What I did on my lunch today.... 
The Middleman said about the Press Gallery Dinner:
If this thing was made public, and not just a little shindig among pols, flaks and hacks, Canadians might actually learn to like our public officials.

Here's Harper's Press Gallery speech (my own transcription):

Well, thank you very much Dan. Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you Prime Minister by the way for those campaign reminiscence. Reminds me of a few things I spent a lot of the summer searching around my house and I finally found it....

(holds up book with a cover that says "Hidden Agenda")

Actually, the truth is, Sheila Copps gave it to me.

Anyway, thank you very much Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Martin, Mr. Layton, fellow members of parliament, friends in the Press Gallery - that's that one table over there.
Now I know I've been told that I shouldn't use tonight to attack the media. I've been told, well, I've gotta say one thing, I mean, if we held something past all the deadlines can you imagine your reaction.

I've been told tonight that I should engage in self-deprecation but in my church they say that can make you go blind. No, honestly, I'd like to be self-deprecating but I'm just no damn good at it. You know, seriously, I once told my speech writer Paul Terrion, he had in this speech, he had a phrase 'I humbly believe' - I said 'Take it out - it has no credibility.'

Look, no, I'll admit I have my flaws. Even my friends tell me that I can be dismissive and insulting but what the hell do those idiots know anyway.

I have my pet peeves. I can't stand people who list things and people who prioritize things and I hate them in that order.

My staff knew that this event would be a great opportunity to humanize me so they shut me down and tinkered with my circuitry.

You know, Dan Duguis just - I was accused again tonight of dropping out of sight after the election. The truth is I just wanted to take some time off, clear my mind, forget some things but the truth is summertime projects around the house didn't help very much. I was staining my new deck, I looked down at the canister, I saw the words 'dull finish' and burst into tears.

You know, I'm constantly being called non-descript, lacking any kind of image, having no personality and each time I respond the same way, 'Kids - go to your room'.

No, seriously, tonight we were in this private reception and there I was with Jack Layton and Olivia and Jack said to me "Where's your wife, why isn't she with you?". I said "She's over there. She says she likes to spend her time with interesting people."

No, but you know, frankly this personality issue is the real reason why I refuse to state a position, why I refuse to take sides in the great debate in our party between pro-choice and pro-life activists. They argue about when life begins - in my experience, it never does.

Anyway, I'd like to welcome the other party leaders here tonight. Give them a big hand. I was surprised that when the Prime Minister was called to speak that Scott Brison didn't stand in his place. And Paul, don't think for a moment he doesn't want to.

Of course, the opposition is here as well. But this time Jack Layton is with us and it's Gilles Duceppe who didn't show up. So Prime Minister you're safe on any vote tonight.

By the way, I've gotten to know Gilles, as everyone knows, and I can tell you a few things. First, it's not true that he stays away from this event because he lacks a sense of humour, he just believes that comedy is an exclusively provincial jurisdiction. Truthfully, Duceppe continues to maintain the problem is that there is nothing funny about Canadian politics. I say, obviously, he doesn't understand federalism.

Actually, the truth is that we all get along quite well, including the Prime Minister and me and in fact I asked Paul for advice on this speech tonight and he said to me, sincerely, he said 'Stephen, don't try to be funny, or witty, or charming - just be yourself'.

Speaking of Liberals, I have to remind you, I have been to a lot of comedy clubs in my life, and you're usually told it's a tradition that you're supposed to tip the wait staff so let me say this - the former Chretien cabinet is working hard tonight, please tip them generously.

Anyway, I'm suppose to tell some jokes - I heard one on the way up the elevator - some guy said to me "It was so cold in Ottawa that only yesterday I saw a Liberal with his hands in his own pockets." Gee, I wish I'd heard that one before the election. Actually, I did hear a lot of funny things during the election but they were mostly from my caucus. Which reminds me Ralph Klein was here earlier but he had to leave to get to a meeting at the casino.

I did get a lot of advice during the election. Brian kept calling, and calling, and calling. He said "Stay humble, don't let the adulation go to you head, and remember your friends." And that was just Brian Pallister.

Belinda gave me good advice too but frankly I thought the beige pant suit made my butt look big.

I got some negative advice as well. As you know, Joe Clark told me, he said that I just didn't reflect Canadian values. I call to try to re-assure him but he was busy moving to Washington.
But no, it was strange, it was strange to fight a campaign to see Joe Clark rooting for the Liberals but then with Jean Chretien rooting for us it kind of all balanced out.

I admit I made some campaign mistakes. I still believe was right to throw out the opening pitch at the Blue Jay's game but I was wrong to believe the 49,000 empty seats were Conservative supporters.
Some people thought I was unclear in my position on gay marriage. So, in future I'll set the record straight.
I also want to assure Carol Taylor and others tonight - state for the record that my caucus strongly supports culture - Agriculture.

I know some of you think here tonight that I am bitter of some of the campaign media coverage. But I don't think it's fair to describe my relationship with the media as stand-offish. I prefer the term walk-pastish, or better yet, drive-by-with-car-and-splash-with-puddlish.

In spite of what you may believe, I respect and support the press and it's not just lip service. I support you financially as well. Just last week I shelled out 12 bucks to see Paparazzi. As you know it's the new movie about the aggressive reporter who gets killed by the celebrity he's harassing. I wrote in our Conservative newsletter that it's the feel good hit of the year.

And no, no, I'm not bitter about what's happened with Campbell Morrison, and Drew Fagan, and Susan Murray. Actually, I think it's them that should be bitter about the Liberals. It is totally unfair to make a person go through a job interview that lasts 35 days.

Anyway, that's enough about the election. I don't want to beat a dead horse. I couldn't even beat Paul Martin, so how am I going to beat a dead horse?

So the election's over and we're in this minority parliament and I'm in this coalition with a socialist and a separatist. I call them Jack and Gilles. I've gone up the hill with Jack and Gilles to fetch a pail of waffles.

This coalition should not be a shock. Remember it was Preston Manning who said "You must be a coalition builder" - that's what he's said - I'm sure he's proud but no I didn't bother to consult him either, I'm just sure that's his position.

Anyway, this ménage a trois in the opposition puts a lot of pressure on me. I have to be as funny as Gilles Duceppe and as serious as Jack Layton. Things are pretty mixed up in the parliament these days. The Liberals think they have a majority, the NDP thinks they're Liberals, the Bloc says they want to make the federal government work and we're going up in the polls - in Belgium.

(More jokes, impersonations of Mulroney, Manning, Clark, McCallum - giving minority parliament advice. The McCallum one is really good.)

John is here, he's a fellow economist, actually has a lot better credentials that I do.
At a meeting recently, someone tested me on my economic knowledge. He asked me if I knew the definition of heteroscadasity. I said 'Heteroscadasity, yes I remember but in the Conservative party we now call that the traditional definition of scadasity.'

Let me just close by announcing one last policy announcement.

After the next election, when I am Prime Minister, I intend to require warning labels for political parties. For example, for the Liberals it would say 'Warning: Contents may shift after voting.' For the Bloc party, the label would read 'Warning: Not to be confused with the fun type of block party.' For the NDP it would read 'Warning: After voting, do not attempt to operate a business'. The Green Party 'Warning: No tress were harmed in the making of our platform.' And, of course, last but not least, for the Conservative Party it would read: 'Warning: May contain nuts.'

Thanks very much, hope you had fun.

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