Canadian Report | Sandy leaves destruction, few deaths

Two people were killed and thousands left in the dark as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy sideswiped Ontario and Quebec.

A worker was killed when repairing a downed power line in Sarnia, Ontario while a Toronto woman died after being struck in the head by a Staples sign the wind had blown apart.

Trees were toppled and power lines came down as wind gusts reached 60 mph, leaving 150,000 people without power, including 55,000 in Toronto.

As the storm blew out, there were pounding waves along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and into Atlantic Canada.

Hundreds of utility workers from Hydro One in Ontario are in New York and New Jersey helping to restore power and clean up.

As well, workers from Toronto Hydro and the Toronto Transit Commission have offered to help make repairs with New York’s power and subways.

“In the aftermath of the ice storm (in 1998), it was great to see our American cousins up there with their trucks, their workers, their equipment, doing what they could to help us,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Hydro One workers also helped restore power after hurricanes in Florida in 2004 and 2005.

A national poll suggests the governing Conservatives could be defeated in the next federal election should Justin Trudeau become Liberal leader.

The Forum poll said the Trudeau-led Liberals would win a majority government, mainly with gains in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Trudeau, 40, is the son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau and said he wants to succeed Bob Rae, the interim Liberal leader.

Also seeking the leadership to be decided April 14 are Deborah Coyne, who had a child with Pierre Trudeau, attorney Alex Burton and economist Jonathan Mousley.

News in brief

•  The Canadian government wants to “fast track” for permanent residency some 100,000 immigrants familiar with Canadian society and have knowledge of French or English. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the goal is to change the mix of immigrants to those with “marketable skills.” This would favor foreign students and temporary workers already in Canada that admits between 240,000 and 265,000 immigrants a year.

• The Trans-Canada Highway has reopened after flood waters washed away sections of asphalt through Wawa. The national highway was closed for five days along with flood-damaged Highway 17 south of the Northern Ontario community. Cross-country drivers had to take long detours to the north or drive through the U.S.

Facts and figures

Job-creation numbers slowed last month as Statistics Canada reported the economy added only 1,800 positions with the unemployment rate remaining at 7.4 percent.

Canada’s dollar advanced to $1.0035 in U.S. funds while the U.S. currency is worth 99.64 cents Canadian before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,431 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,312 points.

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Regional briefs

• British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Bruce Cohen has recommended a cap on farmed salmon in the Discovery Islands to prevent disease among wild fish. That was a major proposal from a two-year study into the decline of sockeye in the Fraser River. Cohen said of most concern was the warmer climate in 13 of the past 20 summers.

• Salmon is on the menu, too, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore where a Scottish company has withdrawn an application to develop fish farms. Snow Island Salmon, a subsidiary of Loch Duart, said it was concerned about the proximity to wild salmon. The company is continuing with applications for farms in Shoal Bay and Spry Harbor.

•  Quebec separatist Premier Pauline Marois said she will stop wearing a Fleur-de-lis pin inside the red poppy on her lapel after complaints from veterans. The premier’s office said she wasn’t trying to offend anyone by wearing the Quebec emblem inside the symbol synonymous with Remembrance Day in Canada