Party season in Ottawa
It's party week at the official Opposition leader's residence of Stornoway. Last night, Stéphane Dion and his wife, Janine Krieber, hosted a reception for MPs and journalists. Tonight and tomorrow night, members of the "Laurier Club" (those donating over $1,000 annually) and Liberal staffers will descending on the place.
Last night's spread was impressive -- a heavy emphasis on local food and merchants, served on real china, under a marquee tent filled with fresh flowers. For entertainment -- as if we reporters aren't diverting enough -- they had wandering fortune tellers and costumed performers doing rope and card tricks. The fortune teller's puppet was a bit scary, actually. Former health minister and B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh tried to get his palm read too late -- the fortune teller was leaving for the night. He wanted to see if he could get an update on a prediction given to him years and years ago, which forecast that he would be famous by 50 and dead at 51. (He's 62 now.)
Dion mingled with the guests, but warned all he was sick. And indeed, the Liberal leader didn't look all that well, and sounded worse. He said he's been suffering a cold for two weeks. On the upside, Dion said, one of the advantages of travelling around the country while ill is that he gets all kinds of homespun advice on cold remedies. He's tried special soups and elixirs almost everywhere he's gone.
Meanwhile, there's also the big Speaker's barbecue tonight, at the farm out in the Gatineau Hills. Parliament Hill denizens are brought out there by the busload and often stay until the wee hours.