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The Hamilton Spectator
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Thursday March 30, 2006
Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a campaign-style pep talk to his caucus and staff yesterday, vowing to act swiftly on the party's five priorities as well as a sprinkling of other issues such as Arctic sovereignty and building a foreign policy in which Canadians can take pride.

Mr. Harper's speech to a crammed room on Parliament Hill was delivered shortly after an occasionally terse question-and-answer session with reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons.

The event marked the first time the new government followed through on its desire to ban reporters from the third-floor hallway where ministers emerge from cabinet meetings.

Reporters are normally allowed in that hallway once the Prime Minister's Office issues a formal notice that cabinet is meeting. No such notice was released yesterday.

The Prime Minister later confirmed during the question-and-answer session that he had just held a cabinet meeting.

"Cabinet meetings are private, that's a constitutional thing," he said, when asked whether it was acceptable to hold cabinet meetings without informing the press.

Mr. Harper's communications director, Sandra Buckler, said this week that the government is ending the third-floor interviews because the crowded area was not safe for reporters and the traditional shouting of questions did not help either the politicians or the media look good. (source)

Governing in a Closet