This Magazine

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Runnin’ back from Saskatoon

This Magazine Staff

Just back from 4 days in Saskatoon, where I gave a couple of talks at the University of Saskatchewan. It was lefty-groupie heaven; as two female students were showing me around, we walked right past Roy Romanow, who is teaching there right now. The students got all giggly. On my flight back today, Stephen Lewis was sitting up front in executive class, reading the NY Times.
Some things I didn’t know:
1. John Diefenbaker is buried, along with his wife Olive, on the USask campus, on a high bank overlooking the South Saskatchewan River.
2. Diefenbaker gave natives the vote, gave Canadians a Bill of Rights, and appointed the first french-Canadian GG. (Well, I knew about the Bill of Rights.)
3. The South Saskatchewan river is so Mighty that it doesn’t freeze over, even though it regularly hits -40 in Saskatoon.
4. The USask campus includes the Canadian Light Source, a totally wicked synchrotron that lets us see “the microscopic nature of matter, right down to the level of the atom.”
5. Saskatoon has a Lululemon and many Starbucks, but no Chapters.
6. If you try ordering a Molson Export in Saskatoon, the bartender will say to you, “where are you from, Montreal?”
7. In Montreal, there are establishments in which you can hold a beer in one hand and a stripper’s breast in the other as she grinds her bum into your crotch. In Saskatoon, it is illegal to serve beer in the presence of naked women.
8. Most of the students I spoke to at USask took it for granted that they would be leaving for Calgary once they graduated, much the way McGill students automatically decamped for Toronto when I was there in the early 1990s.
9. There is a farm on campus, with cows, grain silos, the whole shebang.
10. There is a rather large bust of Gandhi across from the main shopping mall.

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