Mitchel Raphael on the celeb who claims Ottawa has a nightlife

What got Rona Ambrose upset, Jack Layton’s out-of-date bobble-head, and Another Newman says goodbye

What got Rona Ambrose upset
Rona Ambrose, minister for status of women, was recently in Israel where she met with her counterpart Gila Gamliel. Ambrose also toured the Israeli-Lebanese border and met three brigades of female soldiers. The women’s job is to protect the frontier through intelligence gathering and high-tech surveillance. The leader of the brigades told Ambrose that when the women are done serving, high-tech companies swoop in and hire them because their skills are in such demand. The minister also met the leader’s commander, 45-year-old Lt.-Col. Dov Harari. The two talked about the hardware store Harari owned with his brother and then chatted about his family. When Ambrose discovered the commander had relatives in Toronto, she asked whether he had ever been to Canada. He hadn’t he said. Ambrose encouraged him to come visit, but Harari pointed to the border he had been working to protect so much of his life, and said, “I have this to take care of.” Last week, Ambrose’s staff broke the news to her that Harari was killed in the recent skirmish on the Israeli-Lebanese border. Ambrose, who had been very impressed with Harari, was visibly upset by the news.

Among her other projects, Ambrose is now working with Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a special conference. The plan is to have a gathering of all the women who have influenced Jean to celebrate the end of her term.

Jack Layton’s out-of-date bobble-head
Jack Layton spent the weekend at Taste of the Danforth, the annual festival in Toronto’s Greektown area, which is located in the NDP leader’s riding. Many men came over to Layton’s booth to talk about their battles with prostate cancer, which Layton is currently fighting. He joked that the Jack Layton bobble-heads he was giving out at the booth should be updated because hair has grown back on the top of his head. Layton is on a strict diet and says he is avoiding anything white like flour and white rice. He tries to eat as many orange and red foods as he can and no longer consumes meat. That meant no souvlaki at Taste of the Danforth.

Another Newman says goodbye
After the announcement of Dawna Friesen as the new anchor for Global National came news of a goodbye party for the outgoing host Kevin Newman. Don Martin of the National Post sent out a funny email to say: “The second annual Newman ‘retirement’ from the television news grind will be celebrated in now-traditional national press gallery style at Brixton’s [British pub].” Last year, the CBC’s Don Newman left his chair as the host of Politics with Don Newman and was replaced by Evan Solomon and his show Power & Politics with Evan Solomon. Kevin Newman plans to spend time at his cottage and then travel to Italy. Newman, who was the only national news anchor based in the capital, considers Ottawa his home, having lived there now four times—both he and his wife, Cathy Newman, have made their presence felt in Ottawa social and charitable circles. Newman’s first stint in Ottawa had him scrumming Pierre Trudeau. At a party at his cottage to celebrate his 50th birthday, someone unearthed Newman’s painful interview with pop star Prince. At the time, Newman was host of Good Morning America. For the duration of the interview, Prince did not say a word.

Newman says he hopes to work on more documentaries after his return from Italy. Over the last while he has had several documentaries air on Global on such topics as animals rights. “Ottawa has not updated the criminal code [on animal rights] since the 19th century,” he notes. Newman told Capital Diary that Ottawa is “a really nice city to retire to.” Though when he returned to the city this time, he says, he was pleased to discover it finally had a nightlife.