Mitchel Raphael on the MP who made the worst-dressed list and Peter MacKay’s suitcase

Tory MPs are sexiest, Gord Brown still has a job to do in Canada, and Gift certificates for the troops

Tory MPs are sexiest
When the Hill Times came out with its annual “Politically Savvy, Stylish and Sexy Survey,” Montreal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was disappointed to discover he’s tied for the worst-dressed male MP on the Hill, with Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell. “I know I am not the best-dressed MP,” noted Cotler. “But I don’t think I am one of the worst.” He confessed to Capital Diary, however, that his family agreed with the Hill Times survey. Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry, known for her fashion flair and commitment to ensuring animal prints never become endangered, said that Cotler is clearly “the best-dressed professor” on the Hill. What about Liberal leader and professor Michael Ignatieff? Fry joked, “Well, he has people around him.” And professor Stéphane Dion? “His wife [Janine Krieber] has excellent taste,” she quipped without missing a beat. The survey named Tory Maxime Bernier the best-dressed male MP. Sexiest male MP went to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, leaving Justin Trudeau in second place. Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose was voted sexiest female MP, followed by NDP MP Megan Leslie. Transport Minister John Baird cleaned up in two key categories: “Most Influence in Cabinet” and “Best Cabinet Minister in Question Period.”

Gord Brown still has a job to do in Canada
Several MPs took jabs at Conservative MP Gord Brown when the former British PM with the same name announced his resignation recently. “I was moonlighting over there,” quipped the MP. Gord Brown noted he may, in fact, be related to Gordon Brown: his British relatives live in the ex-PM’s riding.

Gift certificates for the troops
A special fundraiser was held in the East Block courtyard for “To the Stan and Back,” an organization that provides gift certificates to Canadian troops returning home from service in Afghanistan. Cheri Elliott, who works in Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ office, is the driving force behind the organization. The single mother of three has a son, Troy Elliott, who is an artillery gunner just back from Afghanistan; she wanted to find a thoughtful way to show the troops some appreciation. Gen. Andrew Leslie addressed the gathering, noting that while soldiers are paid well, Elliott’s efforts are deeply appreciated. Thanks was also given to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who has been to Afghanistan 10 times. He says he mastered packing by trial and error: “The first time I took too much stuff.” A mistake, said MacKay, because “you have to carry it around with you.”

Who didn’t get flowers for a PM photo op
Stephen Harper had back-to-back photo ops last week in his Centre Block office. First up was the new commissioner for Nunavut, Edna Elias, then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo ops traditionally follow the same pattern: flags are draped behind the PM and his guest, and a small floral arrangement is placed between them. When Capital Diary asked PMO staffers if the same flowers would be used twice, they said, “Just wait and see.” In the end Elias got no flowers, while Ban’s photo shoot featured a purple and yellow arrangement.

What does David think?
Since becoming a senator, Linda Frum has heard the same question repeatedly on the Hill: “What does David think about . . . ?” The David in question is her brother, David Frum, well-known political commentator and a former speech writer for George W. Bush. Sen. Frum decided the best response to the non-stop queries was to hold a reception on the Hill for her brother, so people could just ask him directly. David Frum, who is now between jobs, joked: “Unemployment is strangely time-consuming.”

Photography by Mitchel Raphael

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