OTTAWA - Reality met metaphor Tuesday on Parliament Hill.
A Liberal caucus meeting was left in the dark after a power surge blew a circuit breaker and killed the lights in the Centre Block.
The 90-minute blackout seemed the perfect backdrop for the Liberal contention that a power-mad Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shut down Parliament in a bid to leave pesky opposition critics in the shadows until March 3.
"Mr. Harper doesn't do anything by halves. He not only shuts down Parliament, he shuts off the lights," Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff chuckled.
Ignatieff had been about to open the Liberals' two-day winter caucus retreat when the power failed. He was forced to postpone his speech until Wednesday.
In that respect, the outage may have assured him a bit more media coverage than he'd have received had he pressed ahead as originally scheduled.
Harper had already guaranteed there'd be little coverage of Ignatieff's speech Tuesday by scheduling a cabinet shuffle at precisely the same time.
Liberals were not inclined to believe the timing was coincidental.