Ignatieff on his eyebrows
A fire alarm during question period had MPs rushing out of the Commons. Conservative MP James Lunney helped a very pregnant former Conservative-now-Independent MP Helena Guergis (due date: Dec. 15) down the stairs and out of the building as they talked about contractions. Lunney is a chiropractor trained to deliver babies. Once outside, MPs kept dry from the rain under the wood shelters attached to the building (thank goodness for smokers, one MP joked). Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay took the opportunity to thank her leader, Michael Ignatieff, for not growing a moustache as part of the Movember prostate cancer awareness campaign. “I thought you were growing your eyebrows,” Scott Brison piped in. Ignatieff laughed and joked, “No. I shave those every day.”
Jann Arden’s ‘apology’
Celebrities and politicians packed the Hope Live gala, a charity that provides cancer patients with fertility preservation information and support services. Performer Jann Arden apologized to Jean Chrétien, joking that the former PM’s people had gotten to her too late with their request and that she would not be able to sing Dust in the Wind. Host Rick Mercer went after Justin Trudeau’s Movember moustache. “It’s too gay,” joked Mercer, pointing out that he and MP Scott Brison, who are both gay, did not grow mustaches because, well, “it’s too gay.” One of the special guests of the evening was Canada AM’s Seamus O’Regan, who told the crowd he was away on holidays when Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams announced he was going to resign. O’Regan, a Newfoundland icon, said he has a policy of turning off his BlackBerry while vacationing. When he reactivated it, he had an avalanche of messages. Wading through them, he discovered he had been declared the leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland & Labrador, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, and finally premier. Hope Live raised over $130,000.
Foote in mouth
During question period, Liberal MP Judy Foote attacked Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on his record as Ontario finance minister. Flaherty rebutted that the truth behind the disaster in Ontario was that the “Liberal federal government decided that it would balance its budget on the backs of the provinces.” Still reading from her script, Foote heedlessly started her supplementary question with “the truth hurts,” causing all the Conservatives to rise and applaud. Office of the Leader of the Opposition officials said they need to work on MPs being able to think on their feet and not just read scripted questions to avoid such painfully embarrassing moments.
I ‘moustache’ the minister . . .
In honour of the last day of the Movember prostate cancer awareness campaign, NDP MP Peter Stoffer asked Transport Minister Chuck Strahl a question with a twist: “I ‘moustache’ the minister of transport the following question on the Northumberland ferry.” Strahl replied with: “Mr. Speaker, I think I ‘Movember’ the answer but I better ‘goatee’ my written response.” Many were impressed with the minister’s quick-witted reply. It turned out he had been given advance notice. One Tory staffer said that Stoffer had called Strahl’s office to let him know about the question so that he could be ready. The staffer noted it is not uncommon for some NDP MPs to submit their questions in advance because “they actually care about the answers.”
Who didn’t wear an AIDS ribbon
World AIDS Day saw MPs from all parties sporting red ribbons during question period. All the party leaders wore them with the exception of Stephen Harper. Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and House leader John Baird, who sit on either side of the PM, both wore ribbons.