Liveblogging the PM’s visit to Rideau Hall

Parliament prorogued—will return Jan. 26

Liveblogging the PM’s visit to Rideau Hall

ITQ will be joining the media stakeout on the Governor General’s doorstep this morning – check back at 9ish for full liveblogging coverage.

8:52:01 AM
Greetings fellow monarchist (and not so much) butterflies! Just a quick update from the road – literally; I’m currently on the bridge to New Edinburgh – I may be a teeny bit late in getting this on the spot liveblogging on the way. Just a few minutes, most likely – unless I accidentally walk into an open manhole while composing this entry, which would be somewhat fitting, really. I promise that In return, I won’t complain if the PM turns out to be running a bit behind schedule himself. Gosh, isn’t this exciting?

9:02:18 AM
We have protesters, ladies and gentlemen! They are clustered in front of the gates – which I just whizzed past in vehicular comfort after one of my colleagues spotted me trudging by the side of the road. They seem to be exclusively anti-coalition — and the signs look homemade — but not quite at angry mob status yet. I’d guess like – two dozen? Maybe more?

Anyway, I’m here now, so I’ll scope out the scene and report back in a few minutes.

9:06:14 AM
Okay, so the cameras are staking out the back entrance – which is around the corner from the iconic shot of the front doors – although there is a small contigent in front of the water fountain, which is currently full of ice water and chilly reporters. I don’t think there’s much chance that he’ll stop to chat with us before – or after – his meeting, but you never know. Hope springs eternal in a liveblogger’s chest!

At least it’s not brutally cold – in fact, it’s almost balmy for December.

9:10:46 AM

Much discussion of The Tape Fiasco amongst the press, although the consensus seems to be that the speech itself actually wasn’t bad, as far as the substance. If only it hadn’t been delivered via Skype using a shaky wifi connection. For the want of a competent videographer, etc.

9:13:15 AM
So apparently, he’ll be arriving by the *front* entrance, which has sparked a mad mass dash for the fountain. This isn’t like a normal Rideau Hall stakeout – no media tents, no Don Newman. At least we have Dimitri – wearing a high risk but potentially gamechanging tie that features crosshatching *and* stripes – to spread love and good will from the PMO. But no hot chocolate, alas.

Apparently, the PM will have a “sit down” with the GG, after which he will possibly have a statement for us. Or he’ll just stomp out in a dark rage.

9:16:48 AM
Kory Teneycke is dealing with a minor – but growing – media insurrection for his decision to block the cameras from filming the PM’s actual entrance. “Do you own this land?” One reporter asks.

9:18:51 AM
Poor Kory. He’s been surrounded. “I’m not going to have this discussion on camera,” he says.

9:20:37 AM
Now one of the PM’s security guards is scrumming – unwillingly. This is so much more interesting than I expected! See, it pays to show up early.

9:22:34 AM
Alright, the revolution has begun. The cameras are reassembling outside the side entrance – where we’re not supposed to be shooting – and the security seems to have capitulated to the mob.

9:24:58 AM
Colleague Wherry is here, and has joined us on the barricades! “We will have an arrival shot,” one producer says into his cell phone. Oh, it’s on.

9:26:31 AM
And apparently, the GG is meeting with the opposition leaders this afternoon.

9:27:56 AM
Ooh, the motorcade just blew by – on the way to the *other* back entrance. The backiest of all. “What are you afraid of, sir?” Yells someone from the crowd. I can’t actually see what’s going on, being short and all, but the buzz in the crowd is downright hostile.

9:30:11 AM
The PM waved at us as he drove by. That’s nice, at least. Now Kory is telling the crowd that they’re waiting until they get an answer from the GG before heading to Woodstock for the auto plant announcement.

9:32:04 AM
Okay, so if they get an answer right away, it’s off to Woodstock, where he will have a media availability. If not, he’ll give a statement somewhere, at some point.

9:34:49 AM
Still waiting – and going to take a brief break from liveblogging to let my fingers unfreeze. It’s not that cold, I know – unless you happen to be typing on your berry pretty much nonstop. If something happens in the next few minutes, I’ll be back – otherwise, time for a health break, everyone!

Kory just went inside to find out what’s going on, by the way. “And warm up,” he admits.

9:40:50 AM
The coffee, I’m told is not very good, and not even warm.

9:50:18 AM
A sudden flurry of media movement to the front entrance. Apparently he’s coming out. Or not. Nobody knows everything, which is somehow comforting, since someone suddenly knowing anything would be a radical shift.

9:51:36 AM
All eyes and lenses are on the front door, which is festively bedecked in wreathery. Rosemary Thompson is doing a standup behind me that began with the words “Any minute now”…

New theory: if he doesn’t get his answer, he’ll go out the back door. Or the side door. Or sit there in her vestibule in a black rage until she makes up her mind.

9:57:42 AM
The motorcade is still outside, which means he’s still inside.

10:00:20 AM
The camera throng – of which I am now a part – is becoming alarmed by my incessent teethchattering and trembling. Gloves are being offered. So gallant.

10:02:49 AM
Hmm. Kory never came back, did he?

10:05:32 AM
Maybe they’re trying to freeze us out. Still no word from inside – and no sign of anyone at all from PMO. 41 minutes and counting, y’all. Not that we’re counting.

10:10:29 AM
Every now and then, you can just make out the distant sound of disgruntledment from the protesters out front.

10:17:04 AM
And he’s coming out! Or – people are coming out, anyway. Not sure if the PM is among them. Also, a tip to those organizing nonpartisan grassroots demonstrations: most of us who work on the Hill can recognize Conservative staffers – even when they’re all decked out like ordinary Canadians.

10:20:39 AM
We’re starting to wonder if the opening of the doors a few minutes ago was just an attempt to distract us from the fact that the PM is going to leave by the side door. We’re not that hard to distract, apparently.

10:26:44 AM
The sun keeps flickering off and on. We can’t decide whether it’s a good omen for the PM or not.

10:29:31 AM
We just saw the flash of a camera inside the foyer, but nobody knows if that means anything. I thought I’d pass it on anyway, though.

10:34:44 AM
I have left the frontlines of the barricades and am now standing by the fountain with Colleague Wherry and company. It’s a little warmer here in the sun, but not much. I can’t feel my toes at this point, which is actually an interesting sensation.

10:38:26 AM
There was just a sound check from an unknown source. It was a little like suddenly hearing the voice of God saying, “Test … Test ..”

10:40:46 AM
The two-man PMO communication team hasn’t resurfaced, which makes me think he’s not coming out anytime soon. Unfortunately, as long as he’s inside the compound, we have to stay here. For Canadians!

10:44:17 AM
Apparently, CTV is reporting that the Woodstock trip has been cancelled. Oooh. That doesn’t sound good.

10:47:06 AM
The atmosphere out here is getting downright festive, mostly out of a desperate desire to distract ourselves from the cold.

11:00:23 AM
Well, they just closed the front doors, but apologized for getting us all excited by, you know, moving.

11:02:32 AM
I am now huddled by the barricade, listening to Bob Fife do his standup in hopes of learning something – anything! – about what’s going on inside. Yes, it’s come to this. He seems to think that they “chatted” for a while, and then she went off to talk to her advisors.

11:06:40 AM
Update: According to someone who just heard Jean Lapierre, the GG’s advisors told her to tell the PM that she’ll see him on Tuesday. No idea if that’s true, or just Jean Lapierre being mischievous.

11:13:16 AM
Running! Camera crews running! They’re like gazelles, these guys – they can sense danger. Which of course means a good shot.

11:19:13 AM
The doors are open again! Still no sign of Kory or Dimitri, however.

11:21:40 AM
The RCMP detail has emerged once again – two of them, a man and a woman – and we’re on high alert in the media pit.

11:23:56 AM
Could they be calling in the Queen to settle this? If she says no, does he have any route to appeal?

11:26:11 AM
The podium is here!

11:27:12 AM
You know, I don’t think any of us have the slightest idea what he’s about to tell us. This is just — neat. Right now, the podium attendants are hooking up the mics.

11:31:11 AM
Again – for some reason that last bulletin didn’t go through – CTV is reporting that she *will* prorogue. No idea what that is based on, but it could well be true.

11:36:01 AM
PMO now saying the prorogue was granted, as per CBC. Nobody is telling us anything, of course.

11:37:28 AM
We can hear chants of “Harper! Harper!” coming from down the road. Perhap the PM will stop and chat with them on his way out!

11:42:27 AM
Yes, we’re still out here. No, he hasn’t come out. Yes, it’s still cold.

11:45:59 AM
It’s Dimitri! He resurfaced! The PM will make a statement, and then take four questions, which we can decide amongst ourselves.

11:47:58 AM
Oh, there’s Kory, too. He looks warm. The sky, incidentally, has gone dark and there are shards of what seem to be icy sleet icily sleeting.

11:50:06 AM
Yay, snow on the berryscreen. Best stakeout ever! At least it’s about to end. Okay, here he comes – sixty second warning.

11:52:00 AM
Here he comes – wearing a dark cloak. A long black cloak, which wouldn’t have been my choice, given the context. He does sound sick, actually – or throat hoarsey at least – and he confirms that the GG has agreed to prorogue Parliament. He says that last Friday, he asked Canadians to give their feedback – and they did. When the House cvmes back, the budget will be the first order of business.

He won’t tell us about his chat with the GG, and once again says that Canadians want to make the economy their priority.

11:56:14 AM
Hail? Seriously?

Does he keep saying that it’s up to three parties to work together? Does that mean he’s officially denounced the parliamentary presence of the Bloc?

11:57:06 AM
Rosemary Thompson asks if he made a mistake, and how he will rebuild the trust of the opposition parties. He defends the initial move to pull public financing, and claims the public “never suppoorted’ it in the first place. And …he gives us his version of a timeline, but declines to acknowledge any mistakes were made. “We have to do some trustbuilding on both sides,” he says.

12:01:50 PM
Y’all, I apologize for the dearth of updates – I can barely see my berry screen through the sleet, and I’m sure most of you are watching this live. He is sounding sort of vaguely conciliatory – or is that in denial? – and CP just asked if he is “delaying the inevitable”. Is he really just launching into an election campaign? The PM denies that his government uses public resources on an election campaign – that’s a very strict rule – and says he’ll be concentrating primarily on the budget. He hopes the opposition parties will do the same – and he makes a not so veiled reference to some opposition members who would rather work *with* the government on the economy.

Oh, except the Bloc. The Bloc aren’t interested in working on the economy – there is a “fundamental difference.” The othr three parties have “very different responsibilities.”

12:08:11 PM
More going after the Bloc – boy, it’s going to be embarrassing if he ends up needing their votes to support his government at budget time – and then the same answer in French – at least, I’m assuming it was, I’m sure if not, it will be noted – before Dimitri puts all of us out of our hypothermic misery and prorogues the press conference. Which ITQ entirely supports, given the grave temperature crisis that we face.

With that, I’m going to sign off and get warm. See you in a bit!