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The top executive team at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is dropping farther than, well, a bank stock. By this summer, senior CIBC bankers, including chief executive officer Gerry McCaughey, are scheduled to move from their offices with marvellous views on the 56th floor of the bank's downtown Toronto headquarters to new space on the second floor.

Chat circulating on Bay Street suggested that the reason behind the move was a security concern that the bank's brain trust couldn't safely exit the building during an emergency from that altitude. But when we asked CIBC spokesman Rob McLeod about it, he said the reason for the move is "cost effectiveness and efficiency."

The C-suite team will be joining other top bank managers on the second floor; meanwhile, the former executive aerie will be converted to space for bank functions and conferences - events now held offsite at Toronto hotels, Mr. McLeod said.

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TIMES TARGETS BRIMELOW

In last Sunday's edition of The New York Times, writer Peter Brimelow was singled out for particular attention in a lead editorial denouncing what the paper perceives to be the U.S. Republican Party's growing anti-immigration campaign.

If the name sounds familiar, that's because it should, at least to Canadian business readers of a certain vintage.

The British-born and educated Mr. Brimelow arrived in Canada in the 1970s and immediately started making waves in the serene Canadian pond as a prominent journalist at The Financial Post.

Known for his free-market views, he published a best-selling book in 1986, called The Patriot Game: Canada and the Canadian Question Revisited, dealing with Quebec and its place in Canada. (The book greatly influenced Stephen Harper at the time, according to the Prime Minister's biographer, William Johnson.)

At about that time, he immigrated to the U.S., working as a journalist for important business publications such as Forbes and Fortune, writing books and grooming some hobby horses: One was a campaign to re-popularize the phrase "Merry Christmas"; the other was alerting Americans to the perils of immigration, particularly of non-whites.

He is now a busy public speaker in some circles and churns it out as a market commentator for Marketwatch. But, as the Times noted in its editorial, Mr. Brimelow's interests have veered into extreme nativism. He is the founder of vdare.com, a vehemently anti-immigration website. (As the Times points out, it is named for Virginia Dare, the first white child born to English parents in America. "Which tells you most of what you need to know," notes the Times.)

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