Thursday, February 17, 2011

Exclusive: Premier's Vancouver "throne"

A glimpse inside the washroom at Premier Gordon Campbell's downtown Vancouver office. (Bob Mackin photo)

Feb. 15, 2011 was the last British Columbia budget of the Gordon Campbell era. And it was probably the last time under Campbell rule that reporters would access the office in Canada Place's World Trade Centre where Campbell and his cabinet work and meet when they're in downtown Vancouver.

The seventh-floor suite is near the German and Swiss consulates, but has no sign on the door. There is a combo doorbell/surveillance camera. The security measures probably stem from the Feb. 21, 2008 invasion by members of the Anti-Poverty Committee.

Those who gain entry must walk along a short corridor, past a gallery of Olympic photographs and newspaper front pages before the main door.

Hallways are riddled with framed photographs of Campbell with ex-B.C. Premier Bill Bennett, Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ex-Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean.

A photograph of Campbell greeting the Dalai Lama was once above a photograph of Campbell and Chinese president Hu Jintao. They have been rearranged and are now horizontally separated by a photograph of Campbell and ex-President Bill Clinton.

A mysterious box wrapped in yellow silk was propped up against the wall.

Campbell's office is off-limits to nosy wanderers, but the (ahem) "office" is not.

Nature did call and this time I brought my camera. The loo appeared unchanged from my previous visit during the September 2009 budget lockup.

On this day at least, it was BYOB (bring-your-own-book). It has the usual amenities, including a mirror and sink. A bottle of hand sanitizer was available.

The walls were a reminder of who's in charge (until Feb. 26) and what his pet project was.

The decor includes: a Vancouver 2010 Candidate City poster, Spirit of 2010 poster; The Province Welcoming the world in six years Olympic countdown poster; three small posters from the 2009 election campaign; a poster showing front pages of the Vancouver Sun and Globe and Mail from the Liberals' 2005 re-election; a 2003-2010 Alcan-sponsored "Grow with the Games" calendar with height measurement; panoramic photographs of the Cariboo Chilcotin and William R. Bennett Bridge.

A mysterious box wrapped in yellow silk was on the floor in the downtown Vancouver office of Premier Gordon Campbell and the B.C. cabinet on Feb. 15. (Bob Mackin photo)

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