As I have often done in past years, today, I attended the annual Open House at the Legislative Building. Despite my strong feelings against the current government in power, I think it is a fabulous idea to give the common folk a chance to not only tour the building itself, but to meet our elected and appointed MLAs.
I would encourage anyone who has not visited the “Leg”, as it is informally known, to take advantage of this opportunity that comes about every year at this time.
As is my custom, I arrived early and walked around, taking pictures as I went.
My first official stop was the chamber.
They don’t let you sit in any of the seats, but they do let you in to take pictures.
Starting on the first floor, I walked down one hall and stopped into Comrade Selby’s office. Her claim to fame is having been a reporter for A-Channel. When she first ran for office, Jack Reimer, the sitting MLA for the area, correctly referred to her as a “prop”. For some reason, he found the need to apologize for the remark.
I was her first customer of the day and both she and her assistant anxiously tried to ply me with assorted dainties. While looking around her office, I noticed some artwork on the wall behind her.
She proudly told me that it was the work of her children. She then pointed out the work of “Manitoba artists” on the opposite wall. Her children are not quite at Michelangelo’s level and likely will never be, but they had those other “Manitoba artists” beat.
The pink creature third from the left caught my attention specifically and she said that it was a flamingo. I suggested that it should be more appropriately placed in the office of the MLA for Transcona, since the community is known for its pink flamingos.
Moving on, I passed by the office of Dr. Jon Gerrard, the leader of the Irrelevant Party, which is more formally known as the Liberal Party of Manitoba. I made the mistake of looking inside his office and two of his staffers standing out in the hall tried to hustle me inside like carnival barkers. Thanks, but no thanks. Should he ever try and publish his memoirs, a good title would be “Desperately Seeking Relevance”.
I went upstairs and passed by the Grand Staircase, where one of the many choirs was performing.
As I do every year, I stopped at the Blue Room. This time, I actually got a half-decent picture.
One fault I have with the building is that it is so poorly lit. The Blue Room is particularly dimly lit, but, on this occasion, my camera performed well.
I walked into the Legislative Reading Room and took a couple of shots.
I stopped in and saw a couple of more members of the Politburo including Comrade Rondeau. This duck in his office caught my attention.
Comrade Rondeau was also passing out calendars.
Yes, an NDP cabinet minister was handing out calendars entitled “Money Matters: financial lessons for life”.
I need tips on money management from the NDP like I need speech lessons from Elmer Fudd.
Perhaps Comrade Rondeau should consider dropping off one of those calendars on his boss's desk. Under the leadership of Comrade Selinger, Manitoba’s debt has hit record levels and grows with every passing day.
One particular member of the Politburo who I wanted to see was Peter Bjornson, whom I’ve met on two prior occasions. For those that know me, you may already be aware that Bjornson once taught the late Carli Ward, a dear friend of mine and the subject of my second book. Sadly, he was away on business. Oh well.
I covered the rest of the building without finding Brian Pallister, the new Leader of the Opposition. The door to his office was closed and unless I missed him in the PC Caucus room, he was conspicuous by his absence. Even if I did miss him, for someone seeking to be the next Premier, one would think that he, of all people, would have made a much stronger effort to make himself prominently available. Either way, it was a significant faux pas.
After more than an hour, my tour of the Leg came to an end. I always find it interesting to visit and I did not regret the trip.