Mitchel Raphael on why kids love spending time at Paul Martinland

Don’t tell the PMO they helped him, Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth May and The Queen, the Emperor and Obama

Don’t tell the PMO they helped him
When Liberal MP Glen Pearson gave his children a choice of summer holiday—either Disney World in Florida or to the home of former prime minister Paul Martin, an hour outside Montreal in the Eastern Townships—the kids said, “Paul Martin’s.” (In the end he took them to both places.) Paul Martin has a pond with a trampoline that the kids love jumping on. His property also has a golf course and the kids like riding on the golf carts. Pearson is not a golfer but his wife, Jane Roy, is. Summer trips to Martin’s home are becoming a Pearson family tradition. Martin is the one who convinced Pearson to enter politics and, jokes the Ontario MP, “I have cursed him ever since.”

Pearson just finished writing a book on how to overhaul the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). In fact, he’s written more than 50 books. None has been published. The book on CIDA is called For All the Right Reasons. He says only one person has taken a jab at him for putting the word “right” in the title. The book talks about, among other things, focusing relief efforts back onto Africa, getting university students involved in CIDA, and fostering more concern about the environment when it comes to overseas projects. The book is based in part on discussions Pearson has had with both Martin and former British PM Tony Blair.

Pearson gave drafts of the book to colleagues in all parties for input: Nicole Demers and Johanne Deschamps of the Bloc, Paul Dewar and John Rafferty of the NDP. Pearson says he can’t name the Conservative MPs who helped because they could get in trouble with the PMO. The MP notes that if the Liberals win the next election, it would likely be a minority government and he feels it’s best to work with all parties now.

Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth May
Green Leader Elizabeth May was pleased that delegates at her party’s convention in Toronto this month decided to keep her as leader and move to having leadership reviews following elections, as opposed to fixed terms for leaders. This puts the Green party in line with the other national political parties. One of the highlights of May’s time in Toronto was a fundraiser with Graeme Gibson and Margaret Atwood. May says Atwood is not an “out” Green party supporter but “she is a supporter of me getting elected.” May’s daughter, Victoria Kate, picked out her outfits for the convention. May’s “stylist/friend” Shelagh M’Gonigle has been helping May pack up her Ottawa house, which was sold and finally closes on Sept. 15. The Green leader now has a one-bedroom apartment in Ottawa and has been desperately trying to downsize her book collection by donating to charity sales. In June, she also sold her house in New Glasgow, N.S., located in the riding of Defence Minister Peter MacKay, whom she tried to beat in the last election. She has a house in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in B.C., where she is running against Gary Lunn, minister of state for sport. While she was in Cape Breton this summer she hiked with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Because they were on a trail where a coyote had attacked a girl, May says they made lots of noise so the animals knew they were there. Still, that didn’t stop a moose from blocking their path.

The Queen, the Emperor and Obama
When Queen Elizabeth II was in Canada, Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda brought her mother, Kaye Oda, along to meet her. She also brought her mother to meet Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan when they came to Canada. Now when the Japanese Embassy invites Oda to functions, the invite is for the minister and “her mother.” Recently, Oda’s mother has been hinting there’s another person she’d like to meet. Does her daughter, she wonders, “by any chance” have a meeting coming up with Barack Obama?

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