On Canada Day weekend, Courier operatives entered city hall and planted a hidden camera in the mayors office, collecting hours of video footage. The following conversation between Mayor Gregor Robertson and Mike Magee, Robertsons chief of staff, took place Monday morning, July 25.
Robertson stands before a full-length mirror wearing silver bike shorts, a plunging purple V-neck shirt and a white feather boa. Magee, bald and goateed, wearing a grey suit and black tie, sits at Robertsons large oak desk typing on a laptop.
Mike, I think I like the green boa better.
Just a second. Im MSNing with Doug Keefe. L-o-l. T-t-y-l.
Magee closes the laptop and turns towards Robertson.
So whats the problem? Struggling with your dance moves?
Robertson stares into the mirror, attempts a pirouette and stumbles forward.
Youre getting better. Remember, the Pride Parade is one of the biggest political events of the year. We cant win reelection in November without the gay vote. You need to look good on the float this Sundayprofessional, like you know what youre doing.
Robertsons desk intercom beeps and crackles. A nasal-voiced receptionist speaks. Morning, G-man. Ken Coolen on line two.
Magee slaps the desk. Speak of the devil! Now remember, Coolens president of the Pride Society, a very important institution. Hes a vote-getter, like the pope. We want to be very good friends.
Robertson throws the feather boa over his shoulder and replaces Magee in the mayors chair. Hello Ken, Gregor Robertson, here. Happy Pride week.
Silence. Magee taps the intercom, points at Robertson and falls backward onto a bright yellow beanbag chair.
Hello Ken, Gregor Robertson, here. Happy Pride week.
Hello, Mr. Mayor. Happy Pride.
Hows things at the Pride Society? You guys have everything you need?
Great, we expect record support this year.
Magee scribbles on a notepad. Holds it up for Robertson to see. Robertson squints at the notepad.
Wonderful, Ken. Vision Vancouver has always been a big supporter of the gay and transformer community.
Magee quickly scribbles on the notepad. Holds it up.
I mean, the gay and transgender community. Anyway, what can I do for you, Ken?
Well, I just want to touch base with you guys. I know youre probably a little skittish about large crowds right now, but you have nothing to worry about. The Pride Parade is a peaceful celebration.
We know that, Ken. And while I havent talked to the police chief about how many officers hell deploy, Im sure he knows that, too.
Yeah, well, heres the thing. The Pride Society estimates parade attendance figures. In 2009, we said 530,000. Last year we said 650,000. This year, who knows? Maybe we can get 700,000? So you good with that?
Magee smiles and nods. Robertson eyes Magee, nods slowly.
Ken, with me there as mayor, make it 700,000 and one. Listen, I have to run but Ill see you Sunday. And in the fall, during the campaign.
Magee approaches Robertsons desk. Taps the intercom, ending the call. Seven hundred thousand! Hah!
Cmon, weve never had anything close to 700,000 people downtownnot even for the Olympics. We had 100,000 for Game 7, maybe.
You think Prides pumping up the parade numbers?
Listen, the most theyll ever get for the parade is 90,000and thats if the sun shines. Now thats an impressive number on its own. But 700,000? Thats more than the population of Vancouver. The city would grind to a halt. Wed have dead bodies on the SkyTrain.
Robertsons intercom beeps and crackles. G-man, Ive got Terry Hui on line three.
Magee slaps Robertson on the back. Ill take this. You get back to work. Only six days til Sunday.
Robertson walks back to the mirror, starts doing side bends.
Magee taps the intercom. Mayors office, Mike Magee speaking.