From pooch-led sleigh rides to fireside family time, MPPs send their holiday greetings

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From pooch-led sleigh rides to fireside family time, MPPs send their holiday greetings


Are provincial politicians dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card they write?

They certainly want your days to be merry and bright.

Even in this paperless era of social media and digital greetings, the traditional holiday card is a staple of MPPs from all political parties.

At the Queen’s Park bureau of the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper, the mailbox was full of cards from legislators this yuletide season.

Premier Doug Ford, who is enjoying his second Christmas at the helm of the nation’s second biggest government, sent out 8,000 cards to family, friends, supporters, and journalists.

This year’s features the premier, his wife, Karla, and their daughters, Kayla, Kara, Kyla, and Krista as well as their son-in-law, Dave, a Toronto police officer.

They are standing in front of the fireplace in Ford’s office at the legislature.

“Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays: Best Wishes For A Happy And Prosperous New Year,” reads the front of the card that is appropriately Progressive Conservative blue.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, a single mother of an adult son, is showcasing some of the younger members of her political family this season.

Horwath, who is sending out 10,500 paper cards and 30,000 digital copies, poses with the children of some of her staffers. Each is clutching a letter, spelling out H-A-P-P-Y above the word “Holidays.”

“Wishing you and your family comfort and joy throughout the holidays, and as you begin 2020,” reads the inscription.

The festive picture, festooned with poinsettias, was shot on the third floor of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

Art work created by children at Roger Neilson House in Ottawa graces the holiday card of Liberal Interim Leader John Fraser (Ottawa South).

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser, who will be succeeded by a new chief after the party’s March 7 leadership convention, has sent out 3,500 cards.

Fraser’s card features a snowman hand-painted by children at Roger Neilson House, a pediatric palliative care facility in his Ottawa South riding.

“Happy Holidays,” it reads above the snowman, who is surrounded by red and black hearts.

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“Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa,” reads the inscription inside in both English and French.

Green Leader Mike Schreiner and his family on the front of the Guelph MPP’s card.

Green Leader Mike Schreiner is sending out 2,200 cards this Christmas.

His is a family affair with spouse, Sandy Welsh, and their daughters, Isabelle and Beata, against a bucolic green backdrop.

“Happy Holidays! Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and the happiest of new years,” reads the inscription in both official languages.

Davenport NDP MPP Marit Stiles and her family hit the slopes in this picture by Toronto illustrator and designer Joanna Sevilla.

Two of the best cards the Star bureau received this year were drawn by hand.

NDP MPP Marit Stiles (Davenport) is depicted happily sledding with her husband and two teenage daughters and their two dogs in an exuberant picture by Toronto illustrator and designer Joanna Sevilla.

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates used this drawing of himself, created by his grandson, on the front of his card.

Stiles’ caucus mate, Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls), who boasts one of the legislature’s most lustrous moustaches, commissioned his grandson, Tanner Bidal, to make his card.

It features “Gatesy” — as the New Democrat is known by all — as Santa Claus with a big brown ’stache in place of Saint Nick’s white beard.

“Merry Christmas!” it reads.

Ontario's Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli (North Bay) used his card to show him and his wife Patty out doing a little Christmas tree shopping.

Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli, a former advertising executive with a knack for impish cards, has another classic this year.

It shows Fedeli and his wife, Patty, who is slightly taller than her husband, admiring Christmas trees. He is looking at a tall one while she is examining a short one and a shared thought bubble above their heads reads: “Perfect!”

Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott, whose lighthearted cards have become a much-loved tradition at Queen’s Park, is depicted on a “one-horse open sleigh” being pulled by her terrier, Phineas, while her horse, Mini Prince Hardy, is aboard the sled.

“On Dancer! On Prancer!” says a bespectacled Scott while antler-clad Phineas deadpans: “I really need to get her a new pair of glasses!”

Robert Benzie

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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