Political news seems to be banned for the next few weeks in deference to the Olympics. Even that old standby, CTV's Question Period, is headed off the air until early March, we learned yesterday, and there's a general sense in Ottawa that the city will effectively shut down, politically, anyway, until March.
This morning, I went looking for what kind of political news was happening the last time the Olympics were held in Canada -- in Calgary, in 1988, from Feb. 13-28. Though I was here in Ottawa then (just arrived, actually, as a young reporter), I couldn't really recall if it was down-tools then too.
Here's what I found.
- Prime Minister Brian Mulroney introduced conflict-of-interest legislation in the House of Commons.
- Liberal opposition critics Herb Gray and Lloyd Axworthy went to Washington to talk about proposed free trade.
- NDP MP Svend Robinson decided to publicly announce that he was gay (and several days later, his constituency-office windows were smashed.)
- Conservative MP Andre Bissonnette was cleared of fraud charges in court and welcomed back into Mulroney's caucus.
- A House of Commons committee wrapped up its inquiry into the election spending of cabinet minister Marcel Masse.
- The federal government's spending estimates were tabled.
- A group of Conservative backbenchers proposed amendments to effectively gut the official-languages law in Canada.
- The federal Conservatives held a caucus meeting in Ottawa.
I guess the conclusion must be that we were more capable then, 22 years ago, of paying attention to politics and sports at the same time. Or maybe the next few weeks will be equally busy here... who knows?