The Governor General has begun the first of three State visits after arriving in Mexico City yesterday. Mme Jean, along with her husband M. Lafond, will pay a four-day visit to Mexico, followed by visits to Guatemala and Costa Rica.
I am big fan of having our Governor General embark on State visits abroad. In fact, I wish there were more of them. Besides the usual economic benefits, cultural exchanges, and diplomacy building, State visits provide Canada with a rare opportunity to tell the world that we are a constitutional monarchy.
When Her Excellency visits a foreign country, she is for an intents and purposes received just as The Queen would be. This is important. It reminds both the hosts and Canadians just where the Governor General stands in the pecking order as representative of The Queen of Canada.
Putting aside any past gaffes where the GG has been called "head of state", the reality is that far too many Canadians believe the Prime Minister is head of state. Many of us still - incorrectly - equate the Prime Minister of Canada to the President of the United States. So, when the Governor General is involved, it serves as a gentle, subtle reminder that Her Excellency The Governor General represents the highest office in the land.
Now, could I just ask Her Excellency to begin one or two of her speeches this week with, "As representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Canada...?"
Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.