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the rob quiz

Cannabis stocks were just one of the top business stories this year. Test your knowledge of the events that dominated 2017

A workman at Smiths Falls-based Canopy Growth attends to a medical marijuana plant in the flowering room.

1. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump began the year by making a threat to a major global company. In a tweet in early January, he said: "Make in USA or pay big border tax!" At which company did Trump direct the threat, and why?

a) Bombardier, for making its C Series commercial jet in Montreal
b) Ford, for making the Lincoln MKX in Oakville, Ont.
c) General Motors, for making the Chevrolet Cruze in Mexico
d) Toyota, for making the RAV4 in Woodstock, Ont.
e) General Mills, for making its Old El Paso taco products in Guadalajara

2. Who is Alex Pourbaix?

a) The new CEO of grocery chain Metro
b) The new CEO of Cenovus Energy
c) The new chief operating officer of Bank of Montreal
d) The new CEO of Sobeys
e) The Montreal Canadiens' backup goaltender
f) One of the co-accused in the Amaya insider trading case

3. The financially troubled Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto went up for sale. Who bought it?

a) Russian President Vladimir Putin
b) JCF Capital
c) Marriott International
d) Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
e) Donald Trump, to house all the people in his administration who have resigned or been fired
f) Four Seasons Hotels

Workers start to take down the letters off a Trump Hotel in Toronto.

4. Hunter Harrison left Canadian Pacific Railway in January, six months ahead of schedule, to take what job?

5. By leaving CP early, he forfeited how much in compensation from the Calgary-based railway?

a) $50-million
b) $118-million
c) $140-million
d) Zero – CP agreed to pay out his benefits as though he retired on schedule

6. How much time passed between Mr. Harrison's taking medical leave from his new employer and his death?

a) Two months
b) Two weeks
c) Eight days
d) Two days

Hunter Harrison, former CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway, listens during an interview in New York.

7. Who was named president of Loblaw this year?

a) Galen G. Weston
b) Hilary Weston
c) Sarah Richardson
d) Sarah Davis
e) Michael Medline
f) Vicente Trius

8. Many analysts predicted that Donald Trump's "America First" economic platform would send the U.S. greenback much higher. How much did the U.S. dollar rise versus the Canadian dollar from Jan. 1 to Dec. 22?

a) 5 per cent
b) 8.1 per cent
c) 12 per cent
d) 1.2 per cent
e) It didn't rise at all – it fell more than 5 per cent

9. Canadian retailer DavidsTea also hired a new CEO in 2017. What is that person's name?

a) Joel Blackwell
b) Joel Schlesinger
c) Joel Silver
d) Joel Coen
e) Billy Joel

10. What significant announcement did the company make in December?

a) It announced a deal to be acquired by Starbucks Corp.
b) It announced it will supply tea to Tim Hortons outlets
c) It said it would change its corporate colours to orange and red
d) It said the board would consider selling the company
e) It announced a $12-million sponsorship deal with Hockey Night in Canada for a season-long event called "The Great Canadian Tea Party"
f) It announced it would look for another new CEO

U.S President Donald Trump signs an executive order regarding Wall Street reform in the White House.

11. What event caused airline stocks to fall sharply near the end of January?

a) There was a terrorist attack at an airport in Cairo
b) Donald Trump's administration tried to ban travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries
c) A huge blizzard across the U.S. eastern seaboard cancelled thousands of flights
d) A passenger got dragged off a United Airlines flight, and the video touched off a social-media firestorm
e) Pilots from two U.S. airlines staged a walkout to protest lack of progress in contract talks

12. Canadian business leaders joined a new social-media campaign aimed at promoting more women in senior roles. The campaign involved publicly pledging to champion a woman in her career and challenging other executives to participate. What was the hashtag?

a) #GoSponsorHer
b) #ImWithHer
c) #MeToo
d) #ChampionHer
e) #WeveGotHerBack
f) #PromoteAWoman

13. Why did the federal government pledge to give $372-million in funding to Bombardier earlier this year?

a) To help the company meet a commitment to deliver streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission
b) To help fund development of the C Series and Global 7000 aerospace programs
c) To help customers in Asia pay for new Bombardier-designed subway and transit systems
d) To reward the company for persuading the Beaudoin family to give up their multiple-voting shares
e) To set up a new foundation for the education and training of new aerospace machinists
f) To help pay for the company's trade fight with Boeing and the U.S. government over the C Series program

A Bombardier CS300 aircraft lands in Paris.

14. Why did some people call for a boycott of Ottawa software company Shopify Inc. early in the year?

a) Because its software was being used by Breitbart News to sell merchandise
b) Because its software was commandeered by Russian hackers who tried to subvert the 2016 U.S. election
c) Because they don't like the hats CEO Tobi Lutke wears
d) Because short-sellers found evidence the company was making unrealistic promises to customers
e) Because one of its directors donated money to Republican candidates

15. A Federal Court judge agreed to a request by Sleep Country for a temporary injunction that banned Sears Canada from continuing to use a marketing tag line. What was the offending line in the Sears Canada advertisements?

a) "Our mattresses are 10 per cent cheaper than Sleep Country – guaranteed."
b) "Canada's biggest and best mattress retailer."
c) "Sears Canada mattresses – no bedbugs, unlike those other guys."
d) "There is no reason to buy a mattress anywhere else."
e) "Our competitor's mattresses are Sleep Lumpy."

David Friesema, CEO of Sleep Country Canada, sits on a new mattress at a store in Toronto.

16) What is the name of the trade deal Canada signed that was implemented in 2017?

a) Revised North American free-trade agreement (aka NAFTA2)
b) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
c) Canada-Europe Trade Agreement
d) Canada-Europe Tariffs and Services Agreement
e) United Kingdom-Canada Post-Brexit Framework
f) Canada-Europe Toffee Agreement

17. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, threatened to fire any employee caught doing what?

a) Trading subprime mortgage-backed securities
b) Talking to a reporter without authorization
c) Opening a savings account with Wells Fargo
d) Speaking to a recruiter for Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley
e) Trading bitcoin

18. Kraft Heinz pursued, then abandoned, a takeover of what other huge consumer-products company?

a) Procter and Gamble
b) Nestlé
c) Unilever
d) PepsiCo
e) Mondelez International
f) Restaurant Brands International

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaks to an assistant during a committee hearing in Washington.

19. This year, the Ontario Securities Commission finally came down on Garth Drabinsky for his role in the fraud at theatre company Livent Corp. What penalty did the OSC impose?

a) They banned him from being a director or officer of any public company
b) They locked him in a room and forced him to listen to Conrad Black explain for hours why he never should have been imprisoned for his actions at Hollinger International
c) They ordered him to pay $10-million in restitution to Livent shareholders
d) They ordered him to sing Phantom of the Opera in Nathan Phillips Square in sub-zero temperatures

20. Can you name the year Livent collapsed?

21. A group of Tim Hortons store owners organized themselves into the Great White North Franchisee Association. What were their complaints against the parent company?

a) Cost-cutting measures have cheapened the product
b) Franchisees are being forced to absorb new costs
c) The stores are forced to use lower-quality equipment that sometimes breaks
d) The new corporate mascot, "Tim Cruller," is a laughingstock
e) all of the above
f) a and b
g) a, b and c

22. Speaking of quick-service restaurants, Toronto-based Freshii made a splash this year by going public at $11.50 a share. By Christmas, at what level were the shares trading?

a) $15.02
b) $22.95
c) $6.92
d) $4.20
e) $9.25 – about the same as the price of a burrito with avocado

A customer orders food at a Freshii Inc. location in Vancouver.

23. According to the latest projections by the Finance Department, in what year will Ottawa eliminate the federal deficit?

a) 2019
b) 2020
c) 2027
d) 2035
e) 2045
f) 2066
g) Never

24. One of the most dramatic things to happen in Canadian finance this year was the near-collapse of Home Capital Group, an alternative mortgage lender that suffered a run on deposits in the spring. HOOPP, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, stepped up with an emergency line of credit to keep Home Capital afloat. What interest rate did the company have to pay on money it drew from the credit line?

a) 7.5 per cent
b) 10 per cent
c) Prime rate plus 4 per cent
d) No interest was paid, but HOOPP was given an option to buy 5 per cent of the company at a discounted price

25. Home Capital did not truly stabilize until Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of famous investor Warren Buffett, agreed to back the company with a major equity infusion. When the deal was announced on June 21, Home Capital shares were trading for $14.94. How much did Berkshire agree to pay for its shares?

a) $9.55
b) $10.50
c) $12.75
d) $14.94
e) $15.50

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks during an interview at a restaurant in New York.

26. In the marketing materials for a new hotel and condo tower in Vancouver, the Trump Organization claims the building is 69 storeys. How tall is the building, in fact?

a) 69 storeys
b) 63 storeys
c) 70 storeys
d) 68 storeys – only floor 13 is missing
e) 60 storeys

27. "Without having two leaders … I can make my own decisions." Who said it?

a) Galen G. Weston of Loblaw and George Weston
b) Keith Creel of Canadian Pacific Railway
c) Darryl White of Bank of Montreal
d) André Desmarais of Power Corp. of Canada
e) Roy Gori of Manulife Financial
f) Steve Laut of Canadian Natural Resources

28. In Toronto real estate deals, what is an "escalation clause," also known as an "elevator clause?"

a) A clause that allows a home buyer to back out of a binding offer on a house, if the market declines by more than 10 per cent before closing
b) A clause that allows a would-be buyer to win a bidding war for a house by promising to automatically top the best price from any other bidder by a preset amount
c) A clause that entitles the seller of a home to an additional $20,000 payment if the new owner flips it within 18 months of buying it
d) A clause that stipulates any escalators and elevators must be properly inspected before the sale can close
e) A clause that pays the real estate agent an additional 0.5 percentage points on the transaction if the house sells for more than $100,000 over the asking price

29. Bright economic news – a pickup in growth and employment – sent the Canadian dollar higher after it touched a low of 72.73 cents (U.S.) in early May. What was the high point for the loonie in 2017?

a) About 82.6 cents
b) About 79.9 cents
c) About 85 cents
d) About 75.5 cents

Bright economic news sent the Canadian dollar higher after it touched a low of 72.73 cents (U.S.) in early May.

30. In what month did the dollar hit that high-water mark?

31. How many times did the Bank of Canada raise its policy interest rate this year?

32. Which of the following Rogers Communications executives left the company after Joe Natale took over as CEO?

a) Nitin Kawale, head of the enterprise division
b) Deepak Khandelwal, chief customer officer
c) Dale Hooper, chief brand officer
d) Rick Brace, head of Rogers Media
e) all of the above
f) a, b and c

Rogers CEO Joe Natale poses for a portrait in Toronto.

33. Why did the United States attack Canada's dairy industry during negotiations to reform the North American free-trade agreement?

a) High Canadian dairy prices are causing a sharp increase in U.S. cheese exports to Canada, creating shortages in some U.S. states
b) Canada's system of supply management and import tariffs makes it harder for U.S. producers to export milk and dairy products to Canada
c) Canada's new trade agreement with Europe offers preferential access to British and French milk over U.S. milk
d) Donald Trump drank some bad Canadian milk and it upset his stomach
e) Donald Trump is angry that most Canadians think Hillary Clinton would be a better president

34. In 2016, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce offered about $3.8-billion (U.S.) to buy PrivateBancorp of Chicago. But before the deal could close, U.S. bank stocks had a big rally, forcing CIBC to raise its offer twice. Which amount is closest to what the bank finally paid to seal the deal (in U.S. dollars)?

a) $4.1-billion
b) $4-billion plus 100 Tim Hortons franchises
c) $4.4-billion
d) $4.9-billion
e) $5.4-billion

35. Joe Oliver, the former federal finance minister, landed back on Bay Street this year. What is his new job?

a) Special adviser at Toronto-Dominion Bank's capital markets unit
b) Chair at Echelon Wealth Partners
c) Executive director of the Investment Industry Association of Canada
d) Chair at GMP Capital
e) Chair at Gluskin Sheff + Associates

Stephen Poloz, the governor of the Bank of Canada, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa.

36. One of the oil patch's biggest corporate names disappeared, as Penn West Petroleum rebranded itself as part of an effort to move past an accounting scandal. What is Penn West's new name?

a) Cardium Energy Ltd.
b) Crescent Circle Energy Ltd.
c) Our Books Are Clean Energy Corp.
d) Obsidian Energy Ltd.
e) Viking Energy Ltd.
f) Constellation Energy Ltd.

37. "It is too early to declare victory. However, we've accomplished a lot and look forward to a more stable and profitable future." Who said it?

a) Sears Canada executive chairman Brandon Stranzl
b) Penn West chairman George Brookman
c) Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
d) Home Capital director Alan Hibben
e) Cenovus CEO Brian Ferguson

38. Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc. won a long-running legal dispute with its founders, Ira Gluskin and Gerald Sheff, over the value of services provided to them after they left. An arbitrator ruled that the investment firm owed the two men about $14-million. How much compensation had they been seeking, combined?

a) About $50-million
b) About $65-million
c) About $105-million
d) About $185-million
e) $20-million and David Rosenberg's entire collection of ties

39. Canopy Growth is the largest publicly traded marijuana producer in Canada, with a market capitalization of $5.8-billion. Can you name the multinational consumer-products company that agreed to buy a 9.9-per-cent stake in Canopy in October?

40. What is Canopy's ticker symbol?

a) POT
b) BUD
f) THC

41. On July 19, Globe investment columnist David Berman wrote: "The tougher things get for Jean Coutu Group Inc., the more it makes sense for the Quebec-based drugstore chain to find a partner – and things are definitely getting tougher." Less than three months later, what happened?

a) Jean Coutu filed for bankruptcy protection
b) Jean Coutu agreed to be acquired by Shoppers Drug Mart
c) Jean Coutu signed a partnership deal with U.S. chain CVS, and agreed to an equity infusion
d) Jean Coutu struck a deal to be taken over by Metro
e) Jean Coutu signed a marijuana-supply contract with Canopy Growth

A Jean Coutu pharmacy in Ste. Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que.

42. Which of the following was not part of the housing strategy introduced by the Ontario government in April?

a) A 15-per-cent "speculation tax" on foreign buyers in the Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe region
b) A 2-per-cent provincewide surtax on vacant properties to encourage owners to rent them
c) A review of the regulations governing real estate agents
d) An expansion of rent control to cover newer rental units
e) A rebate of some development charges to encourage developers to build new apartments

43. Aimia, the Montreal-based company behind the Aeroplan loyalty program, had a difficult year. Which of the following happened to the company?

a) Its long-time CEO left, citing health problems
b) It took a writedown on a Chinese subsidiary after fraud was discovered
c) Air Canada announced that it would drop Aeroplan and develop its own loyalty scheme
d) A deal to merge with the parent company of Air Miles fell apart just before a shareholder vote
e) All of the above
f) a, c and d
g) a and c

44. Which Canadian infrastructure firm found itself in the arms of a Chinese buyer?

a) Ellis Don
b) Aecon
c) PCL Construction
d) Borealis
e) SNC Lavalin

45. Digital currencies known as cryptocurrencies were a huge story in the second-half of 2017, as bitcoin and others enjoyed a huge run-up in price. They also spawned a new method of fundraising for junior companies – the ICO. What does ICO stand for?

a) independent cryptocurrency offering
b) indication of crazy optimism
c) initial coin offering
d) imitation coin offering
e) independent coin offering
f) initial cryptocurrency object

46. "I shall go back to being a waiter." Who said it, and when?

a) Former Rogers CEO Guy Laurence, when he was asked about his future plans after being fired by the telecom company
b) Cenovus CEO Brian Ferguson, after announcing his retirement in the wake of a multibillion-dollar oil sands acquisition that investors disliked
c) Investment newsletter writer Marc Faber, after he was fired as a director of a number of companies for making racist comments in his newsletter
d) Gluskin Sheff co-founder Ira Gluskin, after losing the arbitration case against his former firm
e) Janet Yellen, after the Trump administration declined to give her another term as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve board.

47. Two marijuana companies, Canopy Growth and Aphria, are the best-performing stocks in the S&P/TSX composite index this year. What are the two worst, as of the close of trading on Dec. 28?

a) Magna International and Freshii
b) Shopify and Encana
c) Peyto Exploration and BlackBerry
d) Crew Energy and Eldorado Gold
e) Cenovus and ARC Resources

Canopy Growth is the largest publicly-traded marijuana producer in Canada.

48. It was a busy and prosperous year for the airline business. Among other developments, WestJet Airlines announced the name for its new ultralow-cost carrier. What is it?

a) Dash
b) Swoop
c) Swing
d) Sortie
e) El Cheapo Airways
f) North by Southwest

49. announced it would choose a city in North America to be home to a second headquarters, creating 50,000 jobs. Cities and towns across the continent have sent in proposals to the e-commerce giant. Which of the following communities is not bidding for Amazon's HQ2?

a) Halifax
b) Whitehorse
c) Calgary
d) Winnipeg
e) Simcoe County
f) Of the places listed above, only Calgary is bidding

50. Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was one of the Canadian cities to submit a proposal to Amazon. What are its chances of winning?

a) About the same as the odds of the Vancouver Canucks winning the Stanley Cup this year
b) About the same as the odds of the temperature in the Sault hitting 18 C in mid-January
c) About the same as the odds of Globe columnist Andrew Willis winning a gold medal in luge at the forthcoming Winter Olympics


1. c
2. b
3. b
4. Chief executive officer of CSX Corp.
5. b
6. d
7. d
8. e
9. c
10. d
11. b
12. a
13. b
14. a
15. d
16. b
17. e
18. c
19. a
20. 1998
21. g
22. c
23. e
24. b
25. a
26. b
27. b
28. b
29. a
30. September
31. Twice
32. f
33. b
34. d
35. b
36. d
37. d
38. d
39. Constellation Brands
40. c
41. d
42. b
43. g
44. b
45. c
46. c
47. d
48. b
49. b
50. c