Mitchel Raphael on Trudeau’s strut down the catwalk, moustache and all

Justin Trudeau’s $1,600 lunch, What worries Peter MacKay’s date, Why Harper can’t grow a moustache

Mitchel Raphael on Trudeau's strut down the catwalk, moustache and allJustin Trudeau’s $1,600 lunch
The fourth annual What a Girl Wants fundraiser for the Canadian Liver Foundation featured local firefighters peeling off their uniforms, and a performance by drag queen Dixie Landers, who lip-synched to Bette Midler’s cover of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. The performer wore bright pink stilettos and received a compliment from none other than Laureen Harper, who told Ms. Landers, “I love your shoes.” Hollywood glamour was the dinner’s theme, and each table in the Fairmont Château Laurier ballroom was named after a silver screen icon. Mrs. Harper sat at the Marilyn Monroe table along with Justin Trudeau and one of the evening’s organizers, Annette Martin of the Canadian Liver Foundation (and wife of National Post columnist Don Martin). One table over sat Liberal MP Hedy Fry, sporting a Marilyn Monroe purse and matching shoes. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt showed off a small pink glittery purse she picked up at Wal-Mart for $5. Among the items auctioned off that night: lunch with Trudeau. When Capital Diary asked Mrs. Harper if she planned to bid, she quipped, “I just had dinner with him.” The Liberal MP fretted, tongue-in-cheek, that his new moustache—grown to support the Movember prostate cancer awareness campaign—might have a negative impact on bidding. So Trudeau took to the catwalk, loosening his tie, which raised appreciative cheers—and $1,600 for the charity. Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan bid $500 and won a Sex in the City jewellery cuff worn by Kim Cattrall’s character Samantha Jones. Duncan plans to donate the piece to another liver charity in honour of a Grade 9 student she mentored in her senior year of high school. They formed a close bond, but the younger student subsequently died of liver disease.

Mitchel Raphael on Trudeau's strut down the catwalk, moustache and allWhat worries Peter MacKay’s date
The National Arts Centre hosted Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates dinner to raise funds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Decorated Olympians in attendance included Alexandre Bilodeau. Once again, Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s date for a high-profile function was former Miss World Canada and women’s rights advocate Nazanin Afshin-Jam. They have been seeing each other for seven months now, says one Tory MP. Afshin-Jam, who lives in Vancouver, is working on a book about her life and the life of Nazanin Fatehi, an Iranian woman sentenced to death after stabbing one of the men who attempted to rape her. Afshin-Jam took up Fatehi’s cause several years ago, and Fatehi was eventually released. The two Nazanins stayed in touch but have never met face to face; Fatehi is illiterate, so they’ve relied on phone calls. But in the last seven months they have lost contact, and Afshin-Jam fears the worst. The international spotlight is no longer on the case, and the family of the rapist, says Afshin-Jam, had sworn revenge.

Why Harper can’t grow a moustache
Justin Trudeau isn’t the only MP flaunting facial hair for Movember. The NDP presented their own Pat Martin the Chia Pet award for best moustache so far. Another NDP MP, Peter Stoffer, has gone one step further and now has a full beard. Liberal MP Scott Simms has a handlebar moustache. Some female MPs on the Hill are not exactly impressed with their colleagues’ new look. “Some of them look like villains and porn stars,” quipped one Liberal. Others joked about donating to charity only if Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc agrees to shave his moustache off early, because he now bears a striking resemblance to adult film legend Ron Jeremy. Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae has the sparsest growth on his upper lip but that is because, he says, he started a week late; he was in the Middle East, where he wanted to be clean-shaven. Don’t expect Stephen Harper ever to have a moustache, by the way. Laureen Harper made it clear she couldn’t abide one on her husband.

Photographs by Mitchel Raphael