Mitchel Raphael on why the speaker of the house didn’t recognize a ‘great Canadian’

Ultimate Fighting champion hits the Hill, Why can’t mps get her name right? and Who really wants to be a senator?

Ultimate Fighting champion hits the Hill
MPs from all parties joined a long lineup on the Hill to pay homage to Ultimate Fighting Championship champ and Quebec native Georges St-Pierre. Among those in line were Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, who got an autograph for his grandson, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, who said he used to train in the same boxing gym as St-Pierre. MP Glenn Thibeault is a big UFC fan and also the NDP’s sports critic. Ironically, he has requested a royal commission to examine violence in sports. But the MP stresses that the difference between the UFC and, say, hockey, is that the premise of the UFC is “structured” fighting as opposed to what he calls “gratuitous” violence. St-Pierre was invited to the Hill by Heritage Minister James Moore, who calls the UFC champ “a great Canadian.” (Moore owns the UFC video game and plans to get the new edition when it hits stores.) The minister hopes that Ontario will follow the lead of British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and other provinces where the fights are allowed. Moore had hoped to have St-Pierre recognized by Speaker Peter Milliken after question period, but then found out that also sitting in the Speaker’s gallery that day was Bogdan Borusewicz, Poland’s speaker of the Senate, and Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, head of the Canadian navy, who was there to commemorate the centennial of the Canadian navy. Moore decided not to ask the Speaker to recognize St-Pierre so as not to upstage the other dignitaries present. That message apparently didn’t get through to some Tories who were visibly disappointed when St-Pierre wasn’t recognized. Treasury Board president and UFC fan Stockwell Day, for one, looked upset and let out a loud “aw.’” Transport Minister John Baird shouted out to St-Pierre: “I would have recognized you.”

Why can’t mps get her name right?

There has been much buzz over Sen. Nancy Ruth telling international women’s groups to “shut the f–k up” over concerns with Stephen Harper’s maternal health initiative and its exclusion of abortion. The problem the senator has with her now much-repeated quote is that the rest of what she said seems to have been dropped by some of the opposition parties and media. She told the groups to “shut up” until after the G8 summit in June. Nancy Ruth, a proud pro-choice feminist and the only openly gay person in the Conservative caucus, has a long track record of supporting progressive women’s rights. Insiders say Harper likes Nancy Ruth and that is one reason he championed one of her issues—to make Canada’s national anthem gender neutral (he had to backtrack on it due to a backlash). One Tory MP claims the groups clamouring to include abortions fail to realize the procedure is illegal in some African countries. The other peeve Nancy Ruth has with the whole “shut the f–k up” affair has been that most MPs don’t bother getting her name right. Sen. Nancy Ruth dropped her last name, Jackman, a long time ago and goes by her given name Nancy Ruth. So referring to her as Sen. Ruth is incorrect. She is Sen. Nancy Ruth, the same way that Cher or Madonna are referred to by just their given name.

Who really wants to be a senator?
Several singers hit Ottawa to create awareness for the Canadian Private Copying Collective. Liberal MP Scott Simms found himself star-struck at a reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier when he saw Carole Pope, who said she would really like to be appointed to the Senate. Scott told Pope that if it were up to him, he’d appoint her as a senator ASAP, but on the condition that she use the F-word in speeches. Simms claims the only way to get your colleagues to perk up in debates is to swear.

Photography by Mitchel Raphael

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