Monday, 12 April 2010

The Great Governor General Guessing Game


Since Easter weekend, the national media have been in a tizzy over who will become the next Governor General of Canada. Never has there been so much interest in and speculation surrounding the issue of a vice-regal appointment. Perhaps, it is a testament to the popularity of MichaĆ«lle Jean. Or, that - thanks to two controversial prorogations - Canadians suddenly realise that the Governor General is much more than a mere figurehead. Or, maybe it is simply the information age we live in with the demand for news 24/7. Truthfully, it’s probably a combination of all three.

Such media attention, I believe, is very positive. Yes, I wish some journalists would do their homework and stop erroneously reporting that Mme Jean’s “term is up” and that “the Prime Minister likely won’t appoint her to a second term” (Civics 101. Governors General don’t serve “terms”. They’re appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and serve at The Queen’s pleasure. ) But, I am thankful that the media folk are actually talking about the office and its role. The Canadian Monarchy is in the news, and that’s a good thing.

There have been some wonderful names suggested. Some more seriously than others. Facebook campaigns have popped up asking people to support one person or another. And, the response to the League’s own Facebook page, Canada’s Next Governor General, has been fantastic.

When asked what qualifications the League believes a Governor General should possess, I am quite frank. We are rather flexible, really. All we ask is that he or she be a monarchist, understand and respect the role, and be non-partisan.

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Here's a juxtaposition to think about.  If Canadian republicans argue that the Governor General is the head of state, then why do they say we need to abolish the monarchy in order to have a Canadian head of state?

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This coming Sunday, I will be joining the League’s Kingston branch to celebrate The Queen’s 84th birthday as well as the League’s 40th anniversary. Next month, I will attend the Ottawa branch’s dinner to celebrate the same. I look forward to seeing many of you once again while welcoming the opportunity to meet others for the first time. One of my favourite things about being the League’s Dominion Chairman is meeting so many of our members. I hope to see you there.

Until next time,
Robert.

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