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Mitchel Raphael on Lisa Raitt’s hostessing badge, the girl guides and the anthem

Capital Diary


 

It’s hard to run away from girl guide cookies

Mitchel Raphael on lisa Raitt’s hostessing badge, the girl guides and the anthem

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

On the day former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer was given “a break,” in the words of Justice Douglas Maund, the media were in a Hill frenzy. All the MPs were being approached for a reaction to the case. Usually on such days, MPs just scurry into the House to avoid answering questions. But that day the Girl Guides of Canada were on the Hill celebrating their 100th anniversary. So as reporters shouted out questions about “cocaine possession,” “drunk driving charges,” and “double standards in the justice system,” the young Girl Guides stood by the entrances to the House offering MPs cookies and pins. “Let’s trade,” said Defence Minister Peter MacKay to one very delighted Girl Guide who got the pin he was wearing on his lapel. Transport Minister John Baird took a cookie, even though he is on a no-carb diet. (The cookie was later passed to his aide James Kusie, who ate it.)

Mitchel Raphael on lisa Raitt’s hostessing badge, the girl guides and the anthem

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

NDP Leader Jack Layton also took a cookie, noting, “You can never eat just one,” and telling the Girl Guides to please “not tell Olivia [Chow, his MP wife].” Layton is on a strict diet as part of a comprehensive plan to tackle his recently discovered prostate cancer. Later that day, the Girl Guides held a reception in 200 West Block.  Labour Minister Lisa Raitt brought along her old Girl Guide sash, which included badges for baking and hostessing. Other former Girl Guides in attendance included Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. When the Girl Guides were asked to sing O Canada, Justin Trudeau shouted out, “Which version?” When they got to “in all thy sons command,” Trudeau turned to the Guides hovering around him and added, “and girls, too.”

Who’s funnier: Holmes or Harper?

Mitchel Raphael on lisa Raitt’s hostessing badge, the girl guides and the anthem

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

The Writers’ Trust of Canada handed out its annual $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize honouring political writing excellence to John English for Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968-2000 at the annual Politics and the Pen gala dinner in the Fairmont Château Laurier ballroom. This A-list event had Laureen Harper chatting with Margaret Atwood and Jack Layton schmoozing with Preston Manning. The former Reform party leader was one of the first people to call Layton when the NDP leader announced he has prostate cancer, a disease Manning successfully battled. The PM sent a video greeting for the first time to the event, and noted that both he and the late Liberal MP Elizabeth Shaughnessy Cohen, for whom the award was named, were both elected in 1993. He then joked: “If she was here, she’d be really ticked off I’m Prime Minister.” Comedian Jessica Holmes entertained at the event. In the character of a Russian immigrant, she asked audience members questions, including this one to Michael Ignatieff: “If hot air rises then why doesn’t John Baird float?”

Why Miss Newfoundland wasn’t talking

Mitchel Raphael on lisa Raitt’s hostessing badge, the girl guides and the anthem

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

A seal lunch was organized by Liberal Sen. Céline Hervieux-Payette to launch the addition of seal meat to the menu of the Parliamentary Restaurant. A private dining room off to the side of the main restaurant was packed with reporters, politicians such as Michael Ignatieff, and the very outspoken seal hunt supporter Sara Green, who as Miss Newfoundland had to literally just look pretty because she lost her voice that morning and couldn’t speak. The room quickly became very hot, and then stinky: munching on seal pepperoni appetizers apparently has an adverse effect on people’s breath. Not present at the event was the PETA activist who used to dress as a seal and follow Stephen Harper around. The activist’s name is Emily and, according to one PMO staffer, her job was to keep up the protests until the Olympics. When someone that day asked where Emily was, the PMO staffer quipped, “She’s on the menu.”


 
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