UPDATED: Pre-Election StuntWatch: Why, it’s a caption contest waiting to happen.

At least they aren’t going to make Malcolm Brown take part in this … this … whatever this is:


OTTAWA, ONTARIO– The Conservative Members of the EI working group, Minister Diane Finley and MP Pierre Poilievre will be holding a photo opportunity.

DATE: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

TIME: 12:30 p.m

PLACE: 360 Laurier Avenue West, 7th Floor, Ottawa, ON

*Photo Op Only

– 30 –

UPDATE: Ooh! Apparently, the dynamic duo will be heading to the Hill — the Commons Foyer, to be precise — for a media availability after the camera-ready mystery event at Esplanade Laurier. Check back at 12:45 for full liveblogging coverage!

12:32:05 PM
Golly, there really is nothing like a hastily convened news conference to keep the gallery on its toes. With just under 45 minutes notice — 41 by the ITQ berryclock, not that she’s counting — the Foyer is starting to fill up with camera crews, although the logistic involved in staging the same event in two different locations a mere fifteen minutes apart does make for some tricky manoeuvreing.

12:44:11 PM
Well, the flacks have arrived, but the ministerial convoy has been slightly delayed, we’re told. As long as they’re not later than John Baird, we’ll be forgiving, I’m sure. Oh, and apparently Bob Rae will be gracing us with his presence on the very same marble square later this afternoon, which could be fun. Meanwhile, somewhere in Halifax, Jack Layton wonders why he suddenly feels so — irrelevant. Poor Jack. I was totally going to liveblog his media avail too, but in-person events take precedent over television.

12:53:13 PM
Tick, tick, tick. Then again, at least we got a heads up that they were running a bit later.

12:54:05 PM
And here they are — two of the three Conservative panelists; one in a demure grey suit with seal-coloured heels, and the other pretending he’s very, very saddened by the Liberal’s insouciance on such an important issue.

12:55:08 PM
Diane Finley kicks things off with a speech that she doesn’t even pretend not to be reading off a Commons green clipboard. She gets bonus points, forever, for managing to slip in the word “coalition” within the first two minutes.

Also, Michael Ignatieff made an agreement with the prime minister, and he broke it – *broke* it! – for his own self interest. Boo, Michael Ignatieff.

12:56:37 PM
And — questions! Global TV wonders why she is so disappointed/surprised when it was clear from all sides that little, if any, progress was being made. Finley suggests that they actually had high hopes for the panel – bipartisan love was in the air! – and bristles when the Toronto Star points out that actually, that whole idea of extending benefits to the self-employed dates back long before the beribboned panel. What was the holdup?

According to Finley, the economy — and helping Canadians deal with the recession — took priority. But — wouldn’t have extending benefits been a great way to do that?

12:58:38 PM
Pierre Poilievre hasn’t said a word yet, although he has his most reasonable, trying-against-all-odds-to-make-parliament work face primed and ready for a closeup. He’s also cupping his hands — tenting, not cupping — and may or may not be shifting from heel to toe.

1:00:37 PM
“No backroom deals” is definitely the message — this government, Finley stresses, will not be cutting any of *those*, although she’ll only sit down with the *other* parties — the socialists and the separatists, that is — if they cease and desist with their irresponsible demands for a two month work year.

Wait, how are closed-door meetings between Liberals and Conservatives *not* “backroom”?

1:02:17 PM
One last question — from CBC — why hold a photo op in the same backroom where they held those fateful meetings that resulted in naught? Isn’t that just a stunt? No! No, it isn’t.

1:06:32 PM
And that’s it for the Blue Ribbon show — and if ITQ can scramble up to the Hot Room quickly enough, she might just catch the end of Jack’s Moment.

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