Now here's a feel-good political story. The Olympic torch, which was lit just Thursday in Olympia, Greece, will be escorted back to Canada by the Canadian military on a Polaris aircraft. It arrives on Oct. 30 in Victoria. (Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the flame stays lit on the plane, but can be turned down low.) Four CF-18 Hornet fighter planes will escort that Polaris aircraft into Canadian airspace. It's the first time the military has provided an escort for the torch. "We are treating it as a very important moment for Canada," Mr. MacKay said yesterday.
The torch relay - a 45,000-kilometre odyssey - will stop at all 14 Canadian Forces bases. "Canadians are feeling very patriotic about what their soldiers, sailors ... are doing," Mr. MacKay said. "So there is a natural connection with the uniform, the service to country, the patriotism that is implicit in the Olympic games."
Fixed election dates: a bridegroom's story
Liberal Party spokesman Daniel Lauzon is getting married today, and it's all thanks to Stephen Harper.
Mr. Lauzon, 28, and his 26-year-old public servant fiancée, Laura Fisher, were engaged in March, 2008. They both love the autumn, so they decided to be married in the fall of 2009. In considering dates, Mr. Lauzon, being the political animal that he is, noticed that the Harper government's fixed election date was Oct. 19, 2009.
"So we hemmed and hawed and eventually picked Oct. 24, the Saturday following the legislated election date, to avoid a conflict with the election," Mr. Lauzon said. "I figure it's like an accountant not planning a wedding during tax season."
As it turned out, that fixed election date went right out the window. Instead, the Prime Minister decided last fall to go a year early. But Mr. Lauzon's worries still weren't over: It appeared there might be an election this fall anyway. To avoid any conflicts, he suggested moving the honeymoon to January, which they did. So they are getting married today and honeymooning in New Zealand in the new year.
"All's well that ends well," he said. "... I get to marry the prettiest and most understanding bride a man could ever hope for!"
Hot and Not:
Hot: Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar. He's no Harper Conservative. Rather, he's a New Democratic MP, but he still managed to get millions in stimulus funds for his riding - $4-million, and fourth place in the top five stimulus attracters. "I have my ways," he joked. He credited, however, a town hall meeting he held that helped identify potential projects. And he said he would never be caught holding up an oversized cheque with an NDP logo on it. "It's important to connect with people in the community, rather than connect with people who are connected," he said.
Not: Michael Ignatieff. The Liberal Leader has a not-so-flattering nickname: Iffy. And now some of his MPs are noticing how tentative he is. It's about the cancellations: He was going to China over Labour Day; he cancelled. He was to hold a huge fundraiser in the Toronto area; he's delayed it. He was to go back to Harvard University to participate in a panel celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy; he cancelled. He was to speak at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce convention; he cancelled. Is there a pattern?
Hot: The ambassadors. They met on a train last Sunday. David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, says there is romance to trains. In his blog he writes that he felt like he and his wife were going to "meet up with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall" when they went to the dining car of the VIA Rail Canadian train he took to Winnipeg from Saskatoon. Instead, he met up with Gary Doer, the new Canadian ambassador to the United States. It was Mr. Doer's last day in Manitoba and he and his wife joined the couple for the last three hours of the trip. The two met again yesterday in Ottawa at a breakfast held by think tank, Canada 2020.ca, featuring John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, who is a close adviser of U.S. President Barack Obama. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Environment Minister Jim Prentice and Liberal MPs Bob Rae and Justin Trudeau also attended the high-powered affair.