Hill Life & People

The Weekend Q&A: What are you reading these days?

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, Conservative MP Ben Lobb, and Liberal MP Ken McDonald updated us on what they have been reading these days. The Hill Times photograph by Shruti Shekar

PUBLISHED :Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 4:19 PM

PARLIAMENT HILL- For many, the holiday season evokes memories of glowing fireplaces, hot cups of cocoa, delicate snowfalls, and of course, getting cozy with a good book.

So in the spirit of the winter reading season, The Hill Times trotted down to the Hill to ask Parliamentarians what books they were plowing through, some of which may appear in our upcoming books special Dec. 18.

When asked, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods, Alta.) said he was reading Richard Florida’s latest book titled The New Urban Crisis, an unsurprising read given the scope of Mr. Sohi’s portfolio.

“It’s quite thought-provoking,” he said during a brief chat Dec. 7 on the Hill.


Mr. Sohi explained that the book is about the poverty and inequality that exists in many urban centres because of a lack of affordable housing.

“While urbanization has reaped a lot of benefits for residents and it’s a pillar of economic growth and success and there’s a lot of innovation happening, at the same time there’s a growing inequality within urban centres,” the minister said.

Conservative MP and former party leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier (Beauce, Que.) said he didn’t really have much time to read books for fun these days because, if you didn’t know, he’s been trying his hand as an author.

“I don’t read any books right now because I’m writing my own book. So I am very busy doing that every weekend. I try to write a couple of pages so I’m writing and not reading right now,” Mr. Bernier said.


Mr. Bernier announced the news last month, saying his currently untitled book would focus on the Conservative leadership race and his campaign strategy. As you surely know, Mr. Bernier finished a close second to Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu-Appelle, Sask.) after all the ballots were counted on May 27. The book will include Mr. Bernier’s planned speech, should he have emerged victorious on that fateful day.

The non-fiction read will also touch upon how Mr. Bernier first got involved in politics and his time in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, as well as providing insight into his work reforming the telecommunications sector.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, pictured, left, alongside former Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose, is currently reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. The Hill Times file photograph

Meanwhile, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.) credited her newest read to the recommendation of a bookstore in her riding.

“It was recommended to me by my local bookstore. They always have good ideas for things for escapist readings. I very rarely get to read a novel…it’s called The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry,” Ms. May said. In case you’re wondering, the Green Party leader picked up the book at Tanner’s Books in scenic Sidney, B.C.


The Essex Serpent focuses on a widowed woman and her son who move to Essex, U.K., for some peace and quiet, but soon learn that the mythical creature called the Essex serpent that takes the lives of residents has returned to the area.

Ms. May also noted that she already had another book lined up that she was to read, entitled The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre. The Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning book is about a son who tries to solve the mystery of his father’s death.

Conservative MP Ben Lobb (Huron-Bruce, Ont.) said he was reading A Moveable Feast: Sketches of the Author’s Life in Paris in the Twenties by Ernest Hemingway and noted that he was really enjoying the book.

The book is about Mr. Hemingway’s experience during the 1920s when he was a struggling journalist and writer in Paris.

Liberal MP Ken McDonald (Avalon, N.L.) said he wasn’t reading anything these days except his French homework books.

“Any reading I do now is my French lesson homework. It’s just the homework books to try and get a little better,” Mr. McDonald remarked.