It's not widely advertised, but there is a restaurant in the basement of the BC Legislature. Its primary purpose is to feed the members of parliament when they're on break from session, but when the dining room isn't busy serving the local policy-makers, it's open for the general public to enjoy. Well...kind of open. To eat in the Legislative Dining Room you first have to pay a visit to the security office and surrender your driver's license, passport, or other official form of ID. In exchange for this you are given a badge which literally unlocks the door to the secret world of political power dining.
I have to admit that having a pass made me feel pretty important. I walked confidently down the Legislature hallway (my kids used the word "strutting") showing my pass to everybody in sight, most of whom were tourists wondering why this strange man kept flashing his red and white card at them. Eventually came the end of the hallway and the most exciting moment of the journey...a door marked "No Public Access". With a wave of my badge (actually five or six waves, and some help from an elderly gentleman walking by) there was a beep and the door opened to reveal the inner hallways of the BC Legislature...
...which truthfully looked exactly like the outer hallways of the BC Legislature. To my disappointment there was no guard there to check the validity of my pass (There's never a guard when I actually have a pass.) so we proceeded down the hallway. Not only wasn't there a guard present but there weren't any people at all. We were wandering around in the off-limits area of the BC Legislature with nobody around watching over us, one day after a terror plot was thwarted at this very building. It was kind of a strange feeling, but being the good, law-abiding citizens that we are, we didn't do anything that would be cause for concern. We simply obeyed all the posted signs and followed the path towards the dining room.
|OK...Maybe we disobeyed one sign....|
|A reasonably priced menu!|
Every single thing we ordered was fantastic, but the food was definitely second to the ambiance. The room is covered with pictures and news clippings of famous BC politicians and I couldn't help but wonder just how many important deals were brokered at the very table we were currently eating our breakfast at. Our waiter, who was super friendly but made it clear that he wasn't at liberty to talk politics, explained to us that we were seated in a section of the restaurant reserved for members of the opposition party. That took a little bit of the glamour away, but it was still very cool to be sitting in a room so full of history.
|Don't we look governmental?|
I gave it serious consideration but in the end I decided that it really wasn't the best time for me to hold a press conference. With my swelled sense of importance I might have done something ill advised like announce an election or declare war on Saskatchewan. Besides, I was already feeling really full from a great breakfast and I probably wouldn't have been looking my best for the reporters. They say the camera adds 10 pounds and there's an awful lot of cameras down there.
Written by Steve Pratt