Capital diary: Lisa Raitt’s ‘Les Miserables’ Christmas

Mitchel Raphael on the minister’s favourtie musical and wine issues at the Liberal party

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

What Raitt expects under the tree

On Dec. 25 expect to find Labour Minister Lisa Raitt in the movie theatre watching Les Misérables. She is a huge fan, having seen the musical twice in London and twice in Toronto. The song I Dreamed a Dream, she confessed, makes her cry every time—but only in the context of the play. That means no tears were shed for Susan Boyle, the underdog who sang it famously on Britain’s Got Talent. Raitt has told her partner Bruce Wood that advance Les Misérables movie tickets “better be under the Christmas tree.”

Someone is posing

It was a rare moment of cross-partisanship on the Hill, with politicians from opposite sides coming together for a photo op. But there’s no shared version of events as to how that photo came about. Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau told Capital Diary that Tory MP Eve Adams was hosting a group of visitors, including one from her home city of Mississauga, Ont., and asked him if he would pose for a picture with them. They went to the House foyer for better lighting. Adams, however, says it was Trudeau who asked her group if they wanted a picture, though she did join in for the snap. Trudeau says opposition MPs asking him to pose with people, even constituents, “happens all the time.”

Senate reform, at last

The internal Senate TV channel—which only provides live audio, not visuals from the Red Chamber—used to just have a red screen that had the date with a note that the Senate was sitting. Now it actually says who is talking, with a caption on what they are talking about, and has rotating still images of Senate scenes. Liberal Senate staffer Christian Dicks says it’s made it much easier to follow. Before, if you didn’t catch the name of who was talking, you had to listen carefully and guess at who was speaking and the context.

Liberal party crasher

The Liberal Christmas party had some disgruntled staffers upset over the price of bottles of wine for a table. So upset, in fact, that some of them looked up the options online and snuck in the same bottles into the packed event. The least expensive wine was $51; they snuck in an LCBO version for $8.98. A surprise guest at the Liberal holiday bash was Bruce Hyer, who left the NDP in April 2012, and currently sits as an Independent. Liberal leadership candidate Joyce Murray said Hyer was her date for the night. Other Liberal leadership candidates included Martha Hall Findlay, whose table was furthest from the stage, but on the upside was close to one of the bars. At the beginning of the night Howard Liebman, aide to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, came to the event carrying around a large box filled with holiday cards his boss still had to sign.

Liberal horsing around

During the recent voting marathon, Liberal MP Mark Eyking got an emergency video sent to his BlackBerry. His wife Pam Eyking wanted to show him that their 10-year-old mare named Wonder had gotten past a fence on their farm and was now eating the grass on their front lawn. Milder weather meant the grass had grown longer. Eyking told his wife to just let the horse be. “Now I don’t have to go home and mow the lawn,” he quipped to Capital Diary.

MP has her sister’s back

This Christmas holiday, Ontario Conservative MP Kellie Leitch is off to Edmonton. Her sister is pregnant and she wants to be by her side. If the birth goes smoothly, she will be in the waiting room. If her sister needs a C-section, Leitch plans on being in the operating room, since she is also a surgeon. She says being in the room is okay as long as she is not the primary doctor doing the procedure.




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