Mitchel Raphael on the minister who made Flare’s list

And Hall Findlay’s canoe project

Martha Hall FindlayThe only place this MP can relax
Toronto Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay recently turned 50. For her birthday she received a hand-painted canoe paddle from her son Patrick Findlay. Her daughter gave her a framed photo of her canoe at sunset, which she plans to hang in her Ottawa office. Hall Findlay spent two years refurbishing the canoe, which used to belong to her father, stripping it down and doing the repair work herself. She was able to take some time off this summer and paddle the canoe around Georgian Bay, among the Thirty Thousand Islands. It’s the one way she can relax, she told Capital Diary. “I have a terrible time sitting still,” says the Willowdale, Ont., MP. “In the canoe I am forced to do nothing but think.”

Glen PearsonThe MP, his father and the Italian mountain
For their 10th wedding anniversary, Ontario Liberal MP Glen Pearson and his wife, Jane Roy, went to Italy for two weeks, the first real holiday they have taken alone without children or guests since they were married. The couple often travel to Africa and are usually accompanied by lots of other people. While in Sicily, Pearson and Roy climbed Mount Etna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano. Pearson really wanted to see it because it was around that site during the Second World War that his father landed with Canadian forces to fight. His father, who was wounded twice in the war, told Pearson he had seen Etna erupt. Pearson says climbing is in his blood because he grew up near the Rockies in Calgary. Etna is over three kilometres high, and it took the couple a full day to go up and down it. He says it was much easier than when he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2005. Pearson also visited the Commonwealth cemetery in the town of Agira where Canadians, including several of his father’s Second World War comrades, are buried. Pearson was so moved by the cemetery, which he discovered by fluke, that he sent a message to Defence Minister Peter MacKay to make sure he knew about it. MacKay, he says, appreciated the gesture.

Helena GuergisThe stylish minister
A bonus anniversary issue of Flare features a list of 30 of the most influential young women in Canada. Making the cut this year is the minister of state for the status of women, MP Helena Guergis. Getting featured in Flare is a far cry from Guergis’s teen years, when she was a rocker chick struggling with her weight. Guergis showed up to the Flare shoot looking so stylish the magazine did not even need to give her something to wear. They just added a silver and pearl necklace. Guergis says she comes from a family who were pretty traditional and not always supportive of women in strong leadership roles. Today, two of her first cousins, both men, are mayors of Ontario towns and her sister is a city councillor. Rick Mercer once called them the Kennedys of Simcoe Grey. Guergis is the top elected official in the family. The issue hits the stands Sept. 7.

Those fumes? It’s not our carThose fumes? It’s not our car
Drag queens, leathermen, and, for the first time, members of the Canadian Forces marched in this year’s Capital Pride parade in Ottawa. Green party members were on foot and bicycles and were led by deputy leader Adriane Carr of Vancouver. Marching right behind the Liberals, the Greens had to breathe exhaust fumes from the car the Liberals were using. Jim Watson, the Ontario minister of municipal affairs and housing, wanted it clarified that while the federal and Ontario Liberals were marching together, it was the federal Liberals’ car. During the parade, the MPP was giving out “Jim Watson” lip balm. One of the Liberal party organizers for the parade, Denis Schryburt, requested the Grits march behind the Hot 89.9 FM car so they would have good music blasting in front of them. The only MP in the parade was the NDP’s Paul Dewar.