Politicians and journalists threw aside political correctness this weekend and went all out for the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Every year, the journalists and politicians mingle at the annual dinner, which is lightheartedly referred to as the "nerd prom." Generally each journalist who attends must invite a guest, normally a politician - but there aren't any hard and fast rules, apart from dressing up for the black-tie gala.

The leaders of the main political parties are normally expected to show up and roast themselves with a satirical speech. They also throw in a sprinkling of inside jokes, sometimes using the event to settle old scores.

This year marked the first time in more than a decade that a sitting Canadian prime minister decided to attend. Former prime minister Stephen Harper had boycotted the gala since 2005 due to his frosty relations with the media - or perhaps his overall dislike for other humans, as interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose put it.

So in this edition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, took to the stage with their own skit. It included a musical number with Sophie singing the blues, doing some yoga, and then engaging in the usual self-deprecating humour.

Ambrose brought down the house with a sensational performance that had most of the crowd in stitches.

Not to be left out, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair delivered no-holds-barred criticism of pretty much everyone in sight, admitting that he gave "zero f**ks" about the consequences since he would be leaving politics, after being shown the door by his own party.

Green Leader Elizabeth May was out West at a party event and steered clear of the gathering - after some harsh criticism from journalists last year who mainly thought that she wasn't funny enough.

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner, Ottawa
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau strike a Vogue pose, drawing some laughter at the Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner. Photo by The Canadian Press.

In chronological order, here are the top 15 jokes from the 2016 edition of the Parliamentary Press Gallery annual dinner as Canada celebrates 150 years of a free press covering its national government:

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner, Ottawa
Sophie Grégoire strikes a yoga pose, knocking both her husband and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair about anger management issues in the process. Photo by The Canadian Press.
  1. Justin Trudeau: "We come together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Parliamenary Press Gallery. One hundred and fifty years of comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable and from time to time, having the incomparable Kerry Fraser, narrate play-by-plays of prime ministerial elbows. I have been banging on the glass, working my whole life to have Kerry Fraser notice me. It’s possible I went a little too far. Of course, as a Habs fans, I can’t agree with all of his calls. Nice hair though.”
  2. Justin Trudeau: “There’s been a lot of talk about my bromance with President Barack Obama. - How I look up to him, how I have so much to learn from him, and I’m like, 'Barack, you’re absolutely right. Thank you for pointing it out, again.'”
  3. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau while striking a yoga pose to prime minister: "You should be doing more of this, then you'd be hitting less people, right?” - And to Mulcair: "And this is really good for anger management. Tom, you wanna try it?"
    Rona Ambrose, Press Gallery, dinner, gala, 150th anniversary
    Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose brings down the house during speech at Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner in Gatineau, Que. on June 4, 2016. Photo by The Canadian Press.
  4. Rona Ambrose: “You know I really, really believe in my heart that the former PM was misunderstood. I really do. Stephen Harper actually loved humanity. It was just people that he couldn't stand.”

  5. Rona Ambrose: "I got to tell you, despite the loss, I really feel optimistic about the future. After all, I don't work at a newspaper."

  6. Rona Ambrose: “I can't complain. My job is pretty secure. I collect a government pay cheque, I live in public housing. It’s the Conservative dream, baby, the Conservative dream.”

  7. Rona Ambrose: "I’m not going to knock Stornaway. It is a great house. It’s beautiful. The only disappointment for my husband JP, was that it didn't have live-in nannies.”

  8. Rona Ambrose: “JP, of course, as some of you might know, was a professional bull rider for 23 years. Yeah, that might seem like kind of an odd match between the two of us, but really girls, what more can a girl want than a man who can stay on for more than eight seconds.”

  9. Rona Ambrose: “By this time next year, the Conservative Party will have a new leader. And there are many people interested in the job - many fine people interested in the job - and then there’s Kevin O’Leary.”

  10. Rona Ambrose: "It’s probably time for our party to adopt a new title - something that’s going to capture our fresh positive tone, and I wanted to share some of them with you: The Conservative Party of Canada, now in a new fresh, lemony scent. The Conservative Party of Canada: It’s okay, the bad man’s gone away. The Conservative Party of Canada, 30 per cent fewer nuts.”

  11. Rona Ambrose: “We have come a long way, baby, a long way. We just wiped our opposition to same-sex marriage from a party platform. We’ve also loosened up when it comes to marijuana, which I understand is a side effect.”

    Thomas Mulcair, Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery, dinner, gala, 150th anniversary
    NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair drops the microphone after his speech at the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery in Gatineau, Que. on June 4, 2016. Photo by The Canadian Press.
  12. Tom Mulcair: “Can we just do a reality check on one thing? ... Everyone is so impressed that that Justin Trudeau is hitting 50 per cent approval ratings (in) all of these polls. What’s the big deal? I just polled 1,800 people in Edmonton. I got 48 per cent. That’s barely a two per cent difference. (That’s) the Liberal media bias.”

  13. Tom Mulcair: "During the entire election campaigns We used to hear everywhere that Justin Trudeau was so handsome. That he had the body of a god. Catherine (Mulcair’s wife) comforted me by saying: ‘Honey, you also have the body of a god. Buddha is a god.’”

  14. Tom Mulcair: “After all that’s happening, I’ve got to say that there’s something of a silver lining in that gigantic orange sh*tstorm. For example, no one reports on me when I run stop signs anymore.”

  15. Tom Mulcair: “I’d love to say more but I’ve just been informed by Edmonton that I have to go. So on that note, Mulcair out.”



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