IT gets hot, hot, hot when you’re all wearing sealskin
“A Taste of the Arctic,” held at the National Gallery of Canada, kicked off 2010 as the Year of the Inuit. The room, packed with people wearing sealskin outfits, got so hot doors needed to be opened to let in the winter air. Inuit leader Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, was in a new head-to-toe sealskin ensemble complete with caribou antler buttons, made by Victoria Okpik of Nunavik Creations. It was the official debut of the outfit Simon plans to wear for the opening of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. Food at the Taste of the Arctic included dried caribou jerky, agnolotti with muskox tomato sauce, and a shepherd’s pie made with ground seal meat. On the tables were rocks that looked like ice, covered in flowers. At first glance the decorations resembled giant spiders, causing more than a few alarmed double takes. Among the guests at the event were Nunavut’s government leader Eva Aariak and federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, the MP for Nunavut. Laureen Harper, invited by Simon, also attended. Noted Mrs. Harper: “Mary said there would be Arctic char and I love Arctic char.” Over the Christmas break, the Harpers, including the PM, made a snow fort at Harrington Lake; at the event, Mrs. Harper asked the Inuit leader if she could help her make an authentic igloo. “We have lots of snow there,” Mrs. Harper said. “I’m not sure it’s the right kind.” Another guest was former Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell. She recently saw the birth of her sixth granddaughter and told Capital Diary she loves spending time with the girls after raising four sons. CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge was honoured at the event with an award for his coverage of the Arctic. It was also announced that several Inuit groups would be donating nearly $100,000 to help Haiti.
SHE’S HELPING Haitians stranded in quebec
The earthquake in Haiti has politicians dealing with a variety of issues. Bloc MP Nicole Demers says her office is working with Haitians who were visiting Quebec and are now stranded here because their homes have been reduced to rubble. Montreal Liberal MP Marlene Jennings says two nuns from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne in her riding are still looking for two missionaries missing in Haiti. Former Bloc MP and current vice-president of the Bloc Québécois, Vivian Barbot, who was born in Haiti, managed to get texts and cellphone photos of the devastation from people. Sadly, while Barbot’s cousin managed to survive, his wife and her entire family were killed. Fortunately, the son of Barbot’s cousin is in Canada studying. Barbot says the Bloc is calling for a Marshall Plan for Haiti.
Bowling for Haiti
Last week, Ottawa NDP MP Paul Dewar had planned to hold a Bowling for Paul fundraiser for his riding association. He changed it to Bowling for Haiti. More than $1,000 was raised for the Humanitarian Coalition (Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children). On Jan. 25 there is a nonpartisan event called Hill Helps Haiti, being organized by the government relations firm Summa Strategies.
Former MP Belinda Stronach’s Belinda Stronach Foundation is planning a special women’s summit in Toronto to coincide with the upcoming G20 Summit. Twenty groups are involved, including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and UNICEF. It’s being billed as Girls20.