By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, November 5, 2012 - 0 Comments
Jer’s Vision, Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative, held a special reception on the Hill for…
Jer’s Vision, Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative, held a special reception on the Hill for parliamentarians to raise awareness about bullying and diversity. Pink cupcakes were served.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 8:11 PM - 0 Comments
Mexico’s Ambassador Francisco Barrio Terrazas presented the Decoration of the Mexican Order of the…
Mexico’s Ambassador Francisco Barrio Terrazas presented the Decoration of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle to former Speaker Peter Milliken. It is the highest award a non-Mexican can receive. Milliken was lauded for helping to build relations between Canada and Mexico during his time as Speaker.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 5:01 AM - 0 Comments
A star-studded photo gallery by Mitchel Raphael
The 2012 Press Gallery Dinner was a night of glamour and mock awards.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:05 AM - 0 Comments
NDP MPs, staffers and friends gathered for Halloween at the NDP watering hole Brixton’s….
NDP MPs, staffers and friends gathered for Halloween at the NDP watering hole Brixton’s. Outfits included Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women,” Bev Oda sipping $16 OJ (albeit from a plastic container) and NDP MP Niki Ashton as Big Bird.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM - 0 Comments
Speaker Andrew Scheer hosted his second annual Hilloween party for MPs, staffers and all…
Speaker Andrew Scheer hosted his second annual Hilloween party for MPs, staffers and all their children.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 8:33 PM - 0 Comments
Hill staffers and some MPs got into the Halloween spirit today on the Hill. …
Hill staffers and some MPs got into the Halloween spirit today on the Hill. Green Leader Elizabeth May wore a witch hat into the House. She was told is was okay as long as she wasn’t being recognized.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 8:18 PM - 0 Comments
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair celebrated his first Halloween in Stornoway, the official residence of…
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair celebrated his first Halloween in Stornoway, the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition. Kids form the neighbourhood popped by for treats as did several NDP MPs and the their children. Mulcair was dressed as sheriff. A nod to Alberta or just being tough on crime?
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 2:37 PM - 0 Comments
Nathan Cullen brings his kids to work on the Hill
Kids in the House
NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen recently moved his wife Diana Cullen and two-year-old sons Isaac and Elliot to Ottawa from British Columbia. The twins have enjoyed playing in their dad’s Centre Block office. They like his White House snow globe and wooden chess set, particularly the “horsies,” which the twins enjoy whacking on their father’s head. Another joy the twins discovered are the loud echoes in Centre Block corridors when they yell. Cullen’s wife brought the boys to their first question period. Just as Stephen Harper was about to answer NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s question about the role of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, one of the twins began to cry. Diana Cullen tried to take the crying child out but was first met with a locked door. Eventually she found a way out. Speaker Andrew Scheer called order. The PM was once again given the floor. Harper quipped of the crying: “Mr. Speaker, I have heard much worse noise here from adults.”
At the recent Travers Debates held at the National Arts Centre, Tory Sen. Nancy Ruth was spotted with a purple Gucci backpack. Since getting an iPad, the senator says she needed a bag that made it easier to carry all her stuff. She bought the backpack a decade ago but never used it until now. One problem she encountered was the dye of the lining was running and leaving purple on her hands and all over the place. She decided to tear out the lining and the problems disappeared. Another repurposer of bags is interim Liberal leader Bob Rae. He carries a very beaten-up briefcase, which dates back to his articling days. Rae notes that the briefcase has been repaired five times. Tory Sen. Hugh Segal moderated the event, named after the late Toronto Star journalist Jim Travers. The senator noted that with the resignation of Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, perhaps Rae should think about running as provincial Liberal leader and consider the slogan “Love is better the second time around.”
The dog behind an Ottawa memorial
Second World War veteran Lloyd Swick was on the Hill recently, talking to MPs about his monument to animals who served in war. The memorial consists of a series of plaques, plus a life-sized statue of a dog, honouring the animals who helped during wartime. David Clendining is the sculptor behind the monument. Clendining says the mules were based on photos, the horses from observing animals near his home in Ottawa, but “the dog is 90 per cent my old German shepherd, Lucky.” Laureen Harper is the project’s honorary patron, and NDP MP Peter Stoffer has been a big supporter. The memorial will be unveiled in Ottawa on Nov. 3.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
NDP MP Niki Ashton told Capital Diary her grey coat has had loads of…
NDP MP Niki Ashton told Capital Diary her grey coat has had loads of people asking whether she is an American Civil War soldier or is she getting ready to be in a production of The Nutcracker?
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM - 0 Comments
The Travers Debates were held recently at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It…
The Travers Debates were held recently at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It was a fundraiser for the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship named after Toronto Star columnist Jim Travers, who died in 2011.
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM - 0 Comments
The Grey Cup was recently brought on the Hill and into the House of…
By Emmett Macfarlane - Friday, October 26, 2012 at 4:25 PM - 0 Comments
Emmett McFarlane: ‘The closer I read today’s judgment, the less convincing I find the minority’s logic’
As is true of almost all Supreme Court of Canada cases, no one had more at stake in today’s ruling on the 2011 Etobicoke Centre election than the litigants, Liberal incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Conservative Ted Opitz, who has sat as the riding’s MP after winning by 26 votes in a contest apparently plagued by irregularities.
As with most Supreme Court cases, however, the even more fundamental concern was how the judges would set out standards by which to assess relevant issues in the future: how should we determine whether “irregularities” affected the outcome and how should we balance the concern for fair elections with the need to ensure all eligible citizens can vote? Unfortunately, the seven judges split over those questions in a 4-3 decision overturning a lower court judgment that annulled enough votes to order a new byelection.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM - 0 Comments
Plus: Rona Ambrose, Irshad Manji and Sen. Linda Frum
Since the beginning of this session of Parliament, Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau’s seatmate in the House has been Kirsty Duncan. Duncan has a Ph.D. in geography, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on pandemics and served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group that won the 2007 Nobel Prize with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore. What did Duncan and Trudeau do between votes or when they had extra time in the House? Trudeau would bring drafting paper. Says Duncan: “He taught me how to do these 3D engineering puzzles. I had never done them before.” She says Trudeau is always interested in the latest technology and often suggests books on science to her. “He’s a voracious reader,” says Duncan. Once she brought him to a Hindu mandir where they also had a museum: “He was able to go from exhibit to exhibit, whether it was about the history of pi or deities, he could comment on everything.”
Ambrose’s girl power
Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose was recently at the United Nations to help celebrate the first International Day of the Girl. Plan International and Plan Canada, two development charities, had been fighting to have the day recognized for years, but it was only after much arm-twisting by Ambrose, who got involved with the campaign a year ago, that the UN adopted Oct. 11 as the special day. Ambrose says Turkey was a key ally bringing Muslim countries on board. Peru helped negotiate with South American countries. Many international landmarks, including the Egyptian pyramids and the CN Tower, were lit up in pink that day. Ambrose was presented with an award at the UN, which she dedicated to Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl recently shot by the Taliban because of her fight for girls’ education rights.
The most moving moment for Ambrose was reconnecting with a young girl from rural Cameroon named Fabiola. When Ambrose met her a year ago, Fabiola had been fighting against forced marriages in her village. The girl’s plight, along with those of other girls grappling with harsh issues like honour crimes, sex-selective abortion and child trafficking, inspired the minister to get involved. Says the Minister: “They are just teenagers and these are the issues that happen in their communities.”
Suspicious email to Frum
Tory Sen. Linda Frum recently helped host a talk by Irshad Manji about her experiences in Indonesia for her new book Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom. Manji, a well-known advocate for progressive and moderate Islam, spoke to the Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group. She discussed troubling changes she’s seen take place in Indonesia. In May, she was attacked by extremists there during a book event; a human shield of Muslim women hid and protected her. What Manji didn’t discuss was Frum’s assistance after that attack. Frum had received a strange message from Manji’s email account asking the senator to answer questions about Manji and send them to the Canadian embassy in Jakarta. Feeling suspicious, Frum called Manji, who told her about the attack and that she’d lost her passport. Frum arranged to get her a new passport immediately.
The two women have known each other for eight years, having met at an event Frum hosted with her brother David for the author Christopher Hitchens. Frum’s daughter also interviewed Manji last year at the Bishop Strachan School boarding school for girls in Toronto. When asked if her daughter was going to continue in the Frum tradition of journalism, the senator said there is no set path yet. Her daughter is currently studying ethics at the University of Toronto.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Tory Senator Linda Frum recently helped host for a talk on the Hill by…
Tory Senator Linda Frum recently helped host for a talk on the Hill by Irshad Manji about her experiences in Indonesia while touring with her new book Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom. Manji, a well-known advocate for progressive and moderate Islam, spoke to the Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Cooking with Laureen
The Canadian Gas Association held their second annual Now We’re Cooking…
Cooking with Laureen
The Canadian Gas Association held their second annual Now We’re Cooking with Gas reception at the National Arts Centre. The first course was steak tartare—which some joked seemed odd at an event that was all about “cooking” with gas. It was then pointed out that the tempura bits added to the raw steak were indeed cooked over gas. Laureen Harper passed on the first dish, noting she does not eat any raw meat, including sushi. Harper also told Capital Diary that she will not wear fur “unless the whole animal is used.” So she said she would wear seal fur and wears leather “because they use the whole cow.” The next course was a vegetarian dish. When NAC’s executive chef Michael Blackie asked if there were any vegetarians in the crowd, he was shocked when the room was silent, noting that he has never had that happen before. At the event, the Canadian Gas Association presented a cheque for Algonquin College’s hospitality and tourism program in honour of the NAC’s late executive chef Kurt Waldele. Harper shared her fond memories of Waldele and said she has yet to meet an Ottawa chef who did not at one point work with the culinary legend. Cooking with gas is something familiar to Harper: “In Alberta that’s all we use . . . and campfires,” she said.
An otherworldly achievement
Speaker Andrew Scheer hosted a special reception on the Hill for astronaut Chris Hadfield, who heads back to space in December and will take command of the International Space Station in March. He will be the first Canadian to do so. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt presented Hadfield with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Hadfield is from Raitt’s Ontario riding of Halton, where his parents still live and are active in the community. Raitt says she saw the astronaut’s father, Roger Hadfield, at last year’s Milton Steam-Era festival, where he had built from scratch a First World War Hucks starter that was used to help start up airplanes. It is now in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. She says that the astronaut is one of the biggest celebrities in her riding.
Hungry for a cause
When a group of climate change activists organized a 12-day hunger strike on the Hill, Green Leader Elizabeth May only consumed fluids for four days, to show her solidarity for the cause. Her secret? Lemon-lime Gatorade. “I needed to replace my electrolytes,” she explains. May noted that she does not only go on hunger strikes against Conservatives. In 2001, she was on a 17-day hunger strike while the Liberals were in power. She was protesting the Sydney tar ponds in Cape Breton.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Gas Association held their second annual Now We’re Cooking with Gas reception…
The Canadian Gas Association held their second annual Now We’re Cooking with Gas reception at the National Arts Centre.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
Newfoundland Liberal MP Scott Simms never misses an opportunity to promote his province’s proud…
Newfoundland Liberal MP Scott Simms never misses an opportunity to promote his province’s proud puffin heritage. When he found out a Liberal staffer likes to collect all things puffin, he got the staffer a T-shirt that says “Angry Puffin” from the Auk Island Winery in Twillingate. The winery produces his favourite wine: The Funky Puffin.
By Jason Lietaer - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 4:56 PM - 0 Comments
Conservatives have been salivating for a crack at Trudeau, says Jason Lietaer. ‘Now we get our chance’
Justin Trudeau’s leadership run has been decades in the making. Most of us knew we’d end up here about 12 years ago. Looking back, I remember Oct. 3, 2000 very well. I was in “issues management” in Mike Harris’ office in Ontario. I was pretty confident there weren’t going to be any real issues to manage – it was the day of Pierre Trudeau’s funeral.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 5:02 PM - 0 Comments
After visiting Cape Breton this summer, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt fell in love the…
After visiting Cape Breton this summer, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt fell in love the song “We Are An Island” by Kyle Mischiek and featuring Trax Cordero and Taylor Burton. She has been playing it for people on the Hill on her iPad.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM - 0 Comments
Brison looking for eggs
In May 2011, Scott Brison… announced he wouldn’t be running
Brison looking for eggs
In May 2011, Scott Brison announced he wouldn’t be running for the Liberal leadership, saying he wanted to start a family. Now, the Nova Scotia MP is one step closer to having a child. Brison and his husband, Maxime St. Pierre, have found a surrogate mother in Los Angeles. They now need to find a donor for the eggs. He would not say whether he has approached any female members of his or St. Pierre’s family. The egg source, he says, is a private affair. Brison says the process does not allow the surrogate to use her own eggs. The MP says both he and his partner will fertilize eggs and that several will be implanted into the surrogate. There is a chance they could have more than one child. The couple is hoping to become fathers a year from now. Whether the offspring will have the last names of Brison-St. Pierre or St. Pierre-Brison has yet to be determined.
In Canada, the laws around surrogacy are often described as murky. A woman cannot be paid for being a surrogate but she can be compensated for costs. Paying for donor eggs is illegal in Canada.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 7:04 PM - 0 Comments
Protesters outside Parliament yesterday as MPs voted on Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion M312, …
Protesters outside Parliament yesterday as MPs voted on Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion M312, Studying Canada’s 400 Year Old Definition of Human Being.