Stephen Harper and B-B-B Benny and the Jets. The Prime Minister's repertoire is not just limited to the Beatles as CTV's chief news anchor Lloyd Robertson and CTV Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife found out. After they had completed their year-end interview yesterday at Canada's official guesthouse, 7 Rideau Gate, Mr. Harper sat down at the grand piano and played a Beatles' tune. And then, he also played Elton John's Benny and the Jets. It's not always that the crew, who was tearing down the set from the interview, was able to enjoy some prime ministerial music to work by. Recall last October that the Prime Minister surprised and then wowed an audience at the National Arts Centre black-tie gala fundraiser when he played and sang the Beatles' song, With a Little Help from my Friends. He admitted yesterday to the two journalists that he was really, really nervous walking on to the stage. He also said that his wife, Laureen Harper, was behind it. In the end, however, he was glad he did it. Indeed, it turned out to be a very successful appearance. Meanwhile, viewers had sent in questions for the prime minister, including one about how he stays in shape given his gruelling travel schedule of late. He told Mr. Robertson and Mr. Fife that he watches what he eats, he has lost weight and he has been playing tennis and ping pong with his son, Ben. Asked about the progress of the book he is writing about the history of hockey, he said he was still working on it. And he has made no New Year's resolutions yet. The entire interview - which also full includes substantive economic news and his reflections on the political year that was - is to be broadcast on CTV on Saturday.
A tale of two Christmases. The Harpers are spending their Christmas in their hometown, Calgary. The Prime Minister flew there yesterday to meet up with his family, who had arrived a few days before. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and his wife, Zsuzsanna Zsohar, meanwhile, are trying to avoid some of the Canadian winter. They travelling to some place that is "very hot", according to a source. Mr. Ignatieff, who has not had the best of years, politically, joked to a friend that he will be on a beach "drinking anti-freeze with little umbrellas in it."
Gossip: Who was that woman snuggling up to Jack Layton? In Copenhagen for the climate change summit, NDP leader Jack Layton was accompanied by his wife, Olivia Chow, who is also a Toronto NDP MP. An extremely political couple, Mr. Layton said in a recent interview that it was great that his wife was able to be the staffer on his trip to Copenhagen. But her role had some tongues wagging. Mr. Layton and his wife, Ms. Chow, are at times openly affectionate. Mr. Layton noted that they held hands and they may have "smooched on occasion." And this did not go unnoticed by a keenly observant Quebec reporter, who was at the climate change conference. The reporter - Mr. Layton would not name him - figured he was on to some really hot gossip when he mentioned to a colleague that he thought something was going on between "Layton and Chow." The colleague, who later told Mr. Layton the story, set his fellow reporter straight - the two are happily married and have been for some time. "We got a helluva laugh out of that," said Mr. Layton.