By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 0 Comments
The Fairmont Château Laurier held their annual holiday party with everything from sushi to…
The Fairmont Château Laurier held their annual holiday party with everything from sushi to plum pudding.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Scene and be seen around Parliament
The five events that matter most to Ottawa’s power brokers:
Politics and the Pen
Press Gallery Dinner
Each press gallery member is allowed to bring a limited number of guests, and MPs jockey for an invite. It’s also a chance for MPs to redeem themselves for past mistakes through self-mockery.
National Arts Centre Gala
Laureen Harper chairs this arts/corporate/political elite event, which raises funds for young artists. Sarah McLachlan and Chinese pianist Lang Lang have performed, as has Laureen’s other half, on piano.
Minister Moore’s Movie Night
Held in various museums, galleries and at the NAC, MPs line up to have their photos taken with the stars at Heritage Minister James Moore’s movie and music nights, highlighting the best in Canadian culture.
Held in a 262-seat theatre, this fundraiser to help young cancer patients learn about fertility options has become one of Ottawa’s hottest intimate tickets. Rick Mercer hosts; Jann Arden’s performed twice.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:06 PM - 0 Comments
The U.S. Embassy held an election party at the Château Laurier. Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan…
The U.S. Embassy held an election party at the Château Laurier. Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan buttons were given out. Attendees could also have their pic taken with Barack Obama and/or Mitt Romney cutouts.
By Andrew Potter - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:49 AM - 83 Comments
With no one to yell at, the party has done some useful policy work
Looking for a Liberal in Ottawa last fall was like a trip into the heart of darkness. You would eventually find a crew of them, hunched over the latest polling data in some dark corner of the Centre Block, where they’d give you the 1,000-yard stare and mutter quietly about the party lacking leadership and direction. The whole miserable session culminated in the legendary Night of the Long Faces, when a group of Liberals repaired to a bar at the Chateau Laurier for a bitch session that the Toronto Star breathlessly reported as a nascent coup being mounted by Bob Rae to topple Michael Ignatieff.
Everything is relative, more so in politics, but in the early months of 2010 it is suddenly a good time to be a Liberal. It’s easy to find Liberals on the Hill these days; with the government off “recalibrating” its agenda, they are striding around like they own the place. And why not? Ever since Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament over the Christmas holidays, the polling gap between the Conservatives and the Liberals has vanished, and for the past three weeks, Ekos tracking polls have had the two parties in a dead heat.
The received wisdom is that the Tory lead (which before Christmas one pollster called “entrenched”) vanished because of public anger over the prorogation, and many pundits have suggested that Harper’s inability to pass up an opportunity to show how clever he is has backfired once again. And there certainly appears to be something to that. Most people are genuinely annoyed that Parliament is not sitting, probably for the simple reason that most people don’t get to simply decide not to go to work for two months, least of all in the dead of winter.
By Colby Cosh - Monday, December 7, 2009 at 4:21 AM - 97 Comments
After some hours trying to decipher Angelo Persichilli’s column about the Château Laurier Conspiracy, I think I’ve found the key. One must disconnect Persichilli’s speculation about What It All Means from his actual reporting. It seems likely he overheard or was given access to audio of some genuine conversation, though the whole account is slathered in enough passive-voice sauce to turn anybody’s stomach. Ignore the carefully placed buttresses to the story’s authority and importance, like “This was not an isolated meeting between a few MPs”, and what you’re left with is… an isolated meeting between a few MPs, who bellyache tipsily while Bob Rae listens politely and encourages frank discussion but strongly insists he is not interested in a coup.
This is exactly what you would expect Bob Rae to do if he were a completely loyal lieutenant with no ambitions of his own whatsoever, intent solely on serving as his leader’s eyes and ears. It is also exactly what you would expect Bob Rae to do if he were planning a lightning coup for the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Most likely, Bob Rae is just what you think he is: an ambitious fellow forced to play a difficult hand, one who may be happy to profit from a regicide but is fully aware that he who draws the dagger rarely survives to wallow in the glory.
Beyond the facts, the column is full of fairly innocuous propositions disguised as dramatic disclosures. Succession to the leadership is a “dominant theme of discussion” in the Liberal Party? Well, sure, that’s what political parties are: machines for ensuring that aligned political interests stick together if something happens to the leader. I promise you that succession to the Conservative leadership is a pretty frequent subject of table-talk when Conservatives get together. (And, in fact, it’s a strength of the Liberal Party, not a weakness, that it has a lot of semi-credible successors around.)
And Persichilli “wouldn’t be surprised” if Ignatieff retreated to his “beloved academic world” at any moment? So who would be? The Liberals imported that danger/hope as part of the package deal when they dragged Ignatieff back from Harvard. Persichilli, I feel, is merely reminding us of the facts of life in a way that makes his eavesdropping seem fraught with urgency and electricity.
The more I concentrated on what is truly knowable and relevant in Persichilli’s story, the more I felt sorry for Bob Rae. Imagine having to stand there, nodding and smiling and nursing a schnapps, while you pretend to take the strategic judgment of Ruby Dhalla and Carolyn “Body Bags” Bennett oh so seriously. To what Christmas fantasy did his mind drift off while Dhalla, an ISO-certifiable ninny, was waxing obnoxious about the party “not doing enough to nurture the next generation of leaders”? Did he dream of being elected Santa Claus, passing in his crimson finery through the gingerbread doors of the Elf Parliament as the Candy-Cane Peace Tower glimmered in the night sky?
By Mark Steyn - Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 1:30 PM - 100 Comments
I’m supposed to be happy my room complaint is a growth experience for hotel staff?
As readers may recall, a few weeks ago I was invited to testify at the House of Commons about the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission. While in Ottawa, I stayed at a certain local hostelry that shall be nameless (the Château Laurier). I don’t like to complain. Seriously. I do so much of it for a living that I resent giving it away for free in private. But my room was unsatisfactory in many basic respects, and, a few days after I drew them to the attention of the gal at the checkout desk, an email arrived from the Assistant Manager, Housekeeping, which I quote in full:
“I would like to extend my thanks for bringing these issues to our attention. We truly appreciate Guest feedback, as it enables us to learn and grow from difficult experiences and truly strive to improve the overall Guest experience. Continue…
By kadyomalley - Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 12:50 PM - 16 Comments
(For a full rundown of FMM-related events, check the official ITQ guide here.)
The rallying cry of the reporter who turns up at a press conference half an hour early: “Ooh! Free cookies!” As I told the FCM official eyeing me with suspicion, in these uncertain times, one should never turn away from. chocolate chips.
Yes, I’m here in the Quebec suite at the Chateau Laurier, cooling my heels – or as is the case today, given the temperature outside, warming them and every other body part – in anticipation of a post-meeting press conference by the mayors of Canada’s 22 largest cities, a number presumably arrived at so as not to exclude Ottawa (despite the Obama tails that have so shattered the will of Colleague Potter to live).
Just as I was typing those words, however, the microphone was abruptly hijacked by none other than Martha Hall Findlay, the Liberal critic for infrastructure, who has seized the opportunity presented by a room full of otherwise at loose ends journalists to put forward her party’s position on the issue. The opposition, it’s clear, needs no lessons from the devil when it comes to finding work for idle hands.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, December 15, 2008 at 10:08 PM - 4 Comments
Claude Sauvé, the Fairmont Château Laurier general manager, recently held his annual Christmas party….
Claude Sauvé, the Fairmont Château Laurier general manager, recently held his annual Christmas party. Here he is with his wife Debbie.
The Sauvés greet Ottawa Liberal MP Mauril Belanger.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 5:23 PM - 8 Comments
Today, looking dignified and crisp in black and white, the Governor General sat upon her crushed-velvet and wood throne and read into the record this government’s intentions—its legislative agenda for these infinitely troubled times. Next week, she will depart for a series of state visits in Eastern Europe. There she will dine with the leadership of Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. When she returns in December, someone will inevitably total up the cost to taxpayers and report it in breathless detail.
Such is the duty—the pomp and circumstance—of the vice-regal. None of which seems perhaps as significant—interesting? meaningful? relevant?—as what Michaelle Jean did of her own volition a few days ago.