The female MP Michael Moore is championing


Mitchel Raphael on the female MP Michael Moore  is championing

Photograph By Mitchel Raphael

The youngest woman in the House

When Vale, the world’s second-largest mining company, decided to close a nickel smelter and refiner in Thompson, Man.—which the Brazilian giant took over as part of its 2006 purchase of Inco—months after receiving a $1-billion loan from Export Development Canada, local NDP MP Niki Ashton mobilized her constituents. “This is an example of a foreign takeover gone wrong,” says Ashton. Aiming to bring attention to the cause, she helped produce a video and then suggested to her supporters they show it to maverick filmmaker Michael Moore. Four days after they sent it, Moore’s people got back to her. They asked Ashton for more information and then the video and the story went up on michaelmoore.com, prefaced with a message from Moore himself titled “Why I support the people of Thompson, Canada—and you should too.” Moore added: “Don’t be embarrassed if you need a map to find Thompson, though—blame the U.S. media, which will only tell you about Canadians if they have some connection to Justin Bieber.” As of early this week, the video had over 21,000 hits on YouTube—a number way higher than the entire population of Thompson. Moore was so impressed by Ashton that his people asked her to be a regular contributor to his website. Notes the MP, “One of the things that really excited them was that I am currently the youngest woman in the House of Commons.” Ashton, who is 28, is in fact the second-youngest woman ever to be elected as an MP. She says Moore’s people told her they are very interested in tackling youth apathy when it comes to politics.

Mitchel Raphael on the female MP Michael Moore  is championing

Photograph By Mitchel Raphael

Ottawa’s made him a double sovereignist

After Bloc MP Christian Ouellet decided not to run in the next election, the separatist party was able to convince Christelle Bogosta to be its new candidate in Brome-Missisquoi. This was a big blow to the NDP, since she had been their candidate in the 2008 election. “She’s a sovereignist anyways,” says Ouellet. “She voted for ‘yes’ [in the ’95 referendum]. She was always on our side.” One Tory working on the Conservatives’ campaign in the riding called Bogosta an “opportunist,” but admitted the defection will play well for his party. Ouellet decided to call it quits because, at 76, “I’m the oldest in the House right now.” The Bloc MP was the critic who dealt with housing and homelessness; he travelled all across Canada. “I think I was a sovereignist before and I think now I am a double sovereignist after being here in Ottawa and being through Canada.” Until he was 67, Ouellet worked as an architect and taught at the Université de Montréal. He has been heavily involved in the field of green architecture since the 1970s, promoting healthy, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. Last year he was named an honorary fellow at the Royal Canadian Institute of Architecture. His father was an architect and trained him when he was only 14, he says. His favourite building in Ottawa? The renovated library on Parliament Hill. The Centre Block, he notes on the other hand, “needs some good renovations. The roof was leaking yesterday on the sixth floor.”

Mitchel Raphael on the female MP Michael Moore  is championing

Photograph By Mitchel Raphael

Justin and the zebra steak

Abdulrahman Kinana, the former speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly and former defence minister of Tanzania, was in Ottawa recently for a talk at Carleton University on the historic ties between Tanzania and Canada. While in town, Kinana popped over to the Hill and presented a vintage 1982 picture of Pierre Trudeau to Liberal MP Justin Trudeau. The photo was of Justin, his father and two brothers, and Tanzania’s legendary president Julius Nyerere. Kinana said Pierre Trudeau and Nyerere “were both intellectuals and very good friends. The two leaders worked together in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.” Justin Trudeau says he remembers the trip—in particular, eating zebra steak, and the cheetah outside the hotel.


The female MP Michael Moore is championing

  1. I don't suppose we can get the billion dollars back, can we? Or, even better, stop throwing around corporate welfare like that?

    Even more of a separatist after spending time in English Canada, huh? Jerk.

    Mmmm, zebra.

  2. Bloc MP Christian Ouellet the "double sovereignist " will hold his nose as he collects his Federal pension/severance. Makes you want to puke when you read comments like this.

    • Forgot to add, Ouellet is the bonehead who claimed Vermont would sucede from the USA to join Quebec once Quebec was a sovereign nation. How are these people in our parliament???

      • Voted in by people just like you and me. The question is why.

  3. It is against the law for non-Canadians to endorse or campaign on behalf of Canadian politicians, during the election period:

    Section 331 of the Canada Elections Act. The Section reads: "No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate unless the person is (a) a Canadian citizen; or (b) a permanent resident."

    (I realize Moore didn't endorse Ashton during a campaign period.)

    • And as long as the non-resident of Canada might perform such prohibited acts while outside the boundaries of this country, such prohibition has all the enforcability powers of that Darth Vader kid in the Super Bowl V-W commercial. Pathetically useless, in a naive, cute sort of way.

    • I don't think Ashton went to Moore in an attempt to help her chances at re-election. That's a solid NDP riding and she's popular there.

      I think she went to Moore to try to raise awareness of the issue. It was being ignored by the press, it was being ignored by the government, and the official opposition didn't seem interested either. As a public figure know to take on causes like this, Moore was a good choice.

      • She is a frigging joke for bringing that clueless ass Moore into this debate, he is nothing but a bag of hot air.

        If Vale is so bad according to her and Moore why are they trying to force their hand to stay in Manitoba?

        Miss Ashton also won't support the bill to have chiefs and councils accountable to taxpayers of this country.

        This riding is not as safe as she thinks it is, people will not forget her lack of respect for the taxpayers in the riding.

        • Yeah, 'cause you Conservatives always wrong such a strong third up there.

          • And you Liberals can"t stand being in opposition.

            Why don't you try voting for what is good for the Country instead of me myself and I.

            P/S, i use to vote Liberal but after the old boys club parachuted the Intelectual one in, well that woke me up to the Lack of respect the old boys club has towords the voters.

          • I'm not a Liberal, sorry. Neither is Ashton. I guess if you used to vote Liberal, you'd know that though.

          • Do you actually think I didn't know that you and Ashton were NDP, you can't be that clueless. My point is I don't care what party anyone belongs to,people should be voting for leaders that will stand for Canada and not Political Correctness.

          • No. You called me a Liberal when you referred to me as "you Liberals." By extension you implied that Ashton was a Liberal.

            And I do vote for what's good for the country. Corporate greed and racing to the bottom isn't good for anybody except for a few CEOs who want bigger yachts.

  4. Vale decided to close a nickel smelter and refiner … months after receiving a $1-billion loan from Export Development Canada…

    Will we FINALLY see the stupidity of showering our public wealth onto these pathetic businesses?

    I doubt it. This is the NDP MP. So the billion dollar loan is peachy, we just need to handcuff businesses into making dumb business decisions — after all, our money is at stake, we have earned the right to insist that the business make dumb business decisions. Or something.

    And so we all fail capitalism, yet again.

    • Er…capitalism failed us yet again, not the other way around.

      • Please explain how a government loaning a billion to a private company (or in this case, since it's the EDC, likely the private company's customer) equals capitalism failing us. This should get interesting.

        • Well, first they went to the government for money, revealing that their wet dreams about that old invisible hand aren't true.

          Then they found that they couldn't make enough money even with the government kicking in.

          Then they abandoned their investors…the taxpayers who they were supposed to employ as a condition of that money.

          If capitalism worked the way the capitalists claim, they wouldn't have gone to the government, they'd be employing people in decent working conditions with decent wages.

          • first they went to the government for money,
            STOP RIGHT THERE! That is the beginning of where we failed capitalism.

            with the government kicking in.
            The failure is ongoing.

            Then they abandoned their investors…the taxpayers who they were supposed to employ as a condition of that money.
            If you think there is even a whiff of "capitalism" anywhere in that sentence, please sign up for a course. Make sure you check off "introductory."

          • Sorry, no.

            Capitalism…business…has a lot of influence in government. That's why they get their graft and kickbacks in the form of tax cuts and billion dollar grants and loans they have no intention of repaying.

            The promise they make time and again is that they will create jobs and that's why we should give them money instead of nailing them to a tree and throwing rocks at them.

            They tell us these lies…help soul-less miscreants like Harper and Flaherty (or Chretien and Martin if you prefer)…into government to promote this message.

            That's what capitalism is. It will do anything to make a buck, including screwing workers and customers. You make all the excuses for it that want, but the truth is that capitalism has repeatedly failed to fulfill its promises.

          • That's what capitalism is.

            I take it back. Maybe we can find you a PRE-introductory course.

          • I don't need a course. Anybody who thinks that capitalism hasn't failed in its promise to create wealth for average people needs to give their head a shake though.

    • Poor, poor capitalism. Who knows why it even bothers with the likes of us anymore?

    • Actually, when you consider that Vale just built a newer, cleaner, more efficient smelter in Newfoundland, the whole thing kinda makes sense. The federal and provincial governments said that Inco could not mine ore in NL unless it smelted it there, and so the refinery was forced upon successor company Vale. Once the NL smelter is online, ore will no longer be exported from Labrador to Thompson or Sudbury. Eventually, ore from Sudbury and Thompson will head to Newfoundland instead, if the smelter (using new hydromet technology) proves to be as efficient as planned.

      • Oh yay. MORE government meddling in the economy.

  5. The female MP Michael Moore is championing

    My first reaction to that headline was "Oh no, what did the poor woman do to deserve that?"

  6. Apropos of little, the youngest woman ever to be elected to the House is Carole Jacques, elected at the tender age of twenty-four as a Conservative from a Montreal riding in 1984. She was re-elected in 1988, but lost her seat to the Bloc's Francine Lalonde in 1993.

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