Sitting around the fire, talking politics
by Lois Ann Baker, Standard-Freeholder
The De Havilland Room at the Nav Centre was packed on Saturday night as hundreds came out for a great evening of fine dining and a fireside chat with two very special guests.
The Children’s Treatment Centre held A Delicious Take on History and invited TVO anchor Steve Paikin and editor and speechwriter Arthur Milnes to join in the festivities.
Paikin is host of TVO’s current affairs program, The Agenda with Steve Paikin. He was invited to speak about his book “Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All”. Milnes is the editor of “Canada Always: The Defining Speeches of Sir. Wilfred Laurier”.
The evening began with a dinner and was followed by an introduction of the special guests by master of ceremonies Sean Adams.
Adams said the two arrived a little late to his house but brought with them over 200 books and spent the day signing each one. Upon arriving and seeing Adams had a piano, the first thing Paikin did was play the Soviet national anthem, which ended up being stuck in Milnes head the rest of the day.
“Art is one of the most fascinating gentlemen I know,” said Adams. “Art is one of the best friends of every prime minister, Canadian and British, and every US president – from Pierre Elliot Trudeau to Gerald Ford to Margaret Thatcher.”
According to Adams, Milnes has a tree planted in his backyard by every living Canadian prime minister as well as one planted by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.
“These are two great gentlemen,” said Adams of the special guests. “We are so honoured and pleased to have you here on our 20th anniversary of the Children’s Treatment Centre, helping to raise funds for what we do.” “My father would have loved that introduction,” said Milnes. “But my mother would have believed it.”
Paikin said it was his first visit to Cornwall, but Milnes said he had been here many times.
“I was almost mayor,” he joked.
“Sean has tried numerous times to get me here,” said Paikin. “It’s been so difficult, but I am so glad we could work it out this time.”
Paikin said next time he comes to Cornwall he wanted to see the military exhibits and much more of the city he would not get to see on this visit.
Paikin and Milnes then spent the next half hour or so bantering back and forth, regaling the audience with stories and anecdotes of Sir Wilfred Laurier and Bill Davis, as well as other political figures they met in their career, before opening up the floor to questions from the audience.
Each participant at the dinner received an autographed copy of the books Milnes and Paikin came to discuss.