It was bone-chillingly cold on Parliament Hill Tuesday but inside Centre Block, there was a hint of a thaw in the air.
Word came that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be holding a brief noon-hour media availability in the foyer of the House of Commons to discuss efforts to strike a compromise with the Liberals over the future of Canada's mission in Afghanistan .
In a somewhat surprising move, officials in the Prime Minister's office said reporters could decide amongst themselves who would pose questions to Harper — he only had time for four questions.
That's a small but significant change from previous events when PMO press aides themselves have controlled the list of media questioners, one big reason for the tense relations between Harper's office and the parliamentary press gallery.
So does Tuesday news conference signal that broader changes are in the works to patch up frayed relations with the media? Too soon to say, most reporters say. But they certainly saw it as an encouraging step forward.