MP dilemma: Rick Mercer or Glee?
Heritage minister and Canadian cinema fan James Moore held his fourth movie night for MPs, this time showcasing Incendies by Quebec director Denis Villeneuve. Moore’s fellow MPs are very thankful that he has exposed them to some incredible Canadian films they might otherwise not have seen. Plus, they get to meet stars and directors: Villeneuve himself was on hand for this screening, as was actress Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin. Some MPs get their CanCon via Air Canada, such as NDP Megan Leslie, who appreciates being able to watch homegrown movies while flying. Airline travel has had another kind of impact on the viewing habits of Steven Fletcher, minister of state for democratic reform. He confessed to Capital Diary that while flying over the summer, he watched a lot of Glee. Back on the ground, however, there’s a problem: Glee is on TV at the same time as Rick Mercer’s show. Patriotically, Fletcher says that he opts for Mercer—so long as they are new episodes.
The Canadian Encyclopedia celebrated its 25th year at Ottawa’s Government Conference Centre. Moving online in 1999 has had some unforeseen benefits, notes editor-in-chief James Marsh. He says that while the encyclopedia tries to take the long view, certain political events, like prorogation, require immediate action. “When I went and read our own article on prorogation I thought, ‘I still don’t understand this.’ ” Online, the solution was easy: “We expanded that entry.” Marsh tries to plan ahead, and is currently ensuring the site has lots of info for the upcoming 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. All prime ministers are mentioned in the encyclopedia, as are finance ministers and politicians of lasting influence. The most looked-up article in the encyclopedia? The one on Pierre Trudeau, says Marsh. Montreal rookie MP Justin Trudeau is “in there, but it’s more for being famous than it is for anything else [at this point].” In attendance at the celebration was former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Flora MacDonald. “I think it’s so important that Canadians celebrate their history and this is one of the ways we do it.” While she was minister of communications in the ’80s, MacDonald provided funding for the encyclopedia.
Firefighters arrive at GG’s first public event
The first official public event for newly installed Governor General David Johnston was the launch of a joint initiative by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy (NRTEE) to look at the effects of global warming in Canada. Johnston, as it happens, was the founding chair of the NRTEE. The event was held at the Canadian Museum of Nature, where, just as the GG was being introduced, the fire alarm went off and a recorded voice instructed everyone to evacuate the building. At first the GG was taken to a gallery on the third floor, so he was one of the last ones out of the building. British Ambassador Anthony Cary, however, was one of the first out. Once firefighters arrived and confirmed that it had been a false alarm, the event was back on. Johnston took the podium and quipped, “I have been a university president for 26 years and this is the first time I emptied the room even before I spoke. There were many times they emptied while I was speaking.”
Baird happy for Tewksbury
Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury was on the Hill for a reception for Special Olympics Canada. He is currently completing a $200,000 overhaul on his heritage home in Montreal, thanks in part to the government’s home renovation tax credit, he said. Government House leader John Baird piped up, “See, Canada’s economic action plan is working.”