Oct 2 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* A witness before Quebec's corruption probe sketched out an elaborate portrait of bribes and kickbacks reaching from major Montreal construction firms to top city employees and into the political party of Mayor Gérald Tremblay.

Former construction boss Lino Zambito testified before the Superior Court that he paid 3 percent of city contracts' value through a middleman to the coffers of Mayor Tremblay's Union Montréal party.

* The federal government has been billed more than $3-million for its unsuccessful attempts to keep a high-stakes battle over first nations child welfare out of the courts.

Invoices obtained through the Access to Information Act show the Justice Department, acting on behalf of Aboriginal Affairs, paid out at least $3.1-million for legal services between 2007 and June 2012.

* A second abortion-related motion proposed by a backbench Conservative MP could trigger a new debate about the parameters of a woman's right to choose in Canada.

A day before, MPs voted down a separate motion to study whether a fetus should have rights before it is born. Pro-choice activists staunchly opposed MP Stephen Woodworth's fetus-rights motion, suggesting it could open a national debate on a woman's right to access abortion - something Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised not to do during the last federal election campaign.

Reports in the business section:

* Hedge fund Jana Partners unveiled a 41-page presentation suggesting there's $50 a share in Agrium Inc's stock if management agrees to carve up the company into a fertilizer producer and a retail farm store chain, revamps how it allocates capital, and cuts costs by closing stores and other measures.

As much as $20 would come from the split, $20 more from cost reductions and the rest from using capital more efficiently.

* New revisions show Canada's economy was sturdier than previously thought just before the last downturn - even as the U.S. was sputtering - but when the fall came, it was more painful than earlier data had indicated.

Though Canadian growth in the second and third quarters of 2008 has been revised upwards, the economy's slide in the next half year is more stark than prior estimates.


* B.C. Premier Christy Clark met with her Alberta counterpart at the historic McDougall Centre in downtown Calgary on Monday, for the first time since Alison Redford stormed out of an all-premiers' meeting in Halifax two months ago. But the meeting did little to end the impasse over the Northern Gateway pipeline.

* A situation that officials described as volatile and dangerous began to ease late Monday as fire crews started to knock back a massive blaze at a Winnipeg warehouse holding highly explosive fuel used for car racing.

No one was hurt when fire and explosions rocked Speedway International, a company that boasts on its website it is "North America's No. 1 source for 99.99 percent racing methanol".


* The B.C. government has rejected plans for a copper and gold mine in the province's northwest, saying the project could endanger salmon in the Skeena River.

Pacific Booker Minerals Inc had proposed the mine at Morrison Lake, a 15-kilometre-long lake surrounded by Crown land near Smithers. The lake is at the headwaters of the Skeena River, which produces the second-largest amount of sockeye salmon in B.C.

* Ottawa is redefining and refocusing its immigration rules - expected to be in place next year - that are meant to attract workers between the ages of 18 to 35, a move the federal government argues is an essential shift to fill the tax-generating gap being left by the exodus of baby-boomers from the labor market.

The government argues that despite high youth unemployment, there are not enough skilled workers to fill the jobs that are available.

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