The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition has regrettably turned the selection of Canada's next Governor General into a political issue, thanks to his peculiar press conference Sunday where he called on Michaëlle Jean to stay on as Canada's top vice-regal.
Never before has a leader of the opposition gone public with his thoughts as to who should represent The Queen in Canada. That Michael Ignatieff chose to do so raises the risk of undermining the non-partisan nature of the office, which is a vital feature of our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
While the League is encouraged that the Prime Minister consulted with Mr. Ignatieff and the NDP's Jack Layton for their input on this subject, we are obviously disappointed - and confused - that Mr. Ignatieff doesn't recognise the importance of keeping such an discussion private. On the other hand, Mr. Layton is to be commended for his decision to remain quiet.
Mr. Ignatieff is obviously aware that the choice for Governor General is strictly between The Queen and her Prime Minister. And, to his credit he alluded to this fact during his press conference. Which begs the question, why in the world go public in the first place?
The ultimate fear now is that there is a real risk that Mme Jean will be seen as the Liberal's choice for GG while the governing Conservative's choice is somebody else. The office of the Governor General is supposed to be above politics. Now, there is a perception that you should support one candidate over another, depending on what political party you belong to or vote for. I can't imagine a more divisive situation to find ourselves in.
Mixing politics and the Crown is dangerous territory. Don't do it, Mr. Ignatieff, don't do it.
Until next time,