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Sunday, July 29, 2012

U.S. portrayed as "softer, gentler" in ads in Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, July 29/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   A “softer, gentler America that looks a lot like Canada” is being portrayed in a tourism ad campaign called “Discover America.”
   The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. made that assessment of the campaign that depicts the U.S. with a diverse population and stunning landscapes.
   The U.S. is spending $20 million in Canada on ads at a time when money to promote Canadian tourism has been slashed by the federal government.
   This cross-border competition for tourists is “scaring the daylights” out of the tourism industry here, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.
   It is said to be the first national effort to sell America to the rest of the world since the Reagan administration and has arrived in Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan.
   Ads will appear in Brazil, South Korea, Germany, Australia, China and India this fall and next year.
   The centerpiece TV commercial features the folksy Land of Dreams sung by Roseanne Cash accompanied by diverse musicians.
   Scenes of urban and nature vistas flash across the screen interspersed with multicultural images such as smiling women in hijab and musicians playing the sitar.
   “Discover this land as never before” is the tagline.


   Concerns over continuing gun violence have prompted Toronto police to boost their presence at next weekend's Caribbean Carnival and in “high-risk” neighborhoods.
   Police Chief Bill Blair said an additional 400 officers will be downtown during the carnival that attracts about one-million spectators.
   People watching the parade from bleacher seats will have their bags and purses searched for weapons, drugs and alcohol for the first time.
   The increased security follows meetings involving Blair, Mayor Rob Ford, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss what can be done to prevent more gun incidents.
   This followed a shooting at a community barbecue party that killed two people and injured 20 and deadly gunfire at the Eaton Center shopping mall and on a crowded patio of a Little Italy cafe.


   Business news:
   - Bell TV has been ordered to pay more than $1 million in damages and costs to Quebecor Media Inc. for not protecting its satellite television signal against piracy. The suit heard in Quebec Superior Court had sought $173 million in lost revenues stemming from piracy allowed by Bell in the early 2000s. Judge Joel Silcoff said Bell was “well aware” of what was happening.
   - Hudson Bay’s Zellers department store chain will be virtually gone by next March. Target bought the leaseholds of 189 stores across Canada and plans to start opening later this year. The remaining 64 Zellers’ locations are being closed or sold to other retailers including Walmart.
   - Canada’s Loblaw Companies has formed a partnership with J.C. Penney Co. to open about 700 Joe Fresh stores in the U.S. next year. The hip fashion retailer first entered the U.S. market last year with a flagship store in Manhattan and six others and has 300 stores in Canada.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has gained to 99.52 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.004 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 mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 11,737 points and the TSX Venture index lower at 1,184 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (July 25) 1, 20, 27, 36, 40 and 42; bonus 14. (July 21) 11, 21, 35, 37, 46 and 47; bonus 32. Lotto Max: (July 20) 4, 7, 29, 35, 39, 43 and 44; bonus 46.


   Regional briefs:
   - The body of Rachel Webber, 17, a third victim of a mudslide that destroyed several houses in Johnsons Landing, British Columbia, has been recovered. Also killed were her father Valentine, 60, and sister Diana, 22. The other missing victim is Petra Frehse, 64, from Germany.
   - More Canadian premiers want to tap into Western Canada’s oil riches now that a proposed pipeline to ship oil to Texas has been rejected by the U.S. Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick Premier David Alward say they want a west-to-east pipeline to move unrefined bitumen to refineries in eastern Canada.
   - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said her province needs to be properly compensated if the Northern Gateway oil pipeline is built. She has called on the federal and Alberta governments to resolve the dispute as her province faces a “considerable environmental risk” from the $5.5-billion project to move Alberta oil for shipment to China by freighter.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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