The discovery Saturday morning of an RCMP officer's body in the rubble of the United Nations building where he headed its stabilization mission brings the number of Canadians killed in Haiti's devastating earthquake to eight.
Superintendent Doug Coates was acting commissioner for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. The 52-year-old Alberta native had worked in Haiti on and off since 1993. RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott said Supt. Coates had led a "brilliant" career, focusing on rural and aboriginal training, search-and-rescue and the force's drug files.
"Doug was doing what he did so well - leading an international peacekeeping operation," Mr. Elliott said. "I have had the opportunity to witness first hand the passion and commitment Canadian police officers bring to their work to better the lives of Haitians, having travelled to Haiti twice with Doug and others.
"It was truly humbling to witness the courage and commitment of our Canadian police contingent."
Quebec teacher Denis Bellavance was also confirmed dead on Saturday. The Drummondville resident had been lecturing at Port-au-Prince University when he was buried in the rubble.
Late Friday night, Hélène Rivard and Guillaume Siemienski - seasoned CIDA employees working in international development in Port-au-Prince - were added to Canada's death toll from the Haitian earthquake.
When Martin Siemienski found out about the massive earthquake that hit Haiti, his first thought wasn't of his parents, who had been living in Port-au-Prince since the spring of 2009.
"This kind of thing does not happen to you - it happens to other people."
It wasn't until the calls came pouring in that he started worrying about their safety, "shitting bricks and drinking whisky." It got worse with news of the collapse of the United Nations headquarters, the supposedly structurally sound building where his father Guillaume worked.
The news came Friday afternoon: Mr. Siemienski had been crushed in the rubble of the UN building, one of more than 100 UN personnel - including Supt. Coates and UN mission head Hedi Annabi - buried in the ruins. Guillaume Siemienski's wife identified the Montreal native's remains, Martin said, although "they couldn't show her the body because it was so swollen.
Martin Siemienski said his family took comfort knowing his father was killed instantly, "and didn't have to suffer under that pile of rubble in claustrophobia and 30-degree heat."
The Canadian International Development Agency worker had just recently arrived in Haiti after years spent in posts in Georgia, Russia, Turkey and Slovakia. It was an unusual posting for the Polish-Canadian Europhile, but he relished the challenge.
"My father was constantly seeking new places to go to. And Haiti was what presented itself at the time. ... It was a new challenge," Martin said.
"He loved Canada - he thought Canada was great, particularly Montreal, but he needed more action."
The 57-year-old was "a hell of a singer," his son said, and had a knack of making people laugh with him.
"He was intoxicating ... just a bloody charming guy."
RCMP Sergeant Mark Gallagher's body was recovered from his Port-au-Prince house on Thursday; prominent academics Georges and Mireille Anglade were also crushed in the quake, as was Elmira, Ont., nurse Isabelle Martin.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Haitians and Canadians who have lost loved ones," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Saturday.
"However, as we weep for all those who have died, Canadians are doing their utmost to give hope to those who are living."
Some of the more than 1,000 missing Canadians have been found: Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said as of Saturday morning there are 1,362 listed as unaccounted for, compared with 1,415 just the day before. But at the same time, Canada and other rescue missions are shifting their focus from search-and-rescue to humanitarian aid and "stabilization" in a quake-hit country whose increasingly desperate citizens are threatening to send it into anarchy.
With a report from the Canadian Press
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