Mitchel Raphael on the end of the blond troika and the new minister of everything

Some new face in the house when Harper is speaking, It's that French teacher's fault, and She's that fabulous

By Mitchel Raphael


No longer in the Conservative caucus, Helena Guergis now sits as an independent in the back row of the House. Guergis was part of the blond troika behind Stephen Harper, picked up by the TV cameras whenever he rose in the Commons. The other two were Lisa Raitt and Diane Ablonczy. Now the three blonds in the shot have been replaced with dark-haired MPs: Minister for International Co-operation Bev Oda, Minister of State Denis Lebel, and Rona Ambrose, who took over Guergis’s status of women portfolio. Ambrose now has one of the longest titles in the government: minister of public works and government services Canada and the receiver general of Canada, minister for status of women, vice-president of the Treasury Board, and regional minister for northern Alberta. Or as one MP joked: “Minister of everything.” Ambrose got back recently from a trip to Afghanistan with Defence Minister Peter MacKay. In Kandahar, the two stopped by the Tim Hortons, where the cups are designed to look like camouflage and the prizes for Roll Up the Rim to Win included special edition Kandahar hats. Neither Ambrose nor MacKay won anything.

By Mitchel Raphael


NDP MP Glenn Thibeault was recently in the House foyer going over notes for a French TV interview. The Ontario MPfor Sudbury has been trying to work on his French in an effort to become bilingual. Thibeault comes from a francophone family. When he was younger, his parents sent him to a French immersion school. One of his teachers told him he must learn “French” French and not Quebec French and his parents were so insulted they pulled him out and put him into a regular English school where he lost all his French. He’s currently taking three hours a week of French lessons. He is the youngest in his family and now gets his siblings and parents to speak only French to him—“even if I don’t understand,” he jokes.


Jer’s Vision fifth anniversary gala in Ottawa celebrated those who have helped battle bullying and homophobia. The event was hosted by Global National anchor Kevin Newman, who spoke publicly for the first time about his gay son, Alex Newman. Kevin Newman was the first person to interview NDP MP Libby Davies on TV when she came out. At last year’s event, Davies won a Youth Role Model of the Year award. This time one went to Liberal MP Hedy Fry. One of the youth who nominated Fry noted in a letter that he realized he was gay and went to a Pride parade where he met the MP. “When I asked her what it was like to be gay, she said she was not gay but she was proud to stand with another individual and celebrate working toward equality. I was inspired how someone could be so fabulous, and not even be gay.”

By Mitchel Raphael


During his visit to Ottawa, New Zealand PM John Key was presented with an Olympic Team Canada hockey jersey by Stephen Harper. In return, Key presented Harper with a very fitted New Zealand All Blacks rugby shirt. Harper quipped that the New Zealand PM would have an easier time getting into the baggy hockey jersey than he would getting into his gift.


NDP MP Peter Stoffer says April 28 will be the last All-Party Party. The bash has been held in 200 West Block for years, but now the building will be closed as of this summer for several years for renovations and asbestos removal. Stoffer says there is not a large enough space elsewhere on the Hill to accommodate MPs and Hill staff, and also that if it were held somewhere else, it would be too costly.

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