Celeb dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford was in spanking form even before she got frogmarched out of senate justice committee hearings on Bill C-36, threatening to unleash the dreaded list of hooker-frequenting parliamentarians-who-aren’t-Wilbert Keon and raving on her way out, “You’re dogs, you’re liars, you’re hyprocrites!”
Press hacks followed the leather-clad loony out for an impromptu scrum, at which she continued to whip up the drama.
One particular exchange with the fourth estate, however, did not get reported:
Bedford: “Stephen Harper (unintelligible), did you find out about 24 Sussex?”
Reporter: Are you saying someone paid you at 24 Sussex Drive?”
Bedford: “That’s what I’m saying.”
Reporter: “When did this happen?”
Bedford: “Who was the little blonde lady?”
Reporters: (Talk over each other)
Bedford: “Alright, we’ll see what happens.”
Doubtless, Terri-Jean was joking with journos with her claims of government procurement, BDSM nights at the official residence (the safe word is firewall!), and sly references to Mrs. H.
And there was certainly never much risk anyone would break ranks with the parliamentary stenography corps and actually report such irresponsible tattle — even if it were true.
It all follows the same pattern of those aged and nearly-reported rumours, going back at least five years, that the Harpers were living a Potemkin marriage, with Laureen agreeing to be trotted out for official duties, but otherwise no longer resident at 24 Sussex. She had either decamped for the Chateau Laurier, or, depending on the storyteller, shacked up with her paramour, a member of the RCMP security detail.
A female member of the RCMP detail.
Ottawa being Ottawa, press gallery hacks fair wet themselves with glee, trading the salacious tale amongst themselves, but nobody even thought of letting their readers or viewers in on the fun, or even, er, actually trying to confirm the story. Bad taste, private matter, nobody’s business, mew, mew.
A couple of years went by before the persistent yarn got even a tentative airing in December 2010, in the form of a nutless blind item from Ottawa Petfinder columnist Andrew Cohen.
“In Ottawa, tongues have been wagging for two years about trouble in one political marriage. One of the partners is now said to have left the nest. It hasn’t made the newspapers, at least not yet,” he almost-reported.
This feeble ray of daylight was in turn seized upon by Norm “Wall of Sound” Spector in his blog on the Globe and Mail’s website:
‘These days, being as far away from Ottawa as one can get, it was only a few months ago that I caught wind of rumours that the first couple (to borrow an Americanism) were living separately (Mr. Harper at 24 Sussex, Ms. Harper at the Chateau Laurier). And, truth be told, I learned this startling news, dear reader, in the comment boards on this website. Intrigued, I checked out the rumour with two journalists in Ottawa. From both, I got the sense that it was likely true. And that it was not being reported because it was deemed to be a personal matter.”
Normie speculated that the scuttlebutt, and Cohen’s oblique reference to it, was behind President Steve’s subsequent decision to trot Laureen out to conspicuously hold his hand during an interview with CTV.
But if Globe readers blinked, they missed it.
Amid squawks from the PMO, publisher Phil “Creepy” Crawley ordered the post killed, replaced by an editor’s note:
“We have removed the text of an original posting on this blog as it fell short of The Globe and Mail‘s editorial standards with respect to fairness, balance and accuracy,”
That left Spector whinging on his own website, “I’m still of the opinion that the deleted piece constitutes a worthy explanation of why he and Ms. Harper decided to do their first joint interview since the government came to power in 2006.”
And the Ottawa cone of silence dropped once more. Terri-Jean is not my lover…