Harper’s facial hair and new gig writing books

Mitchel Raphael on Harper’s facial hair and new gig writing books

Photography by Mitchel Raphael

Harper’s final chapter

For several years Stephen Harper has been working on a book about hockey. The PM can finally use one of the Conservatives’ favourite catchphrases: “Getting the job done.” Word is the book is written. A publication date has yet to be announced.

A cake for Clement

During question period, NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus has been counting the days that Treasury Board President Tony Clement has refused to answer questions about what Angus calls the G8 “slush fund.” The MP says that on the 150th day, in the first week of November, he will present the cabinet minister with a cake and, he jokes, “maybe it will have a file in it.” Senior Tory cabinet ministers have expressed embarrassment to Capital Diary that Clement has not risen to explain himself (or apologize, if necessary). Foreign Minister John Baird gets up to answer questions on his behalf, although Clement is sitting right next to him. Perhaps there’s a double standard regarding which ministers can answer questions in the House: Defence Minister Peter MacKay recently rose to answer queries about his use of aircrafts. Liberal MP Judy Sgro says that under Jean Chrétien, ministers had to answer their own questions. There was only one exception: if the opposition called for a minister to resign, Chrétien took the question.

The sincerest form of flattery?

MPs, including NDPer Don Davies and flirty emailer Bob Dechert of the Tories, packed a reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier celebrating Taiwan’s 100th National Day. Double Ten Day, as it is called because it falls on Oct. 10, commemorates the Wuchang Uprising that led to the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. Rookie NDP MP Jinny Sims was impressed that the organizers of the event, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ottawa, recognized her face and did not need to check the guest list. “Chief guest” was Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who previously had removed visa restrictions for Taiwanese, and who was presented with a rose to wear on his lapel. Very Pierre Trudeau, Kenney concurred.

Harper’s facial hair

Ottawa students from Algonquin College’s radio program were on the Hill lobbying for Stephen Harper to grow a moustache for Movember, the prostate awareness campaign that launches next month. They held placards depicting the PM sporting a bushy moustache. One person joked that demonstrators are more prone to drawing a Hitleresque moustache on the PM. The prostate protesters want one national party leader to have a moustache this year. “We had Jack Layton, but he is no longer with us,” lamented one student. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae tried to grow a moustache last year but the results were sparse. NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel and Green Leader Elizabeth May are not likely to go the moustache route, so that leaves only the Prime Minister. The protesters may want to consider lobbying the real power behind the throne: Laureen Harper, though last year she made it clear she would not like a moustache on her husband one bit.

Fighting words

In his member’s statement in the House, Conservative MP Russ Hiebert accused NDP MP Randall Garrison of being lenient on child molesters by allowing them “to get pardons” when he voted against the omnibus crime bill. Garrison, a survivor of child abuse himself, took great issue with this, as well as with Hiebert’s additional claims that he voted “to give convicted arsonists house arrest, to keep soft sentences for those who sell drugs to children, to give a slap on the wrist to gangsters who run big marijuana grow operations.” Garrison has asked Speaker Andrew Scheer to look into the matter.

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