The Defence Minister, the military and the very prominent bandage
It was a tough job, but MPs rose valiantly to the challenge of consuming as much lobster as possible. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea hosted a packed reception at the Westin Ottawa for P.E.I. Seafood Processors, who, along with the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and the federal government, were trying to raise awareness of the low-price challenges currently facing the lobster industry. When Shea’s three daughters and two sons lived at home, she told Capital Diary, she needed 15 to 20 lb. of lobster to feed her family in one sitting. Liberal MP Siobhan Coady says when it comes to lobster, you must, as they say in her home province of Newfoundland, “eat as much as you can suffer.” Coady’s husband is the perfect partner for eating lobster, she notes, because “I eat the arms and the tails and my husband eats the bodies.”
Defence Minister Peter MacKay arrived with his right arm still in a sling from his rugby-match injury but said that if he had to he could still crack open a lobster with one hand. Two days later, MacKay was at a luncheon held by the Canadian Club of Toronto to honour the men and women of the Canadian Forces. VIPs included Laureen Harper and Don Cherry. This time on MacKay’s injured arm there was a prominent bandage that he did not have on before. The bandage was to make sure the military folks saw his arm was broken. His aide, Jay Paxton, noted military personnel like giving very firm handshakes and that one of those could have seriously damaged the defence minister’s arm. MacKay used his left hand to greet people.
If he can make it to October . . .
At Speaker Peter Milliken’s garden party, CTV’s Craig Oliver jokingly announced that the media were going to form a “blue ribbon panel” to ensure that there will be no election until after October 2009. If Milliken remains House Speaker until Oct. 12 (which happens to be Thanksgiving), he will be the longest-serving Speaker in Canadian history.
Ruby Dhalla and the new Philippines twin
The channel has been changed on the drama surrounding Ruby Dhalla and alleged Filipino nanny abuse in her home. The MP for Brampton-Springdale recently attended the unveiling of a plaque for the twinning of the city of Brampton, Ont., with the city of Markina in the Philippines. Dhalla says she was welcomed warmly by attendees. The MP noted she has always had a strong connection with the Filipino community. When Dhalla, who is Sikh, grew up in Winnipeg, most of her close friends were from the Philippines. Says the MP: “I knew how to make Filipino food like pancit and spring rolls before I learned how to cook [my native] Indian food.”
Grandpa Jack and ‘O.C.’
NDP Leader Jack Layton became a grandfather with the birth of Beatrice Dora Campbell. Beatrice will call Layton “Grandpa” and will call his MP wife, Olivia Chow, by her initials, “O.C.” That’s what Layton’s children from his first marriage, Sarah Layton (Beatrice’s mother) and Michael Layton, call Chow. Chow’s mother, Ho Sze Chow, who lives in the Layton house, will be called “Popo,” which is “grandmother” in Cantonese.
MPs’ soccer loss sparks tough talk
MPs got whupped in two soccer games. They lost to the European ambassadors 5 to 1, and then to the media 6 to 2. Nova Scotia NDP MP Peter Stoffer, who organizes the games, says there was some suspicion that the media’s goalie, the son of a journalist, had been passed off as a CPAC employee. “Maybe they made him carry some boxes earlier in the day,” he joked. “We’re looking into having an inquiry.”