Keeping Governments Honest

Ottawa’s press gallery has evolved but its task is unchanged

Three times, over three different decades, I have been the grateful recipient of the traditional engraved pewter mug marking the end of my time in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, only to be flung back into the fray as if tethered to some 613 area code boomerang.

I lived through the era of ashtrays in the Centre Block foyer and the drunken Friday night press club dust-ups. I tried to subtly shake awake a senior cabinet minister who had passed out at the annual Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner.

I was witness to governments falling, cabinet ministers resigning in scandal, a leaked budget, and gunfire in Parliament. I feigned interest as Jean Chrétien told the same story about him and Helmut Kohl for the fifth time on yet another transatlantic flight on the government plane.

It was a privilege to ply a trade in the country’s most marvellous workplace, and I never strode into the Parliament...