LAUREEN SEEKS FEDORA FOR BAIRD
As honorary chair for the 2009 FurBall, a fundraiser on Mar. 28 for the Ottawa Humane Society, Laureen Harper recently painted a ceramic dog bowl for the celebrity auction. The bowl was done at Gotta Paint, an Ottawa ceramic café to which Mrs. Harper promised to take her daughter, Rachel Harper, who has become more and more crafty. Other celebrity bowls were painted by Margaret Trudeau and figure skater Elizabeth Manley (which says “More Please” at the bottom). The theme for this year’s FurBall is inspired by the film Casablanca. The National Gallery’s great hall will be transformed into “Rick’s Café Américain.” So far, the PM’s wife has tables for over 20 of her girlfriends and Transport Minister John Baird, her standby escort. “He is going to be Rick [Blaine],” says Mrs. Harper, referring to Humphrey Bogart’s character in the film. She notes she is still looking for a fedora for Baird to wear.
PIPES RATTLE AT JUSTIN’S MOTION
History was made as the son of Pierre Trudeau introduced his first private member’s motion in the House. Justin Trudeau wants Parliament to study a “national voluntary policy for young people.” The MP told Capital Diary he’s hoping to “make sure that young people who want to serve their country get an opportunity to do so [through volunteerism].” Sitting alone in the opposition gallery above and watching Trudeau speak was Senator Joyce Fairbairn, whom Trudeau calls “Auntie.” Fairbairn has been on the Hill since 1963 and was Pierre Trudeau’s legislative assistant from 1970 until 1984. As Justin Trudeau made his opening speech in the sparsely filled Commons, five Grit MPs including Gerard Kennedy and Scott Simms surrounded him so it looked as if the House was full for the cameras. The deputy speaker in the chair, Andrew Scheer, gave Trudeau some extra time when the MP first introduced his motion, but that had more to do with the fact the deputy speaker was busy reading Quorum, the media clippings provided by the Library of Parliament. Trudeau’s fellow Liberal MP Maria Minna was also busy reading Quorum and a few Conservatives were engrossed in their laptops. The only fanfare was what sounded like a pipe clunking (or perhaps a ghost rattling) in the House.
HOW BOB RAE’S COOKIE CRUMBLES
The new Senate pages were recently sworn in with pomp and bagpipes. But the real excitement was apparently the cookies at the reception, according to new page Yumi Rahman. “The Senate gets these amazing cookies,” she noted. Fellow page Bronwyn Guiton told Rahman she found out the secret to the cookies: “half butter, half lard.” In other cookie news, students from Stanley Public School in Toronto arrived on the Hill to celebrate Black History Month with juice and cookies. They were part of the Children’s Breakfast Clubs, a program that helps deliver meals to children who often go without food in the morning. The kids were told to wait until the presentations were over before indulging in the treats, just as Bob Rae arrived and popped a biscuit in his mouth.
EX-FIGUURE SKATER WANTS HOCKEY DAY
Edmonton NDP MP Linda Duncan wants the third Friday of February to be National Hockey Day in Canada and has introduced a bill to make it so. There was much jockeying in the NDP caucus over who would second the motion. In the end Jack Layton won out. “He fought everyone back,” says Duncan, noting that she hopes the day will not celebrate hockey fighting and “make it less of a coliseum sport” and more about community. She chose this bill among many that had died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued. She was surprised no one else picked it up. Duncan has never really played hockey, but she did figure skate as a kid.