Mitchel Raphael on the great sausage caper and a present for parliamentary geeks

This weeks gossip

After all that, he’s not sharing
Kenzie Potter, director of parliamentary affairs in government House leader Jay Hill’s office, desperately needed to get her hands on some Stawnichy sausages. They’re made in Mundare, Alta., 75 km east of Edmonton. She wanted to surprise her father, Dale Potter, a former Edmonton Eskimo who, in his 12-year career, helped the team win six Grey Cups. Her father, now living in Ottawa, hadn’t had a Stawnichy sausage in years and was craving them. She thought it would be the ideal birthday present and asked Labour Minister Rona Ambrose, who’s from Edmonton, for help. Ambrose wasn’t going to be in Edmonton but agreed to do what she could. She tried to have the sausages sent by mail but the shop said it couldn’t do that. Could they freeze the sausages, Ambrose asked, and she would have someone pick them up and fly them to Ottawa. For that, she was told, she would need special permission from the manager: Stawnichy rarely freezes its sausages for fear it will affect the taste. She got the special permission, but then she needed to find someone to bring the sausages back. She started asking her fellow Edmonton MP colleagues. Mike Lake wasn’t sure he had room in his freezer to store them but MP Brent Rathgeber came to the rescue. Ambrose’s assistant’s husband picked up the sausages, gave them to his wife, who went and hung the bag on Rathgeber’s mailbox. The MP took them to the Edmonton airport, where they caught the attention of the security people when they went through the scanners. “We’ll have to look at your sausage,” he was told. (Apparently sausages have been used for transporting contraband.) After arriving safely in Ottawa, the sausages were presented to Kenzie Potter at the Conservatives’ question period prep. She took them over to the Senate, where her mother, Jan Potter, is the mace bearer. When Dale Potter got his present, he yelled with joy: “Where did you get this?” That was rapidly followed by: “I am not sharing these with anyone.”

Olympic crash pads
The parliamentary tourism caucus held a special reception as part of a themed afternoon of “Promoting Regional Tourism: Canada’s 2010 Winter Olympics & Paralympic Games.” At the gathering, Taleeb Noormohamed, VANOC’s vice-president of partnerships, said the city is short on hotel rooms, although he feels some places are holding rooms to rent at the last minute. But a few B.C. MPs told Capital Diary they still have space. Conservative Alice Wong has two rooms free; so does NDPer Libby Davies. Liberal Joyce Murray has set aside one room for Jeanne Dion, daughter of Stéphane Dion, but still has a room free and an apartment in the house she just renovated. Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh can’t help, though: his house is being renovated during the Olympics.

Hot Hill Xmas gift
For parliamentary procedure geeks, “it’s the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition,” quipped Liberal whip Rodger Cuzner at the launch of the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice. New highlights include a section on warrants. “The last time [a Speaker] issued a warrant, they rode horses,” says Audrey O’Brien, the House clerk who co-edited the 1,400-plus-page book. She also says there is a revised section on Speakers dealing with tie votes, which Peter Milliken has done several times. Each MP received two copies of the book, which sells for $198.95 at the parliamentary gift shop, just in time for Christmas.

The next GG?
Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, kicked off the organization’s launch of “2010: Year of the Inuit” on the Hill. One powerful Conservative insider told Capital Diary that Simon, a former ambassador and champion of the Arctic, would be an ideal choice as governor general since Michaëlle Jean is technically in her final year of office.

Mitchel Raphael on the great sausage caper and a present for parliamentary geeks

  1. I feel Dale Potter's pain. I have missed Ukrainian and Mennonite sausages since I moved out to the maritimes. There is a Lunenburg sausage, which is okay in its own way but not as tasty as the sausages back home. The local sauerkraut though is excellent.

    • Why not learn to make them?

      I understand — I'm a maritime on the prairie, and every year when I go home, I eat a Mrs Dunsters Donut for breakfast. I've tried all the old recipes in the family, and never make them as good as Dunsters, and I can't get them here. Mmmm.

  2. Is this a case of coal to Newcastle? Bismarck is attributed with "laws are like sausages: you wouldn't want to watch them being made".

    Maybe denizens of the Hill should be restricted to a 100 mile diet of their own product.

  3. They are not sausages — it's called kovbasa or kubasa (Manitoba version). Ukrainian kovbasa.

  4. And for Manitobans, nothing beats Tenderloin Meats kovbasa!

  5. I guess Edmonton is behind Winnipeg when it comes to kubasa transportation. Tenderloin Meats in Winnipeg vacuum packs their kubasa, and it's great — no smell permeating the airplane (makes the other passengers jealous, and hungry). They even have a map on the wall, labeled "Where in the World Is Our Kubasa" with gold stars covering all the continents except Antarctica, for now. I've taken their vacuum-packed kubasa to many cities in North America and Europe, including Ukraine.

    • No…Edmonton or shall I say Mundare (where the sausage is processed) is not behind Winnipeg when it comes to the packaging and transporting sausage. The company has been vacuum packing their products for many many years. Customers have a choice to purchase paper wrapped or vacuum packed sausage. These customers obviously chose to buy the paper wrapped instead of the vacuum packed which is better for travelling.

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