COLUMNS

CAPITAL DIARY

PARIS, BELINDA, AND THE SPEAKER’S NAPKINS OTTAWA OUTTAKES

MITCHEL RAPHAEL July 1 2006
COLUMNS

CAPITAL DIARY

PARIS, BELINDA, AND THE SPEAKER’S NAPKINS OTTAWA OUTTAKES

MITCHEL RAPHAEL July 1 2006

CAPITAL DIARY

COLUMNS

PARIS, BELINDA, AND THE SPEAKER’S NAPKINS OTTAWA OUTTAKES

MITCHEL RAPHAEL

IF PARIS WON’T COME TO OTTAWA ...

All the cool MPs were at the 2006 MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, mingling with the likes of Nelly Furtado, tabloid fodder Nick Lachey, hip-hop star Kardinal Offishall and MuchMusic VJ search winner Tim Deegan. Ontario Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla was seen chatting with Ben Mulroney: was it a coincidence that just a few days earlier there had been rumours the Conservatives were trying to woo Dhalla over? Jack Layton and Olivia Chow were given their own Ed the Sock souvenir puppet from the knitted VJ himself, while Tory MPs Rahim Jaffer and Helena Guergis, Ottawa’s same-party lovers, made the rounds. Jaffer, sporting a nice pink-andwhite-striped blazer (which ended up with a splash of red on it), wanted to go to the after-parties, but Guergis kept saying she was way too tired.

Belinda Stronach

brought her teenage son, who managed to get his picture taken with Paris ~~

Hilton. It was nice to see Ms. Hilton put her phone down for a minute to pose.

THE SPEAKER’S NEW NAPKINS

At the annual garden party at the Speaker’s official residence, the Farm at Kingsmere, a large screen was put up in a massive white tent to show the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Speaker, Liberal MP Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands), told me he made the broadcast available out of a sense of duty and admitted he hadn’t watched any of the previous six games. Nor did he really watch much of the last one. He learned the final score from the next day’s papers. More importantly, new bilingual official Speaker’s napkins were launched that evening: they are green with a gold printed mace

and gold lettering that says “The Speaker” and “Le Président.” Milliken told me it took him five years to get through the white and gold ones from the previous speaker. MPs from all parties and media guests were offered tours of the Speaker’s home, where they got to gawk at such historical items as the bed in which Mackenzie King died, not to mention the bottle of Turns in Milliken’s bathroom, which, he says, he has had for years and have long expired. Noticeable among the Speaker’s large collection of Canadiana DVDs was Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe. Now we know why Milliken loves watching MPs slaughter each other during Question Period.

PLEASE DON’T TELL GUINNESS

MPs had a reception on the Hill to say farewell to Irish ambassador Martin Burke, who has been in Canada for five years. “I have had a very enjoyable time partly because, if you look at the last census, three and a quarter million people put down Irish heritage,” noted Burke. “So I found a warm welcome anywhere in Canada.” He quickly became an “avid” fan of the Ottawa Senators and had a hoot at the Calgary Stampede. The ambassador proclaimed two Irish pubs in Ottawa up to snuff: D’Arcy McGee’s, the watering hole where many MPs and parliamentary staff like to hang out, and the Heart &

Crown. “I have favoured them with my patronage occasionally.”

He even ended up favouring

local brew: “Canadian and Labatt Blue are quite good.”

RONA SNUBS DAVID

Rona Ambrose is taking a lot of heat these days, including an NDP motion last week for her resignation. When the David Suzuki Foundation recendy held one of its tri-annual board meetings in the capital, there was a i ception for Suzuki, but only two Liberals and several NDP MPs, including Leader Jack Layton, showed up. Ambrose, who Suzuki says was always a maybe, was a disappointing noshow. But when she became enviro minister she called the foundation and met with Suzuki. “She was as green as they come,” says Suzuki, referring to her very basic environmental knowledge. “I talked and she listened.” M Mitchel Raphael can be contacted at mitchelraphael@attglobal. net