The Thrilla on the Hill and Linda Frum’s passover

Boxing-match bets and flourless cakes
Mitchel Raphael on the thrilla on the hill and Linda Frum’s passover
Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

Linda Frum way ahead of cooking trend

When it comes to cooking during the Jewish holiday of Passover, Tory Sen. Linda Frum mastered flourless cakes long before they became a hot trend. The Passover prohibition against using leavening in bread also applies to cakes. Frum’s twins, who turn 18 on April 16, usually have their birthdays during the holiday, which this year goes from April 6 to 14. In the past, that has meant a lot of special Passover birthday cakes. Liberal interim leader Bob Rae also celebrated Passover. His wife Arlene Perly Rae and children are Jewish. Perly Rae has created her own Haggadah, the religious text read at Passover Seders. She took parts from different versions of the Haggadah to make what she says is a more interesting and inclusive read. The big bonus is that hers is shorter, a huge plus for a service known to drag on.

HST or Human Sexuality Tax

Could the deficit be reduced by Canadians on their backs as opposed to on the backs of Canadians? The recent striking down of Ontario’s prostitution laws prompted one Liberal insider to note that if the HST could be applied to sex work, it would be called the Human Sexuality Tax.

Liberals cash in on Trudeau

The charity boxing match that saw Liberal MP Justin Trudeau clobber Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau made some Liberals happy on the financial front. One Liberal staffer in the whip’s office is an amateur boxer and was so confident Trudeau would win he scored $600 as a result. The odds for a Trudeau win were 3 to 1. A few MPs put down some serious coin according to buzz on the Hill. One Liberal MP confirmed the bets: “They had the confidence. It wasn’t just for the money.” But not all Liberals were sure Trudeau would triumph. The Liberal jersey Brazeau had to wear all last week for losing a bet with Trudeau was created on the Sunday after the match. Brazeau also had to cut his hair as part of the bet, which the senator said made his father happy with the Trudeau win. The reason? Brazeau’s father has been pushing for a haircut for years.

Learning to walk in Ottawa

Rookie NDP MP Randall Garrison has been hobbling around with a foot cast for a few weeks and recently learned that he is the fourth NDP MP to break an ankle in his or her first year on the Hill. The other three are Libby Davies (Vancouver East) as well as former MPs Dawn Black (New Westminster-Burnaby) and Bob Skelly (Comox-Alberni). Garrison says they have all learned the lessons of being in a city with lots of ice. In his own riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island, he says it would shut down if it saw the kind of winter conditions routinely faced in Ottawa. “No one would go outside.”

I read the budget for nothing?

Many opposition MPs were angry they did not get a chance to speak about the budget last week after NDP finance critic Peter Julian opted to take advantage of his unlimited response time and gabbed for hours. Toronto MP Kirsty Duncan, a scientist and expert on pandemics, had spent the entire weekend going over the budget and had a list of questions she never got to ask. Green party Leader Elizabeth May saw that Julian was reading tweets to fill time so she decided to start tweeting. She says she got one of hers read by Julian about the lack of environmental policy in the budget but only because a friend retweeted it and Julian did not realize May was the source.

The PM can still wait?

Liberal interim leader Bob Rae said he’d keep the start of Old Age Security at 65, not 67 as the Tories want. The Liberals attempted to bring in an amendment to the budget which would have raised the eligibility age from 65 to 67 on the Prime Minister’s special retirement allowance. When asked if he would return that to 65, along with the OAS, if the Liberals were in power, Rae just smiled and laughed.