Dec 31 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is dropping sharply, according to a new poll showing a majority of Canadians believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. ()
* The world’s central banks are stashing away Canadian dollars at a faster rate than any other major currency, a vote of confidence at a time when the loonie, the Canadian one dollar coin, has lost some of its shine in foreign exchange markets. ()
* Canada’s first gold coins had barely been minted before Ottawa yanked them out of circulation a hundred years ago in an effort to stop gold from leaving the country during the First World War. After a century of sitting in cloth bags inside the Bank of Canada vault, they are among a wide range of assets the Conservative government is liquidating - in this case literally - to save taxpayers a few dollars and help balance the books. ()
* Toronto City Council will debate asking the Ontario government to help pay for cleanup after an ice storm that left hundreds of thousands of people without power, a bill that may ultimately be shared by Ottawa if costs rise. ()
Reports in the business section:
* BlackBerry Ltd Chief Executive John Chen continues to swat at critics and competitors, issuing an open letter that takes some direct shots at the company’s rivals as he tries to convince the market the smartphone company can turn itself around. ()
* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce signed a new deal with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority earlier this month, becoming the only bank allowed to advertise in Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Canadian banks are developing new tactics to attract business from immigrants, devoting greater effort to locking down newcomers even before they settle in their new country. ()
* Bombardier Inc says it received a firm order for 10 Challenger 350 business jets worth $259 million at list price. The Montreal-based plane and train maker did not disclose the customer’s name. ()
* The province of Ontario has experienced a rash of plant closings recently, and with a lacking currency cost advantage, new investment doesn’t seem to be in the cards. ()
* Alberta’s opposition leader, Danielle Smith, says she is determined to win the legislature come 2016 against a government posting unbalanced budgets amid a series of petty scandals and outrages. ()
* Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says her vow to set up an Ontario pension plan is no bluff to twist Ottawa’s arm on enhancing the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). She says she’ll forge ahead because the federal government has shut down any discussion about CPP to provide Canadians with a more secure retirement income. ()
* Kitsault Energy Ltd has applied to federal regulators to export 20 million tons of chilled natural gas per year from the site of an abandoned mining town on Canada’s West Coast, joining much bigger companies looking to tap British Columbia shale gas for delivery to overseas markets. ()
* Two directors, Douglas Reeson and Greg Hall, have resigned from Colossus Minerals Inc, a formerly high-flying junior mining company that is now on the verge of financial collapse. ()
* Canadians may be the heaviest Internet users in the world but their homegrown online retailers have yet to catch up to the performance of U.S. stores with sites in Canada, according to a report by Vancouver-based digital consultancy Chasm Digital Inc.