The world's most influential diplomat and Ottawa's most eligible bachelor seem to be hitting it off.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay enjoyed a chummy — and unusual — visit to MacKay's Nova Scotia riding yesterday.
In stark contrast to the usual government visits where diplomats do business on the fly, Rice spent 23 hours in Canada, many of them in MacKay's riding of Central Nova, a languid locale that couldn't be further from the diplomatic hell holes to which she's usually dispatched.
During a spring visit with Rice in Washington, MacKay, who turns 41 two weeks from today, had gushed that the two shared a "chemistry" and conceded he had always been a "fan."
MacKay steered clear of any such fawning talk yesterday. But it was obvious he was smitten with one of the world's most powerful women as they exchanged a handshake and double-cheek kiss. The feeling appeared mutual. Rice, who has never married, repeatedly called MacKay by his first name and seemed in no rush to finish up her morning agenda.
"This has been a lovely trip, Peter," she told him.
U.S. State Department officials played up the amount of time MacKay spent with Rice, saying few get so much attention.
"You don't get four hours of the secretary of state's time even if you're the Queen of England," said one American official.
"It's quite a strong signal."
Signal of what?
Hopefully only of improving relations with our southern neighbour.
The other possibility that the Star's gossip column hints at is too terrifying to contemplate.