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Hill Life & People

Green day: Local funnyman Tom Green hosts picnic to stop Château Laurier expansion

By Neil Moss, Laura Ryckewaert      

Plus, Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle to run on the NDP ticket, and Ottawa-area Tory candidate Mike Lalonde drops out of election citing health concerns.

Liberal MP Mona Fortier, left, joined comedian Tom Green, and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, right, at a July 27 picnic of likeminded Ottawans who oppose the Château Laurier expansion. Photograph courtesy of Jean-Marc Carisse
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Ottawa-born comedian Tom Green’s sunset picnic beside the Château Laurier in Major’s Hill Park drew an estimated 300 people on July 27, based on media reports.

Former CBC broadcaster Don Newman with Tom Green at Major’s Hill Park on July 27. Photograph courtesy of Jean-Marc Carisse

The Canadian comedian organized the picnic in the shadow of the historic hotel as part of his push to put an end to the proposed and much-maligned Château Laurier extension. Mr. Green has become an active opponent to the project on social media and was at city hall during an ultimately unsuccessful last-ditch effort to kill the extension on July 11, which ended when a motion to reconsider revoking the heritage permit given to the building’s owners was defeated by Ottawa city council.

Among those in attendance were local Liberal MPs Mona Fortier and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Senator Jim Munson, Ottawa city councillor Rawlson King, former CBC anchor Don Newman, former Business Council of Canada chair Tom D’Aquino, and Mr. Green’s parents. Former Liberal staffer Penny Collennette, who’s among 18 co-founders of the group, Friends of the Château Laurier, which is opposed to the extension, also took part.

Microphone in hand and camera in tow, Mr. Green was seen interviewing a number of attendees, including Ms. McKenna and Sen. Munson, about the Château Laurier extension at the event.

Tom Green speaks to Ottawa City Councillor Rawlson King. Photograph courtesy of Jean-Marc Carisse

What those interviews will amount to remains to be seen—as of filing deadline, the latest upload to the comedian’s YouTube page was an official music video for his song, Live With Dignity, off his vinyl debut, The Tom Green Show, named after the TV show that first launched him into fame in the 1990s. Mr. Green also continues to do stand-up, playing a pair of shows at Ottawa’s Yuk Yuk’s comedy club on July 28.

Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle to run on NDP ticket

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, left, with newly acclaimed NDP candidate Rudy Turtle, right, at Parliament Hill on July 29. Photograph courtesy of Twitter

Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle will run in the looming federal election under the NDP banner, citing the Liberals’ lack of progress on Indigenous reconciliation for his decision to join the race.

“I want to join a team that walks the walk of reconciliation,” Mr. Turtle said in a statement. “Justin Trudeau promised us that he’d be different, but what we got was a prime minister that says the right thing in public, and does something else behind closed doors.”

In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sarcastically thanked a Grassy Narrows protestor for their donation to the Liberal Party after she interrupted a Liberal fundraiser and was kicked out by security. Mr. Trudeau later apologized for his comment. The protestor was calling on the government for long-awaited action to address a fix to Grassy Narrows’ polluted water supply.

Mr. Turtle will be a candidate in the federal riding of Kenora, Ont., which is currently represented by Liberal MP Bob Nault. Mr. Nault defeated NDP challenger Howard Hampton by a margin of 2.12 percentage points in 2015. Conservative incumbent and now Ontario Energy, Mines, Northern Development, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford finished third.

Tory candidate Mike Lalonde drops out of election due to health concerns

Mike Lalonde was hospitalized due to a cardiac episode, and will no longer be running in the federal election as the Conservative candidate for Ottawa West–Nepean, he said in a statement. Photograph courtesy of Twitter

After two cardiac events, Ottawa-area Conservative candidate Mike Lalonde has decided to withdraw from the October election.

“Although I attempted to carry on with a reduced schedule, it has now become clear that these ongoing health challenges will prevent me from continuing with the demanding schedule of a campaign,” Mr. Lalonde said in a statement.

He wrote that one of the two cardiac events forced him to be hospitalized.

“I consider an intense regimen of door knocking to be the best way to run a campaign. Sadly that isn’t possible right so I need to step down,” he added.

Mr. Lalonde was the Conservative candidate for Ottawa West-Nepean, Ont., which is currently held by Liberal MP Anita Vandenbeld. The riding was held by Conservative MP and Harper-era cabinet minister John Baird from 2006 to 2015. In the 2015, Ms. Vandenbeld defeated Conservative candidate Abdul Abdi by a margin of more than 25 percentage points.

Mr. Lalonde is a retired Canadian Armed Forces captain, now serving as an intelligence officer. He has more than 20 years experience in the Armed Forces, serving from 1994 to 2017.

Trudeau visits Vancouver’s Fountainhead Pub, may be first visit from sitting PM to a gay bar

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Liberal MP Hedy Fry at Vancouver’s Fountainhead Pub on July 29. Photograph courtesy of Charmaine de Silva/Twitter

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have become the first sitting prime minister to visit a gay bar when he did so on July 29.

While in Vancouver, Mr. Trudeau visited the Fountainhead Pub and shook hands with cheering patrons.

“This makes him the first sitting Canadian Prime Minister to visit a gay bar,” tweeted NEWS 1130 reporter Taran Parmar.

Mr. Trudeau spent about 15 minutes at the pub, according to Ms. Parmar, including taking a “swig of beer.”

The prime minister’s press team is also calling it the first visit by a sitting prime minister to a gay bar, according to a CTV report.

Canada’s 23rd prime minister was flanked by Liberal elder stateswoman Hedy Fry, who has represented Vancouver Centre, B.C., since 1993.

Vancouver’s Pride parade is on Aug. 4. Ms. Fry’s Conservative challenger David Cavey has announced he is not marching in the parade in response to the Vancouver Pride Society’s decision not to allow the Vancouver Public Library or the University of British Columbia to march in the parade.

In 2003, then-deputy prime minister John Manley visited now-closed Byzantium, a bar in Toronto’s gay village, during his Liberal leadership bid, according to a Globe and Mail report.

Dexter Nyuurnibe to join Global’s West Block ahead of election

Dexter Nyuurnibe previously worked at Global News in Halifax, N.S. Photograph courtesy of Twitter

Just in time for the upcoming October election, Dexter Nyuurnibe will be joining Global’s West Block.

“Some personal news: I’ve accepted a position with Global’s ⁦‪@TheWestBlock‬⁩ for the upcoming #elxn43!” Mr. Nyuurnibe announced on Twitter on July 27.

Following his time at J-School at the Nova Scotia Community College, Mr. Nyuurnibe worked at Global News in Halifax, N.S., as a freelance online producer.

The Edmonton-born Mr. Nyuurnibe was part of the 2019 Canadian Media Educators award-winning newsgroup. He has a passion for politics and human interest stories, according to his Global News biography.

Charlie’s Angels: Angus and band to release new album

NDP MP Charlie Angus, centre, with his band Grievous Angels. Photograph courtesy of Twitter

Northern Ontario NDP MP Charlie Angus’s band, Grievous Angels, is coming out with a new album.

Mr. Angus tweeted out news that the band finished recording its eighth album, to be titled Fields of Normandy, on July 29. The record will be released by True North Records “in the coming months,” according to Mr. Angus’ tweet. He is a guitarist and lead singer for the band, which has been active since 1986.

Mr. Angus has been the NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, Ont., since 2004. He also previously played in the band, L’Étranger, with longtime friends Peter Duffin and Andrew Cash. Mr. Cash previously served as the NDP MP for Davenport, Ont., from 2011 to 2015, and is running for re-election in the riding this October.



The Hill Times

Laura Ryckewaert

Laura Ryckewaert is a deputy editor at The Hill Times.
- lryckewaert@hilltimes.com

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