Liberals love that old fake lake
Liberals have continued to hammer the government over what they see as outrageous expenses for the G20 and G8 summits. One Liberal insider says that the civil liberties angle does not resonate with voters, so the focus is still on things like the fake lake and expenses for snacks. With the nomination of former Ontario Provincial Police chief Julian Fantino as the Conservatives’ by-election candidate in the Ontario riding of Vaughan, look for the opposition to drag him to committee hearings to justify the G20-G8 security bill. (Fantino oversaw the OPP’s operation for this summer’s summits.) Vaughan will be the first “safe” Liberal seat coming up for a vote since Michael Ignatieff took over as Liberal leader, and Grits know Fantino is truly a star candidate. When the Liberals, under Stéphane Dion, lost the Montreal stronghold of Outremont to the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair, it was seen as the beginning of the end for that leader.
The colour purple
MPs from all parties donned purple last week to raise awareness about North America’s recent wave of gay teen suicides. NDP MP Olivia Chow wore her purple suit. On the Liberal front, Hedy Fry added a purple scarf to her outfit, Mario Silva and Rob Oliphant were among several sporting purple ties, while Scott Simms went for a purple dress shirt. Heritage Minister James Moore also wore purple but that was by chance; he confessed no one had informed him of the significance of wearing purple that day. Moore, who has a strong record of supporting gay rights, was happy to support the cause even if it was by fluke. Liberal MP Navdeep Bains wore a purple turban. Bains notes that the colour of his turban has no religious significance. “I use the pink one for other anti-bullying days and breast cancer awareness,” he notes. He wears the green one around Christmas, a red one for partisan purposes. His black and navy turbans tend to go with most of his suits. “If I want to make Jack Layton happy occasionally I might wear the orange one just to tease him,” he jokes. “I wear blue, too. The Conservatives like that.” Conservative MP Tim Uppal, who is also Sikh, always wears blue turbans in the House. “That might be a PMO directive,” teases Bains. “I get a good chuckle out of that.”
MuchRefreshed, MuchRecharged Moses
Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) executive director Moses Znaimer was on the Hill at a reception to relaunch his organization. He joked that that R in CARP now stands for “refreshed, recharged.” He encouraged MPs to use CARP’s communication resources (which include its magazine, Zoomer) to get their messages out. At the reception, Liberal Sen. Dennis Dawson joked: “I have been around so long I remember when Moses was here fighting for 20-year-olds.” (Znaimer launched such icons of hipness as MuchMusic and Citytv.)
MacKay shows off his ring
Defence Minister Peter MacKay addressed a packed room of navy personnel as part of Navy Appreciation Day on the Hill. The event also celebrated the service’s 100th anniversary. As MacKay spoke, his BlackBerry went off. Rather than ignore it, he pulled it out so everyone could hear the ring. It was a sonar ping, which was well received by the audience.
Maybe somebody should have warned him
Liberal researcher Matt Ostergard recently arrived from B.C. to work in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition with a very cool shag haircut. Then he got his first Ottawa haircut at Victoria Barber Shop and disaster struck. The Playboy magazines in the waiting area should have been a sign. The blunt short cut had his colleagues in the OLO teasing Ostergard that he was a dead ringer for the character Gareth Keenan on the British series The Office.
Photographs by Mitchel Raphael