Friday, 11 December 2015

Ottawa Press Gallery: Parking for nothing and Scotch for free

I was listening to one of those political shows, Pee and Pee, or Pee Pee, and the talk turned to this month's story about Justin and Sophie, in Vogue magazine. In case you haven't heard, our Prime Minister and his wife appear in smoldering poses in the latest issue, which has caused a shitstorm amongst members of the Pee Pee Gee -- better known as the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

"What are you thoughts?" Canada's Jon Lovitz enquired to a veteran wag.

"Well, " she sniffed. "It would have been more appropriate if he'd given his first interview to a news organization in Canada."

Her colleague, a Francophone reporter, simply shrugged and sported a Cheshire grin. You knew secretly he was getting a boner under the desk at the sight of Sophie stroking Justin with her eyes. It was like a Fifty Shades of Grey moment, but better. The French reporters get it: Justin doesn't kiss babies, he makes them.

Unfortunately, a goodly number of the scribes on Parliament Hill are cold fish swimming in a big pretentious pond. Their idea of fun is secretly smoking in the stairwells, and swilling over-priced white wine while talking to each other in big fat armchairs.

Those outside of Ottawa may not realize how clubby the Pee Pee Gee is. Their members dictate what journalists can set foot on Parliament Hill, and it's all determined on the poor scribe's institutional connections to sad and tired organizations like the Globe and Mail and the National Post, media that no longer matter in the lives of Canadians.

While the membership is getting younger, most Pee Pee Gee members don't wear thongs or boxers. It's a Depends kind of crowd.

That's why a bunch of the senior scribes get so steamed when someone "from away" gets a story. There is a way of doing things on Parliament Hill, and the new Prime Minister is not playing the game.

Before Justin Trudeau (BJT), they were whining that Stephen Harper wouldn't even fart in their general direction. No newsers. No warm smiles. No sunny ways. Harper preferred to run his own show and give his interviews to the Brantford Expositor, or the Moose Jaw Times Herald. He was, after all, the man with deep roots under skating rinks in the Hinterland.

You'd think that they would be thrilled then about the Liberals who have embraced them and taken them to the bosom, offering up three, four pressers a day, all the while releasing public servants from the coal mines they were assigned BJT.

But this is the Pee Pee Gee. This isn't good enough for them.

The explanation goes something like this:

Why are the Liberals having all these damned news conferences? They're talking, but they're not saying anything. I can't write that. Besides, we're tired. We wasted our entire fall and summer travelling on stinky buses and being served cheap Scotch. We need a rest.

But there is no resting AJT. He's like Superdude chasing a speeding bullet, and the Pee Pee Gee huffing and puffing are trying to catch up on bicycles.

So they complain. They deride Peter Mansbridge -- who is not a member of Pee Pee Gee -- for getting the first on soil interview, AJT, saying it was too clubby, too sycophantic. They grouse about the New York Times doing a fawning profile of Their Steaminess, and they label the Vogue profile "sexist".

It's nothing personal, Prime Minister. We just resent being called away from the Christmas party season to do our jobs. Parking for nothing, Scotch for free.

You can't blame the members, you can't. The Smartphones are, no doubt, buzzing from Toronto wanting an explanation why the PMJT would rather pose than prose.

The members of the Pee Pee Gee are honestly perplexed. 

Listen to an actual comment made by one of the senior scribes. 

"I've had a request for an interview in for weeks," she fumed. "And I've yet to get a call back. I can't understand why he would choose Vogue instead of a Canadian publication."

It's called a scoop, missy. 

Get off your ass and learn about it.

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