Governor General or not?

OK. No more beating around the bush…

Over the past year there has been more and more of an “outcry” against the Governor General of Canada. There are constant questions being raised about her purpose, her position, and her relevance.

I keep hearing all this whining about her spending habits, her parties, her views on minorities, and her tendency to butt into popular Canadian debates.

So I ask you, Dear Reader.

What would You have us do with the Governor General?

What is proper behaviour for our “Proxy”-Head of State.

Are the people who seem to oppose her every move silently wishing she, and the Queen she represents, wasn’t a part of Canadian Governance?

I would like to know, sincerely, why people seem to have a bone to pick with the Governor General at every turn. Is it because she’s a woman of a visible minority and thus speaks too loudly for those she most closely represents?

Should we start down the road the Australians took and look at a Presidency? What advantage would that give us… and what exactly would that gain us.

I’d just really like to know… because if people can’t find some good reasons to get rid of the Governor General, and can *replace* her with something different, than frankly, who are they to constantly be on her case.

Patiently waiting for an answer…

3 replies on “Governor General or not?”

  1. Chris,

    If the way the present Governor-General defines her role has attracted some controversy, I wouldn’t think replacing her with a ceremonial President would make a difference, since a President could choose to interpret the role in the same way. Merging the head of state and head of government as in the United States would be a drastic alternative. There are advantages to keeping the head of state separate from the head of government, if you have already inherited a system that does this.

    It really isn’t my place as an American to give advice about the royal connection. I almost bumped into the Queen at Paddington Station in London once, though, and I was shocked at how little fuss there was to royal travel compared to Presidential travel over here. I do think Canada benefits from having its own connections to the world in addition to the Canadian-American relationship, and keeping the link to the United Kingdom may help preserve Canada’s independence.

    The larger question is whether the United Kingdom is going to go more deeply into Europe. In a truly federal Europe, sovereignty would be transferred to the region, and then Canada would have to have its own head of state. Some conservatives have called instead for the UK to move farther away from Europe and associate itself more closely with North America or with the English-speaking nations as a whole, but I’m not sure that would be practical or (for the reasons desired) desirable.

    In any case, the question of Canada’s head of state is more than a symbolic issue. It is really bound up with where other countries are moving in the twenty-first century.

  2. I agree David.

    I think the seperation of Head of State and Head of Government is a very important element to the Canadian political system. I’d be loathe to change it that drastically. I think one of the great advantages to a Parliamentary system is it’s simplicity and direct ability for the government in power to Govern. That is, in effect what they are elected to do, and thus they should be allowed, in their term, to do so.

    There are other issues about having an elected Senate and/or some sort of proportional reprensation that would improve on the current system, but all that is seperate from the role of the Governor General itself.

    If all the recent blustering about the purpose of the Governor General actually led to a real debate on her role in Canada and her position then I think it would quickly become clear that support for her in her current role as *ceremonial* Head of State rather than Head of Government is strong.

    Canadians love to complain about their politicians… everyone does. But I think if they were given the choice of a ceremonial vs. governing head of state (and potentially Provinces as well Lieutenant Governors) they’d overwhelmingly chose the status-quo.

    And that is why I think the current flap over the Governor General is far more of a personal dislike for the current GG herself and what she represents, than a criticism of her actual position in Canadian affairs.

  3. We could appoint a British citizen to live in Britian in some lord’s house on the British taxpayer’s pounds and communicate all our constant love and affection to Her Majesty, the Queen of Canada.

    It isn’t any sillier than the situation we’re in now.

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