Over the weekend I was on assignment in our provincial capital, the lovely city of Victoria. Seeing as I was there I thought it behooved me to take a tour of the building in which our legislative assembly sits on rare occasions.
Approaching the BC Legislature
As you approach the building, the grand entrance looms majestically above. And then you see the chain across the grand entrance barring all but the Queen and her representative from entering through these doors. Us proletarians are forced to use the small door to the left of the grand entrance.
Just like the guards who stand on guard of Buckingham Palace, there is a rent-a-cop leisurely standing by the entrance to our legislature. His uniform and hat are not nearly as majestic as the Buckingham Palace guards but he does have his arms crossed and scowl on his face pretty well all the time. His face, like the faces of the Buckingham Palace guards was unchanging.
However, once inside the building you can turn to the left and there is a pleasant young lady sitting there who can tell you when the next public tour will be held. Or you can turn to your left and find more of the scowling security types who would rather you go away and leave them to watch their YouTube videos of new weaponry (as they were doing when I approached).
Once I told them that I was in their office on official government business, they took me a little more seriously. I told them I was there to see Adrian Dix. Adrian may not like to hear this but they had no idea who he is. He needs to work a little harder closer to home I think.
I said maybe they know Eric from Adrian’s office. No better. I suggested they call Adrian’s office, seeing as they were expecting me and all…so they did.
I was confirmed as a guest. Handed over my driver’s license in exchange for a cool little security pass that you pass in front of a thing beside a door and presto, the doors open. Cool. They told me to go through the rotunda, down the hall, up the stairs, past the sign saying the dining room is downstairs and then along a hallway to the…the reality is I couldn’t even find my way out of their office.
Eric from Adrian’s office promptly arrived and took me on the “behind the scenes” tour I wanted. Of course there were areas even he is not allowed to go into. Like the BC Liberal wing of the building. I thought that was pretty cool. When I tried to slide out the side door to get into the BC Lib wing I was denied access by young Eric.
I was taken to the Legislature Library. That building is spectacular beyond belief. The marble columns and floor were truly breath-taking. The young librarian sitting at the desk seemed quite nonplussed by here environment but it was spectacular.
As were walking through the hallways I did see some of the stuff that the public cannot see. For example, I saw the hallway that leads to where Joy McPhail and Jenny Kwan had their offices while they were the only two elected NDP members.
Entrance to Joy McPhail's Old Office
I also saw the legislative press gallery. This part of the building looked the most lived in of all of the building that I saw. Quite comfortable looking.
The dining room was not busy. Apparently they are open for business even though the legislature only sat for four days out of the last 260-some days. When I asked about coming in for lunch the following day the lady in the dining room was quite concerned that I was not going to make reservations.
Speaking of the legislature only sitting for a few days a year, I believe I now understand why.
Lock on Legislature
This massive pad lock holds the gates of the legislature shut. I overheard two guys in coveralls talking about the lock. Apparently the keys to this lock have been misplaced and nobody wants to say so publicly. It is quite embarrassing for the government.
Even though we are unable to get inside the legislative chamber, we could peer inside over the locked gates. The thing that struck me about the hall is how really small it is. It is nowhere near as spacious as I thought it would be.
Also, up above the MLA’s seats, you can see the visitor’s gallery. One seat in the upper row had some papers strewn about and a coffee cup on the arm of the chair. Rumour has it that this is the seat that Premier Christy Clark has chosen.
My tour was abruptly cut off at that point when the security people realized that my tour guide had gone back to work and left me on the public tour. The story gets a bit muddled here but let’s just say that there will be no legal action taken by either party as long as I do not return to the Legislature with my roller blades. It really was a bit of confusion…as they say, no harm no foul.
And finally, I was only trying make pleasant conversation when I asked the security dude if he carrying a sidearm. I suggest you not ask.