Mitchel Raphael on health and hats on Parliament Hill

Pat Martin puts on his beaver hat for Idle No More, while Olivia Chow will be looking more serious after partial facial paralysis.

Mitchel Raphael

Pat Martin revisits the beaver?

Idle No More protesters greeted MPs for their first day back on the Hill for 2013. When NDP MP Pat Martin went out to support the protesters he put on his beaver fur hat, which he bought 20 years ago in the Yukon. He said it is not often that he gets to wear it. No word on whether the hat was a quiet reference to the infamous time he said in the House, when attacking the Conservatives for dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board, “The Canadian beaver will bite off its own testicles when it is threatened and offer them up to its tormentors.”

Why Chow is not smiling

Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow has recovered slightly from a viral infection that left part of her face paralyzed. She can now close her left eye with some effort, something she was unable to do before. She still needs to use drops to keep it from drying out. She also has to massage the left side of her face and do blowing exercises as part of the healing process. She quipped that she will be looking more serious for a while because the partial paralysis is mostly visible when she smiles. Why it’s fun in the whip’s office Calgary Tory MP Michelle Rempel has spilled a Conservative secret. During House duty on the first day back, she popped into the office of chief government whip Gordon O’Connor, where she says there is always a stash of chocolates. She managed to score a few individually wrapped Turtles.

Joe Oliver is getting antsy

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver had heart surgery on Jan. 3 and his doctor told him he had to take six weeks off. He is scheduled to be back on the Hill Feb. 12. His staff say they are sending him minimal paperwork even though Oliver, 72, says he is feeling a lot better and wants to come back sooner.

Is the Hill bad for your health?

Over the break, Toronto NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan was able to take a week’s vacation in the Dominican Republic. She says she ate lots and enjoyed some drinks. She came back and was shocked to discover she lost 10 lb. She says the fast-paced environment of Hill life treats her body very differently and she plans to focus on health and wellness for 2013.

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