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Billy Bragg performs in Auckland, New Zealand, on January 18, 2008.

Hannah Johnston/2008 Getty Images

British alt-rocker Billy Bragg, no fan of the Iron Lady, played Ottawa Thursday night.

He confessed to the audience that he had been somewhat less than upset last week when he heard Margaret Thatcher had died.

Lady Thatcher of course is an icon to conservatives but hated by the left, including Mr. Bragg, for her attacks on unions when she was the British prime minister.

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Mr. Bragg said his spirits immediately sagged though when it dawned on him that the deceased was in fact a cat named Thatcher belonging to Canadian Infrastructure Minister John Baird.

"I actually had to stop and feel some sympathy," he joked.

At this point an Ottawa audience member yelled out: "That asshole represents our riding," referring to the Conservative Mr. Baird.

"Well, his cat's dead, mate, if that makes you feel better," Mr. Bragg quipped.

(Photo: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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