Carl Icahn’s New Playground: Canada

CANADA FX DEBT-Loonie weakens on U.S. shutdown, wider trade deficit

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eDist Canada Announces Availability of New Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac

Icahn has ventured up to Canada in the past, but the country seems riper than ever for American activist investors. William Ackman recently shook up an iconic Canadian brand, Canadian Pacific Railway, and made a killing for his Pershing Square hedge fund revamping the company. Canadas Globe and Mail even named Ackman its CEO of the year . Other American activists, however, have had less luck and dont view Canada as a great place to practice their brand of investing. Barry Rosenstein had his Jana Partners hedge fund launch an activist proxy campaign against Canadian fertilizer maker Agrium that failed. Rosenstein later slammed what happened to him in Canada , alleging the company bribed shareholders using a tactic allowed in Canada that saw Agrium pay brokers 25 cents for a successful vote in the proxy contest. Theres a cost to what they did. Theres a cost to corporate governance in Canada. Will I think twice about going back to Canada? Yeah, I would, Rosenstein said. American activist investors seem to be increasingly embarking on foreign adventures during a time when their investment strategies are ascendant, but going far from home doesnt make things easier. Another New York hedge fund billionaire, Dan Loeb, has so far not accomplished much in his effort to spark change at Japans Sony.

“We remain disturbed by ongoing reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances, and allegations of extra judicial killings,” he said in a statement. Sri Lanka’s envoy to Canada disputed Harper’s comments. The U.N.’s human rights chief said last month that Sri Lanka could be sliding toward an authoritarian system as President Mahinda Rajapaksa gathered power around him. Harper is the only leader from the Commonwealth, which groups Britain and many former colonies, to announce he will boycott the November summit. Britain also has criticized human rights in Sri Lanka. Harper said it was unacceptable that Sri Lanka had yet to investigate allegations of atrocities during and after a long civil war with Tamil rebels, which ended in 2009. Sri Lanka has long dismissed allegations its troops committed major crimes. “It is clear that the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which are cherished by Canadians … I will not attend the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo,” he said. Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada, disputed the idea that the human rights situation was bad. “We don’t accept what is being said,” she told Reuters by telephone, saying Harper himself had noted advances in human rights in 2011. “We know maybe there are many areas to (still) address but at the same time, over the last short period of four years we have made progress which is recognized by most in the international community,” she said.

Canada PM to miss Commonwealth summit, cites Sri Lanka rights

Canada’s trade deficit rose to C$1.31 billion ($1.27 billion) as imports grew to set a record. The data offset an earlier, more upbeat report that showed housing starts jumped in September. “Exports are a large part of the Canadian economy and they are really going to underpin the recovery for us,” said Scott Smith, senior market analyst at Cambridge Mercantile Group in Calgary. “So, if they are not progressing as fast or as well as we’d like, then we’re going to see some loonie selling on the prospects moving forward for the whole economy.” Because of the role it plays in the economy, the export sector is also a significant focal point for the Bank of Canada in terms of when the central bank will raise interest rates, said Smith. The Bank of Canada earlier in the month cut its third-quarter economic growth forecast and said the export sector might recover more slowly than expected. The Canadian dollar was at C$1.0328, or 96.82 U.S. cents, weaker than Monday’s close of C$1.0313, or 96.96 U.S. cents. The Canadian currency briefly hit a session high of C$1.0308 shortly after the housing data. The partial government shutdown south of the border that started last week also strained markets as the impasse brought lawmakers closer to a separate and more crucial deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in order to avoid default. But some hope emerged with President Barack Obama saying he would accept a short-term increase in the nation’s borrowing authority to prevent a default. The United States has until mid-October before it hits the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. The impasse was reminiscent of the 2011 showdown over the debt ceiling, which yielded an agreement only at the last minute.