Day 6

From stunning art to drab curtains: Rating Canadian parliamentarians' Zoom rooms

Canadian MPs packed into a video call for their first-ever virtual sitting this week. It gave Canadians a chance to critique their home and office decor choices.

'Thankfully, Canadian democracy still continues in these uncertain times,' says Chris Nardi

Clockwise from top left: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs, Liberal MP Navdeep Bains and NDP MP Daniel Blaikie join a virtual parliament session over Zoom on April 28, 2020. (Parliament of Canada/Zoom)

Canadians got a peek into the home life — and decor — of their representatives on Tuesday when MPs held their first-ever virtual sitting of Parliament via video call.

"We were getting a really deep inner look into their homes, their offices — basically every decor choice they've ever made," said Chris Nardi, the National Post's parliamentary reporter.

During the session, Nardi tweeted out critiques and reviews of MPs' working-from-home spaces. He also managed to identify some of the books on the shelves behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"I have to say virtual Parliament went better than most of us expected. It was a lot of fun to see what MPs are working with, where they're working from, how they're working," he said.

"It is kind of a reminder that they are human beings like the rest of us, doing the best in the circumstances of a pandemic. But thankfully, Canadian democracy still continues in these uncertain times."

Canadian parliamentarians aren't the only ones setting up their home offices, of course.

The Twitter page Rate My Skype Room has been commenting on everyone from news reporters to celebrities recording TV segments from the relative comfort of their homes.

Day 6 asked Nardi and Rate My Skype Room co-founder Jeddie Bahrey for their impressions of some of the spaces MPs revealed during their digital House of Commons session.

Bill Morneau

Chris Nardi took note of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's carefully-placed and framed artwork. (Parliament of Canada/Zoom)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau's living room, adorned with several framed paintings, was just as striking as his high-quality suits, said Nardi.

"He has such great art that one of them is still on the easel instead of hanging, because that's just what classy people do, it seems," he said.

"It's well-lit. The fireplace works," added Bahrey.

Nardi's rating: 8 out of 10

Daniel Blaikie

Bahrey described NDP MP Daniel Blaikie's ominous white bedsheet background as 'a hostage video situation.' (Parliament of Canada/Zoom)

NDP MP Daniel Blaikie made an impression with what appeared to be a white bedsheet as his backdrop.

"We actually usually call this a hostage video situation," said Bahrey.

According to Nardi, Blaikie later said the sheet was meant to replicate the large drapes seen in the House of Commons, but it was also to hide some renovation work that was currently underway.

"It's quite, let's say, drab to see a drape that is just a bedsheet behind you."

Nardi's rating: 5 out of 10. ("Because he didn't try to hide the renovations.")

Paul Manly

Green Party MP Paul Manly speaks in front of a green background flanked by two Canadian flags. (Parliament of Canada/Zoom)

Green MP Paul Manly's all-green background, flanked by two Canadian flags on either side, is "a dangerous Pandora's box," according to Nardi.

"He's not a young millennial like I am, but everyone has to know that putting a green screen behind you is just opening up the mean potential for Photoshopped backgrounds," he said.

Nardi's rating: 3 out of 10. ("I like the risk he took.")

Shannon Stubbs

Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs takes part in a virtual parliament session in front of her 'immaculate kitchen,' according to Bahrey. (Parliament of Canada/Zoom)

Bahrey had heaps of praise for Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs' "immaculate kitchen" setting.

"The turquoise cabinets are beautiful. Looks to me like it's a marble countertop, which is gorgeous. I'm going to give it a nine out of 10," she said.

"If ever you felt bad for not cleaning your kitchen during the pandemic while you're stuck at home, then … Stubbs didn't make you feel any better about it. There wasn't a speck of dust to be seen there," said Nardi.

Nardi's rating: 7.5 out of 10

Navdeep Bains

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains wears a bright pink turban to match the colourful painting behind him. (Parliament of Canada/Zoom)

Nardi and Bahrey had top marks for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who sat himself in front of a large painting of a crowd of people wearing an assortment of vividly coloured turbans.

Bains himself wore a bright magenta turban for the occasion.

"I've never actually seen anything that nice," said Bahrey.

"I absolutely give this one a 30 [out of] 10," said Nardi.

Written by Jonathan Ore. Produced by Yamri Taddese.

To hear more, download our podcast or click Listen above.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?