Wednesday, May 07, 2008


The conference isn't mine -- I'm just a spousal hood ornament. We're ensconced in the old-world elegance of the [Fairmont] Chateau Laurier -- spacious grand lobby salons, tastefully dim hallways, room with 14-foot ceiling. All mod cons, conceived and acquired under the supervision of one Charles Melville Hays, then General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway of Canada, who unfortunately never spent a night in his beautiful hotel, due to his having chosen to report to Ottawa via an ocean voyage on the RMS Titanic in April 1912. Sigh.

Pleasant walk around the impressive Parliament Hill district. Not so pleasant walk around the slightly grubby tourist market area. Highlight of Day One: riding the elevator briefly with Salman Rushdie.

Day Two included some official activities, followed by my getting swept up into the flow of the annual March for Life, Canada's entry into the frustrating uphill battle against abortion. Not nearly so well-attended as its sister march in Washington, D.C. -- but this they have in common: no matter how many thousands, you won't see it reported on local or national news. It looked like this:

Also in the neighbourhood: Canada's official war memorial, the sculpture representing a scene from World War I, but built in remembrance of four major wars in which Canada has participated.

Magnificent, folks.


Moment of Truth in Iraq by Michael Yon. Digests and expansions upon the dispatches of the past couple of years, spent embedded up to his eyeballs with troops in combat all over Iraq. Yon is one of a handful of self-embedded reporters, telling the facts and placing them in context (others: Michael Totten, Bill Roggio, J.D. Johannes [buy his documentary Outside the Wire]).

Cranky, melodramatic maybe -- Yon remains the Master.