As Albertans go to the polls today, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith looks set to end 41 years of Progressive Conservative rule, as well as that silly
debate over the "science" of climate change. If elected, The Globe and Mail points out, Ms. Smith would become the only elected leader in Canada with
the view that climate change science is so unreliable that nothing should be done. The Wildrose party's position is simple: climate change has yet to
be proven… like evolution, or gravity.
- European stocks are falling and U.S. stock index futures are pointing to early declines after reports showing manufacturing contracted in April in China and Europe, French voters handed Socialist Francois Hollande a win in the first round of the
presidential election and the Dutch Prime Minister failed to reach an accord with a coalition party over proposed austerity measures that might help
the country avoid being pulled into the region's debt crisis. Late Friday, the IMF confirmed it had won $430 billion US in new funding commitments. A
good thing since it looks like Europe is gonna need it.
Austerity in Peril! We'll need to focus on budgets today; not the details of this budget or that, but the fact that some tough-talking budgets are in
question as elections and votes take place. French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday became the first incumbent since 1958 to lose the first round of
the presidential election, putting the crisis-fighting team of Merkozy in jeopardy. His opponent, Hollande, wants to renegotiate the European fiscal
compact. In the Netherlands, the prime minister's calls for additional budget cuts have met with resistance from a parliamentary ally, which may mean
he'll need to gamble on early elections to shore up additional support. In Canada, Alberta chooses a new leader today and Ontario's budget goes to a
Wal-Mart Stores found itself on the front page of The New York Times yesterday and vying for the Top Story slot everywhere else today. In a
lengthy feature, the Times yesterday alleged that the world's biggest retailer bribed local officials in Mexico more than six years ago to speed the
opening of stores and that executives probed those allegations as far back as 2005 but then covered them up. Today, Wal-Mart said it is "committed to
getting to the bottom of this matter… Unfortunately, we realize that, at this point, there are some unanswered questions. We wish we could say
Among the angles we need to pursue are the questions of governance and oversight. We need to understand the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and how it
is applied. We need to look at the Canadian equivalent and how it is applied and whether it has been successful or not. I'd like to hear from a company
CEO with operations abroad about how difficult it can be at times to apply Canadian governance rules to business done where the rules are different.
And we need to be clear that we are talking about allegations.
With the proxy vote to determine the fate of CP Rail inching closer, Headline gets an update with Bill Ackman, CEO, Pershing Square Capital Management, at 12:30 p.m. ET.
There are some big deals we need to consider today. Nestle has agreed to buy Pfizer's (pronounced "Pfizer") baby food unit for almost $12 billion.
That's a lot of pablum. AstraZeneca has agreed to buy Ardea Biosciences for $1.3 billion, giving AstraZeneca a new drug to combat gout. Henry VIII is
most pleased with the transaction.
In earnings, we are watching numbers from ConocoPhillips, Hasbro and Xerox. CN Rail reports after the close, as does Texas Instruments.
Every morning Managing Editor Marty Cej writes a "chase note" to BNN's
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