Monday, 1 March 2010

Canada's Next Governor General - an excellent opportunity.

It's hard to believe that it's been almost five years since Michaëlle Jean was appointed the 27th Governor General of Canada.  And, while there have certainly been some bumps along the road I think most Canadians will look back at Mme Jean's "term" as vice-regal with mostly positive memories.  But, as they say all good things must come to an end.  And, so the search is on to find Mme Jean's successor.

To get in the mood, the League has launched a new Facebook page called Canada's Next Governor General to encourage Canadians to offer their own input as to who they believe should be The Queen's next representative.  If you haven't done so already, please consider becoming a "fan" of this new FB page and also invite your friends to do the same.  You can also vote in an online FB poll - just for fun, of course - with over 50 imaginative choices for GG.

The idea behind Canada's Next Governor General is not only to allow you to make your own opinions known, but to challenge Canadians to learn more about the role of the Governor General.  And, I think that's where the real opportunity lies.

In the aftermath of two controversial prorogation requests by the Prime Minister - where the Governor General's constitutional powers were nicely illustrated - the time is right to step up our education efforts and explain to Canadians how our constitutional monarchy functions.

Queen to personally appoint the next Governor General?

There have been suggestions recently that The Queen herself may preside over the swearing in of her next Governor General while she is here in Canada this summer.  While, this is highly unlikely there is a possibility that The Queen could appoint the next the Governor General in person - like she did in August 1959 for Georges Vanier.  Coincidently, Vanier was appointed at Government House in Halifax.  Vanier was sworn in the following month.  The Queen will be in Halifax for centennial celebrations of the Canadian navy.  Perhaps, history is ready to repeat itself?

I believe having The Queen personally appoint her representative effectively accomplishes two key things.  First, it drives home the fact that is The Queen (not the Prime Minister) who appoints the Governor General.  Second, it illustrates that The Queen is the head of state and that she is appointing her representative.  Both of these, in my opinion, help strengthen the Crown and the office of the Governor General.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

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