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Hill Life & People

House Speaker Regan hosts kitchen party at Kingsmere Farm

By Neil Moss      

Plus, Liberal MP Rob Oliphant has emergency appendix removal surgery and his caucus colleague Peter Fragiskatos gets hitched.

House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan joins the band to sing a rendition of the Anne Murray classic "Song for the Mira" during his East Coast Kitchen party hosted at The Farm in Kingsmere, QC on June 3, 2019. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
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Members of Parliament and members of the parliamentary press gallery rubbed elbows at the House of Commons Speaker’s Residence in Kingsmere on June 3.

Dozens of oysters, shrimp, salmon, and lobster were served at ‘The Farm’ along with Halifax donairs with the signature special sauce.

House Speaker Geoff Regan was spotted on the dance floor with Reuters’ Kelsey Johnson and The Hill TimesAndrew Meade, among others. Mr. Regan also took the microphone to sing a rendition of the Anne Murray classic Song for the Mira with the band, Hadrian’s Wall.

Various local breweries took part in Conservative MP Scott Reid‘s annual beer tasting, which took place alongside the Speaker’s event. Speaker Regan’s own scotch was also a popular item for the guests, a 12-year-old Aberlour Highland single malt.

Geoff Regan dances with guests at his East Coast Kitchen Party. The Hill Times photograph by Neil Moss

Independent MPs Tony Clement and Erin Weir were seen chatting. Liberal MP Darren Fraser donned a Boston Bruins jersey and cap. Game four of the Stanley Cup Finals was being broadcast at the outdoor kitchen party, Mr. Fraser’s beloved Bruins lost to the St. Louis Blues 4-2, evening the series 2-2.

Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair was spotted chatting with the Huffington Post‘s Althia Raj.

East Coast MP Matt DeCourcey was there, along with fellow Liberal MPs Jennifer O’Connell, John McKay, Chris Bittle, and Rachel Bendayan. Conservative MP Michael Barrett was among the crowd, as well as NDP MP Gord Johns.

The MPs were joined by The Globe and Mail‘s Campbell Clark and Bill Curry, CTV’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver, Mackenzie Gray, and Rachel Gilmore, Huffington Post‘s Zi-Ann Lum, CBC’s David Thurton, National Post‘s Marie-Danielle Smith and Jesse Snyder, Global’s Amanda Connolly, Reuters’ David Ljunggren, Journal de Montréal‘s Christopher Nardi, Presse Canadienne’s Catherine Lévesque, and Stephen Maher, among others.

Jeffrey Simpson and other press gallery vets get mugged

Former Globe and Mail national affairs columnist Jeffrey Simpson recently received a mug in honour of his lengthy journalism career on Parliament Hill.

Former Globe and Mail national columnist Jeffrey Simpson. The Hill Times file photograph

Mr. Simpson, who was also given life membership in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in the mugging on May 31, first joined The Globe in 1974 after working as an intern for then-future NDP leader Ed Broadbent.

Mr. Simpson is an award-winning author and has published eight books on Canadian politics and current affairs; he first started his national affairs column in 1984. Over the years, Mr. Simpson served as Ottawa bureau chief and a European correspondent for the paper.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery gives a mug to every departing member if they have been on the Hill for three years in what’s known as a “mugging” ceremony.

A few others received mugs alongside Mr. Simpson at the May 30 event, including former Hill Times reporter Shruti Shekar and former deputy editor Derek Abma. Recently-retired CBC cameraman Mike de Paul (now infamous for his ability to walk, smoke, drink coffee and capture sound) also got a mug, and now-retired freelance cameraman Willy Puerstl, who’s also a former Olympian, also became a life member of the gallery. Ms. Shekar now works for Mobile Syrup in Toronto, and Mr. Abma works in communications at the Department of National Defence.

Rob Oliphant has emergency appendix removal surgery

Rob Oliphant expects a ‘quick recovery’ from unexpected surgery. Photograph courtesy of Twitter

Liberal MP Rob Oliphant is recovering from emergency surgery in Toronto to remove his appendix.

Mr. Oliphant made news of his surgery public on Twitter on June 2, saying after a couple days in his riding of Don Valley West, Ont., he felt an “increasing pain” in his abdomen and was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital. The next day, he tweeted an update, saying he expects he’s “in for a quick recovery.”

The United Church minister was recently appointed parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. He was previously chair of the House of Commons’ Public Safety and National Security Committee and the House Citizenship and Immigration Committee.

The second-time MP has served in the House non-concurrently from 2008 to 2011 and from 2015 to present.

Deceased Parliamentarians honoured in Senate

Twenty-eight MPs and Senators who died since May 2018 were celebrated in the Senate Chamber on June 3.

The ceremony remembering five former Senators and 23 past MPs was the 20th annual service.

Pierre Trudeau-era Liberal cabinet minister Pierre De Bané, NDP MP Paul Dewar, and Brian Mulroney‘s former finance minister Michael Wilson were among those being honoured.

“The ceremony is a meaningful opportunity to celebrate their legacies in the Parliament they helped to shape,” Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians president Dorothy Dobbie said in a statement. Ms. Dobbie was a Progressive Conservative MP who served in the House of Commons from 1988 to 1993.

The ceremony brought together family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased former lawmakers.

Trudeau and Obama grab a beer

Former U.S. president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau grabbed a beer at the Big Rig Brewery. Photograph courtesy of Adam Scotti/Twitter

Former U.S. president Barack Obama was in Ottawa May 31 for a question-and-answer session at the Canadian Tire Centre, and he reconnected with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while in town.

It is not the first time the two have caught up since Mr. Obama left the White House in January 2017. In June of that year , the two grabbed dinner at Liverpool House in Montreal.

This time, Mr. Obama and Mr. Trudeau grabbed a beer at the Big Rig Brewery in Ottawa’s west end. Mr. Obama had an amber ale and Mr. Trudeau drank an IPA.

The visit came on the tails of U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence’s visit to Ottawa on May 30.

Peter Fragiskatos gets hitched

Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos and his wife, Katy. Photograph courtesy of Twitter

Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos got married to now-wife Katy last weekend.

“Yesterday, I married the love of my life and my best friend. Thank you to our family, friends and the community for your support and well wishes. It means so much to Katy and I,” Mr. Fragiskatos tweeted on June 2.

The 38-year-old former political science professor has represented the riding of London North Centre, Ont., since 2015

Crestview Strategy expands south of the border

Maryscott Greenwood will lead Crestview’s new Washington, D.C. office. The Hill Times file photograph

Crestview Strategy is expanding to Washington, D.C., and the new shop will be led by Maryscott “Scotty” Greenwood.

Ms. Greenwood has led the Canadian American Business Council since 2001. She was previously chief of staff to former U.S. ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin.

“I have worked closely with, and at times opposed to, Crestview Strategy over the years and am phenomenally impressed with their creativity and work ethic on behalf of clients. The opportunity to join forces with Canada’s leading public affairs agency is irresistible,” said Ms. Greenwood in a statement.

“There is important work to be done to support the Canadian American business community, and I look forward to building Crestview Strategy’s practice in D.C. and serving clients on both sides of the border,” she said.

Ms. Greenwood will become a partner at the public affairs firm, as well as the managing director of their U.S. business.

Crestview’s D.C. office will be its fifth—with others open in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, and Calgary—and will be located steps away from the Dupont Circle neighbourhood.


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