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Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Last evening I received a note from Andrew Clark, the New York correspondent for The Guardian. Headed simply “The Final Insult,” Clark provided a link to a piece in yesterday’s Daily Mail by royal watcher Richard Kay. He reports that a monument commemorating Canada’s contribution to the war effort has fallen on hard times. Located in Green Park across from Buckingham Palace, “the structure,” writes Kay, “is deteriorating. Its commemorative stone plaques are smudged and its signs are dirty. Even the pumps installed to supply a water feature are constantly breaking down.” The Queen herself, it is noted, has voiced concern at its dowdy condition. I suspect you may have already guessed the rest. The monument’s construction was spearheaded by Conrad Black, who led the fundraising and headed up the jury that selected Canadian artist Pierre Granche for its design. With the remaining proceeds, he established the Canada Memorial Foundation, which was to oversee its upkeep—apparently (according to Kay, at least) to little or no effect. The Canadian High Commission, plucky defender of the Dominion’s honour, takes no responsibility and adds, “It is not the place of the Canadian government to ask another government to maintain a building we do not own.” Kay concludes the piece with a quote: “Conrad was the father figure behind its creation,” says a friend of the disgraced businessman. “He has other things on his mind right now. Consider it one of his abandoned orphans.”

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