Canadian toll in Haiti rises to 16; troops arrive

The Canadian death toll from the Haitian earthquake has climbed to 16 as sailors and soldiers have arrived in Jacmel, the tourist town where Canada's governor general grew up.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Department said along with the confirmed deaths, 306 Canadians remain missing and 1,765 people have been flown home on 20 returning military aid flights.

The deaths and devastation in Haiti have been heartbreaking for Gov. General Michaelle Jean, who was born in Port-au-Prince and came to Canada with her family in 1968 to escape persecution by the Duvalier regime.

Sailors from the HMCS Halifax arrived in Jacmel, south of the Haitian capital, on Tuesday, armed with shovels, picks, crowbars, hammers, saws, generators and hydraulic tools to clear blocked roads.

The town was heavily damaged and cut off from receiving relief supplies by road since the massive quake.

"We're happy to contribute and to help the Haitian people," said Master Seaman Charles Jutras.

"There is an attachment for sure and plus our governor general is from here. … It's special for the Canadian contingent, it's an honor," he added.

Airport scanners okay with most travelers

Most Canadians say they have no concerns about airport scanners that can see through the clothes of travelers.

A Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found four in five respondents said the use of the scanners was reasonable.

Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said the technology was likely to be effective in reducing the risk of a terrorist attack.

The Canadian government is installing 44 scanning machines at airports across the country that will generate three-dimensional images of air travelers' bodies.

Screeners viewing the images will be in a separate room from the travelers to ensure their privacy.

News in brief

• Former Toronto news broadcaster Colleen Walsh, 49, was fined $2,400 for assaulting a passenger and breaching the Aeronautics Act after an incident on an Air Canada flight. The court was told she appeared to be intoxicated on the trans-Atlantic flight that landed in Newfoundland because of a medical emergency. She refused to sit down when told to do so by a flight attendant and a man on the flight whom she smacked in the back of the head. Walsh partly blamed her behavior on "menopausal exhaustion."

• Target has set its sights on Canada and plans to possibly open stores within five years. In its strategic growth plan, Target said expansion is most likely in Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Walmart, which moved into Canada 16 years ago after buying the former Woolco chain, now has 313 stores.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar slipped to its lowest level this month at 94.54 cents U.S. on Friday, while the U.S. greenback returned $1.0578 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

Helping pull the dollar down was a 0.3 percent drop in retail sales in November largely due to unseasonably warm weather that reduced demand for winter clothing and footwear.

As well, unexpectedly low domestic inflation data took pressure off the Bank of Canada to raise rates as it left the key interest rate at 0.25 percent. The prime lending rate remains at 2.25 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange composite index is at its lowest level in six weeks, impacted by the U.S. plan to impose tighter restrictions on banks. The index was 11,434 points and the TSX Venture Exchange index was 1,559 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 13, 17, 25, 40, 45 and 47; bonus 42. (Jan. 16) 12, 21, 25, 30, 41 and 43; bonus 48. Lotto Max: (Jan. 15) 12, 17, 22, 30, 34, 43 and 49; bonus 48.

Regional briefs

• Hundreds of workers are being laid off by the British Columbia government, while public-sector workers and politicians will receive no pay raises for two years as the provincial deficit grows to $2.8 billion this fiscal year. Layoff notices were given to 233 forestry and citizens services workers, and politicians won't receive their annual cost-of-living pay adjustment for two years.

• Dozens of people were left homeless in Ottawa after a four-alarm fire destroyed an apartment complex at 114-116 Glebe Ave. Seventy-five firefighters worked for three hours to control the afternoon blaze in the 18-unit building. No one was injured and the cause wasn't immediately known.

• A fierce winter storm has again exposed a large section of a century-old shipwreck on Prince Edward Island's North Shore. The old schooner, called the Orange Ship because it was believed to be carrying a cargo of oranges when it ran aground, is a periodic landmark on the beach near Point Deroche. Historians estimate the island province has 800 shipwrecks buried in sand around its coastline.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Canadian toll in Haiti rises to 16; troops arrive 01/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 23, 2010 10:19pm]

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