Look which journalist scored an interview with Mrs. Harper
Heritage Minister James Moore held his most recent movie night at the National Arts Centre, screening Barney’s Version, a film based on the Mordecai Richler novel. Moore’s goal for these nights is to introduce Canadian films to MPs and a “few” others. Well, more than 1,400 people attended this one, including producer Robert Lantos, Mordecai Richler’s wife Florence Richler and several of the film’s stars, including Canadian hunk Scott Speedman. Speedman’s silver-screen break was playing a vampire-werewolf hybrid in the first two Underworld ﬁlms, alongside Kate Beckinsale. Laureen Harper made Jayne Watson’s night by asking the CEO of the NAC Foundation to show Speedman to the washroom. Watson happily obliged. Mrs. Harper’s date was Labour Minister Lisa Raitt—who was unaware of the honour until she was escorted onto the red carpet to join Mrs. Harper (who is traditionally accompanied by House leader John Baird when Stephen Harper can’t make it). It seemed like Raitt’s lucky night all around when she scored the seat next to Speedman’s to watch the film—although she then had to move over to accommodate an NAC bigwig. When Mrs. Harper, who rarely does interviews, walked the red carpet, she did speak to a few reporters—including eTalk’s Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, wife of Justin Trudeau. President of the Treasury Board Stockwell Day “snuck” some Twizzlers in for Mrs. Harper; on Moore’s movie nights, treats are verboten. There is, however, a VIP reception beforehand and, afterwards, a general reception with food inspired by the film—on this night, smoked salmon, bagels and battered chicken in honour of the film’s Jewish characters. A papier mâché bust of Richler graced the lobby. The artist, Susan Longmire, used pages from Barney’s Version to create the work. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his wife, Zsuzsanna Zsohar, each gave the film two thumbs up. In fact, Iggy came back specially from Montreal for it. This was his first Moore movie night. There was talk the PM might also attend for the first time, but it was not to be.
Potash is a laughing matter—but only off the record
During the dramatic debate about the Canadian potash industry, some MPs had trouble keeping a straight face. One Liberal noted, “I kept wanting to jump up and say, ‘What’s it going to be? Pot or hash?’ ” A Conservative MP then quipped that the B.C. pot industry has already been taken over by a foreign country: America.
‘Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker’
During the Conservatives’ caucus meetings, House leader John Baird shows a play of the week. Recently there was a tie: a video of Tory MP Mark Warawa saying “Mr. Speaker” 10 times while answering a question in the allotted 35 seconds—and another video of Warawa again answering a question saying “Mr. Speaker” 10 times. The next time Warawa answered a question in the House, Baird held up one finger at the first “Mr. Speaker”—Warawa managed not to say it again, resulting in lots of applause.
Politics and waistlines
Stephen Harper’s former director of communications John Williamson successfully secured the nomination to run in the riding of New Brunswick Southwest. The seat, considered a safe one for the Conservatives, is currently held by Greg Thompson, who has given notice that he will not run in the next election. Williamson says the battle for the nomination was extremely tough. He put 20,000 km on his car driving around the large riding, and also packed on five kilos because he was constantly being offered food. Sedentary phone campaigning didn’t help his waistline any, either. But, he notes, when he started working in the PMO, he promptly lost a lot of weight. So there’s still hope.