The ring bearer had issues
Liberal MP Mark Holland married Cindy Fournier in Ottawa last weekend. At the ceremony, most of Holland’s fellow Liberal MPs, including Navdeep Bains, sat in the back benches of the church. Bains said it was in case the children got rowdy. Gerard Kennedy’s young son, John-Julien Kennedy, clearly did not want to wear a suit. There was much grumbling, and then during the ceremony he kept untucking his dress shirt and removing his clip-on tie. (Though during the exchange of vows, John-Julien suddenly fixed his shirt and put his tie back on.) Holland’s son and ring bearer, Riley Holland, also had issues with formal wear—because he didn’t want to get out of his jeans, he wore them under his tuxedo pants. At the dinner in the West Block, Fournier’s aunt brought to the head-table microphone two dolls that sang Sonny and Cher’s hit I Got You Babe. Only the female doll’s head moved to the beat of the song because, noted the aunt, “Women do all the work.” Fournier had two maids of honour, Chanel Watts and Susan Goss, who recalled the time the three worked at Swiss Chalet and Fournier forgot the cheese on a customer’s burger. She took some grated cheddar, microwaved it because she thought it should be melted, and then went to the customer’s table, removed his top bun and scraped the cheese onto the burger. Also on the microwaved-food-testimonials front, Fournier’s father said he discovered that both he and Holland like to microwave ice cream a bit before eating it.
Who lives in the peace tower?
Parliamentary tour guides say they’ve seen more Ontarians than usual in their groups this summer. Four-year veteran guide Mark Palmer, who famously took Kiss rocker Gene Simmons on a tour recently, says when he started doing the tours there were more Europeans in the groups. The most popular questions asked include, “What are the red buttons at the Senate seats for?”—they are the lights that go on when a senator is speaking—and “Where are the washrooms?” At the end of the tour, folks are shown the expanded gift shop set up for the summer in the railway committee room. The most popular items are maple syrup products. Among the more unusual questions about the Parliament Buildings that come up, says Palmer, are: “What denomination church is this?” and “Who lives in the Peace Tower?” (There is no Quasimodo.) Once, in July, a group came on the tour with ice skates; they asked where the Rideau Canal was. During a recent tour taken by Capital Diary (not one of Palmer’s), a guide pointed out to a group “the famous staircase,” explaining, “This is where the Prime Minister always comes down.” Unfortunately, Stephen Harper almost never comes down that way, preferring to enter the Commons from the back.
An MP’s academic career
Toronto Liberal MP Mario Silva graduated from Oxford University through an executive program, receiving his master’s in international law. Silva’s thesis was called: “Extraordinary rendition and the convention against torture.” Michael Ignatieff was not cited in his work. Silva is now doing a Ph.D. through the National University of Ireland at Galway, where he is examining failed states.
Where former MPs find work
What happens to MPs defeated by Liberal stars? It appears they take leadership positions in their parties. Peggy Nash, who was defeated by Gerard Kennedy, was named president of the NDP at their recent Halifax convention. Vivian Barbot, who was defeated by Justin Trudeau, became vice-president of the Bloc Québécois this year. Neither Barbot nor Nash has confirmed if they will run in the next election.