Mitchel Raphael on moustaches—and MPs worth a Halloween visit

Scott Brison’s lonely night, The Chia Pet MP, But were they really clapping for Rob Ford?

Mitchel Raphael on moustaches—and MPs worth a Halloween visit

NDP MP Peter Stoffer has his 'stache shaved for Movember | Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Scott Brison’s lonely night
Two of Glen Pearson’s adopted children arrived from Sudan three years ago, knowing nothing about Halloween. After explaining the concept, the Liberal MP woke up on his kids’ first Halloween in Canada to find them in costume, all set to trick or treat. When he broke the news that they’d have to wait until dark, “They both burst into tears because they thought they got to go out all day to people’s houses and get candy.” They felt better that night, once they had sacks of treats. “It was something they never dreamed of as possible,” says the MP. Now, Pearson’s Halloween tradition is to stay home handing out treats while his kids hit the streets. Newfoundland Liberal MP Siobhan Coady has fine-tuned her Halloween handouts. “My sister is allergic to nuts so I always make sure I have a nut-free option. I also give out chips, chocolate, and Play-Doh. It’s a little surprise.” Minister for International Co-operation Bev Oda, when at home for Halloween, knows all six kids who come to her door in the sparsely populated area. Her tradition is to give them presents, including MP3 players and video games. Halloween is a lonely time for Liberal MP Scott Brison and spouse Maxime Saint-Pierre. “There are three houses on our road,” he says. “We own two, and the other belongs to my 90-year-old aunt Margie [Faulkner].” They keep candy on hand just in case, but no one ever knocks. “It kinda reminds me of my fifth birthday party,” says Brison. “My mother had this great party. Nobody showed.”

The Chia Pet MP
For Movember, the prostate cancer awareness campaign in November during which men grow moustaches, Liberal MP Justin Trudeau has assembled a team of MPs dubbed Mombers of Parliament. Trudeau had a ’stache when he starred in Brian McKenna’s The Great War, and says that in the past, he’s sported a moustache for Halloween, “to be Zorro, computer nerd.” But Trudeau admits that this month, “I’m going to have grey in my moustache, there is no question.” Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc worries about growth. “I’ve never had a beard, sideburns, or moustache, so I just hope at the end I will have something to show for it.” What colour will his ’stache be? “I’m a really young man,” he jokes, adding, “I am quite confident that if my moustache isn’t as dark as my hair, there are products that can help.” Colour has Frank Valeriote “concerned.” The Liberal MP first grew a moustache at about 16, to look older. He got rid of it at 35 “because I was told it was making me look old.” Liberal MP Glen Pearson is also going for the ’stache. “I can just grow hair on the top of my head,” he jokes, “and I’ll look a bit like Jack Layton. A lot of us feel solidarity for Jack.” The NDP leader is currently battling prostate cancer, but has no plans to shave off his moustache and start over, because, Layton says, his party would have to make new posters. NDP MP Peter Stoffer did shave off his existing moustache for Movember, because “everyone says it’s not fair I have one to start.” He claims it will be back in less than two weeks: “I’m like a Chia Pet. Just throw water on there and it grows back pretty fast.” Stoffer has had a ’stache since he was 16. He removed it only one other time, in 1999 when his daughter said she’d never seen him clean-shaven.

But were they really clapping for Rob Ford?
In question period last week, Jim Flaherty was tossed a softball: “How effective has Canada’s economic action plan been?” The finance minister talked of job creation and then, just as Conservatives were rising to applaud their handling of the recession, threw in, “May I applaud the new mayor of the great city of Toronto, Rob Ford.” Flaherty was one of very few MPs to support Ford, pre-election. One Tory MP noted it was a very smooth move, seeming to get an ovation for the mayor-elect from many who have kept their distance from Ford.

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