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The crow flies at midnight

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For the second time that I've noticed, the Conservatives seem to be going a little extra far to prevent anyone from figuring out where they are going to hold their daily events.

Last Monday, they informed reporters who weren't on the leader's tour to meet up with the bus at one location and either board the bus or follow it to the event. It turned out to be at a private residence. I sort of let that one pass by because some people might be a little uncomfortable having their address published in media notices, some of which get repeated word for word in papers and online.

But this morning it was again a big secret where they were going and I'm starting to wonder just how paranoid the Tories have become.

"Photo opportunity at an undisclosed location. Meet behind Confederation Building on Parliament Hill."

I kind of expected the next line to read "Media who wish to attend must know secret password and handshake."

Where was the mysterious location that required such top secret protection? A hair salon in Ottawa so Harper could get photographed with the owner and her daughters right before he went to the Tory Death Star to announce he is going to make EI benefits available to self-employed people for the first time.

During a pre-election briefing with Harper's chief spokesman, we were told we wouldn't get much info on where Harper would be until very late each day because they couldn't risk it falling into their opponents' hands.

Just what do they think their opponents are going to do with the information? Hire a flock of puffins to defecate on the prime minister in the middle of his speech?

While the Liberal and NDP campaigns give out their leader's tour schedules around dinner time eastern each day, leaving enough time for people to try and plan their next day's coverage, the Tory campaign gives only a "Day at a glance" early in the evening and sends out any specifics they want to give far later. Last night, it was after 11 p.m.

Isn't there something that suggests paranoia is bred from one's own thoughts? I haven't exactly seen evidence the Tories are trying to ruin Liberal or NDP or Bloc events but if you are thinking about your own events being ruined, it seems to me there have been thoughts of doing it to your opponents.

Given the nasty tone of the behind the scenes Tory campaign so far it would not be more than a hop, skip and a jump to campaign event sabotage. Let's hope Harper pulled in the reins on his war machine this weekend and reminded them "Hey guys! We're winning. Cut out the hijinks."

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


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