Mitchel Raphael on Paul Martin’s huge gift and why Martha is smarter than Justin

This weeks gossip

Martha Hall FindlayBattle of the IQs
In late January, politicians from different levels of government will appear on CBC’s Test the Nation, including Liberal MPs Justin Trudeau and Martha Hall Findlay. The two had to fill out forms for the show; Hall Findlay had hers returned because she had neglected to provide her IQ. She asked the organizers if Trudeau provided his, and they said yes. So in the IQ box she noted “five per cent higher than Justin Trudeau.”

Olivia ChowOlivia lightens Jack’s load
NDP MP Olivia Chow bought her husband, NDP Leader Jack Layton, a Kindle for Christmas. Chow was inspired when she saw the device being used by Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. Layton was lugging piles of books around with him so Chow thought this would be a great way to lighten his load. Chow, meanwhile, has no plans to get one herself. She prefers to read books the old-fashioned way. Also on the technology front, Toronto Liberal MP Rob Oliphant got his very first iPod from his husband, Marco Fiola. The MP, who as a United Church minister spent 24 Christmases at the pulpit, is happy he now gets to go home for the holidays to his parents’ place in Sault Ste. Marie.

Elizabeth MayMay feels bad about the epiphany party
This Christmas was the first time Green Leader Elizabeth May wasn’t home. She decided after attending the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen that she would stay in Europe for a holiday with her daughter. The trip started off with a buzz: May says the plane she took from London to Copenhagen also had Jane Goodall aboard. May saw many friends in Copenhagen, “but it was like a family reunion on the Titanic.” The conference was a nightmare in terms of waiting. In one line she found herself next to former MP Bill Blaikie, now Manitoba’s minister of conservation, whose duties include dealing with climate change and recycling. She said the Danish army took pity on them and handed them coffee and tea through the fence because it was so cold. May spoke at a University of Toronto event in Copenhagen to launch sustainability books. She was joined by the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Atleo and Bianca Jagger, who is a force behind the climate-change movement. May got accreditation to the conference through the European Green Party but so many people were accredited that few could even get into the main building. Back home, another disappointment for May: she wouldn’t be able to host her famous annual Epiphany party on Jan. 6. She told Capital Diary she hoped anybody who used to show up for the event at her Ottawa home and wouldn’t know she no longer lives there would have seen the “for sale” sign (yup, the house is still for sale) and realize the party wasn’t on. May was unable to organize the party in her new B.C. home because she was told she would have to be in court that day. She and the Green party are being sued by John Shavluk, who was dropped as a Green candidate after comments that could be construed as anti-Semitic came to light.

Glen Pearson

Xmas citizenship
Liberal MP Glen Pearson is in Sudan this month for groundbreaking ceremonies for two high schools for which he helped raise funds. Part of the money came from former PM Paul Martin, who gave Pearson a personal cheque for $100,000. The schools will take three months to build. Pearson will bring Martin and his wife, Sheila Martin, to an official opening in January 2011 when the temperatures are more temperate. Pearson has three children who were adopted from the Sudan and for Christmas the final two received their Canadian citizenship cards.

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