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(Bill Grimshaw)
(Bill Grimshaw)

Ottawa Notebook

The progeny of prime ministers Add to ...

Justin Trudeau talks frankly about the breakup of his parents' marriage in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow night on CPAC.

"They loved each other incredibly, passionately, completely," he said of Pierre and Margaret Trudeau. "But there was 30 years between [them] And my Mom never was an equal partner in what encompassed my father's life, his duty to his country."

Justin Trudeau, 37, a Quebec Liberal MP, father and husband (who says he learned from his parents' failed marriage) was interviewed by the host of CPAC's Beyond Politics , Catherine Clark, 32, whose father, Joe Clark, defeated Justin's father in 1979.

Ms. Clark adds her own humorous memories, telling a story of her mother, Maureen McTeer, stumbling upon a raccoon in the kitchen of the official summer residence at Harrington Lake. Ms. McTeer asked the RCMP to kill any other raccoons they came across. "About five minutes later, she heard about five shotgun shots and the RCMP had taken her to heart," recalls Ms. Clark. Ms. McTeer, who didn't think they would actually do it, was later asked by RCMP officials if she had authorized the discharge of weapons.

Both Ms. Clark and Mr. Trudeau loved Harrington Lake for its privacy. Mr. Trudeau recalls fondly his trips to the lake in his father's 1960 Mercedes 300 SL roadster. "When we used to drive up to Harrington on the weekends, it was my father in the driver's seat, me in the passenger seat with Mich [youngest brother, Michel, who died in a skiing accident in 1998]in my lap, and Sach [middle brother, Sacha]sitting astride the gearshift. It was a little two-seater and we put all four of us in there and we'd drive up."

The car is his now: "A little piece of my childhood that I still have in my life."

He speaks fondly of his brothers and his father. He says he knows his father is watching over him, but "I just can't ask him for his opinion any more."

Ms. Clark did not ask whether Mr. Trudeau wants to be Prime Minister.

Michael Ignatieff begins to put together his cabinet

The search for "star" candidates is on, as the Ignatieff Liberals comb the country and make some interesting offers to perspective candidates. The Liberal Leader recently visited former B.C. attorney-general Wally Oppal, who was narrowly defeated in the May provincial election, and offered him the justice portfolio if he were to run federally, according to a source close to Mr. Oppal. The former senior court judge is "mulling over" the offer, which he finds "intriguing" and "appealing," because of the opportunity to become justice minister if he and the Liberals were to win, said the source.

Liberals also see opportunities in Quebec, where two former national directors of the party - Steve MacKinnon and Greg Fergus - are looking to run in western Quebec ridings. And there is always sparring among Liberals in Ottawa Centre - now held by the NDP, but coveted by Liberals, who represented it for 12 years. Grassroots Liberal organizer Isabel Metcalfe is looking at her options, as is long-time Grit Scott Bradley and business executive Janet Yale.

Hot and Not

Not: Jean Chrétien is not a fan of the separatists. It is not surprising, then, that Le Devoir, a newspaper that has supported Quebec sovereignty, ran a minuscule item on page 3 this week about his prestigious appointment to the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth.

Hot: Jean Chrétien. La Presse, the federalist newspaper in Quebec owned by the Desmarais family, (Mr. Chrétien's daughter, France, is married to a Desmarais), "monster-ed" its coverage of Mr. Chrétien's award this week, which included stories on the front page and two full pages inside.

Hot: KISS. Politicians, past and present, came out Wednesday night to see the band, KISS, all tongues and face paint, rock the stage at Ottawa's Bluesfest. Ontario Tory MP Dean Del Mastro and former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin were among the fans (no face paint on them). Then, yesterday, another Newfoundlander, former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier, was spotted having lunch on a restaurant patio with the members of Blue Rodeo, who played last night at Bluesfest. Last year, the band went to Afghanistan with Mr. Hillier.

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