This is where the search for government information goes to die.
It is the Conservative government's virtual boilerplate room, where journalists' quests for answers are volleyed with antiseptic, anodyne talking points meant to stop a news story in its track or ensure a bumper sticker response - often unrelated to the request - makes it way onto websites, print and broadcast news.
This is not as overt as wholesale redactions of documents released under access laws, it is not as in your face as Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino walking away from the spouse of a veteran, it is not propaganda as blatant as Stephen Harper's 24/7 website videos.
But it is a form of message control that has simply become part of accepted Ottawa practice, as if it was always thus, except it hasn't been always thus.
Invariably, the responses come via email, even when the request for information is relayed by phone, as if the talking points can be properly guarded only at the keyboard, but could veer into dangerous, informative territory if an actual conversation ensued.
To be fair, some ministers and their departments - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Employment Minister Jason Kenney and successive natural resources ministers Joe Oliver and Greg Rickford - will help journalists understand issues, but when the muck hits the fan they, too, will retreat behind the ramparts and head for the boilerplate bunker.
If you want to know the day's announcement on funding for skating huts or fishing wharves, they'll be there for you, but if the issue is even remotely contentious, these are typical dispatches from the boilerplate room:
When we ask for specifics on a program known as the International Experience Canada, a supposedly reciprocal program that is disproportionately being used by foreign workers in this country, Kenney's office tells us our economic recovery is one of the best in the G7 and "Canada's economy is doing better than most . . . and that is something we can all celebrate.''
When we ask for a response to reports sex murderer Paul Bernardo plans to marry, the office of Public Works Minister Steven Blaney assures us his government puts victims first and "We continue to examine ways to ensure that the worst of the worst stay behind bars where they belong, without needless perks that these dangerous and violent criminals certainly never afforded to their victims."
When we asked about reports that a couple of Russian business magnates were not sanctioned here because they had Canadian business interests, there is no denial or confirmation, but there are a couple of links to old Baird press releases and: "Our sanctions are designed to punish the Putin regime and bring economic pressure on Russia for its illegal occupation of Ukraine."
Many of the answers are merely the departmental talking points used to stymie opposition MPs during the theatre of the absurd known as question period; some are cut-and-paste jobs from government websites, most are invariably accompanied by a request for a deadline, so the response can be sent about a minute before any time you choose as that deadline.
They are all the government's happy track - don't worry, everything is OK, have a nice day.
But there are other examples that are a bit more inventive.
When we asked for an explanation why documents available to Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre's transition to the portfolio were denied under access legislation, we were told to call back in 20 years.
"That determination is made by PCO's Cabinet Counsel Division. After a period of 20 years, this information will become subject to the Act,'' the privy council office told the Star's Alex Boutilier.
It is not limited to ministers.
After GTA MP Mark Adler introduced a bill requiring parliamentary watchdogs and their employees to disclose previous political activities - likened to a public service "witch hunt" - Boutilier sought an interview. Off-and-on for three months.
Adler preached sunshine as the best disinfectant - then disappeared.
"MP Adler will be tied up for the next few days and unable to do a call. It is just a really busy time for us as you can appreciate," his office said.
But this crew banging out the boilerplate are pipsqueaks compared to a Harper spokesperson of yore, many spokespersons ago.
The issue was hardly earth-shattering, the substance lost to the mists of time and the need to purge email baskets, but the answer is chiselled in communications history in the capital.
We asked. "Off the record, no comment," she told us.
From the Department of cut-and-paste
We ask: How many foreign workers entered Canada last year under the International Experience Program?
They say: "Canada's economic recovery is one of the best in the G-7. Since the depths of the recession, more than 1.1 million net new jobs have been created in this country. And indeed this has attracted the world's attention." (Jason Kenney's office)
We ask: Why there is no new chief justice of Ontario six months after the job came open and whether public input is being sought in making the decision.
They say: "An appointment will be made in due course." (Peter MacKay's office)
We ask: The minister's view on Senate amendments to his bill.
They say: "The Fair Elections Act is reasonable, common sense and Canadians support it. The Senate committee has done a thoughtful study of the bill. Its members should be congratulated for their good work.'' (Pierre Poilievre's office)
We ask: Whether a U.S. memo on the use of drones has an impact on the conviction of Omar Khadr.
They say: "Omar Ahmed Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, including the murder of American Army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. Our government supports the efforts of his wife Tabitha Speer and fellow soldiers to receive compensation for their horrible loss suffered at the hands of Omar Ahmed Khadr.'' (Steven Blaney's office)
We ask: About delays in a cross-border initiative between Canada and the U.S.
They say: "I can tell you that the Action Plan sets ambitious, but achievable, goals that will advance economic opportunities and lead to greater security." (Former minister Vic Toews' office)
Tim Harper is a national affairs writer. email@example.com Twitter:@nutgraf1