Inside Politics

Ahoy mate! About those shipbuilding events...

It's time for some housekeeping about the twin events Prime Minister Stephen Harper held Thursday on both coasts to announce the next steps and promote the winning bidders for the federal government's huge shipbuilding project.

First, let's take attendance.

In Halifax, with bells on: Defence Minister and Nova Scotia's representative in cabinet, Peter MacKay, introducing around his new bride, Nazanin Afshin-Jam. Special thanks to Canadian Press for snapping a photo for the wires:


(Andrew Vaughan/CP)

Not invited to the event in Halifax: As reported by CBC Halifax, NDP Premier Darrell Dexter, who lobbied hard for his province to win the larger of the two contracts up for grabs. (Though the government did maintain all along that lobbying would not influence the contract decisions.)

Also not at the event in North Vancouver: B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who also did her best to make the west coast case for their share of the procurement.

This doesn't mean Harper hasn't spent any time with Clark on this visit to B.C. The premier's office released photos of the two leaders attending a hockey game at a local arena, watching Clark's 10-year old son play. Presumably, a bit of politics got done between periods and cups of Tim's.


(Jeff Vinnick/B.C. Premier's office/CP)

But perhaps the most interesting thing to happen during Harper's coast-to-coast shipbuilding blitz took place during the question and answer session in North Vancouver.

The first two questions to Harper from reporters weren't about shipbuilding, despite the theme and location of Harper's event. Instead, they asked about the national media's other big story Thursday: confusion surrounding the validity of same-sex marriages performed in Canada for couples who reside in jurisdictions where gay and lesbian marriages are not recognized.

The first question, from Sun TV, was asked gently and answered simply with the expected talking points. But when the second reporter that was called upon pressed for more clarification on the same topic, some voices in the room began to heckle and tried to shout down the reporter's question.

Harper ignored the shouting and answered the question respectfully. But it brought to mind the heckling of a reporter in a similar fashion during Harper's election tour.

Here's the video of the full question and answer period from Thursday afternoon's event in North Vancouver:


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