It was a 3-line whip… (in Canadian words, it was a must-do item).
This comes from the House of Commons, where party ‘whips’ (try to) enforce discipline amongst their members. Every week an order paper is sent out with a list of upcoming debates. If the topic is underlined once, the members should be present if possible, twice, the member should be present unless he can find a member of the opposition who will agree not to be present as well, and three lines means the member’s presence is compulsory – hence a 3-line whip. (ref Emma Crewe, The House of Commons, an anthropology of MPs at work – a more fascinating book than that might make it sound!)
John, in the elevator/ lift, helpfully: “we’re going to ground” – confused look (they’re telling me they’re going into hiding??)