By Steven Chase
The Globe and Mail
Monday, September 10 2012
So here’s how things unfolded at the Rideau Hall press availability with Stephen Harper after his mini cabinet shuffle Friday. Readers can judge for themselves what they think of the process.
It was Mr. Harper’s first time taking questions from journalists in more than 30 days. Assembled reporters were informed the Prime Minister would answer only two questions from English-speaking media and two from French-speaking media.
Faced with limited opportunity to quiz the Prime Minister, journalists talked amongst themselves to see who would ask Mr. Harper questions. This is common Press Gallery practice in these circumstances. Reporters do not always agree to participate in these pooled questions and are free to ask for their own chance to pose a different query.
A group of reporters from CBC, Postmedia (formerly Canwest), The Globe and Mail and other outlets discussed how they would divvy up the two English questions. They also consulted with French-speaking colleagues to ensure there wasn’t overlap in what was being asked.
It was agreed journalists from CBC and Postmedia would ask the English questions. Roughly speaking, these were as follows:
1) Regarding Mr. Harper’s repeated statements about avoiding an “unnecessary election,” where is the evidence that opposition parties are champing at the bit to trigger one?
2) On the controversial decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census, does Mr. Harper in hindsight feel it was a mistake?
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