Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is reconsidering her choice of ridings, looking for one that she may be able to win in the next election. "It obviously matters enormously that I win in my own riding," she said in an interview this week from her Nova Scotia base. Her decision to try to defeat Defence Minister Peter MacKay in New Glasgow in the last election provoked much discussion about her political judgment - some observers said she was "crazy." She lives in Ottawa but has roots and a house in Nova Scotia. However, there was no surprise that Mr. MacKay won; Ms. May received 32 per cent of the vote.
Since the election, however, the Greens have been rethinking the importance of getting their leader a seat, "so [there is a]very determined decision from me as leader and the campaign committee of the party that in the next election the leader winning in her seat is ... the priority." Right now, Ms. May watches the House proceedings from the public gallery. She says she has not ruled out running in a by-election if one comes up before the next election. For now, however, there is no For Sale sign on the lawn of her New Glasgow home.
JUST A FOOTNOTE
Jim Watson is used to lots of attention. He's a former Ottawa mayor and is now a senior minister in Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's government. Earlier this week, he attended the launch of a new book, Art and Politics: The History of the National Arts Centre , by Sarah Jennings (sister of the late broadcaster Peter Jennings ). Mr. Watson had run into Ms. Jennings on the day of her launch and she told him he was in the book. So like any good politician with a healthy ego, Mr. Watson immediately checked the index when he arrived at the launch (he also bought a book).
"When I went to the page that referenced my name I burst out laughing because I was simply a footnote to the fact that I was Jayne Watson's brother." Ms. Watson is the NAC's director of communications and does not live in her brother's shadow.
HOT AND NOT
Hot: A Bermuda beach. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff urged his caucus last week to use this break week to fan out in their ridings, talk about employment insurance changes and take the pulse of their constituents. Meanwhile, Mr. Ignatieff and his wife, Zsuszanna Zsohar , took off Monday for Bermuda. Mr. Ignatieff, who is portrayed in the recent Tory attack ads as a snob who spends little time in Canada, was spotted on the southbound plane, happily reading Dan Brown's mystery thriller (now a major motion picture) Angels & Demons . No heavy political tome for him.
Not: Ottawa's reputation as a clean and boring capital city is taking a hit these days. There are three separate inquiries being conducted into politicians' questionable dealings: the Mulroney/Schreiber public inquiry, Ruby Dhalla's nanny-gate, and the trial of Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien , who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of influence peddling. A local hotelier was overheard joking: "We are going to offer a new holiday package for Ottawa visitors - two nights and three inquiries."
Hot: Date night. NDP Leader Jack Layton and his MP wife, Olivia Chow , are huge Trekkies and managed recently to take in the new Star Trek movie. "Love the story line, the dialogue and special effects," Ms. Chow said. Mr. Layton added: "It was great fun, picked up themes from the old shows while introducing intriguing new characters." (A budding film reviewer?)
Hot: Quebec - clearly, the province to woo. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not doing well there so he reached out this week at a major fundraiser in Montreal. The Tories said 2,307 tickets, at $150 a ticket, were sold. On June 4, it will be Mr. Ignatieff's turn. Liberals say they are expecting about 1,000 people, at $500 a ticket; the Montreal event is being co-chaired by some heavyweight Quebeckers - Jacques Menard , chairman of BMO; Hélène Desmarais of L'Institute Economic de Montreal; and Astral Media's Pierre Roy . Mr. Ignatieff's Liberals are beating the Harperites in Quebec in public-opinion polls.