POLITICS
04/03/2012 01:53 EDT | Updated 06/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan rolls up the red carpet for politicians and goes green

REGINA - Red carpet has been in the Saskatchewan legislature since it opened 100 years ago, but that will change this summer when the assembly goes green.

Speaker Dan D'Autremont said Tuesday that the current version of the red wool carpet, which was installed in 1978, has been patched over the years. But he said it's worn out and needs to be replaced.

"As an MLA sitting in here, when you leave at the end of the day your pant legs are all red from the fibres that have come up from the carpet," said D'Autremont.

Legislature staff have also had to take steps to hide holes on budget day or throne speech day.

"The staff actually take red felt markers out and paint in all the white spots that show up, where the steps have been worn. And so it looks good when you get everybody in here because they don't notice that the carpet's completely worn right through to the underlay because it's all painted over," he said.

"That wears off quickly."

The new carpet will cost about $60,000. This will be the third time the carpet has been replaced since the legislature opened its doors in 1912.

Red carpet is usually reserved for the Senate or the House of Lords in Britain.

In his book "Building for the Future: a Photo Journal of Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building," former lieutenant governor Gordon Barnhart wrote that green carpet was the original choice for the legislature by the building's architects. It was intended to co-ordinate with the marble in the rotunda and the green marble baseboards in the chamber, he said.

Barnhart wrote that it was a mystery as to why red carpet was chosen.

However, there is speculation that Walter Scott, the province's first premier, wanted red carpet because it was his Liberal party colour.

Green is the colour of the governing Saskatchewan Party and it's one of the colours for the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders football team. D'Autremont said the change was made the current architects and it is not a partisan decision.

"No Roughrider green, no Sask. Party green, even though I see on one of the blogs that somebody wants us to put a Roughrider logo in the middle of the floor. It's not happening."