Trudeau muscle and why Elizabeth May is feeling guilty

Mitchel Raphael on Trudeau muscle
Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

How tough is Justin Trudeau?

When Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau was in Toronto recently he attended a Scotia­bank Caribbean Carnival event, which was held at CTV’s downtown studio parking lot. He was introduced by CTV anchor Andria Case, who noted that the MP’s late father, Pierre Trudeau, had been instrumental in opening the doors to immigrants from the Caribbean. Justin Trudeau also lent his support the same day to Rugby Canada, which was holding a fundraiser and awareness campaign for Prostate Cancer Canada. In the middle of Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square under a scorching sun, organizers had set up a ScrumMaster machine with several cushioned pads so people could simulate a scrum and measure the force they delivered when they ran into it. When Trudeau took a stab at it (in bare feet, after removing his sandals), organizers moved two of the cushions closer together. “Sure, emphasize my small frame,” joked the MP, who ultimately scored 1,095. Even one of the beefy rugby players only got a score of 1,105. Steve Jones, president and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada, was on hand. He noted that Jack Layton was the person who really helped propel the issue of prostate cancer into the political spotlight. Prostate Cancer had MPs wear striped blue ties and scarves after Layton first announced he had the disease. (Layton recently took a leave of absence as leader of the NDP to battle a new cancer.) “Jack’s situation made it a real issue,” says Jones. Since then, Jones says, his organization has been able to take the blue tie and scarf awareness campaign across the country; several provincial legislatures have adopted it for a day. Layton also appeared in a print awareness campaign dubbed “It’s our time,” which encouraged people to get tested.

The buzz about Siobhan Coady

Siobhan Coady, the former Newfoundland Liberal MP who was defeated in the last election, was busy last week getting ready for Royal St. John’s Regatta, where Liberal interim Leader Bob Rae is scheduled to make an appearance. The event is volunteer-based and one of the things Coady does for it is cook up lots of seafood—often fresh crab—for the judges who have gruelling long days. There is serious buzz about Coady being encouraged to fight for the presidency of the Liberal party when the position becomes vacant in January 2012. Coady was seen as an up-and-coming political star with charm and the ability to ask tough questions. Last year she famously tore into John Baird in a committee meeting when she attacked him for being a bully and using intimidation tactics. Former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps is also considering a run at the presidency in 2012.

Mould forces the Green leader out

For the first time in over a decade, Green Leader Elizabeth May will be flying for vacation purposes. She is heading to Spain to visit her daughter, Victoria Kate, who has been studying for the summer at the Universidad de Salamanca. She feels guilty about the personal flight but it is the only way she will get to see her daughter for quite some time. May is also currently working on another book, which was commissioned by Annick Press. This one is about politics for youth. She is also hoping to travel and help out Greens in several upcoming provincial elections. Soon her mobility on flights will be temporarily limited. May is on the waiting list to have surgery. She had hip surgery on one hip four years ago. Her doctor warned her she would be back for a second one. She’s been advised she should wait three months after the surgery before getting on a plane because of the mobility issues. “I am pretty sure I can get it down to a month,” says May. The election campaign made her hip worse, she says. Many people were saying she was mimicking Jack Layton, who also walked with a cane in the election. She is on the waiting list in Ottawa because she wants to be near Parliament Hill in the event she is called in for surgery once the new session starts. She also needs to move apartments in the capital because of a mould problem in her current Ottawa residence. In the new building she’s going to, there are units where John Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas once lived.