June 23rd, 2024

MPs clad in eclipse glasses stare at ‘surreal’ celestial event on Parliament Hill

By The Canadian Press on April 8, 2024.

Federal Minister of Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne watches the total solar eclipse at Parc Jean Drapeau, in Montreal, Monday, April 8, 2024. Champagne's colleagues in Ottawa also paused the business of government briefly to take in the show. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

OTTAWA – Not even the vital business of Parliament was enough to keep MPs from slipping outside to glimpse celestial history.

Dozens of elected officials, including Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, gathered on the Hill to crane their necks skyward.

As darkness descended, Poilievre – from behind a pair of standard-issue eclipse glasses – described the moment as “surreal.”

Justin Trudeau was spotted taking in the spectacle from the roof of the building that houses the Prime Minister’s Office.

Liberal MP Jaime Battiste called it one of the biggest highlights of his time on the Hill.

Battiste said he found it humbling to imagine people sharing the experience together, regardless of political stripe.

Parliamentary activities were briefly suspended to allow MPs and their staff members to enjoy the partial eclipse.

NDP MP Leah Gazan shared a laugh with fellow parliamentarians Lori Idlout and Jenny Kwan as they watched the moon drift across the sun.

Further down Wellington Street, the foreign interference inquiry also paused briefly to let lawyers, witnesses and journalists could watch the show.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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