Mitchel Raphael on who’ll be watching to see who eats seal meat and bernier’s blog

This weeks gossip from the hill

He wore his nerdiest tie just for her
Ferne Downey, the national president of ACTRA, and several actors, were recently on the Hill for the opening of the CRTC hearings. “The actors are up here to talk about Canadian content while the big slugfest is going on between the broadcasters and cable companies,” says Downey. One star who was supposed to be there was Grace Park. She played “Boomer” on the TV series Battlestar Galactica, which wrapped up this year. Steven Fletcher, minister of state for democratic reform and a huge Battlestar Galactica fan, was very excited about meeting Park, who grew up in Canada. Says the Winnipeg MP: “I wore one of my nerdiest ties—it has the periodic table on it.” Then at the last minute Park had to cancel her trip. “I was stood up by a cylon,” laments Fletcher. Downey says Fletcher shouldn’t feel bad; he’ll get another opportunity to meet Park. “She sent me a personal email and said, ‘This is a Canadian cause, Ferne, anything I can do next time around, I am all yours.’ ”

He always wondered why they played that music
For quite some time NDP MP Charlie Angus has been an occasional talk show guest on Wawatay radio, which broadcasts in the Aboriginal languages spoken in its northern Ontario reach. Whenever he visited the station, though, Angus never understood why the staff played the theme from the old TV show Spider-Man. Finally, the hosts confessed that they think the MP, with his flat-top haircut, looks like newspaperman J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man comics.

He’ll be watching you
When the Parliamentary Restaurant announced it will be serving seal meat, Liberal Sen. Mac Harb scoffed, “It is lip service to an industry that is in need of transition.” Harb is often the lone anti-seal-hunt voice on the Hill. “There are others, but they are all in the closet,” he says. Harb will not boycott the restaurant. In fact, “I will go and I will watch who is eating it. I want to see first-hand which of my colleagues is going to make a habit of it. The chef is great [there]. He will probably over-sauce it to bury the true taste.” Even seal-fur fashion angers the senator. He doesn’t think there’s any demand for it and even if there was, “it doesn’t look good.” When Capital Diary mentioned Liberal MP Larry Bagnell’s sealskin vest, Harb replied: “I’m not sure it looks great on Larry. He can’t go modelling with that. But that’s his business.”

Bernier’s one take
Conservative MP Maxime Bernier has been getting better at blogging ( The Conservative party, he says, is not too thrilled that he has a blog, but he sees it as a way to interact with his constituents and fellow Canadians. He writes often about the economy and does videos in both English and French. The first video he did took him more than 30 minutes for a three-minute, 27-second clip in both English and French. Now he says he can do the French ones in one take and the English ones in two.

Calming Baird
Transport Minister John Baird had his deceased cat, Thatcher, cremated last week. (Thatcher is the cat that caused international headlines when a “Thatcher’s dead” message had Stephen Harper’s office calling London to confirm whether Margaret Thatcher had died.) One friend said Baird’s cat had a very calming influence on the minister. So calming, in fact, his staff would sometimes stick a picture of her on Baird’s cabinet briefing notes.

Go Flaherty!
After Chancellor Angela Merkel rearranged her cabinet following the last German election, Canada’s Jim Flaherty holds a new record: he’s now the longest currently serving finance minister in the G7.