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Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/23/2021 10:53:49 PM
Canada’s Governor-General, Madame Julie Payette, resigned a day or two ago. Events in the US have rather blanketed the issue, which is fair enough. But it still has meaning for Canadians.

This is in no way as significant as the transfer of power in the US, with Mr Trump (sort of) retiring and Mr Biden assuming command. But it is happening at a very senior level of government. The position of Governor-General is, ultimately, a vice-regal one. The Governor-General acts as HM Queen Elizabeth’s power in Canada, largely as part of the ritual of the parliamentary process.

The resignation comes as a probe into toxic work environments in the G-G’s residence/work place come to light, but before the probe’s findings have become public. With Payette’s resignation, it is possible the findings will never be known.

WP has covered the issue rather fully, which surprises me. And from what I’ve read, they’ve covered it well. Except in their Global editorial section.[Read More]
IMHO, this trivializes the historical, ritualistic and ceremonial function of Canada’s G-G. That’s fair enough, I guess: some Canadians (including me) have probably trivialized US procedures, values or even locations.

Personally, I would like a public study of what has taken place with the late inhabitant of Rideau Hall that might lead her to resign. Appointment as Governor-General (and it is an appointed position) requires the Queen’s concurrence. While it is much more than the WP article suggests (it is not simply an office of party funding, or an historical but meaningless pomp generator), it is not well understood.

Mr Trudeau has not, I hoped, dodged a bullet with this resignation. She was, ultimately, his choice as G-G, accepted by the Queen on his recommendation. He’d better get his ass in gear to see where he went wrong.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 2:53:42 PM
Hello Brian, I did give a lengthy response to this post and poof, where is it? I do want to respond but will have to gather my thoughts.

George
Brian W
Atlanta GA USA
Posts: 1105
Joined: 2004
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 3:16:30 PM
Hi George, there's nothing in the database. Maybe your session timed out?
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"Take it easy. But take it" - Tom Morello's mom.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 4:20:12 PM
Quote:
Hi George, there's nothing in the database. Maybe your session timed out?


Undoubtedly. It has happened to me before. I know that some posters compose on a word document and then paste it into the forum. Being lazy, I tend to compose on the MHO site and if I am researching or looking for photos, then I will time out. So my usual practice is to highlight my text and copy.

Then I hit save and if it doesn't I just log in again and paste. But sometimes I forget. Call it a senior moment.

Suffice it to say that this lost post was brilliant and a tour de force.

Cheers,

George
Brian W
Atlanta GA USA
Posts: 1105
Joined: 2004
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 5:16:35 PM
You can always hit the back button in the browser and it should retain your composition.
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"Take it easy. But take it" - Tom Morello's mom.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 5:17:34 PM
OK thanks Brian.

George
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 5:21:18 PM
Hello Brian G. My thoughts on your original post:

The WP article was written by a Canadian and he still lives in Canada. That surprised me. He is youthful and appears to have little appreciation for our history or the roles played by the Governor-General. I found his piece to be a rather cynical treatment of constitutional monarchies.

But we must acknowledge that there are many people in our country who do not understand why, when they become citizens, that they must swear allegiance to a foreign monarch. Their mistake is in viewing our Queen as foreign. She is one of us and her representative here is the Governor-General.

I often ask myself whether a republic with an elected head of state would be better than our constitutional monarchy. Usually, and with acknowledged bias, I have a preference for a constitutional monarchy and its myriad of conventions that allow us to govern without a codified set of rules in many cases.

The Queen or rather the G-G would not dare meddle in the affairs of government. That is by convention and it is a good one. I think that it is important to have a head of state who is a buffer between government and especially the executive. The Royal Prerogative and the attendant residual powers are rarely acted upon. I believe that the last interference by a G-G in our politics was the King-Byng affair in 1926 and that affair served to harden the demand for sovereignty here.

I like the link between this position and our history and roots. I don't know whether that makes me a monarchist or not.

In theory, the G-G is above politics and he can serve as an arbiter if disputes arise between the government and Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

It is interesting that in some Republics, they also have a Prime Minister in addition to the elected President and that PM performs some similar functions to our G-G. The difference is that the Queen and the G-G are not political hacks who are rewarded a cushy position. It is inherited. They should be above political influence.

Now by convention, the G-G is constrained and must not use the residual powers without consultation with the government. We know that that is only theory and that if the PM wants to prorogue Parliament, he must ask the G-G. In reality, he informs the G-G that that is what he will do.

The reserve powers of the G-G are considerable though again, the position has evolved so that the G-G usually would not exercise those powers.

Two of those powers are important:

-the right to dissolve Parliament. Or not to dissolve.
-the right to appoint a Prime Minister

I said that the G-G would not exercise those powers but in the case of an extremely volatile Parliament, the G-G could respond to ensure that we always have a PM to lead the government and to ensure "responsible government" as the G-G role demands in the constitution.

EDIT: I was thinking about prorogation which is a hot button topic in Canada. The constitution demands that Parliament sit once in a calendar year. Should an irresponsible government prorogue, the longest they could stay out is one year, if they dared and it is the G-G that could call Parliament back. I see the G-G as a bulwark against an executive with malign intent.

The ceremonies that the G-G performs are removed from the executive branch and thus reduce some of the power and responsibilities of the PMO.

The selection of the G-G should be a careful one as the person selected also represents us on the international stage. I believe that the PM would be wise to maintain the vetting committee to assess candidates so that he can at least say that he followed the recommendations. In the case of Madame Payette, he acted on his own and either ignored or did not know about the warning signs in her past and the behaviours that made her unsuitable as a
G-G.

I'm not sure that I have explained myself well or whether I have addressed the topic that you wished to discuss.

Cheers,

George


Brian W
Atlanta GA USA
Posts: 1105
Joined: 2004
US and CDN changes in government. …
1/24/2021 8:30:47 PM
George, I should clarify. When you hit the back button, you have to copy and then paste your previous response into your new session. Try it. When you type something here and post it, just hit the back button. I hate that folks lose their posts. I'll see if the new host can increase the sessions. The old host wouldn't budge from the standard 20 mins.
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"Take it easy. But take it" - Tom Morello's mom.

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