The Hill is Alive with the Sound of Silence

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(THE SCENE: The TV studios of WTFN’s award-winning current affairs newsmagazine Face of the Nation. Host Brian Cohen, sitting in a club chair behind a coffee table, is going over his notes when he hears the floor director say: “We’re on in five…four…three…two…” Theme music starts up over the opening titles and the director points to Cohen, who casually looks into the camera.)

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BRIAN COHEN: “Good evening, and welcome again to Face of the Nation. Tonight we take a probing look behind the façade of government to the people whose job it is to tell us what’s going on. I’m talking about the legions of ministerial spokesmen and assistants who issue statements and give interviews to explain government policy to the the media and through the media to you, the public. Tonight in our studio we are pleased to have two representatives of Ottawa’s Ministerial Communications Corps: Chris Day, spokesman for Foreign Minister John Baird, and Sandra Buckler, chief of staff for Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue.” (Cohen rises respectfully and the two guests walk across the studio, shake hands with Cohen and sit in the two club chairs opposite him. Cohen looks perplexed because his guests are wearing Styrofoam cones on their heads.)

COHEN: “Before we get down to business perhaps you could explain to the audience, and to me, why you are wearing cones on your heads?”

CHRIS DAY: “I’ll field this one, Sandra… You see, Brian, the business of ministerial communication has changed since Stephen Harper became Canada’s government in 2006, and…”

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