From stunning art to drab curtains: Rating Canadian parliamentarians' Zoom rooms
'Thankfully, Canadian democracy still continues in these uncertain times,' says Chris Nardi
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.
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
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.")
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.")
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
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.
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?