Mitchel Raphael on the lululemon cabinet minister

And the exercise-challenged MP

A) Once a day? B) Once a decade?????A) Once a day? B) Once a decade?????

When the Canadian Medical Association was visiting the Hill, many MPs were given a health evaluation. “Do you exercise once a day?” Montreal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was asked. “No,” he replied. “Once a week?” Again, he replied no. When the questioner got to once a month, the champion for human rights who has served as counsel for such former political prisoners as Nelson Mandela explained he just doesn’t have time for exercise. Cape Breton Liberal MP Mark Eyking noted many MPs, including him, were given pedometers to measure how much they walked in a day. How effective they’ll be remains to be seen. Eyking demonstrated for Capital Diary that just by shaking the machine a little, the number goes up.

Pearson delivers licorice aidPearson delivers licorice aid

Liberal MP Glen Pearson helps people in need. He has made huge aid efforts for Darfur refugees and has even adopted three children from war-torn Sudan: a son, Ater Roy, 11, and eight-year-old twin girls Abuk Roy and Achen Roy (their last name is from Pearson’s wife, Jane Roy, who is from a family of all girls; she wanted the family name carried on). When Capital Diary informed Pearson that Bev Oda, minister of international co-operation, had stale licorice snacks in her Commons desk, Pearson took action. He sent Oda two envelopes during question period. The first was a UN proposal for $6 million to help Darfur refugees. Oda smiled at Pearson when she opened it; when she opened the second envelope she burst out laughing—it was two packs of Twizzlers. Oda went over to thank Pearson for the licorice and assured him she would look at the UN report. When Pearson was first elected, he asked the Conservative government for $6 million to help refugees from Darfur. It gave $3 million to aid 100,000 refugees. Now he says there are 60,000 new refugees that need money. “When I see people in need of food, I need to deliver it,” Pearson told Capital Diary. One licorice pack was for Oda, the other for her House seatmate, Labour Minister Rona Ambrose, who dips into Oda’s candy stash. Back at her desk, Oda shared the treats with others. “The next thing I know,” said Pearson, “[Public Safety Minister Peter] Van Loan was chomping on the licorice. He looked over and smiled.”

Lululemon LisaLululemon Lisa

During a vote, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Josée Verner pointed out to her fellow cabinet minister Lisa Raitt that Raitt had a tag sticking out of her clothes. And not just any tag. “You’re wearing Lululemon!” Verner exclaimed. Raitt had a flight right after the vote and had wanted to be comfortable in her yoga-inspired duds. Raitt now joins the ranks of the late Chuck Cadman and former Conservative MP Myron Thompson who also brought casual wear to the House by sporting jeans.

The power of three cookiesThe power of three cookies

President Barack Obama’s impromptu visit to Ottawa’s ByWard Market has almost turned it into a secular version of the Stations of the Cross. Le Moulin de Provence bakery, where he got his three maple-leaf- shaped cookies, has a huge display of them with a sign touting Obama’s purchase; they are selling like hotcakes. And when the Genies rolled into Ottawa, eTalk bought a box for their media area as they interviewed Canadian film stars. Bakery manager Ailicec Gonzalez says they’re selling 400 cookies a day. Pre-Obama, they sold maybe 100 a day. The price of the shortbread cookies “made from a unique Italian recipe” remains the same: $2.25 plus tax. In addition to the sales at the market, orders have come in from coffee shops and small restaurants in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and some Canadian government agencies in the capital have switched their regular cookie orders to the “Obama cookies.” Even a government agency in Washington (it wouldn’t identify itself) has placed an order.