By Jonathon Gatehouse - Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 0 Comments
He’s the most popular politician in Canada—and not just because of his last name
Justin Trudeau lets the question hang in the air for long seconds before he exhales heavily and begins to answer. It can’t have taken him by surprise, but it’s not the sort of thing one wants to appear to be too cavalier, or God forbid, eager about. Why does he want to be prime minister?
The words are slow and deliberate at first, then gradually pick up steam. He touches on the deaths of his youngest brother and his father, more than a decade ago, and how the public outpourings of sympathy reinforced his already unique relationship with Canadians. He speaks of his own children, Xavier, 5, and Ella, 3, and his conflicting desires to spend more time with them, yet enhance their future. There’s a nod to the last few months of deliberation and doubt. He’s forthright enough to admit that the timing isn’t ideal—in a perfect world he’d have more Parliamentary experience, maybe even a stint in cabinet under his belt. But the opportunity to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and thereby start auditioning for an even bigger job, is presenting itself now. And for better or for worse, he feels like it’s his destiny.
“Can I actually make a difference? Can I get people to believe in politics once again? Can I get people to accept more complex answers to complex questions? I know I can. I know that’s what I do very well. Why am I doing this? Because I can, not because I want to. Because I must.” His voice drops to a whisper on the final word. The bells at the church across the road from the café where we’re sitting in his Montreal riding are tolling the noon hour. It’s all gotten a bit dramatic. He catches himself and laughs. “I wish there was a simple, easy answer, but there’s a lot of factors. I guess it comes down to that I love this country, and I think I can do better than what we are currently getting from our politicians.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, June 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Mitchel Raphael on the parties and their end-of-sitting parties
How Mulcair impressed the media
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair held his first in a series of garden parties at Stornoway, an annual custom also held at 24 Sussex and the Farm at Kingsmere, which is the official residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons. When it was the media’s turn at Stornoway, the ground under a huge tent was still mushy from rain and a party earlier in the week. Mulcair’s wife, Catherine Pinhas, helped host the event and indicated she doesn’t enjoy having her picture taken. She said she will pose for future holiday cards when duty calls. NDP staff said she will have to get over that aversion if their leader plans to become the next prime minister of Canada.
CBC host Evan Solomon arrived a bit late to the party and missed the buffet, which included white chocolate mousse branded with the NDP logo. He was left to nibble on a cheese platter and finished the last of the New Brunswick oysters at the oyster bar. Talk turned to the Twitter hashtag of Solomon’s show Power and Politics, which is #PnP. PnP is also the acronym used on gay hookup sites for “party and play,” which means searching for sex and drugs. One attendee at the party who follows the hashtag quipped that it made for an interesting Twitter feed. Solomon joked that must be why his ratings are up.
As the party wound down around 10 p.m., Mulcair told the waiters to go around and let everyone know it was last call. This impressed much of the media since such announcements are rarely made at parties at the official residences.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Will Trudeau go blue?
Things are heating up between Liberal MP Justin Trudeau…,
Will Trudeau go blue?
Things are heating up between Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, 40, and Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau, 37. The two are set to go at it in the ring on March 31 in a charity boxing match for Fight for the Cure. Trudeau trained as a boxer years ago and is currently working out in the ring and watching Tae Bo videos. Brazeau holds a second-degree black belt in karate. The fight will be for real. “If I break my nose, then I break my nose,” says Trudeau. The Liberal MP’s wife, Sophie Grégoire, has also helped her husband prepare for the showdown by purchasing Trudeau a robe with his name on the back. But Trudeau is not sure he can wear it. Says the MP, “The robe is blue and I’m fighting from the Liberal red corner!”
Minister skirts issue on transgendered
Much drama last week over the issue of transgendered people needing to match the sex on their identification when travelling by air. Gay Liberal MP Scott Brison could not resist a few one-liners. “I thought airport security was already a drag.” On how Transport Minister Denis Lebel handled himself in question period, Brison quipped, “The minister skirted the issue.” More seriously, Calgary Conservative MP Lee Richardson said such security issues could be solved if people, for example, “just matched their iris identiﬁcation” within an enhanced security system.
Conservative advice for Occupiers
Alumni from Nova Scotia’s Mount Saint Vincent University gathered on the Hill for a reception. The event was hosted by Nova Scotia Liberal Sen. Jane Cordy, NDP MP Megan Leslie, who represents Halifax, and Conservative Sen. Nancy Ruth, who established Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at the Mount in the ’80s when the government at the time offered to create four women’s studies chairs across the country as long as the university matched the funding. Nancy Ruth stepped up and donated the $500,000 needed. She has an honorary degree from the Mount and last fall joined Sheila Fraser when the former auditor general received her honorary degree. At the time the senator spoke to a class of students who were supposed to hear a lecture about women and politics, but the students were more interested in asking her questions about the Occupy movement. “What do you do when the police come and pick you up?” asked one person. She told the students to find out who was on their police services board and added this advice: “Never protest alone, always work with other networks.” At the Hill reception, Liberal MP Geoff Regan asked that the attendees be told he had to leave before the speeches because he was on House duty. This prompted NDP MP Peter Stoffer to quip: “I’m on House duty but I’m not going.”