Search results: Stephen Harper

What Google Street View found inside the Prime Minister’s office

by Emily Senger

Google Street View has gone inside the Prime Minister’s office.

Stephen Harper’s official Parliament office in room 307-S was one of the Ottawa locations added to the Google Street View map Tuesday, along with the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, the Memorial Chamber and the Peace Tower observation deck. The new locations follow the July Street View additions of the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament and the Senate.

Over here at Maclean’s, we’re pretty sure Harper gave the place a good cleaning before the Google cameras came in. (Other official photos from the PM’s Flickr account hint at a slightly more cluttered space.) But the Prime Minister left behind a few hints of his personality. Here’s what we found:

On the desk

Beatles coffee mug. It’s no secret the Prime Minister is a huge Beatles fan. That’s why he (or one of his staff) placed this Beatles mug on the top-right corner of his spotless desk. The mug has the cover image from the Beatles 1963 album With the Beatles on it. It’s the same mug that became, very briefly, famous when it starred in a television ad during the 2011 election campaign.

Picture of Laureen. To Harper’s left-hand side on his desktop there is a picture of his wife, Laureen. She appears to be holding something—a book, maybe—and she’s clearly smiling. It’s the only other item on the desk, aside from the coffee mug and a lamp.

However sparse Harper’s desk is in this photo, the Prime Minister’s Flickr account does show more items on his desk on the days when Google isn’t photographing every corner. There is photographic evidence that Harper does, indeed, have a telephone on his desk. The Beatles mug appears to be there on normal days, as well, along with a Diet Coke, file folders and a box of tissues.

On the walls

Sir John A. Macdonald portrait. While former Prime Ministers have put up their own art (Jean Chrétien had a set of small paintings by Quebec artist Jean-Paul Lemieux, on long-term loan from Lemieux’s family), Harper keeps it simple with a single portrait of Canada’s first Prime Minister, who also happened to be a Conservative. The portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald was painted by the Canadian artist Ernest Fosbery in 1931. Fosbery was a portrait painter, but is maybe better remembered as one of the earliest Canadian war artists in WWI. Sir John A. is to the right of the main door when you enter the room and he looks over the current Prime Minister’s desk.

Family photos. Aside from the painting of Sir John A. Macdonald, the Prime Minister adorns his walls with photos of his family. Six photos are hung in groups of two on the wall to the right of his desk. Here, a photo of Ben and Rachel with kittens — Ben is now 17 and Rachel is 14. There is also a Christmas photo, the same one Harper used on his 2006 Christmas cards. The little-kid pictures on Harper’s wall show a marked difference from the grown-up kids on Harper’s 2013 Christmas card.

The next photos shows Harper with his mother, Margaret Johnston. Next to that is a photo from his 2006 election victory celebration in Calgary.

The last pair of photos shows Harper and his family boarding the campaign plane in 2006. This picture appears to be taken on the day after Harper and his Conservatives won the election. Next to that is a photo of Harper on the campaign trail, again with his family, back in his Canadian Alliance days.

On the shelves

The Prime Minister displays very few books on the shelves behind his desk. From left to right (and perhaps in order of importance), there’s the most recent federal budget, “Jobs Growth and Long-Term Prosperity,” in both official languages, the Bible, John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman, an English dictionary, a French dictionary and a French-English translation dictionary.

That’s it for books, aside from a copy of The Historical Atlas of Canada on the coffee table.

The sparse book collection makes space for plenty of awards on the shelves.

The glass W on the top right side of the shelf is the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, which Harper received in 2006. (Comedian Rick Mercer took home the same award this year.)

The red scroll-looking thing is from the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation, which gave the award to Harper in 2008 for his support of victims’ rights.

The furnishings

There are four side chairs in the PM’s office, two placed near the windows and two more under the row of family photos. These chairs are made of walnut, brass and leather and were designed by John A. Pearson in 1922. That’s the same architect who undertook the rebuilding of Centre Block after the 1916 fire.

The desk appears to be the same as this writing table, also designed by Pearson in 1922 for use in the Prime Minister’s office. It was first used by W.L. Mackenzie King.

See anything else good we’re missing? Leave it in the comments and we’ll add to the post.




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Search results: Stephen Harper

  1. The coffee mug is turned so everyone can see the Beatles, and too far away to be reachable.

    There is no laptop….no work of any kind.

    “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Albert Einstein.

    There is no comfortable seating for anyone else….the chairs are decor.

    There is no rug.

    There is nothing personal here.

    This is a just a sterile photo-op

      • A working office, not a set.

        • It’s a working mug, though, in a working office that was cleaned a little too zealously. Sort of what you get when the PMO hires primarily for zeal.

          • It’s a mug he thinks will appeal to Boomers….who are long past the Beatles.

            It isn’t ‘zeal’…..that’s an empty office

  2. what about the carpet?

    • Hi Henri. I like the carpet, too, but didn’t find anything about its origins. I’ll add to the post if I can find more information.

      • Dude, It sure ties the room together

  3. That’s a bit disappointing. I was hoping to spot the trap door that leads to the bus in the basement. No fireman’s pole either, so Harper can whiz down to his waiting motorcade when the press get too pushy. Where does he keep his stock of emergency blue sweaters and spare cats, if he feels a sudden need to stroke rather than choke something? You guys should keep looking. There’s bound to be more behind the false wall.

    • “stroke rather than choke”?! You’re in fine form tonight, LOL! Maybe there’s an automat machine where you put in a loonie, and a fresh chinchilla drops down for a photo opp!

  4. Pretty dammed contrived, just like everything else with this Prime Minister.

    • I don’t see John Lennon as a Harper fan. Do you?

      “Imagine there’s Harper. It’s easy if you try”.

    • I really don’t see John Lennon as a Harper fan. Do you?

      “Imagine there’s no Harper. It’s easy if you try”

  5. The desk lamp looks really out of place. I’m surprised there isn’t something vintage, perhaps designed by Pearson to provide light for prime ministers.

    • I thought it was Pierre’s light…..recently up for auction at first, but no….only similar.

  6. This comment was deleted.

    • Classy.

    • What sick mind. Have some respect for your Country.

  7. I noticed a bust on top of the bookshelf and I can’t tell who it is. As for other comments, I suspect the desk is so clean of prime ministerial work because of privacy concerns.

    • Turn the papers over. Better still use a computer.

  8. Seriously. There is a lot to criticize Harper for. Cleansing his office before photos are taken of it is not one of them.

    • Indicates his character.

  9. Where did the shredder go?!

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