ITQ will be prowling the halls, ready to be swept off her feet by the pomp and pageantry of today’s Speech from the Throne, starting at around 1pm.
In the meantime, check out ITQ’s behind-the-scenes tour of the pre-Speech festivities currently underway on the Hill.
Hey everyone – sorry for the delay in liveblogging, but I’m just updating the last post with new photos, so give me a few seconds to upload and caption and stuff, and then I’ll be back here for the duration.
There, all done – and don’t forget to scroll down to the latest update, which includes a cameo appearance by Kory Teneycke!
I’m back downstairs now – where the magic will eventually, but where right now, I’m just trying to make my way into the lobby without tripping over the vacuum cords curretly ensnarling unwitting victims on the red carpet. Then again, maybe it serves us right for daring to stroll down the same carpet that Her Excellency will soon be gracing.
I know we’ve had too many of these in recent years for it to count as a historic occasion, but somehow, it still gives me a bit of a shiver of anticipation when the earpiece-wearing security guards react as one to an unseen signal from on high. It’s just so much *fun* to work here sometimes. Okay, most of the time. I love this place.
Last time, I remember that Elsie Wayne somehow ended up in the foyer during the welcoming ceremony. When she spotted the PM, she ducked under the ropes and hurled herself at him, and for a split second, you could see the fear in his eyes. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to be around today, but there are still a few minutes to go before the crowd will start to gather to watch the arrival. Or the Arrival. These events always inspire an overexuberance of capitalization.
Last time, I stood outside and shivered in the cold – but was more than repaid by the bagpipe serenade, which inspired an impromptu reel on the front steps. This time around, however, I thought I’d investigate the view from *inside*. I’m all about perspective. Perspective, and not freezing to death.
The MPs are starting to arrive – taking the same path as did ITQ earlier – and now we’re being shushed for the Speaker’s Parade. The *House* Speaker, I believe – there is a well known rivalry between the respective Speakers’ offices, since both travel the same path at approximately the same time. Someday, they will collide, and it will be the most boring math problem ever.
You guys, I should tell you that if I were upstairs in the Hot Room, I’d have already read the Speech, since the gallery got its pile of embargoed copies at 1:15. Instead, I’m bringing you all those background details that you wouldn’t otherwise get to hear. Or something like that. Actually, at this moment, Don Martin is reading me highlights, which I totally recommend we ever decide to abolish the monarchy but keep the speech.
Speak of the – uh, yeah. Anyway, he’s here! The PM, that is, along with Laureen — but no kids — and the guns are firing out front, which means the GG’s appearance is immiment. Imminent!
As they wait for Michaelle Jean to finish Inspecting The Troops, the gaggle of greeters – the PM and wife, Marjory Lebreton and — two people I don’t recognize — are chatting amongst themselves. I would attempt to eavesdrop, but have discovered that if I stand as close as the security cordon allows to the front doors, I can just make out the faintest strain of bagpiping.
I can also hear Rosemary Thompson doing her standup from her spot, which is kittycorner from where ITQ is camped out. She just told the CTV viewing audience that the GG has nearly finished her grand rounds – which might explain the yelling I can hear coming from out front – and — oh, there’s God Save The Queen; I think the show is about to start.
There’s a lot of yelling involved in military ceremonies, isn’t there?
She’s here! In a deliciously cosy cream coat, which was covering a deceptively demure deep black suit that looks utterly prim from the front – although those above-the-knee boots are definitely not exactly puritan – but has a modernized bustle. She was only here for a moment, but it was totally worth it.
Harper looks – impassive. Do you think maybe he’s a closet republican? I mean, the kind that thinks the Queen is a waste of money and historic significance?
I’ve taken a short cut to the Senate foyer in hopes of making it here before the GG does, and I seem to have been successful — everybody is peering eagerly down the Speaker’s Hall, so she can’t have beaten me to the punch.
The Senate security guard just played inadvertant straight man to the entire contingent of reporters waiting in the wings by momentarily holding his arm in front of PMO press secretary and Listkeeper General Dimitri Soudas and asking, “Do you have your pass, sir?” (Tie report: Pink, but a fiscally responsible shade, with a sparse, spartan pattern.)
I wonder what the GG is doing to kill time between appearances. She vanished down the Hall of Honour at least ten minutes ago, and has yet to reappear. Maybe she and her retinue found Merv Tweed’s hospitality suite, and are stocking up on carbs before the long afternoon to come.
By the way, I’ve read the Speech – well, scanned it – but can’t say a word about it until 2pm, or she starts speaking – whichever comes first. Not even to answer the question on everyone’s mind: How many ways are there to say “don’t panic, we’ll fix the economy”?
Okay, so I’m sorry about that whole blackberry silence – I wasn’t felled by boredom or dragged off by security; instead, my attempt to update my post with tales from the hallway beside the Senate were thwarted by particularly ill-timed server errors. You didn’t miss much, don’t worry. Anyway, the GG is speaking now, which means I can actually comment on the Speech itself, which I skimmed during the interim (while maniacally hitting refresh).
One thing I wasn’t able to capture in realtime: the second Running of the MPs in two days, as they marched from the Commons to the Bar of the Senate, en masse, for the start of the Speech, after which the crowd began to fall away, first in a trickle – John Baird and Paul Szabo didn’t even wait for the GG to get comfy in the Chair – and then a flood; I was nearly run over by a fleeing mob, amongst which I spotted Jason Kenney, and nearly shook my finger at him in silent chastisement before remembering that he isn’t still in charge of Canadian Identity. Who does that now, by the way? I hope they’re prepared to stick it out until the bitter end.
So I’ve now been forced to go back to oldschool liveblogging-by-email-to-long-suffering-Colleague-Gohier, which kind of sucks, because it has totally thrown me out of the zone, as it were. Better than just going black, I guess. Right now, the Senate security guards are taking bets on whether I’m going to collide into a throng of fleeing MPs as I pace back and forth down the hall. Clearly, they are unaware of my eerie ability to avoid erratically moving objects even when in full berryzombie mode.
Apparently, our server is still doing its best imitation of the global economy, which means I’m basically typing updates that by their very nature will instantly be outdated, but that won’t stop me. The middle of my post will be like a real-time capsule when it finally goes up.
You know, it’s too bad that the camera shot of Michaelle Jean delivering the Speech doesn’t capture the full majesty – no pun intended there, I swear – of her outfit. Very few women – and even fewer heads of state – can pull off a bustle with such aplomb.
Okay, I know the theme of today’s Speech is supposed to be solemn and understated, but there is a fine line between solemn and sombre, and the PM’s expression last time he was caught on camera crossed it. Serious is good, but for a moment there, he looked like a deer – well, a hart – caught in the headlights.
“She’s reading really slowly,” points out one of my colleagues. True, but this *is* her moment. I can’t blame her for wanting to stretch it out as long as possible.
Either I’ve just gone back in time, or the GG has just informed us that the PM has gone back to his original plan for eight year Senate terms, which I believe even the Conservatives eventually agreed wasn’t even in the general vicinity of constitutionality.