WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THIS CONVENTION?: Next month's Liberal convention in Vancouver is being dismissed by some internal grumblers as a "Seinfeld" convention -- all about nothing. Originally scheduled to elect a new leader, Michael Ignatieff will simply be acclaimed as leader -- a role he has played since December. The usual policy debates were also expected to be curtailed after the party recently adopted an online policy discussion model that has also come under fire from the party rank-and-file.


FOX HOST STEPS IN IT: The host of a little-watched late night Fox News program drew the ire of Canadians across the country when he led a panel in belittling the Canadian military and Canada's reliability as an ally. A comedian on the panel who gleefully joined in on the fun had a scheduled four-night run of performances in Edmonton -- home to a Canadian forces base -- cancelled after the comedy club's owner was inundated with threatening phone calls.


However, many Americans rushed to the defence of Canada and its military as the outrage spread. Michael O'Hanlon, a respected military scholar, said that informed Americans are aware of Canada's contributions in Afghanistan and that during off the record conversations, U.S. commanders singled out Canadian soldiers as their most admired allies.


REQUIRED READING FOR RED EYE HOSTS: The widow of one of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week almost collapsed from grief as her husband's casket was carried from a military aircraft before making the trip along Ontario's Highway of Heroes. The four deaths brought the mission's death toll to 116.


MY GIANT: Canadian companies Suncor and Petro-Canada agreed to a merger that will create an energy sector behemoth that will rank as the fifth-largest in North America. Sadly, the merger also means that Calgary-based job losses are all but certain when the merger is complete. Many oilpatch observers said the move is the final phase in Petro-Canada's transition from a hated public sector interloper to an integral player in the oil sands.

IN ARMS WAY: The chattering classes had a field day on the topic of First Lady Michelle Obama's sleeveless outfits this month -- chatter that didn't revolve around similar sartorial choices made by other first ladies. Curious, Jocelyn Novek of the Associated Press took the time to explore some of the theories around the fascination with Obama's biceps, triceps and delts.

LONDON CALLING: Officials in London are planning an intense security umbrella -- expected to cost as much as C$9 million a day -- as they prepare to welcome world leaders to the G20 summit this April. Protest groups have said they would focus on shutting down the city's financial core, and police urged bankers -- the perceived villains behind the global economic crisis -- to wear more casual attire to avoid drawing the ire of demonstrators.

STAIR MASTER: British Columbia's Shaun Stephens-Wale set a new stairclimb record, hiking 69 floors of Seattle's Columbia Centre in less than eight minutes. Six thousand participated in the event, which raised more than US$1 million for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.