by David Korzinski | January 25, 2021 1:33 pm
How it started: Canadians approved of Julie Payette’s nomination to be governor general by a margin of four-to-one over those who didn’t.
How it’s going: well, she’s gone.
Back in 2017, for a first-term Trudeau government still gaga about communicating via symbols rather than words, Julie Payette was pure stardom. Literally. An astronaut, a pilot, a brilliant scientist, a single parent, a woman. In contrast to predecessors such as the Viscount Willingdon or the Earl of Bessborough, she seemed a thoroughly modern choice as the Queen’s representative in Canada.
By now, we are all familiar with the extent to which she was a thoroughly terrible choice. And while academic Twitter is breathless with issues of precedence and what happens next, and the rest-of-us Twitter engages in speculation over who will replace her, perhaps it would be prudent to take a step back and put on our HR hats, reviewing the job description before making the next hire.
The position itself is a peculiar one. Parliamentary duties include summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament, reading the Speech from the Throne, and providing Royal Assent, by which acts of Parliament become law.
Then there is the governor general’s function as Commander-in-Chief of Canada, rallying troops and visiting military bases on behalf of Her Majesty.
It is the last, less defined part of the role that captures the most attention from Canadians. The one that encompasses general duties as consoler, congratulator, and booster-in-chief. Duties that ought to mostly be a joy to perform.
For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.
Image – JUSTIN TANG /THE CANADIAN PRESS
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