Stornaway's new chef and the MP who delivered babies

The Opposition residence has a new chef, there are physicians in the Commons, and Bev Oda has switched places

Mitchel Raphael on the MP who delivered babies amid bombing

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

What’s cooking at Stornoway?

Stornoway has a new chef. Kimberlee Rivet, 27, is one of the youngest head chefs at an official residence, not to mention one of the few female chefs. The last time Stornoway had a woman as chef was when former Liberal PM John Turner was leader of the Opposition, according to house staff. Before Stornoway, Rivet was working at Rideau Hall under the current Governor General David Johnston and his predecessor Michaëlle Jean. While interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel does not live in Stornoway because her Quebec riding is in the National Capital Region, the NDP does use the residence to entertain and have meetings, and Turmel has slept over on occasion.

Doctor in the House

Before the last election, only the Liberals had physicians in the Commons. The Conservatives now have Ontario MP Kellie Leitch, an orthopaedic surgeon, and the NDP has Quebec MP Djaouida Sellah. The NDP MP is originally from Algeria and worked as a volunteer doctor during the first Gulf War in Iraq, where “I delivered babies just with the light of candles during the war.” Nowadays she’s dealing with colleagues asking about a range of sniffle issues, fatigue, insomnia and even what to do about a fingernail infection: “Make some hot water with salt and put Polysporin on,” she told the MP. Last year, when a very pregnant NDP MP Sana Hassainia fainted in caucus, “I gave her my diagnosis and when she went to the hospital they gave her the same diagnosis,” says Sellah. She can’t write prescriptions, though. After spending years working to get her medical credentials recognized in Canada, she was almost finished the last part of her residency, which would have completed the process, when the election was called and she became part of the Orange Crush that hit Quebec.

10-year plan by 20-year-old Liberal

Zach Paikin is running for national policy chairman of the Liberal party at its biennial convention this month in Ottawa. He is the son of Steve Paikin, host of TVO’s political show The Agenda and moderator of several past federal election leadership debates. Zach Paiken is 20. When asked when his braces are coming off he says: “I’m not in a position to predict.” Paikin only owns one black suit but has numerous shirts and ties to mix it up. He only needs to shave once a week. Still, he has been endorsed by some top Liberal names, including Irwin Cotler, David Peterson, Scott Simms and Rodger Cuzner. Paikin, one of five candidates vying for the position, wants to change the delegate system to one where all party members have the right to vote, regardless of whether they can come to a convention. His political inspirations: Wilfrid Laurier, because he fought to keep the country together, Irwin Cotler, because of the MP’s sense of social justice, and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for “being a good leader in tough times.” Asked how long it will take for the Liberal party to rebuild itself, Paikin says he will be 30 when it happens.

The perks of sitting beside the heritage minister

Bev Oda’s mother keeps getting strange phone calls with questions like, “Did Bev change her hair?” or “She’s wearing bright colours now?” Oda, the minister of international co-operation, used to sit in the camera shot behind Stephen Harper in the House of Commons. She was moved months ago and replaced with Alice Wong, who also happens to be Asian-Canadian, which Oda says has confused some of her mother’s friends. Oda has been enjoying her new front bench seat next to Heritage Minister James Moore. One of the perks of sitting next to the heritage minister? She says Moore knows how to sync an iPod, iPhone and iPad so they work together.

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