nine playoff-bound opponents, including (a suddenly enraged) Miami twice.
Barring an epic Toronto collapse (. . . and, yes, I already regret writing those words . . . ) this is a gap that should hold.
When we worry about Brooklyn now, we have to worry about them as a first-round playoff opponent (and so, we worry they might give up on the division and rest their geriatric core for the duration).
The bigger problem is Chicago, which continues to thrive on a combo of Joakim Noah-driven inspiration and Tom Thibodeau-driven fear.
Over the next two weeks, Chicago plays Indiana (twice), San Antonio, Houston and Portland. By month’s end, we’ll know if the Raptors are finishing third or fourth in the East.
Because of the loss, the regular season is still a going concern. Nonetheless, from now on, every decision made by the Raptors brain trust should be made with a mind to how this team will succeed in the playoffs.
KYIV, UKRAINE—Ukraine’s foreign minister said Monday that his country was practically in a state of war with Russia, as Moscow further ratcheted up pressure on Kyiv, claiming that Russian-leaning eastern regions have plunged into lawlessness.
Russian forces have effectively taken control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in what has turned into Europe’s greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the Cold War. On Sunday the region is to hold a referendum on whether to split off and become part of Russia, which the West says it will not recognize.
“We have to admit that our life now is almost like . . . a war,” Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsya said before meeting his counterparts from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. “We have to cope with an aggression that we do not understand.”
Deshchytsya said Ukraine is counting on help from the West. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Wednesday.
On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said lawlessness “now rules in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of the so-called ‘Right Sector,’ with the full connivance” of Ukraine’s new authorities.
Right Sector is a grouping of several far-right and nationalist factions whose activists were among the most radical and confrontational of the three-month-long demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, which eventually ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
The Kremlin statement also claimed Russian citizens trying to enter Ukraine have been turned back at the border by Ukrainian officials.
Pro-Russia sentiment is high in Ukraine’s east and there are fears Russia could seek to incorporate that area as well.
Obama has warned that the referendum in Crimea would violate international law. But on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he supports the vote, in phone calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Minister David Cameron.
“The steps taken by the legitimate leadership of Crimea are based on the norms of international law and aim to ensure the legal interests of the population of the peninsula,” said Putin, according to the Kremlin.
On Monday, Putin was briefed by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, on the contents of a document Lavrov received from Secretary of State John Kerry explaining the U.S. view of the situation in Ukraine.
That document contains “a concept which does not quite agree with us because everything was stated in terms of allegedly having a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and in terms of accepting the fait accompli,” Lavrov said. The Kremlin contends Yanukovych was ousted by a coup.
In Washington, the State Department said it was still waiting to hear from Moscow whether it would accept a U.S. proposal for negotiating an end to Ukraine crisis.
A statement released Monday said Kerry, in weekend discussions with Lavrov, reiterated Washington’s demand that Moscow pull back its troops from Ukraine and end attempts to annex the Crimean peninsula. Kerry also called on Russia to cease what the statement described as “provocative steps” to allow diplomatic talks to continue.
Meanwhile, Obama spoke by telephone with Chinese President Xi Jinping late Sunday, trying to court China’s support for efforts to isolate Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine.
Obama appealed to Beijing’s vehement opposition to outside intervention in other nations’ domestic affairs, according to a White House statement.
China has been studiously neutral since Ukraine crisis began and it remained unclear whether China would side with the U.S. and Europe or with Moscow.
The UN Security Council, meanwhile, met on Ukraine for the fifth time in 10 days to hear closed-door briefings from UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman and Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev. The council has been unable to take any action because Russia has veto power.
France’s UN ambassador, Gerard Araud, said the goal was to “send a message to the Russians . . . ‘No referendum, you have to respect the Ukrainian constitution and negotiate.’”
Lara Jakes, Matthew Lee and Julie Pace in Washington, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey was disqualified from the US PGA Championship after the second round for failing to "recreate his lie" after removing a ball from sand.
American Scott Verplank withdrew from the US PGA Championship with a hip problem half-way through his second round at the Ocean Course.
Trump World Headquarters
New York, NY
Dear The Donald,
Now that the bluster has settled and the rejuvenated Blue Monster says goodbye to the world's best golfers, I have a few thoughts from afar. Namely, how your course should be presented going forward.
Before addressing the design, a quick congratulations on having Patrick Reed win. To have such a modest, humble world top-five player win must be something you can relate to.
As for the Monster, well, its namesake was restored and then some. Generally, I would advocate you ignore player comments so soon after the heat of battle, but instead, elicit their views after they've had time to assess the week. Today's pros are getting better at separating course setup defects from architecture, and after Friday's high winds it was telling how so few critiqued the renovated course and how so many questioned the setup not taking the predicted winds into account.
Related: The 17th At Doral: Not Every Hole Has To Have Water!
I would concur that with a few setup tweaks, particularly on the back nine, the course will play better in high winds. Just having a year to mature will do wonders, as the thatchless but otherwise beautiful putting surfaces had that new green bounce that often even repels a spinning shot. Besides, there were still signs that good play was rewarded and poor play penalized. The field still managed nine rounds under 70 on Sunday after the players had been beaten up for three days and with some pretty tough final-round hole locations.
Now, about your comments to Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller about lengthening the 15th hole and blowing up the current 17th green to get water back into play. If you noticed the player feedback, they were pretty unanimous that there was too much water affecting play. There were 318 balls hit into the water last week, surpassing 2004's previous high of 220. This means you do not need to make the devilish little 15th any longer, in fact, I was saddened we didn't see it play super short with a front hole location. Anything would have been more interesting than that dreary final day hole location in the back right that limited birdies and took fans cheering for a ball rolling toward the hole out of play.
As to the waterless par-4 17th, it played as the toughest driving hole all week, and the players didn't exactly hit great approach shots into that huge, artfully bunkered green. More than that, the 17th provided a nice contrast to the other water-filled finishing holes and gave everyone a breather before the 18th, which was set up way too long for the winds.
Anyhow, that's all I have for you. You have the number in case you want chat.
Congrats on reinvigorating the Blue Monster.
Yours In Waterballs,
By Alex Myers
It's safe to say we've seen the most disappointing back-to-back Sundays of Tiger Woods' career the past two weeks. His lackluster performances have generated discussion about him losing his ability to close, but is this truly a case of final-round pressure finally getting to arguably the game's all-time greatest player? Let's look at the numbers.
Actually, before we do that, it's only fair to address Woods' back. It caused him to withdraw from the Honda Classic the previous Sunday, and he was visibly in pain during the final round at Doral. Woods' defenders will point to that as the reason for his Sunday struggles, while Woods' critics will say he's looked pretty good the past two Saturdays. No one knows for sure how much the back has affected his play (he didn't mention it until last Sunday), but here's what we do know:
-- Overall, Woods has led the PGA Tour in final-round scoring five times. Then again, shouldn't that be expected from someone who has led the tour in overall scoring average nine times and finished second or third another five times? That's 14 times in the top three in 16 full seasons (this doesn't count 1999 and 2008 in which he won a combined six times in 14 events), with 2010 and 2011 being the lone two blips.
-- Sunday's 78 at Doral was Woods' first complete final round in 2014 on the PGA Tour. He withdrew after 13 holes at the Honda Classic -- he was five over at the time -- and he didn't make the Sunday cut at Torrey Pines after a third-round 79. See? He doesn't always play great on Saturday, either.
-- In 2013, Woods ranked 93rd in final-round scoring average at 71.13, by far the worst of his career. But he also wasn't particularly sharp on Saturdays, ranking 48th with a 70.47 average. He ranked second in scoring average for both the first and second rounds.
-- In 2012, Woods also ranked No. 2 on both Thursday and Friday, but slipped to 44th and 30th on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Hmm. Now it seems like we're seeing a trend . . .
-- If we look deeper at his 2013 and 2012 seasons, Woods shot even or better all eight times he held or shared the 54-hole lead. He also won all eight of those times to make it 54 out of 58 times overall that he's won when taking at least a share of the lead into the final round. In other words, he can still close the deal.
-- But what about when he's trailing? Since the beginning of 2012, Woods' Sunday average with the lead (70.5) is half a shot better than when he enters the final round in pursuit. This could be an indication that Woods forces the issue in those instances and doesn't play as well. Of course, it could also mean he loses interest when he's not in contention.
-- And what about majors? Post-scandal, he has played considerably worse on Sundays in golf's four biggest tournaments. His Masters average of 70 is better than his career Sunday average, his PGA Championship performance has stayed about the same, but his final-round play at the two Opens are more than two shots worse than for his career. That being said, when you're dealing with three or four years, that's a pretty small sample size. More on that later . . .
-- In 2009, Woods led the tour in scoring average in all four rounds, including a 68.40 average on Saturday and Sunday, which was nearly a full shot better than his average before the cut. That, however, wasn't typical. Woods' remarkable consistency has been across the board. His success hasn't come from going extra low in final rounds, but rather shooting about the same scores Thursday through Sunday.
-- Sometimes, small sample sizes don't make sense. For instance, in 2002, Woods was first in scoring overall, pre-cut and final round, yet for some reason was No. 50 on Saturdays. It happens.
-- To that point, here are some other random final-round scoring averages for Woods: 39th (1999), 13th (2003), and 15th (2004).
So, what does it all mean? Woods hasn't been as good on Sundays in recent years, but he also hasn't been as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Oh yeah, and he has a bad back. So until Tiger starts routinely blowing 54-hole leads, it's probably best to refrain from pushing the panic button just yet.
By John Strege
When Tiger Woods was 21 and fresh off a 12-stroke victory in the Masters, he won his next tournament, the GTE Byron Nelson Classic, and proclaimed he had done so without his A game. He graded it a C+.
This did not sit particularly well with some of his tour brethren, who apparently were not happy hearing that his C+ game was better their A game. "He's making a big deal out of it, winning with his C game," Brad Faxon said then. "I told him, 'you'd better be aware of what you're saying and how it's being taken by some of your fellow players.'"
This minor kerfuffle came to mind in the wake of Patrick Reed's comments on the weekend, that "I firmly believe...I'm a top five player in the world. I feel like... if I'm playing the best I can that week I can't be beat."
This isn't likely sitting any better with tour associates than Tiger's C+ grade did then. "Wow," NBC's Johnny Miller said about Reed. "That is quite the comment. It's better to do it first and talk about it second. You've got to hand it to him, he's confident."
Reed, 23, won the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday, his third PGA Tour victory in less than seven months, a pace bettered only by Jimmy Walker's three wins in five months.
As the Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean once said, "It ain't braggin' if you can back it up."
(Getty Images photo)
Patrick Reed Let His Words Speak Louder Than His Golf Clubs
When it comes to trash talking, golf is a bit different to most other sports. This can be partially attributed to the fact that golf has always been, and in many respects still is, a gentleman's game. But this can also be largely attributed to the fact ...
Golf|Boldly Upsetting the Field, and the Establishment
Reed on a roll, wins a World Golf Championship
UPDATE 3-Golf-Reed wins WGC-Cadillac Championship
Iguana attacks golf ball at Puerto Rico Open
Yahoo Singapore News (blog)
That's new to us all. It happened to Andrew Loupe on the 16th hole during his final round, with the iguana going after his golf ball, but eventually getting bored of it and heading back to the wilderness, proper etiquette for an animal such as this one.
Iguana tries to eat PGA player's golf ball
Iguana Decides He Does Not Want That Golf Ball After All
VIDEO: This iguana will haunt your golfing dreams
2 Friends Pull Off Incredible Golf Trick Shot
In order to pull off this trick shot, the timing and placement had to be perfect. Golf isn't the easiest sport in which to use teamwork. Thankfully, the guys in this video found a way to work together to pull off an awesome trick. One of the guys in ...
This two person golf trick shot is unbelievable
This two person golf trick shot is unbelievable. Excuse the portrait mode video but this golf trick shot is so impressive that we can ignore the blatant disregard of proper cell phone video recording etiquette. Here's what goes down: the guy behind ...
UPDATE 2-Golf-Reed wins WGC-Cadillac Championship
DORAL, Florida, March 9 (Reuters) - American Patrick Reed became the youngest winner of a World Golf Championship event when he held on for a one shot victory at the Cadillac Championship on Sunday after an ailing Tiger Woods failed to mount a ...