Mitchel Raphael on back-to-school shopping at 24 Sussex Drive

Minister says Spider-Man is out, No one warned Trudeau, Iggy or Chrétien about the snow, and Garage sales on the Hill

Minister says Spider-Man is out
MPs are not back in the House until Sept. 20, but many have been busy getting their kids ready to go back to school. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt says this year her two sons, J.C. Raitt, 9, and Billy Raitt, 6, wanted backpacks with wheels because their books are getting heavier and heavier. But those kinds of backpacks are plainer. No more Spider-Man or Transformers logos if the kids insist on wheels, notes the minister. On the first day of school, Raitt’s tradition is to have a picture taken with her kids on the front steps of their house. She jokes that the photos mostly show how, over the years, “my weight has fluctuated and my hair colour has changed.”
Vancouver NDP MP Don Davies says when it comes to his youngest daughter, 15, and school supplies, “We have to have a lot of pink.” Davies has been officially relieved of his duties for back-to-school clothing purchases—his wife is in charge. But he is inevitably called to the mall because, he quips, “My daughter knows I will get more expensive things.”
Meanwhile, at 24 Sussex, back-to-school preparations are pretty lacklustre for Ben Harper and Rachel Harper. “We go to Staples and fight the crowds like everyone else,” notes Laureen Harper.

Jacques Boissinot/CP

No one warned Trudeau, Iggy or Chrétien about the snow
At the Liberal summer caucus in Baddeck, N.S., Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau went skinny dipping in Bras d’Or Lake with some staffers and at least one senator. Toronto Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay, who was present but remained clothed, joked she was not going to “get caught up in the shenanigans of the young ones.” It has been a packed summer for Trudeau, who joined leader Michael Ignatieff on some legs of his Liberal Express tour. One stop involved joining Iggy and Jean Chrétien at a theatre performance that featured artificially created light rain—and snow—falling on the audience. “No one warned us,” notes Trudeau. This summer he also vacationed with his family, travelling for the first time to Cape Cod. He is happy to report that his son Xavier Trudeau, who will turn three in October, can swim mostly without water wings.

Garage sales on the Hill
To help flood victims, Sen. David Smith’s assistant Doreen Jones held a “garage sale for Pakistan.” Antiques were on offer: she donated teacups from the 1950s and another donor provided several crocheted items from the 1920s. Perhaps the most curious item was a Ukrainian carved wooden ball, with needles stored inside. Its purpose: to mend socks. The sale raised around $500 and the government will match the funds, notes Jones, who also held a garage sale after the earthquake in Haiti. For that event, retired senator Marcel Prud’homme donated all sorts of briefcases he had collected over the years at various conferences.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.