The Bank of Canada has taken some of the wind out of the sails of the high-flying Canadian dollar.
After edging close to parity with the U.S. currency, the central bank warned that the dollar's strength would impair the economic recovery, and it fell 2 cents to 95 cents U.S.
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said Canada would have a much stronger recovery over the next two years if the dollar had stayed at the 87-cent level it had predicted.
The higher-valued dollar hurts manufacturers and exporters by making Canada's products more expensive in the United States, its largest export market. On the flip side, it is now less expensive for Canadians to travel and shop in the United States and to buy imported goods at home.
"Intervention is always an option," Carney said, referring to options the bank has to bring down the currency's value.
The bank reported Canada's economy has shown a sharp rebound, aided by federal stimulus measures and businesses restocking depleted inventories.
Demonstrators greet former U.S. president
Former President George W. Bush got less than a warm welcome while speaking in Canada.
Hundreds of people demonstrated outside a Saskatoon auditorium and Edmonton conference center where he spoke, calling for him to be arrested for "war crimes" in Iraq.
In Montreal, hundreds of protesters cheered as Bush was burned in effigy outside the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where he spoke to about 1,000 people on Thursday. Several protesters also tossed shoes in the antiwar demonstration.
Ironically, the hotel is where John Lennon recorded Give Peace a Chance during a "bed-in for peace" in 1969.
News in brief
• Canadians will be able to receive swine flu shots beginning this week. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq urged everyone to get the free "safe-and-effective vaccine." Clinical trials are under way, but the federal regulator was satisfied with results from Europe to approve the drug's use.
• There's concern across the land that Canada's prime minister gets his news only from U.S. networks. "I tend to watch American news," Stephen Harper said. He said he doesn't care to hear what commentators and "everybody else is saying about me."
• The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is rebranding and updating its Newsworld channel to the CBC News Network on Monday.
Facts and figures
Barring an unexpected spike in inflation, now below zero, the Bank of Canada repeated its plan to hold interest rates at the historic low of 0.25 percent until at least July. The prime lending rate is 2.25 percent.
Canada's dollar is lower at 94.97 cents U.S., while the U.S. greenback returns $1.0530 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.
Stock exchanges are mixed, with Toronto's composite index lower at 11,386 points on Friday and the TSX Venture index higher at 1,335 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 2, 11, 29, 32, 48, 49; bonus 34. (Oct. 17) 8, 17, 24, 34, 42, 46; bonus 5. Lotto Max: (Oct. 16) 4, 10, 18, 20, 31, 35, 44; bonus 29.
• Ontario's finances will sink $25 billion into the red this year because of a recession that has cut corporate taxes collected by almost half. Premier Dalton McGuinty's government now projects deficits of about $20 billion more in each of the next two years with no plans announced yet to deal with the situation.
• British Columbia plans to ban hand-held devices for phone calls, e-mailing and texting while driving, effective Jan. 1. Six other provinces have similar bans.
• The Supreme Court ruled that sections of Quebec's language law go too far. This concerned barring some students who attend English private schools from being able to transfer to English public schools, instead of French ones.
• Earl Shadbolt of Halifax wants his dog back. After his house was damaged by fire in April, the 75-year-old retiree let a woman from his church care for his terrier, Willie. Reports said Laura Naugler wants about $1,700 from Shadbolt to cover her costs. After Naugler threatened to sell the dog, Shadbolt sued her for Willie's return. They head to small claims court next month.
Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]