Need to know: Canada’s elite pay respects to Paul Desmarais

Meanwhile, Tom Mulcair stuck around in the House of Commons


Paul Chiasson/CP

Stephen Harper rarely shows up for Question Period on Mondays. But often, he’ll find time for the House of Commons on Tuesdays. Yesterday, as the clock ticked closer to 2:15 p.m., those in observance noted that the PM’s seat was empty. So was that of Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader. Among the major leaders, only the NDP’s Tom Mulcair graced the Commons with his presence. Hmm.

In short order, it came to light that Harper and Trudeau were, in fact, at a memorial service at the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, where those assembled paid their respects to the late businessman, Paul Desmarais, Sr. The crowd was a smorgasbord of business and political elite: four prime ministers, five Quebec premiers, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, former governor general Michaëlle Jean, and Conrad Black, to name a few. Powerful federalists and powerful sovereigntists alike filled the pews.

But not Mulcair. The NDP leader stuck to his questions in the Commons, choosing prosecutorial opposition over a tribute to a legendary businessman in his home province. The choice was important, even if it went mostly unnoticed. Rubbing shoulders with the power set, even in the context of a memorial, isn’t comfortable territory for a social democrat. And the NDP leader’s performance in the House has received plenty of praise. His party’s falling behind in polls, but he clearly sees merit to his daily fight in the Commons.

If there’s a long game here, it’s a very long game. Harper’s address to mourners in Montreal received wide coverage, and Trudeau’s presence in Montreal was summarily noted. Nobody outside of Ottawa, save for those precious few who stream parliamentary proceedings online, noticed Mulcair’s performance in the House. He must hope that will, eventually, gradually, change.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail Stephen Harper ordered a more comprehensive Arctic seabed claim.
National Post
Windsor, Ont., posted its sixth-straight budget without a tax hike.
Toronto Star Ontario plans to introduce legislation to protect vulnerable workers.
Ottawa Citizen A federal Conservative aide lobbied Ottawa city councillors.
CBC News An apparent military suicide in Quebec is the fourth in a week.
CTV News Master Cpl. Sylvain Lelievre, the soldier, was 46 years old.
National Newswatch Ben Perrin’s PMO emails raise three questions.


What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Mike Duffy. The health-challenged senator for Prince Edward Island was in recovery yesterday after undergoing heart surgery at the University of Ottawa’s Heart Institute. Duffy had earlier explained that his heart condition may be worsening, and defended himself publicly against doctor’s orders.
THE GLOBAL CNOOC. The Chinese state-owned petroleum giant that took over Canadian energy producer Nexen complained that its return on investment wasn’t, so far, all that spectacular. The sagging returns are thanks to a number of promises made to the feds, including a promise not to initiate layoffs.


Need to know: Canada’s elite pay respects to Paul Desmarais

  1. Interesting to wake up and discover we’ve taken over the North Pole.

    Any word from Santa Claus on this?

    • Canada Post is slow on delivering the talking points.

      • LOL

        Harp’s likely to get a truck full of coal for this one!

        • No way Emily, his caucus will love him.

          They’re all Trojan Horse Liberals who paid an extra two bucks to play both sides of the fence

          • I wasn’t talking about his caucus.

            PS….Congrats Jamboy…..I know Cons see ‘Liberals’ everywhere, and even check under their beds everynight….but seeing them at the caucus table is a first!

          • With my luck Emily, I’d look under there and find Kathleen McWhinntie and Deb Mathews.

          • Mmm moving up in the world eh?

          • Is that what you think? Anyway Emily I’m used to seeing Liberals everywhere.

            Hell, when I was a kid I used to sit right behind Mitch Hepburn in church

          • Wynne…maybe.
            Deb Matthews…no way. I was there when she was talking about how to prevent obesity in our children, and the woman is huge.
            Unless you sleep in a stable…….your bed isn’t big enough to hide her.

      • why should their talking points be any different than my mail?

    • Is this the same elite crowd that harper likes to lash out against, the same people he likes to schmooze with ?

      • Yup very same.

        The image is po’ boy banging on the drawbridge gates…..the reality is he’s on the inside of the castle.

    • Santa is Canadian……
      It’s a fact. I saw him at the parade!

      • And the North Pole is international.

        • then I think we should claim “magnetic” North.
          Anyone with a compass needs to pay royalties.

          • It’s currently in Russia. Good luck with that.

          • Only if you consider Russia’s claims to be legit.
            (besides, it always swings back out way at some point)

          • It moves….it belongs to no one, and everyone

  2. Mrs. Harper looks to be so happy to be with Mr. Harper?

    • It’s a Memorial service.

      • She always looks that way.

  3. Until Harper,
    Every PM since Trudeau has been on the payroll of a Desmarais in one form or another. Bob’s Rae’s brother still is.
    power corrupts….but Power Corp corrupts completely.

    • Um…Harper & wife are at the memorial service. They don’t do that for your average Joe

      • The Desmarais clan are not your average Joe’s. they’ve owned, ..er, employed every PM in Canada since Trudeau. ….at least until Harper showed up.
        The Desmarais are a powerful clan, and powerful influence in Canadian politics. I would have been surprised if the Harper’s DIDN’T show up for the service.
        doesn’t change my opinion of Power Corp though……the LIberal Party is simply a subidiary of Power Corp….as Andrew coyne has pointed out on several occassions.

        • And a perfectly nice normal family….rightwing paranoia notwithstanding.

    • Correction:
      I should have written, “Every PM OF SUBSTANCE since Pierre Trudeau……”
      Joe Who…and wassername didn’t really count.

  4. Death, the great leveler. RIP Mr. Desmarais. I’m sure you’re cheering on Mr. Mulcair from the other side.

  5. Where was Malroney?

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