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Hill Life & People

Congratulations: Jagmeet Singh, Post Malone meet up and it looks lit

By Shruti Shekar      

Andrew Scheer hosts first Christmas Party as Official Opposition Leader. Media and Parliamentarians square off in a hockey game on the Hill. Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette gets in the festive spirit.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh hung out with rapper Austin Richard Post, better known as Post Malone during the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on Dec. 9 in Toronto. Photograph courtesy of Jagmeet Singh's Instagram
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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is a Post Malone fan. Mr. Singh recently posted a photo on Instagram of himself alongside up-and-coming rapper Post Malone, saying he listened to one of the dreadlocked artist’s most popular songs constantly while campaigning for the NDP leadership earlier this year.

“I listened to @postmalone’s track ‘Congratulations’ literally every day during the leadership campaign. Something about the bravado laced confidence of the track touched on the spirit of our campaign,” Mr. Singh wrote in the Dec. 12 post.

“We were setting out to achieve something that had not been achieved in the history of our country. It takes a little bravado to do that.”

James Smith, Mr. Singh’s press secretary, said the NDP leader met the American hip-hop star while in Toronto attending the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on Dec. 9, where Post Malone was performing. Post Malone’s monster hit Congratulations, first released on Nov. 4, 2016,  has reached almost 600 million views worldwide on YouTube.

On Instagram, Mr. Singh wrote he had a chance to meet up with the rapper and learned more about his music and his beloved tune. Mr. Malone purportedly talked to Mr. Singh during the meeting about how he got his start in the music industry as a teenager.

“People were skeptical about his career choice and chances for success in the future. He kept grinding,” Mr. Singh posted.

Mr. Singh was making headlines all over the internet last week, when he found his way into Google’s 2017 recap video detailing the most popular searches of the past year.

A short clip of Mr. Singh making his speech after he won the NDP leadership in October was shown right after the question “How to run for office,” which was one of the top searches for the year.

The beginning of the video starts with: “This year more than ever we asked ‘how.’ ”

Other top searches included: “How far can North Korean missiles go,” “How many refugees in the world,” and “How to help flood victims.”

Mr. Singh is the first visible minority person to lead a major federal party in Canada.

Parliamentarians, media try out Hill rink for a game of hockey

Holy Canadiana, Batman: MPs and Senators played a game of hockey on the Canada 150 Rink on Parliament Hill on Dec. 14 against the members of the press gallery and won. Photograph courtesy of Vance Badawey’s Twitter

Fighting off bitterly cold temperatures, Parliamentarians and members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery ventured off to the newly completed Canada 150 Rink on the front lawn of Parliament Hill last Thursday to take part in Canada’s most famous national pastime.

In a light-hearted hockey game played amidst -18 temperatures, the MPs and Senators downed the Hill media squad by a 3-2 margin, with Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau scoring the winning goal with less than 30 seconds left, according to Global News’ Mike Le Couteur.

Speaker of the House Geoff Regan, left, with Liberal MPs Marc Miller and Vance Badawey on the rink. Photograph courtesy of Vance Badawey’s Twitter

“It was a great game and it was one of those things where it was happy and miserable all at the same time because of how cold it was, it really really was a good time,” the television journalist told HOH.

Liberal MP Stéphane Lauzon helped organize the team of parliamentarians, and La Presse‘s Joël-Denis Bellavance helped organize the rival press team.

Conservative leader Scheer’s media Christmas party was, sadly, karaoke-free

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer hosted the annual Christmas party for the media at Stornoway on Dec. 13, though unlike the official caucus shindig hosted earlier in the month, there were no ballads being belted out.

The gathering at the official residence of the Leader of the Official Opposition drew a packed crowd of nearly 50 people, mostly members of the press gallery, but also some staffers.

In one corner, CTV’s Rachel Aiello, Rachel Swatek, and Alyson Fair enjoyed their evening, while CBC’s John Paul Tasker spent time hanging out with purported lookalike Michel Boyer from CTV. Mr. Tasker told The Hill Times that two have been occasionally mistaken for each other.

CTV’s Michel Boyer with CBC’s John-Paul Tasker at the Conservative Christmas party event on Dec. 13. The Hill Times photograph by Shruti Shekar

The Hill Times also slyly overhead that at a Conservative Party Christmas shindig a few years back, Tory MP and onetime cabinet minister Kellie Leitch used her turn on the karaoke stage to belt out Cyndi Lauper’s beloved 80s classic Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Too bad that didn’t happen at this year’s party.

Cory Hann, director of communications for the Conservative Party, said there was some karaoke singing at the party’s caucus Christmas party on Dec. 7, describing it as the highlight of the night.

Looks like the Conservatives love to sing at their parties, eh?

Kenzie Potter, Mr. Scheer’s principal secretary, was also spotted at the Stornoway function. Ms. Potter is due to give birth in the new year, and told HOH back in October that her husband wouldn’t let her find out if it was a boy or girl.

Le Devoir’s Marie Vastel was also spotted, as well as National Post’s Brian Platt and Marie-Danielle Smith.

Also seen in the crowd was Julie Pham, the communications adviser for ethnic media in Mr. Scheer’s office, who chatted with The Hill Times about her time working for Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, before switching over to the House side.

Stephen Hendrie, an independent consultant on Arctic issues, was also at the event, saying he was coming from What the Hell is Happening? Inside U.S. Politics event hosted by think-tank Canada 2020 at the Westin Hotel.

Mr. Hendrie said the Canada 2020’s guest speaker, John Heilemann, was absolutely incredible and hilarious. Mr. Heilemann is an award-winning author and former host of Showtime’s political documentary series The Circus, which was about the 2016 election and U.S. President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. Mr. Hendrie said Mr. Heilemann completely explained the need-to-know intricacies of Mr. Trump.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette is in the festive spirit

Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette’s Christmas card is a real keeper.

Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette sent out a photoshopped Christmas card to many people this year. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Ouellette’s office

The festive greeting card sent by the Winnipeg MP shows his family standing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with Mr. Ouellette not-so-subtly inserted in the backdrop via Photoshop, complete with a red Santa hat.

“He just really loved that picture of his family…he said having five young kids, it’s tough to get a picture where everyone is looking good,” said Mr. Ouellette’s office when asked about the unique design choice.

His office explained that the intention was to make the edits look obvious so it would appear the MP wasn’t in the original picture. They couldn’t place an exact time for when the original was taken, but said it was about two years ago.

“He wanted…people to know it’s his Christmas card…he wanted to make it a bit funny, but really he just loved the picture,” explained Mr. Ouellette’s office.

The Winnipeg MP, clearly a fan of the festive season, was also seen on the Hill on Dec. 12 sporting a Christmas-themed suit and tie that he described to The Winnipeg Free PressDylan Robertson as “tree-mendous.”

Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette sports a Christmas-themed suit in the House on Dec. 12 Photograph courtesy of Dylan Roberton’s Twitter

Mr. Ouellette is definitely one for dressing up for holiday occasions. After all, he sported a seemingly Dexter-inspired blood-spattered suit this past Halloween.

Separated at birth, eh?

Reuters photographer Chris Wattie, left, and The Hill Times’ photographer Andrew Meade. Photograph by Canadian Press photographer Fred Chartrand

No, you aren’t seeing double. Reuters photographer Chris Wattie and The Hill Times photographer Andrew Meade strike a pose during the Parliamentary Press Gallery mugging on the Hill on Dec. 8. Muggings are lunches for the entire press gallery, held a few times a year and to say goodbye to members who have left the Hill. The members who leave get a mug with their name engraved on it, which is why it’s called a “Mugging.”

Summa Strategies makes a handful of new additions

Summa Strategies has added three new faces to its roster just in time for the holiday season, bringing aboard ex-ministerial staffer Joanne Dobson, former Hill and Knowlton consultant Alik Angaladian, and government relations veteran Meredith Logan. The three additions were revealed in a Dec. 14 press release from Ottawa GR firm Summa.

Ms. Dobson has ties to the Hill, serving as the special assistant for B.C. and Northern Canada to former Indian and Northern Affairs minister Andrew Mitchell from April to July 2004, and later as a policy adviser to Mr. Mitchell when he was shuffled over to the agriculture portfolio from August 2004 to February 2006, during the Liberal government of the time.

Ms. Dobson was also a consultant at Hill and Knowlton Strategies and worked as a senior strategic adviser for Port Metro Vancouver. During her time as a consultant, she was the secretary for the Government Relations Institute of Canada in 2014.

Ms. Angaladian most recently worked as a consultant at Hill and Knowlton, and before that, spent almost three years with Temple Scott Associates.

Ms. Logan was most recently a senior adviser of public affairs for the Mental Health Commission of Canada from August 2013 to January 2015.  She also previously worked as a was a senior adviser of public affairs to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and as the coordinator of government relations for the Canadian Dental Association.

Ms. Logan also spent some time on the Hill, working as a political adviser for the Atlantic region for former Liberal Human Resources minister Jane Stewart and as an legislative assistant to Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc.



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