By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 0 Comments
Pat Martin puts on his beaver hat for Idle No More, while Olivia Chow will be looking more serious after partial facial paralysis.
Pat Martin revisits the beaver?
Idle No More protesters greeted MPs for their first day back on the Hill for 2013. When NDP MP Pat Martin went out to support the protesters he put on his beaver fur hat, which he bought 20 years ago in the Yukon. He said it is not often that he gets to wear it. No word on whether the hat was a quiet reference to the infamous time he said in the House, when attacking the Conservatives for dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board, “The Canadian beaver will bite off its own testicles when it is threatened and offer them up to its tormentors.”
Why Chow is not smiling
Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow has recovered slightly from a viral infection that left part of her face paralyzed. She can now close her left eye with some effort, something she was unable to do before. She still needs to use drops to keep it from drying out. She also has to massage the left side of her face and do blowing exercises as part of the healing process. She quipped that she will be looking more serious for a while because the partial paralysis is mostly visible when she smiles. Why it’s fun in the whip’s office Calgary Tory MP Michelle Rempel has spilled a Conservative secret. During House duty on the first day back, she popped into the office of chief government whip Gordon O’Connor, where she says there is always a stash of chocolates. She managed to score a few individually wrapped Turtles. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM - 0 Comments
Mitchel Raphael celebrates the season with the Opposition
The NDP held their annual holiday party in the Hall of Honour. Great lighting, booze bars, an oyster bar and food stations were spread over the Hall and and adjoining meeting rooms. It was one of the best parties held on the Hill.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
In the immediate aftermath of Motion 312′s defeat, the most scrutinized vote seems to belong to Rona Ambrose, the minister responsible for the status of women.
— Carolyn Bennett(@Carolyn_Bennett) September 26, 2012
— Rathika Sitsabaiesan (@RathikaS) September 26, 2012
#M312 defeated 203 to 91. A 2 to 1 vote…resounding victory 4 women. Did the Status of Women’s Minister vote for the motion?
— Dr. Hedy Fry (@HedyFry) September 26, 2012
Surprised the Conservative minister for Status of Women voted against a woman’s right to choose
— Scott Brison (@scottbrison) September 26, 2012
— nikiashton (@nikiashton) September 26, 2012
— Blaine Calkins, MP (@blainecalkinsmp) September 27, 2012
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM - 0 Comments
The square in front of Toronto’s city hall was packed for Dear Jack, a tribute to the late NDP leader
The square in front of Toronto’s city hall was packed for Dear Jack, a tribute to mark the one-year anniversary of NDP leader Jack Layton’s death.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM - 0 Comments
A joint statement from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino (the Conservative MP for Vaughan) on the shooting in Scarborough last night.
“Our Government was very saddened to hear about this shooting in Toronto last night. We condemn this brazen shooting and extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.
“Canadians are concerned about violent crime, that’s why over the past six years our Government has introduced tough-on-crime legislation, like the Safe Streets and Communities Act, to keep dangerous criminals and gang members off the streets and out of our communities. We have also taken steps to ensure our border is open to legitimate travel and trade but closed to criminals and gun smugglers.
“Our Conservative Government has introduced mandatory minimum penalties for all serious firearms offences. We call on the Opposition to support victims and our actions to improve the safety of Canadian families. Canadians can count on us to stand up for victims and to continue strengthening our justice system so that those who commit serious crimes, particularly with firearms, serve serious jail time.
“Illegal guns and the criminals who use them have no place in our society. Our Government is committed to ensuring criminals are held fully accountable for their actions and that the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians comes first in Canada’s justice system.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 2:02 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday, Pro-Choice protesters came to the Hill. They were angered at Conservative MP…
Yesterday, Pro-Choice protesters came to the Hill. They were angered at Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s private member’s motion to examine if a fetus is a human being. The motion is being introduced today.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
Egale, Canada’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) human rights organization, held a…
Egale, Canada’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) human rights organization, held a special all-party reception in the Hill hosted by Tory Senator Nancy Ruth.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM - 0 Comments
A shoeless MP, the Senatrix Martini, and a meeting with Celine Dion
Raitt ditches her heels
A snap vote to attempt to delay the Conservatives’ controversial omnibus crime bill saw MPs racing to make it into the House of Commons last week. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney got in seconds after the warning bells stopped. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt whisked in just before him, but she’d had to remove her high-heeled shoes as she bolted down the staircase to make it to the chamber on time.
The Senatrix martini
MPs from all parties packed a reception hosted by Canada’s gay rights group Egale. The event was hosted by Tory Sen. Nancy Ruth. Before she addressed the boisterous crowd, the senator tried to quiet it, shouting, “Shut up!” This prompted Liberal MP Justin Trudeau to quip, “Shut the f–k up usually works better”—referring to what she famously told aid groups who protested against the Prime Minister’s refusal to fund abortions as part of its international maternal health initiative. If they didn’t, the senator suggested, they would face “more backlash” from the Tories. Egale had a juggling barman serving martinis, one called the “Senatrix,” named for Nancy Ruth, and another called the “Naked Whip.” Colourful platters included edible flowers, one of which was tasted by Toronto NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan. One gay Hill staffer, who used to be in the Prime Minister’s Office with Stephen Harper, told Capital Diary of the time the PM congratulated him on his same-sex marriage. Stephen Harper went on to make his dream come true when, on a trip, the Prime Minister surprised the staffer by pulling him aside and allowing him to meet Céline Dion, who he was preparing to greet.
At the reception, Egale told Capital Diary it is working with coroners to track gay suicide deaths. In Saskatchewan, it is involved with the province to train police officers about LGBT issues, and in Newfoundland it is co-operating with the government to provide anti-homophobia resources in classrooms.
Why robocalls aren’t popular in the Arctic
NDP MP Dennis Bevington said in the 2008 election he used robocalls to send messages to voters in his Western Arctic riding. He hasn’t used them since. The problem, he says, was the response from constituents. They kept telling him: “Hey, I tried to say something to you but all you did was keep talking and talking. I couldn’t get a word in.”
The perfect campaign jacket
NDP leadership candidates have been fanning across the country as their March 23-24 convention, and the vote for Jack Layton’s replacement, nears. Few are in Ottawa, but last week Niki Ashton made a short return to the capital, turning heads in a bright orange coat she’s dubbed her “campaign jacket.” Ashton says the coat was strategic because she needed something for outdoor photo-ops in wet and cold weather. She says the coat has been perfect in all of Canada except when she is back in her home riding of Churchill in Manitoba. “Then I need my Canada Goose,” says Ashton.
Trying the robocall scandal dish
At the centre of the robocall scandal is the riding of Guelph, where there happens to be a food joint called Pierre’s Poutine. “Pierre Poutine,” of course, was the name used to set up a robocall account to target the riding. Frank Valeriote, the Liberal MP who represents the riding, says he’s never been there. Indeed, he only recently tried poutine for the first time, at the Royal Oak, an Ottawa pub. All the talk of “Pierre Poutine” got him thinking he needed to at least taste the stuff.
Down to floor space
As the hype continues to build for the Calgary Stampede’s 100th anniversary in July, so do the requests by friends to Calgary MP Lee Richardson to crash at his place. “I keep saying yes,” says the Tory MP. The problem is he’s getting set to demolish his house, and during the Stampede he’ll be renting a smaller one. Book now with Richardson for Stampede 2013.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, November 25, 2011 at 3:11 PM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s 5th annual Parliamentarians of the Year Awards ceremony at the Fairmont Château Laurier. …
Maclean’s 5th annual Parliamentarians of the Year Awards ceremony at the Fairmont Château Laurier. See winners here.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
Adrienne Clarkson profiles NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan.
Rathika says that many in the Tamil community are very politicized because they were forced to leave a country that for two generations suffered from civil war and unrest, but that others want to disengage when they come to Canada; they’ve already had too much politics. She wants to show them that politics is differ-ent in Canada: constructive and inclusive. Rathika identifies with other women who come from the Subcontinent – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as Sri Lanka – and she is keen about getting other women from the communities she knows – Filipinas, for example – to run for elected office, because that’s how we’ll be properly represented in our parliaments and legislatures. She is the voice of the newest of Canada, and that voice is strong, loud and clear.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 5:10 AM - 55 Comments
“Every time I stand up in the House of Commons and speak I look around and I can see it, this surprise that a young, attractive woman is saying something important and intelligent.” -NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan
“Mr. Speaker, my understanding about going into a country to assist it militarily with the hope that the country will establish itself is the reason that we are in that country right now, which is to assist it during the military phase.” -NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan being important and intelligent in the House of Commons, Sept. 26
(Cheap shot, I know. What really bothered me is that when asked if she is treated differently by male parliamentarians, Ms. Sitsabaiesan told the Star “Sometimes I get asked more about my lipstick rather than what’s coming out of my mouth.” Are we really, really supposed to believe that middle-aged male colleagues are asking her about cosmetics?)
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM - 0 Comments
Shortly before Jack Layton’s passing, Karim Bardeesy profiled Rathika Sitsabaiesan: one of those MPs who may help define the NDP’s future.
To some, Ms. Sitsabaiesan was a surprise winner in that election, in which she beat Conservative Marlene Gallyot by 5,000 votes, with the incumbent Liberals (represented by new candidate Rana Sarkar) relegated to third place. But her victory isn’t just a story of the federal Liberals’ receding political fortunes. It’s a story of a coming of age for an ambitious politician, her community and possibly her party.
For Ms. Sitsabaiesan might be the most compelling of the new crop of young NDP MPs. She’s the first Tamil-Canadian MP, and so has become the de facto standard-bearer for thousands of Canadians who have felt defeated – militarily, in their country of birth, and politically, in their new home. As a 29-year-old woman from political cultures – both Canadian and Sri Lankan – in which older men make most of the decisions, she exudes the poise, organizing skills and confidence of an old-school political veteran.