Saturday, 9 February 2013

Snowmageddon: The Nation's Business under seige

As the killer storm dumped a pile of snow on the streets of Ottawa, it became clear that this wouldn't be an average day.

Senators and Members of Parliament would have to stay in Ottawa instead of getting back to their constituencies.

Public servants would have to drop their vital work to clean off their minivans and SUVs for the long trek home to their five bedroom houses in Kanata and Orleans.

Residents of the Glebe scrambled to find other arrangements because the City of Ottawa had raised its heavy hand and announced there would be a parking ban.

Yoga classes were cancelled. Ditto indoor soccer. The RA was forced to cancel bandminton tonight.

Oh my God, what will we do, they cried. There is nothing, but nothing on premium cable this evening.

In a panic, members of the Canadian Forces took to their Twitter accounts to decry the cancellation of their flights south to their time shares at Disneyworld and in The Islands. The less careful among them grabbed their heads and pondered: did we get travel insurance?

And the nation's business groaned to a halt.

Ah, but did it? In one corner of the National Capital Region, the entire membership of the Parliamentary Press Gallery gathered, their tiny calloused Blackberry fingers clutching to a dream. The big story was happening right under their cute, upturned noses. For hours they waited, like ice fisherman sitting on a box of beer, undaunted by the machinations of court security.

They would not be distracted from their task. The 24-hour news cycle depended on it.

Would he or wouldn't he? That was the question.

Finally he emerged, his handsome face covered by a very nice black cashmere coat. As he briefly turned toward them, all that could be heard was a thousand clicks.

And then he was gone.

They got their man, by Golly. The man made bail and they got it all on digital tape.

Self-satisfied, Gallery members packed up their tiny tape recorders and digital cameras and left the courthouse headed for a congratulatory beverage at Hy's. There, they would swap stories while pecking away on their brand new BBs. It would be great. One day they would tell their children about it.

But as they all piled out of the Gatineau courthouse, there was a collective moan that could be heard all through the Ottawa Valley.

As they looked around, there were no vehicles on the streets of Gatineau.

The crack media had forgotten one important detail.

The parking ban.

In Gatineau, on a deadly storm's winter's night, bylaw officers give the order.

We tow.

No exceptions.


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