Inside Politics

Susan Lunn Bio

Susan Lunn

Susan Lunn started reporting in her home town of Halifax in 1986, where she had written a column called pet-pourri. But like many other maritimers, the bright lights of Toronto beckoned. She was hired in 1990 by the CBC and has worked in so many locations her mother still writes her address and telephone number in pencil in her address book. She has been in Ottawa now for a record seven years.

PMO breaks tradition with email briefing

Let me state up front, I like tradition.

So for example, when my family tries to serve up something other than turkey for Thanksgiving, I'm unhappy.

It was the same feeling yesterday when I heard the Prime Minister's Office was not holding an actual briefing on the prime minister's upcoming trip to southeast Asia.

Instead, they sent out an email.

It was three and a half pages long, filled with information I had already gleaned from the APEC website, the department of foreign affairs and a Google search or two.

The prime minister's new director of communications told me he was available to answer any questions I may have, which he did, although it took more than an hour.

I've been on Parliament Hill for 11 years. I've gone on prime minister's trips with a total of three prime ministers. There has always been an in-person briefing that's led to at least an hour of questions from the parliamentary press gallery. There has never been, in my memory, just an email.

Here's hoping my cousin is still planning on cooking turkey later this month.

Are house calls a remedy for rising health care costs?

Premiers this week struck a committee to look at innovative ways to save health care dollars, as they ponder the possibility of getting less money from Ottawa in the not to distant future.

As politicians worry about how to pay for medicare, more and more people are dealing with the health care and other issues associated with old age, putting extra burden on hospitals and health-care budgets.

One Toronto hospital is looking at an old idea to help keep costs down while improving quality of life for elderly patients: house calls.

Read Susan Lunn's story and listen to The House after the jump...

New shots on Scaremongair


I haven't been on the Conservative plane since week one of the campaign.

Today I managed to return to my favourite seat.  But as I sat down, I noticed one difference. 

There are photos inside the plane, just above the windows -- 8x10 glossies from the campaign so far.


A Tale of Two Timmies

It's inevitable that on an election campaign you're going to end up in a Tim Horton's.

This is Canada. And its "Roll Up the Rim" time. But in the past two weeks I"ve been to two with two different leaders.

Harper serves coffee, and cats

What's that? Free beer AND more questions? OK, just free beer, then...

Reporters travelling with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper haven't seen any sign of him in the back of the plane yet. But his wife Laureen has come back twice now bearing gifts.

Tonight it was Keith's beer. The Harpers visited the historic Keith's brewery in Halifax Thursday.

Harper pulled a couple of pints while there. His wife, on the other hand, got beer for the plane. The night before, it was chocolate-covered fruit.

After all the press corps' fights with Harper all week over the lack of questions reporters get to ask him, it's interesting he's left all attempts to woo us up to his wife, Alexander Keith and chocolate.

Imagine Stephen Harper and Lady Gaga...

You probably don't think Lady Gaga and Stephen Harper have much in common.

But they share one thing.

They've both sang with Maria Aragon.

More AND THE VIDEO after the jump....

Harper goes for new look on stage

200-harper-00407938.jpgI've seen many incarnations of Stephen Harper the campaigner.

There was the time he backed away from a group of children, who, admittedly, were covered in finger paint.

Then eventually he got to the point where Monday, he could hardly contain the laughter as a cute two-and-a-half-year-old was hitting him on the back of his legs to get his attention.

Then there's Harper the speaker.

In the 2005-2006 campaign, he started using a teleprompter, two see-through paddles on either side of the podium.

By the end of the campaign, he tried a wireless microphone to sum up his platform in a speech to supporters. If he had a teleprompter, I don't remember seeing it.

But its 2011. And its time for a new look.

Questions limited, tempers flare

When Stephen Harper was in opposition, in the 2004 campaign, he took every reporter's question during the daily scrum.

Things got testy at times. But everyone got one question.

Same with 2005/06. Over the campaign's eight weeks, every reporter got to ask him a question, every day.

In 2008, Stephen Harper's first as prime minister, there were so many reporters on the bus, we had to alternate days.

But now, in 2011, the questions are limited to four for those of us who are on the campaign plane at a cost of thousands of dollars a week.

And Conservative campaign staff wonder why everyone started shouting.

Anyone else who is applying for a job, even if they are reapplying, has to answer questions.

One hopes that tomorrow we get more.

Conservatives turn a shade of green

Every political party has a colour.

Liberals are red.

The New Democrats are orange.

And until now, the Conservatives have been yellow.

For an election campaign, reporters are given luggage tags, name tags and various other pieces of ID to mark us as journalists, lest anyone forget.

And today, much to my surprise, the Conservatives are no longer yellow. They're green.

Maybe it's for St. Patricks Day. Maybe its for spring. But in any event, it's not yellow.

This is not the official party colours mind you.

The Conservatives' yellow tags used to feature a big blue C.

But this time even that blue C is green.

The only colour that stands out is a red maple leaf.