Sunday, January 15, 2006

Education budget anecdotes from The Hill

My last post on education got rather long but education issues still resonate with me, probably because of the chunk of cash that leaves my bank account every month for my student loan. I also reported on education issues on Parliament Hill for the campus paper while a Carleton student in the late 1990s.

As I wrote the post two stories from those cub reporter days came to mind:

It’s budget day 1999 (the year after the 1998 ‘Education Budget’) and I’m milling with a colleague in the foyer outside the Commons chamber as assorted MPs and interest group types come to scrum and spin. Suddenly a burly RCMP-type pushes past us, followed by Uncle Jean himself. My colleague shouts as he barrels by “Mr. Prime Minister, is today a good day for students?” He doesn’t stop of course, but before he barrels up the stairs to his office like a young man of 35, we both swear he heard him say quite clearly “No.”

We asked the same question a few minutes later to an immaculately coifed, although slightly ripe, HRDC Minister Pierre Pettigrew. His reply? “It’s been a good day for students for over a year now!” In retrospect I’ll forgive him, we didn’t know at the time he was busy boondoggling away ;). And I must say that although she was a lot taller, his successor smelled much nicer.

I think that was also the year I stepped quite hard on Greg Tomey’s foot during a scrum. He was pretty nice about it though.

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