Capital Diary: Laureen Harper gets all fired up, and Elizabeth May’s liquid lunch

Cooking with Laureen

The Canadian Gas Association held their second annual Now We’re Cooking with Gas reception at the National Arts Centre. The first course was steak tartare—which some joked seemed odd at an event that was all about “cooking” with gas. It was then pointed out that the tempura bits added to the raw steak were indeed cooked over gas. Laureen Harper passed on the first dish, noting she does not eat any raw meat, including sushi. Harper also told Capital Diary that she will not wear fur “unless the whole animal is used.” So she said she would wear seal fur and wears leather “because they use the whole cow.” The next course was a vegetarian dish. When NAC’s executive chef Michael Blackie asked if there were any vegetarians in the crowd, he was shocked when the room was silent, noting that he has never had that happen before. At the event, the Canadian Gas Association presented a cheque for Algonquin College’s hospitality and tourism program in honour of the NAC’s late executive chef Kurt Waldele. Harper shared her fond memories of Waldele and said she has yet to meet an Ottawa chef who did not at one point work with the culinary legend. Cooking with gas is something familiar to Harper: “In Alberta that’s all we use . . . and campfires,” she said.

An otherworldly achievement

Speaker Andrew Scheer hosted a special reception on the Hill for astronaut Chris Hadfield, who heads back to space in December and will take command of the International Space Station in March. He will be the first Canadian to do so. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt presented Hadfield with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Hadfield is from Raitt’s Ontario riding of Halton, where his parents still live and are active in the community. Raitt says she saw the astronaut’s father, Roger Hadfield, at last year’s Milton Steam-Era festival, where he had built from scratch a First World War Hucks starter that was used to help start up airplanes. It is now in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. She says that the astronaut is one of the biggest celebrities in her riding.

Hungry for a cause

When a group of climate change activists organized a 12-day hunger strike on the Hill, Green Leader Elizabeth May only consumed fluids for four days, to show her solidarity for the cause. Her secret? Lemon-lime Gatorade. “I needed to replace my electrolytes,” she explains. May noted that she does not only go on hunger strikes against Conservatives. In 2001, she was on a 17-day hunger strike while the Liberals were in power. She was protesting the Sydney tar ponds in Cape Breton.