Weeks of growing tension erupted into a standoff and then a shouting match yesterday between Premier Rodney MacDonald’s staff and the provincial press corps. And it was all over a podium.

Two weeks ago the premier’s staff announced they wanted to do away with media scrums — where politicians talk face-to-face with a group of reporters — at weekly cabinet meetings.

Instead he would take questions from a podium because it “looks and sounds better.”

Reporters worried the new setup would give the premier more power to control the conversation and an easy exit if things went bad.

So, yesterday reporters refused. After a brief standoff they brought their equipment onstage and scrummed the premier around the podium.

“I’ve been very respectful to all of you with being available to answer questions,” said MacDonald. “I would’ve hoped there would have been a little respect shown to our government.” He then turned and walked out the back entrance, ignoring questions.