Sometimes watching a dog chase its tail can be momentarily entertaining. After a while you hope the futility ends. The dog catches his tail. The game finishes. All returns to normal.
Those outside of Ottawa, or even just free of the downtown core where Parliament Hill is located, should consider themselves lucky. Since about 10 p.m. local time Monday night, hundreds of people have been emulating the dog. Pavlov would be so proud.
After CTV's enterprising bureau chief Bob Fife broke the story that a cabinet shuffle was imminent on the nightly newscast, BlackBerrys began buzzing all around the nation's capital. Reporters, lobbyists, staffers, MPs themselves, Twitter types, bloggers and god knows who else were proffering theories on what might happen with Stephen Harper's January cabinet remake. People get hauled into the game for various reasons. For some it is a job, others an addiction, a few play for self-promotion purposes - it is Ottawa after all - whatever the rationale it is the most mind-numbing exercise fraught with irrelevance.
When the Prime Minister does finally name his cabinet today, look behind all the smiling faced ministers into the crowd or on the sidelines for the exhausted and the exasperated. They are the ones who played the game last night and today. For all the energy they expended, they're going to be telling the story of what happened at the actual shuffle. But damn the war stories of who was right and who was wrong will be awesome for those in Official Ottawa anyway.
I am sure the Prime Minister himself gets a chuckle out of the game as he is the only one who ever really knows the outcome. The rest of us just chasing our tail.
Steven Chase on the cabinet shuffle