By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 0 Comments
Photos by Mitchel Raphael
Liberals gathered at the Westin Hotel for their annual holiday party. Northern Ontario MP Bruce Hyer, who quit the NDP to sit as an Independent, was the date of Liberal leadership candidate and MP Joyce Murray.
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 - Monday, February 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM - 0 Comments
The recipe for billion-dollar decisions
The folks in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty…’s office
The recipe for billion-dollar decisions
The folks in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s office are starting the late nights to prepare for the upcoming budget. Binders have been sent in from all government departments to be reviewed and assessed. Last year one of the biggest beneficiaries of the late nights was Gabriel Pizza, whose slogan is, “Bigger, better pizza.” When the minister has lunchtime meetings with staff, it’s usually over cold cuts that the billion-dollar decisions get made.
Cupboard out, Bloc in
The Bloc Québécois have finally got a small place to call their own in the House of Commons opposition lobby. A free-standing cupboard was moved to create a space. The Bloc has only four MPs and no official party status. As independents they don’t get a designated area in the opposition lobby. New Bloc Leader Daniel Paillé lost his seat in the last election, but since he is a former MP he is allowed to enter the lobby area. Green Leader Elizabeth May is also technically an independent MP, but the Liberals let her use a chair near the phones in their designated area. May says she appreciates the gesture very much, especially when she had problems with her hip and needed a place to sit.
A room with a view
Conservative Sen. Salma Ataullahjan has one of the nicer offices in the Centre Block. She was appointed to the job in 2010 and managed to get the office because the senator who was supposed to move in was allergic to carpet and a new one had just been laid. It has become one of the warmer offices to visit because the senator has hung several of the watercolours she painted herself. Ataullahjan laments the lack of colour she sees around so much of the Hill. She wasn’t permitted to hang the pictures herself because of asbestos issues in the Centre Block. She even had to wait for government officials to move two pictures closer together after they were not hung quite properly the first time.
Liberals plan to supersize
As part of the Liberals’ Valentine’s strategy, they had bilingual buttons made that stated: “Have a heart. Save the OAS.” Currently the Liberal party has two button machines that allow them to crank out instant messages, like the one about Old Age Security, with the help of party volunteers working the machines. Liberal strategist Kevin Bosch says he wants to go bigger and get a two-inch button machine.
A top Tory critic
Rona Ambrose, minister of public works and government services, was recently wearing a huge button that said, “Warning: Old fart’s birthday in progress.” It was part of a surprise 60th birthday party for Ted Menzies, minister of state for finance, at hip Ottawa restaurant Play. Menzies was legitimately surprised, which impressed many considering the difficulty keeping secrets in the capital. He was surrounded by many colleagues and family members, including his wife, Sandy Menzies, a jovial ﬁxture on the Hill. “Who needs an opposition when you are married?” joked the minister. “Actually, they are your best critic.” Also in attendance was former Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay and Treasury Board President Tony Clement. Menzies is seen by many as less partisan than most Tories, especially his boss, Jim Flaherty. If Flaherty seeks out other political pastures, Menzies is seen a strong candidate to take his place.
Hear the one about the comic and his MP?
Vancouver comedian Charlie Demers was recently in Ottawa to be on an episode of CBC Radio’s The Debaters. Demers lives in the riding of NDP MP Libby Davies and is a big supporter. When asked what jokes he tells about Davies, he confesses he has not incorporated her into his stand-up routine: “You know you have a good MP when they don’t provide any comedy material.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 9:25 PM - 21 Comments
Liberal MP Hedy Fry squeezed in a fundraiser to help with the debt she…
Liberal MP Hedy Fry squeezed in a fundraiser to help with the debt she incurred from her leadership run in 2006. The event was held at Ottawa’s hot new gay bar Flamingo. Below, Fry and Bob Rae do a tribute to Sonny and Cher.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 9:20 AM - 2 Comments
Too bad about the protesters’ cake, Her bodyguard money gone, and Could Ottawa get any smaller?
Too bad about the protesters’ cake
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s annual garden party for the media had its own special “water feature”: a child’s swimming pool was decorated to create that Muskoka-like feeling. Liberal strategist Kevin Bosch said he learned from the Conservatives that if you want to get the media out you have to have a “fake lake.” Capital Diary asked several TV journalists to stand in front of the backdrop for a photo; all politely declined. Ignatieff’s version of a “fake lake” included fake ducks and a mini remote-controlled boat, all of which cost around $80, thanks to some strategic shopping at Wal-Mart. The party was a sit-down dinner of pasta and meatballs, as opposed to the usual food stations. Steve Paikin of TVO’s The Agenda seemed mortified when the band, armed with an accordion, sang Happy Birthday to him. Outside Stornoway, two groups of protesters arrived. The first were NDP supporters upset at how the Liberals helped the Conservatives pass their fifth budget bill by having several of their members absent for the vote. Unfortunately, an ice cream cake with Sesame Street’s The Count on it melted in one of the demonstrators’ hands, making the message written on it difficult to read. Then there were the anti-seal-hunt protesters who joined in with some of the NDP chants. When Capital Diary pointed out to the seal protesters that the NDP officially supports the hunt, the protesting NDPers claimed not everyone in the party is behind that position.
Her bodyguard money gone
When Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was in Geneva speaking at a conference to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, he met Dr. Massouda Jalal on a panel. Jalal was the sole female presidential candidate during Afghanistan’s 2004 election and spoke out about the conditions for women in her country. Cotler was so impressed with her talk he invited her to Ottawa where she spoke to MPs. She pointed out that many of Afghanistan’s TV and radio stations are in the hands of warlords who use the media to suppress women’s rights. Jalal says most people in her country believe what the media tell them so she is advocating for a women’s TV station to combat the misogynist attacks. When she was in cabinet, she said, she expected a minister who had lived in the U.S. for 20 years would be progressive on women’s rights. Instead, he told her the reason he had come back to Afghanistan was: “In America I don’t have control over my wife and daughter.” Jalal was shocked. Amnesty International gave her some funds, which she used to hire bodyguards. But the money has dried up and she is now without protection. Cotler is hoping Canada can help her remain a voice for women in Afghanistan.
Could Ottawa get any smaller?
MPs whose homes are far away from Ottawa tend to get excited when their children move to the capital. Cape Breton Liberal MP Mark Eyking is delighted his son Josh Eyking is starting work as a real estate agent in the city. He is with Keller Williams Ottawa Realty, the same firm where Transport Minister John Baird’s mother Marianne Anderson works.
Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella recently spoke at the Yeshiva University Toronto convocation and dinner. Noting the controversy around a private member’s bill that any newly appointed Supreme Court judges must be bilingual, she said she wanted to say a few words in another language. She proceeded with remarks in Yiddish, much to the delight and laughter of the predominantly Jewish crowd.
They also have a real lake
The term “fake lake” is getting under the skins of some Tories. But one joke going around is that they in fact have a “real” lake too: Edmonton MP Mike Lake.
Photographs by Mitchel Raphael
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, January 29, 2010 at 11:56 AM - 8 Comments
Folks from all parties packed the Hill Helps Haiti fundraiser organized by the government…
Folks from all parties packed the Hill Helps Haiti fundraiser organized by the government relations firm Summa Strategies. The event raised over $32,000. Below, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq (left) and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea.
Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay.
Green leader Elizabeth May.