To Martha, from Stephen
After Toronto Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay made a fuss about “partisan” images of the Prime Minister all over government websites, the pictures suddenly disappeared. Later, in the House, wanting to make a point of the Conservatives suddenly trying to mask the blatant advertising, she asked why “someone” had “removed dozens of photos of the Prime Minister from the website for the economic action plan.” The response came from Transport Minister John Baird: “While the Liberal party is trolling the Internet looking for pictures of the Prime Minister, it is this Conservative government that is working hard to create jobs to inspire more hope.” The next day Baird came over to Hall Findlay with a signed picture of Stephen Harper. The PM had inscribed it: “To Martha, I heard you’re looking for a photo!”
They’re still pink
The National Liberal Women’s Caucus released its new volume of “The Pink Book: An Action Plan for Canadian Women.” When Belinda Stronach launched the first Pink Book there was much eye rolling over the use of the word “pink.” Stronach is gone now, but the name has stuck; some members say they’ve “gotten used to it.” At a reception following the launch, Winnipeg Liberal MP and women’s critic Anita Neville introduced Michael Ignatieff as the leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba. “Is this a case of ‘Honey, I shrunk the leader?’ ” Iggy quipped.
What the wiggling means
A special reception hosted by several non-government groups was held at the National Arts Centre in honour of Peter Milliken’s new record: Canada’s longest-serving speaker. Too bad the food looked as if it had come from the frozen foods section of a discount supermarket. At the bash, Vancouver NDP MP Libby Davies noted that the Speaker treats all MPs as equals and ensures everyone feels a part of the House. She also described Milliken’s “awesome body language—he raises his eyebrows and he wiggles his bum in the chair, which means, ‘It’s time you shut up, and your question is almost over.’ ” For years, Milliken has been inviting small groups of MPs from all parties to dinner so they can get to know each other better. In his nearly four years on the Hill, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he has not once been able to make it to one of them. Finally Milliken told him recently, “Okay, you just pick a night.” At one of his dinners, the Speaker took the time to enlighten Labour Minister Rona Ambrose about Quebec cheeses. At the reception, Milliken’s humour was also noted. Once, when former Conservative MP Art Hanger was talking about investigating caning as a form of punishment in Canada, the Speaker picked up in New York a book about how they cane people in Singapore and left a copy on the MP’s House desk.
The PM’s baby toss
Much-loved CTV journalist Rosemary Thompson leaves the Hill to join the NAC as its new communications director. As the network’s Washington correspondent, she was on the White House lawn as 9/11 unfolded. Memorable moments include dinner with Paul Martin for an APEC meeting in Chile: “We were both extremely drunk and he flirted with me for most of the evening. Of course, nothing happened.” When Thompson adopted a baby from China, Stephen Harper invited her and her new daughter to 24 Sussex, where he bounced the baby on his knee and played a game called “hot potato, where he would toss her in the air and grab her.”
Is a hotel home?
Sen. Linda Frum has settled on how she’ll handle living arrangements in Ottawa. The Torontonian consulted several people, asking whether it was better to rent or stay in a hotel. Men voted for hotels; women said it was best to have your own place. She went with the women’s recommendation. Bucking that trend, however, is Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt, who currently rents a place but has decided to switch to a hotel.