Slimming down and eating pie on the campaign trail

Mitchel Raphael on slimming down and eating pie on the campaign trail

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

Mom, can an MP crash here?

To keep expenses down, NDP leadership candidate and Ottawa MP Paul Dewar has been billeting at people’s homes as he tours the country. In the town of New Hamburg, Ont., Dewar was told he was being put up by Noam Gold-Utting. When the MP was introduced to Gold-Utting, he realized the NDP supporter was only 16. Gold-Utting first got involved with the NDP when he was 13 and now sits on the executive of his federal riding association. After the event, the teenager took Dewar back to his house but had failed to inform his parents he was hosting the MP. Luckily, they were pleased to help out their son’s guest. When asked if the parents were NDP supporters, Dewar quipped, “If they weren’t before, they are now.”

When visiting small towns, Dewar follows some sound advice he was given: try to meet the mayors and city councillors and find out their concerns. As he travels, people have been trying to get Dewar to eat more. He has slimmed down by a full suit size during the campaign. He says one of his big treat highlights so far has been the apple pie and cookies at the Anson Diner in Iroquois Falls, Ont. Aside from putting food in front of him, people have also been passing along articles of interest; one person gave him a button from a campaign in the late ’80s that said: “Canada’s our country. Let’s take it back.”

The perils of ‘heavy’ reading

NDP leadership candidate and Toronto MP Peggy Nash has been doing her best to travel light as she tours Canada for the campaign. The key to travelling, she says, is to keep everything you require in carry-ons so nothing needs to be checked in. While she was out west, however, Nash kept receiving books from people she met. One was a novel and the six others were on major issues such as the environment. The “heavy” reading made travelling light a challenge.

Nash recently got a star-power endorsement from Sarah Polley. The actress spoke to Nash intensely before throwing her support behind the MP. Says Nash, “[Polley] is someone who wanted to think carefully about what she did in terms of endorsements.” Some of the best advice Nash got for the leadership run was to make sure you bring your stack of membership cards and donation forms to every event just in case the organizers forget or run out.

Layton cats return home

Last week Sarah Layton, daughter of the late Jack Layton, gave birth to her second daughter, Solace Huxley Layton Campbell. To make things easier, Sarah Layton has sent her two cats back to their original home—her father’s house. Layton’s widow, Toronto MP Olivia Chow, had adopted them but Chow’s mother, who lives in the house, did not get along with the kittens who are named Lager and Cocoa. (“They are named after vices,” jokes Chow.) But Jack Layton’s niece Sian Layton is staying at the house and loves cats so they have a primary caregiver.

Should have said merde!

In additional to the national uproar, there has been some interesting local fallout for Justin Trudeau since he called Environment Minister Peter Kent a “piece of s–t,” but some of the reactions have been surprising. (Trudeau made the remarks during an exchange when NDP MP Megan Leslie questioned the environment minister about withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol while at Durban, South Africa; Kent responded by saying Leslie should have been in Durban for the climate change conference even though opposition MPs were banned from being part of Canada’s delegation.) An aide to Trudeau said that over the holidays 85 per cent of people in the MP’s Papineau riding expressed their support for his outburst, and some complained Trudeau should not have had to apologize. One thing about it did upset several of Trudeau’s constituents: the fact he didn’t say it in French.

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