Mitchel Raphael on the Belinda connection to MacKay’s hot date

MacKay’s new romance, Coffee, compost and the PMO, James Moore’s father-son trips

Mitchel Raphael on the Belinda connection to MacKay's hot dateMacKay’s new romance?
There was much buzz about Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s date for the True Patriot Love fundraiser for Canadian troops held in Toronto. MacKay arrived at the dinner with former Miss World Canada Nazanin Afshin-Jam. Rumours of a romance have been reported. The interesting twist is that back in 2006, Afshin-Jam was on the Hill talking to MPs and fighting to save the life of another Iranian who shares her first name, Nazanin Fatehi. Fatehi stabbed one of the men who attempted to rape her and was sentenced to hang. (She was eventually released.) One of the MPs who helped Afshin-Jam at her Ottawa press conference was former Liberal MP (and former MacKay girlfriend) Belinda Stronach.

Coffee, compost and the PMO
The closest coffee place to the PMO, which is in the Langevin Block, used to be a Tim Hortons. A while back it was replaced with a Bridgehead café, known for its fair trade and organic coffees. Not only does Bridgehead have recycling bins, it has compost bins as well. Bridgehead staff say they see a lot of PMO staffers come in and also note that NDP Leader Jack Layton gets his hot beverages there too. When PM spokesperson Dimitri Soudas was spotted with a Bridgehead hot apple cider, he said his choice of coffee purveyor was based purely on convenience and was in no way a political statement.

Mitchel Raphael on the Belinda connection to MacKay's hot dateJames Moore’s father-son trips
The Historica-Dominion Institute recently launched We Were Freedom: Canadian Stories of the Second World War, veterans’ stories collected in book form as part of the institute’s Canadian oral history project. Heritage Minister James Moore picked up two copies, one for himself, the other for his father. Both men are big history buffs, especially when it comes to the First and Second World Wars. The two have taken many trips together visiting sites relevant to Canada’s role in the wars, and Moore has made a point of visiting, both by himself and with his father, Canadian cemeteries worldwide connected to the two world wars. The sites, he notes, are listed on the Veterans Affairs website.

The delinquent former MP
The Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians held its annual fundraising dinner in the ballroom of the Fairmont Château Laurier. The guest speaker was John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. He was presented with the Olympic flag that flew on Parliament Hill during the Games. Former Conservative MP Monte Solberg told Capital Diary he worked hard to sell tickets for the event even though he’s not actually a member of the association. Solberg confessed he has not yet paid his dues: “I’m a delinquent former parliamentarian.”

Mitchel Raphael on the Belinda connection to MacKay's hot dateThe singing (Oklahoma!) MP
London, Ont., Liberal MP Glen Pearson held his annual fundraiser in his riding for the NGO Canadian Aid For Southern Sudan and raised over $11,000. Liberal Sen. Roméo Dallaire was the guest speaker. In the past, money from the event has been used to help build a primary school. Pearson noted that child soldiers were hired to build the school as a way to help rehabilitate them. At the event, local London performer Denise Pelley sang Bring Him Home from Les Misérables, while Pearson sang a song from the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Pearson, who hasn’t sung in over 20 years, says Dallaire’s mouth dropped open. But Pearson has a singing past, including a father who was a big band drummer. When the MP was on the high school football team in Calgary, his teammates dared him to try out for the high school musical, which that year was Oklahoma!. He got the lead and then proceeded to star in his school’s other plays such as South Pacific, The Mikado and My Fair Lady.