MPS get a Rush as band mem­bers sit in gallery

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Jen­nifer Ditch­burn

OT­TAWA, Ont. — Lots of vis­i­tors stop by the public gal­leries of the House of Com­mons to watch ques­tion pe­riod, but few are closer to the heart of politi­cians than a vis­it­ing rock star.

The prog-rock puns were fly­ing faster than Neil Peart’s drum­sticks as MPS and min­is­ters paid trib­ute to the mem­bers of Rush and other Cana­dian artists in the Com­mons.

“Mr. Speaker, there they go, an­other rush to ex­cuses when they get caught,” NDP MP Char­lie An­gus said as he posed a ques­tion to the gov­ern­ment on the gov­ern­ment’s use of lim­ou­sines.

The iconic Cana­dian band is in Ot­tawa along with seven other re­cip­i­ents of the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Per­form­ing Arts Awards, the coun­try’s high­est artis­tic hon­our.

In­dus­try Min­is­ter Tony Clement, a diehard mu­sic fan, couldn’t re­sist drop­ping his own ref­er­ences to the band as he bat­ted away op­po­si­tion ques­tions.

“Mr. Speaker, that is an­other fly-by-night’ ques­tion,” Clement said, slip­ping in a ref­er­ence to the ti­tle of a 1975 Rush al­bum.

Later, lead vo­cal­ist Geddy Lee said he found ques­tion pe­riod “re­ally in­ter­est­ing.”

“I don’t know how any­thing gets de­cided,” Lee told The Cana­dian Press. “It’s cer­tainly nice to see the lively de­bate.”

All par­ties rose to ap­plaud the award win­ners at the end of ques­tion pe­riod. Join­ing Rush mem­bers Lee, Peart and Alex Life­son in re­ceiv­ing an award for life­time artis­tic achieve­ment were con­cert pi­anist Jan­ina Fialkowska, dancer and chore­og­ra­pher Paul-an­dre Fortier, theatre di­rec­tor Denis Mar­leau and film di­rec­tor Deepa Me­hta. Co­me­dian Mary Walsh, who wasn’t in the House, is also be­ing hon­oured.

Tony-award win­ning theatre di­rec­tor Des McAnuff is re­ceiv­ing the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Award for work of an ex­tra­or­di­nary na­ture over the past year. Mcanuff’s Broad­way pro­duc­tion of Je­sus Christ Su­per­star with On­tario’s Strat­ford Shake­speare Fes­ti­val was nom­i­nated for a pair of Tony awards this week.

“I’m thrilled and re­ally in all hu­mil­ity, as a di­rec­tor you ac­cept awards on be­half of all the artists you work with,” said Mcanuff.

“I don’t cre­ate a play by my­self, I have ac­tors and de­sign­ers and a play­wright and a com­poser and pro­duc­ers and we do it as a team and so I’m ex­tremely pleased for the peo­ple I work with, be­cause I think it’s an ac­knowl­edg­ment of the won­der­ful work they’ve been do­ing with me.”

Lee said he was hon­oured to be given one of the awards. He and the other lau­re­ates will be feted at a gala show on Satur­day at the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre.


Lee (with glasses, from left), Life­son and Peart with other award re­cip­i­ents in House gallery.

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