Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell wanted to be invested into the Order of British Columbia this fall but asked for his own private ceremony – a rarely used option usually reserved for recipients who are too ill to travel.
Mr. Campbell did not attend the OBC public investiture ceremony on Oct. 4, which would have put him on a stage with his political successor, Premier Christy Clark – something the pair have avoided since he stepped down as premier and leader of the B.C. Liberal Party.
However, by not showing up, Mr. Campbell’s status as a recipient of the order and his ability to use the OBC designation remains in some doubt.
Nonetheless, he does seem eager to be part of the club. In a September e-mail to the protocol officer in charge of this year’s Order of B.C. ceremony, Mr. Campbell asked: “When is it appropriate for me to use the OBC designation?”
He was told: “In British Columbia … the common practice is that the postnominals are used after the investiture ceremony has taken place. However, technically, there is nothing wrong with using the designation immediately.”
So, Mr. Campbell is technically a member of the Order of B.C., but he has not yet been invested. He has been invited to next year’s ceremony, however, to pick up his medal.
In a consent agreement signed on Aug. 16, Mr. Campbell, who spent 25 years in public service, signed off on a citation that would have been read out at the ceremony – had he attended. The document lists his achievements as mayor of Vancouver and later as premier of the province, It describes him as “a visionary leader” who launched the “nation-building” Pacific Gateway program, brought the 2010 Winter Olympics to B.C. and who “led British Columbia’s largest-ever expansion of health care and education services.”
A deluxe hotel room was reserved in his name – part of the package offered to all OBC recipients.
Mr. Campbell declined the invitation, saying: “I think a private one is fine if possible and not too much trouble.” A private ceremony has yet to be scheduled.
The former premier’s appointment was controversial. He left office only in February amid a public backlash over the introduction of the harmonized sales tax. The province is now in the process of returning to the former regime with a separate federal and provincial sales tax.