Gone was the electronic wanding and heavy-handed, airport-like security to ensure journalists weren’t sneaking in cellphones, WiFi connections and BlackBerries to transmit the earth-shattering news in the budget to a breathless world outside before Finance Minister Dwight Duncan could make it official after 4 p.m. last Thursday.
Of course, to the chagrin of Duncan’s Liberals, Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory, NDP Leader Howard Hampton and The Globe and Mail, most of the juicy secrets had already been published on the front-page of the Toronto Star days and weeks earlier.
Still, the respectful treatment of reporters was welcome - especially since some anxious scribes were fearing rectal searches, drug tests and other dehumanizing measures.
Now, if only Finance officials could do something about the tight quarters.
“Who arranged the seating, JetsGo?” complained one business reporter.
There were more than 400 accredited journalists in the lock-up - a mind-addling 25 from your Daily Star alone - so perhaps it is time to look for a larger venue.
That said, the free lunch of lasagna - both meat and vegetarian - and salad and cookies was devoured by reporters who rarely get the chance to belly up to the trough.
Some old-timers were reminiscing about the days when the press gallery used to wheel in cases of beer for the thirsty throng, but Thursday’s lock-up was a dry affair.
Maybe next year...