Instagram, renewable fuels, among four lobby receptions Tuesday

Associations and industry groups were keen to get some face time with MPs and senators before a two-week parliamentary break starting on Monday. That made for a busy Tuesday evening as at least four companies or groups held receptions, including Instagram and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

The CRFA had a busy day Tuesday, and worked with Impact Public Affairs to organize its lobby day.

The group kicked off the morning by giving the 2014 Chevy Cruze the award for renewable fuel vehicle of the year. Conservative MP John Carmichael attended the event, for which CRFA brought a Chevy Cruz onto Parliament Hill for a photo op.

Between meetings throughout the day, the Economic Club of Canada hosted a lunch talk with the CRFA, called “Evolution and Growth: The Future of the Bioeconomy in Canada,” at the Chateau Laurier with Conservative Manitoba Senator JoAnne L. Buth and CRFA president Scott Thurlow.

Among Tuesday’s receptions, Instagram: Instagram’s John Tass-Parker, left, and Don Seymour on the Hill Tuesday evening. 

During his lunchtime speech, Thurlow noted the association’s ask to increase the amount of renewable biodiesel in diesel sold at the pumps in Canada. The CRFA is asking Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq to commit to increase the mandated amount to five per cent by 2020. Part of the ask involves making sure Canada has blended fuels available at the gas pumps.In the evening, MPs and staffers joined members of the CRFA at the Chateau Laurier for an evening reception. NDP MPs Fin Donnelly and Jasbir Sandhu came by, as well as former Conservative MP and secretary of state Ted Menzies.

Drinks showcasing Iceberg Vodka, containing renewably sourced ethanol, were on hand and attendees could learn about companies using renewable and green energy to produce everything from tomatoes to chocolate bars and nut-free peanut butter.

Facebook Inc.-owned Instagram was also on the Hill Tuesday. The photo-sharing service, popular with youth, registered this week (subscribers only) to lobby the federal government on privacy law, and held a political engagement event in Centre Block Tuesday evening.

Instagram worked with Crestview Strategies to organize the event, where Crestview partner Chad Rogers and consultants Morgan Hayduk and Jordan Benadiba were spotted.

Instagram political and government outreach coordinators John Tass-Parker and Don Seymour, who are based in Washington and have worked on political campaigns in Australia and the U.S., gave a talk to staffers and a few MPs about how to use the photo and video-sharing service to garner political support.

While visitors had some drinks and nibblies, they showed Instagram examples from Treasury Board president and selfie expert Tony Clement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. Key tips from the night were to “be authentic,” show “behind-the-scenes” action, and use popular hashtags such as #throwbackthursday or #selfie to gain more followers and likes.

MPs were busy in the House Tuesday at around 5:15 p.m. to vote on the budget implementation bill, and some cabinet ministers may have had to run off to cabinet meetings afterwards.

Also on the Hill Tuesday evening: the St. Johns Ambulance Day reception. Noël A. Kinsella, speaker of the Senate, and Andrew Scheer, speaker of the House of Commons, hosted the event in Centre Block. Parliamentarians met St. John community volunteers. A young Canadian received a life-saving award from St. John Ambulance in recognition of his knowledge and use of first aid in saving a life. The reception was part of the second annual St. John Ambulance Day on the Hill.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) also held its annual “Doctors in the House” lobby day, with a breakfast event at the Parliamentary Restaurant highlighting a poll by Nanos Research for the CMA. The survey showed what seniors and baby boomers want to see from their federal government. The CMA also held meetings with MPs throughout the day.

The Canadian Police Association held a parliamentary reception Tuesday evening at the Chateau Laurier to coincide with its annual general meeting and legislative conference. Police held a lobby day, with meetings on Parliament Hill, before their reception at 7 p.m.

And soon, to the Easter and Passover break.

All-party interest at Oceans on the Hill event with WWF

MPs from all parties attended a World Wildlife Fund-Canada afternoon lunch event on the Hill last week. “Oceans on the Hill: Whales and an Ocean of Noise” was an opportunity for the WWF to educate MPs on noise pollution in the world’s oceans and to gather support for ways to mitigate the impact of noise on marine mammals and wildlife.

The event was hosted by WWF-Canada CEO David Miller, former mayor of Toronto, along with  All-Party Oceans Caucus co-chairs Conservative MP Bruce Stanton and NDP MP Finn Donnelly.

Donnelly pointed out in a speech at the event that the oceans caucus has hosted a few events on the Hill this year, including an one in March in support of a national sustainable seafood day and an upcoming Oceans Day on the Hill in June.

A light lunch buffet of sustainable seafood was provided by The Whalesbone.

Among the MPs who attended: Green Party MP Bruce Hyer; Liberal MPs Hedy Fry, Carolyn Bennett and Joyce Murray; NDP MPs Megan Leslie, Joe Comartin and Murray Rankin; and Conservative MP Joe Daniel. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea and Government House Leader Peter Van Loan were also there.

The highlight of the event? A speech by ten-year-old Earth Rangers ambassador Rachel Marshall.

Sustainably sourced oysters courtesy of The Whalesbone in Ottawa

Sustainably sourced oysters, from Ottawa’s The Whalesbone.

WWF-Canada CEO David Miller speaks to the crowd gathered in Centre Block on Parliament Hill
WWF-Canada CEO David Miller

Miller speaks to the parliamentarians

Among the crowd were NDP MP Megan Leslie, Al-Party Oceans Caucus co-chair Finn Donnelly and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea

Some of those who attended were NDP MP Megan Leslie, Al-Party Oceans Caucus co-chair Finn Donnelly, and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea

Ten-year-old Rachel Marshall, Earth Rangers ambassador, spoke about protecting whales and their habitat

Ten-year-old Rachel Marshall, Earth Rangers ambassador, spoke about protecting whales and their habitats

NDP MP and co-chair of the oceans caucus Finn Donnelly speaks about the caucus and his work protecting oceans

NDP MP and co-chair of the oceans caucus Finn Donnelly

NDP MPs Murray Rankin (left) and Megan Leslie

NDP MPs Murray Rankin, left, and Megan Leslie

Miller (left) and Donnelly speak after the presentations on ocean noise

Miller, left, and Donnelly