Theatre of the absurd


The Sun’s Peter Zimonjic relates a surreal moment from last week.

Normally after question period MPs step out to one of three microphones in the foyer of the House of Commons. A camera is set up there to record them and journalists stand on either side to ask questions. The event is called a scrum because reporters shoot questions at the MPs on topics of interest in an area wired for sound and pictures.

But yesterday Liberal MPs, Carolyn Bennett and Kirsty Duncan stepped up to a microphone, stood in front of the cameras, and without a journalist in sight began talking as though they had just been asked a question. This went on for several minutes, as the two MPs appeared to be fighting over the microphone to make statements. And when they were finished Bennett even appeared to wave to a journalist — that wasn’t there — before walking off camera…

Other reporters stood around in amazement and when the MPs left one seasoned veteran of the press gallery came over to ask if he really saw what we all just saw.


Theatre of the absurd

  1. "and without a journalist in sight" …….. "Other reporters stood around in amazement"

    Were there reporters at the 'scrum' or not? Is there a difference between reporters and journos?

    • Yeah this story is poorly worded. How did other reporters stand around in amazement if there was no reporters there?

    • If a scrum falls on a reporter, does a journalist hear it?

  2. ROFL – well what the heck why not? these guys are getting to be experts on imaginary repsonses to imaginary questions anyways – we all know the talking points. Evil meanie Stevie caused global recession, didn't go into debt far enough and isn't spending the debt fast enough and just for good measure once in awhile is a racist!

    • Actually, Evil meanie Stevie denied there would be a recession, forecast more surpluses, tabled a do nothing economic update, bowed to the inevitable economic stimulus spending (as agreed upon by the G8) and has spewed budget and defecit numbers that have been consistently bereft of accuracy.

      On the plus side, I really don't believe he's a racist

  3. It seems as though Carolyn and Kirsty couldn't get a reporter to listen to their eart-shattering news. Rather than go through the trouble of sending her story to the news outlets, she just decided to talk into the air, because they're far too busy to do their own legwork when self-promoting.

    • Whether or not it might be 'earth-shattering', it's rather odd that not one reporter would wander over to see what they were up to. But then, neither one of them was playing the piano…

  4. Seems that the ladies just want to get it on the record that they are deeply concerned, just in case H1N1 really takes off as an issue. The transcript of their remarks is included in the linked report, which makes me wonder who transcribed them, and why.

    It's all very Meta, isn't it?

    • Actually kinda sad becuase the ladies, these doctors, have been warning about such items as the vaccine, lack of respirators and the potential problems with the Olympics (lots of people, close quarters), issues on the reserves etc…. and the media is still not picking up anything but Agglukaq's prepared non-answer answers……it begs the question just why is the media ignoring them? not sexy enough of an issue like missing isotopes (oh right that's not sexy enough to report on either)

  5. Selfscrummming is natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Is blindness a risk ?

      • No, but the hairy palms are a bit of a nuisance.

  6. Obviously there was some camera or mike recording what they were doing — personally, when I see someone talking into a microphone and there's no one around, I look to see if they have an earpeice to see if they're listening to a remote interviewer.

    We're sure this isn't the case here/

  7. Two doctors, one a famous expert on pandemic flu, the other Canada's first Minister of State for Public Health try to publicly discuss the government's preparedness for flu outbreaks in the ongoing flu season.

    Journalists don't care, and think it's kinda weird they want to talk about it rather than just wait for questions that will never come.

    No news at 11.

    (Got your flu shot yet? Me neither, but you know, if you travel to the U.S. you can get one at any Walgreen's for $25. We'll get it here in Canada someday too, I'm sure).

    • Well LKO, I was in the Dr's office today and you get the seasonal flu shot now and in 10 to 15 days it looks like you can get H1N1. As well, the report today is there are 1,000,000 doses of the vaccine produced and being packaged while Health Canada is reviewing the final trial data from Europe and other locales (we have more than Euro's in our Pop)

      The one in the US can be used by a majority of the population but not anyone who is high risk, pregnant women, those with pre existing conditions, young children since it contains live virus….d'oh…in other words those who need the flu shot. The spray was meant for first responders and health care people. The US shot for everybody will come in early November…oh about the same time.

      So when the questions are asked in such a breathless manner and the brow furrowing doesnt stand up to 1st level scrutiny then you are left with a capital P politics explaination.

      Objectively, a waste of political resources since the issue is looks like it is resolved in 10 days or so, and the Liberals are left with what, raising the profile of an issue the Government solves…..not that this should be about politics.

  8. Aaron, they were talking to the 3.5 (plus or minus 1.2) viewers who were going to watch the replay of the scrums that night on CPAC. Plus, their words, now on the public record (and undoubtedly dutifully translated by the CPAC gang) can end up in their useless letters to constituents and ten per centers.

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