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Canada sheds 43,200 in jobs in October

OTTAWA – Canada unexpectedly lost 43,200 jobs in October, Statistics Canada said Friday, as the economy struggled to exit the first recession since the early 1990s.

The surprise decline came after two straight months of gains. The unemployment rate rose to 8.6 per cent in October from 8.4 per cent in September.

Most of last month’s job losses were in the retail and wholesale trade sectors, Statistics Canada said.

"Part-time work dropped by 60,000 in October, the second consecutive month of large declines," the federal agency said. "At the same time, full-time employment increased slightly, adding to the large full-time gain from the previous month."

Many economists had expected 10,000 jobs would be added in October, but forecast the unemployment rate would rise to between 8.5 and 8.6 per cent.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said the report "was a reality check for a Canadian labour market that had been seeing a lot of hiring without much to show for it in terms of production."

"Put the last three months together, and the trend shows very small net hiring on average, a result that is much more consistent with the limited growth we’ve thus far seen in economic output."

Statistics Canada said employment is now down 400,000, or 2.3 per cent, from the peak labour force in October 2008.

It said Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador all posted "notable" job losses last month, while the other provinces saw little change.

"Since October 2008, Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador were the only provinces with faster rates of employment decline than the national average."

The employment report follows an unexpected downturn in the Canadian economy. Gross domestic product shrank 0.1 per cent in August, when most analysts had forecast slight growth.

"The subtext to this report is simply that the Canadian economy had been adding labour at a much faster pace than could be sustained, and as a natural consequence, employment declined in October," said Ian Pollick, economics strategist at TD Securities.

"We had expected the recent pace of improvement in the labour market to be unsustainable, and we were proven correct."

Meanwhile in the United States, the Labor Department said Friday that 190,000 jobs were lost in October, pushing the unemployment rate to 10.2 per cent for the first time since 1983.

"Despite the fact that the pace of job losses and the surge in the unemployment rate were worse than expected, there are obvious signs that U.S. labour market conditions are continuing to improve, and we expect this to continue," said Millan Mulraine, also an economics strategist TD Securities.

"Notwithstanding, with the considerable labour market slack that has developed over the course of this deep recession, we believe that the Fed will remain on hold at least for a few months after the unemployment rate peak."

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Second coyote involved in fatal mauling of Toronto singer has been killed

CHETICAMP – Parks Canada says it has killed two adult male coyotes in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, following the mauling death of a hiker more than a week ago.

Chip Bird, Cape Breton field unit supervisor for Parks Canada, said Thursday it’s believed one of the two animals was responsible for killing Toronto folk singer Taylor Mitchell, 19, on a hiking trail on Oct. 27.

"We’re confident one of the animals we shot was the second animal we were looking for," Bird said.

He said that assessment was made by the park warden’s physical inspection of the coyote, its aggressive behaviour and from eyewitness accounts of the attack on Mitchell.

There is no indication the animal was diseased.

A healthy adult female coyote was the other animal involved in the attack and it was killed by Cheticamp RCMP shortly after police responded to a 911 call on the Skyline trail.

As was the case with the first coyote killed, the two male coyotes have been sent to the Canadian Centre for Wildlife Health at the University of Prince Edward Island for a necropsy and additional disease testing.

Bird said park staff will continue to observe the trails for coyotes to make "absolutely certain" it’s safe for people to use the trail, which is the most popular hike in the national park with 25,000 visitors a year.

"Once we’re assured that the situation is returned to normal the trail will reopen," he said.

Signs cautioning hikers to be wary of moose and bears will soon include a warning about coyotes.

Mitchell was hiking the Skyline trail during a break in her solo tour when she was attacked. She died the following morning at a Halifax hospital.

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Toronto to learn Friday if it will host 2015 Pan Am Games

Around dinnertime Friday, the Toronto region will find out whether it has finally overcome the stigma of past failed Olympic bids to host its first major international sporting event since the 1930s: the 2015 Pan American Games.

Premier Dalton McGuinty, Mayor David Miller, federal sports minister Gary Lunn and bid committee chair David Peterson are part of a 20-member delegation in Guadalajara, Mexico, where delegates from the Pan American Sports Organization will cast their votes Friday afternoon.

In Toronto, Deputy Premier George Smitherman and other dignitaries will gather on Queen’s Quay to watch a live feed of the announcement – and kick off the party here in the event of victory.

“I would say we’re confident,” Bob Richardson, a senior advisor of the Toronto bid committee, said from Guadalajara on Thursday. “You never know how these things are going to turn out. We feel that we’ve put our best foot forward and we’ve done all the things that we could do. Now it’s in the hands of the voters.”

If Toronto wins, the bid committee charged with securing the games will be dissolved and a new committee in charge of staging the $1.4-billion games in 17 cities around the region will be struck to put the plan into action.

But first Toronto has to make one final presentation to win the hearts and minds of the members of national Olympic committee members from 42 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Toronto, which is competing against Bogota, Colombia, and Lima, Peru, will be last up to deliver its presentation shortly after 11 a.m.

Mr. Richardson said there have already been two run-throughs of the sales pitch on site, after countless rehearsals and revisions at home.

“We feel great about our presentation,” he said. “We have stuff that conveys the city and the friendly nature of the city. We’ll give them a sense of what our village and our venue plan is and we have a passion video, if I can call it that, at the back end of the presentation, that is particularly good.”

A total of 52 ballots will be cast, since 10 of the 42 PASO countries who have previously hosted Pan Am Games are allotted two votes. A total of 27 are needed to win and a second ballot may be required to secure a majority support.

The three-day PASO general assembly has offered ample opportunity to woo delegates, Mr. Richardson said.

Toronto hosted a buffet lunch at the Guadalajara Hilton that he said was as much about fun as food, he said.

“It’s a spirit-of-Toronto lunch,” Mr. Richardson said. “Our focus is more fun and sport. We have a trampolinist in the middle of the lunch bouncing up and down. We have some fencers, so it has a little bit of an athletic fun feel to it. We’ll have music and it is a buffet-style event.”

Lima and Bogota hosted similar meals. Thursday night, Toronto, like all the bid cities, put on a hospitality suite with hors d’oeuvres, drinks and entertainment.

“We had a great Latin singer from Toronto join us for the last two days. Her name is Amanda Martinez. She was terrific. People really liked her. She actually came down with her one-year-old baby. It was kind of cool,” Mr. Richardson said.

Toronto has models of its proposed venue sites set up in a room adjacent to its suite, a combination business-social affair that allowed for some final persuasion of voting delegates.

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Royals return to Toronto, praise public support for troops

TORONTO – Prince Charles expressed his appreciation of Canada’s support for its military after presenting new colours to two Canadian regiments Thursday evening.

Thanking military families and the rest of Canada for their "compassion and loyalty," the Prince of Wales said he was moved by the acts of solidarity he has seen during his trip to Canada.

"I cannot tell you how moved my wife and I are that so many of you have chose to come here on this autumnal evening, or are watching this parade on television at home, or who line what has so poignantly become known as ‘The Highway of Heroes’ to honour the fallen," Charles said during a formal military ceremony Thursday night, in front of more than 5,000 people at Toronto University’s Varsity Stadium.

The presentation of colours is a British tradition where a member of the Royal Family will present a new flag to a military unit. Historically, that flag would be carried into battle so the commanding officer could see where his troops were located.

The prince presented new colours Thursday to the Royal Regiment of Canada and the Toronto Scottish Regiment, on the fourth day of his 11-day tour of Canada. Prince Charles is the Colonel-in-Chief of both regiments.

The ceremony’s location, the downtown Varsity Stadium, has historical significance since it was the site of the 1965 Presentation of Colours to the Toronto Scottish Regiment by the late Queen Mother.

Well ahead of the prince’s arrival, both regiments marched onto Varsity field in full military uniform.

The Toronto Scottish Regiment stood at attention in beige kilts, while the Royal Regiment of Canada wore traditional red coats.

Their old colours, or flags, were marched off the field, in anticipation of the presentation.

The band played God Save the Queen as Prince Charles entered wearing the uniform of the Royal Regiment of Canada and a tall busby fur hat, with Camilla in a dark coat and beret.

The Prince of Wales inspected the regiments with their commanding officers, Col. Blake Charles Goldring of the Royal Regiment of Canada and Lieut.-Col. Justin Neil of the Toronto Scottish. He then officially presented the regiments’ new colours, blessed by a military chaplain.

The presentation of colours was the highlight of a busy day travelling Ontario, during which the royal couple was greeted by unfettered applause at Hamilton’s Dundurn Castle.

A cheering crowd of more than 400 greeted Prince Charles and Camilla there as the royal couple visited the ancestral home of the Duchess of Cornwall.

Arriving by motorcade, the Duchess they waved at the large crowd gathered outside the castle and shook hands with the mass of smiling supporters.

Dee Dee Larocque managed to have her picture taken with Prince Charles, and said the first thing he did was shake her hand.

"I was surprised at how cordial he was," she said, grinning from ear to ear. "He was really, really charming."

"He said to me: ‘I hope you haven’t been waiting too long,’ " she said.

After about five minutes, the royal couple joined Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and began their tour of Dundurn Castle.

Built between 1832 and 1835, the distinctive Regency-style chateau was constructed for Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Camilla’s great-great-great grandfather.

Sir Allan, born in Niagara, became prime minister of the United Province of Canada in 1854. He would be buried on the castle grounds in 1862.

"It’s quite an opportunity to have Prince Charles and Camilla in town," said Hamiltonian Trish Pond, accompanied by her two young daughters. "We had to bring them down, they want to be princesses," she said, referring to her children.

Her daughters, Ashley and Olivia Laidlaw, ages five and three, nestled next to their mother’s legs holding welcome signs and large bouquets of flowers.

"They are for Camilla," Ashley shyly offered.

While Camilla’s Canadian roots were the draw for many in attendance, some still fawned over the prince.

"I’m glad he is here, it is a real honour," said John Fleming. "The more you know about him, the more you like him. And not too many people know much about him."

This is the Duchess’s first visit to Canada, and Prince Charles’ first since remarrying in 2005.

Later in the afternoon, the prince and duchess hid under overworked umbrellas as they visited HMCS Haida, a former military ship now sitting in Hamilton’s harbour as a museum.

More than 200 visitors, many in military garb, greeted the tour as rain and hail poured down. After fighting the wind on board HMCS Haida, Charles fired the ship’s guns, delighting the crowd.

He later unveiled a plaque to commemorate their visit, before leaving Hamilton to tour the Niagara College Teaching Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

On Friday, Prince Charles will officially open Toronto’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, before leaving the province for British Columbia.

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Manitoba Health investigates possible H1N1 death

WINNIPEG – Health officials are investigating whether the second wave of H1N1 has killed a Manitoban.

Manitoba’s chief medical officer Dr. Joel Kettner said the death of one Manitoban is under review but would not confirm the person’s age or gender, or say whether the individual was hospitalized for severe respiratory illness.

Since Oct. 8, 20 people have been hospitalized for severe respiratory illness, including one lab-confirmed case of severe H1N1.

Seven deaths in Manitoba associated with the H1N1 flu were reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada during the first wave of the flu.

Meanwhile, lines are short at 12 city flu clinics on Thursday, so Winnipeg health officials are encouraging anyone on the priority list to come out and get the vaccine.

People who are eligible include:

-children aged six months to five years

-anyone of aboriginal ancestry

-disadvantaged people

-people living in remote or isolated areas

-people under 65 with a chronic medical condition or other risks including severe obesity and alcoholism

-anyone with a weakened immune system

-single parents

-those who live with or care for infants under six months old

-health care workers

-pregnant women

Flu clinics reopened Wednesday morning, and by the end of the day 7,298 people received the vaccine in Winnipeg. A total of 84,070 people have been vaccinated in the last week.

Across Manitoba, regional health authorities are adapting their clinics based on the supply and demand for vaccine and other factors, provincial officials said Thursday.

Some RHAs expect to run out of vaccine with adjuvant by the end of this week or early next week and may continue to postpone clinics. Other RHAs expect to return to focusing on the original priority groups, officials said in a release.

Many clinics are now administering the vaccine without an adjuvant to pregnant women. The Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended that pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy should receive the H1N1 flu shot without adjuvant.

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