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Buried government report reveals looming fiscal crisis

A shocking new report quietly released by the federal government admits that their finances could collapse in the coming decades if politicians don't make responsible choices.

Two days before Christmas, when most politicians and their staffers had long left their offices for the holiday break, the finance department released - without fanfare or wide notice - a surprising update on long-term economic and fiscal projections.

The report warns that lower than expected growth combined with higher program spending "would be sufficient to put at risk the fiscal sustainability of the federal government."

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Bail-Ins Coming? World's Oldest Bank "Survival Rests On Savers"

The world's oldest bank and Italy's third biggest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), is making a last-ditch emergency attempt as the year ends to convince tens of thousands of ordinary Italian savers to help it escape state hands.

MPS shares fell 8.5% in early trading this morning as the bank began its attempt to entice institutional and retail investors to snap up fresh shares. The bank wants 40,000 retail investors and savers to take part in a complex 5 billion [euro] (4.18bn [pounds]) bailout. The Tuscan lender said it is pressing ahead with a highly-ambitious plan to persuade private investors to convert their bonds into shares. This process must be completed in the next two weeks - by the end of the year.

MPS has become the focus of fears about the Italian banking system, which is on the verge of collapse with 360 billion [euros] of bad debts amassed in recent years. Unicredit, Italy's biggest bank, last week announced plans to raise 13 billion [euro] through a record-breaking share issue and slash another 11% of the workforce.

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Ontario to kick off 150th birthday celebration with giant inflatable duck costing $200Gs

The Ontario government will celebrate the country’s 150th birthday with a giant rubber duck - and taxpayers are taking a bath.

Ontario PC MPP Vic Fedeli said the $200,000 birthday duck tour - more than half of it covered by Ontario - is a sure sign of a government with “messed up” priorities.

"I cannot imagine what the rubber duck’s connection is to the 150th," Fedeli said. "They’re laying off frontline health-care workers right across Ontario . . . They can’t find money for alternative level of care beds, but they can find $200,000 for some kind of a duck promo?"

The six-storey-tall, 13,600-kilogram yellow duck is being brought to Toronto by the Redpath Waterfront Festival, at a total cost of $200,000, combining a provincial contribution and other funding such as corporate sponsorship.

The total grant for the Toronto portion of the tour was closer to $121,325, according to tourism ministry spokesman Jeff Costen.

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Privately-sponsored Syrian refugees more likely to find work: Document

Syrian refugees sponsored by private groups such as churches and charities are five times more likely than those sponsored by the Trudeau government to have found work in Canada, the Toronto Sun has learned.

According to a January 2017 ministerial briefing document from the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), all Syrian refugees face "barriers to employment" -- but the outcomes for different programs is stark.

The document reveals the gap between Syrian refugees settled through the private program compared to those who come in via the government-led program.

The IRCC document -- made public through an access to information request and shared with the Sun — states that Canada welcomed 46,321 refugees in 2016. This represents a 136% increase over the previous year.

The document includes a November 2016 impact evaluation of the Syrian refugee settlement program, based on a sample of recently-arrived Syrian refugees.

The survey found that 53% of privately sponsored Syrian refugees had been able to find work in Canada, compared to just 10% of government sponsored refugees.

That means that nine in 10 Syrian refugees sponsored by the Trudeau government are unemployed.

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Moody's downgrades credit ratings for Canada's Big 6 banks

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/moodys-banks-1.4109847Moody's says high debt levels and soaring house prices could be bad news for Canada's big banks, and has downgraded their credit rating as a result.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada and Royal Bank of Canada all saw their credit ratings cut by one notch late Wednesday.

Moody's cited a "more challenging operating environment for banks in Canada for the remainder of 2017 and beyond."

"Today's downgrade of the Canadian banks reflects our ongoing concerns that expanding levels of private-sector debt could weaken asset quality in the future," Moody's vice-president David Beattie said. 

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