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BMO open to Bitcoin if virtual currency is regulated, reliable, says CEO Bill Downe

The chief executive of the Bank of Montreal said Tuesday his company would be open to dealing in bitcoin transactions provided that the virtual currency becomes more clearly regulated, the first such endorsement by the head of a major Canadian bank.

If it was reliable and if it was regulated, "then there's no reason why we couldn't be an intermediary in bitcoin-related transactions," Bill Downe said in an interview after the company's annual general meeting in Toronto.

"Because, if you wanted a Swiss franc transaction or a Japanese yen transaction or a U.S. dollar transaction, we can do that transaction for you," he said. "If bitcoin [can be] a reliable medium of exchange, then at that point in the future, we would be able to [conduct business] with bitcoin."

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'Bail-in' risks see Europe banks get downgrade warning

Gold traded below the highest level in more than four months as investors weighed the crisis in Ukraine against the weakening U.S. economy.

Prices rose 0.3% after a report showed that U.S. companies added much fewer workers than projected in February. The metal climbed to $1,354.87 on March 3, the highest since October 30, as tension between Ukraine and Russia escalated. Bloomberg reports that gold in Singapore for immediate delivery was at $1,334.86/oz at 2:30 p.m. in from $1,336.90/oz yesterday.

The move towards "bail-ins" and away from government "bailouts" continues to evolve and yesterday credit rating agency, Standard and Poor's warned that this could lead to credit ratings for European banks being slashed by one or two notches.

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Ontario raising minimum wage

TORONTO - Ontario will announce an increase in the minimum wage Thursday to about $11 an hour.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi have scheduled a morning media conference in Toronto.

"We'll be announcing our next steps shortly," Naqvi said Wednesday.

The Minimum Wage Advisory Panel this week recommended linking Ontario's minimum wage to inflation.

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Kelly McParland: Eight budgets later, Flaherty gets to be Flaherty

As I recall, Jim Flaherty's first budget as Federal finance minister was not well received.

Andrew Coyne, whose approval finance ministers secretly crave, delivered the most telling blow.

"This is a budget any Liberal finance minister could have brought down. Could and, in parts, did," he pronounced cruelly if accurately.

It didn't cut spending, it raised it. It played silly games, putting off spending until future years so it could pretend it wasn't really spending. It mimicked smarmy Liberal giveaways: tax credits to help little kids buy new shin pads, to help tradesmen buy new hammers, to help long-haul truckers carry the cost of sandwiches. It cut some taxes, but mostly the wrong ones: fulfilling a campaign pledge to reduce the GST by two points cost $10 billion in lost revenue. Tack that back on and Mr. Flaherty could today be revelling in a juicy fat surplus.

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Some Millennials are kicking butt when it comes to saving (really)

A search of "Millennials" and "retirement" on the Internet returns a litany of results, all with a similar theme.

"Why Millennials may never retire," "Gen Y too busy paying off debts to save for retirement," and "Save for retirement now or be poor, Gen Y warned." My favourite headlines are the ones that start with "Hey Millennials!" - as if the writer thinks he needs to yell to draw their attention away from gadgets, social media, etc.

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