Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Who Wants To Be A Governor General?

In the absence of any leadership races to captivate the minds of journalists and bloggers, speculation has turned to the post of Governor General, with Michaelle Jean's replacement expected to be named this summer.

The Mark had prominent Canadians list their choices and, not surprisingly, there's the usual collection of hockey players, politicians, Canadian icons, and former CBC personalities, And, of course, Shatner, who leads their poll, reminding us why it's probably a good thing the GG isn't an elected position.

Some of the more serious names being bandied about include Clarence Louie, Rick Hansen, John De Chastelain, Mary Simon, Sam Sullivan, and Phil Fontaine.

Putting aside the fun speculation for a second (Don Cherry anyone?), I think we can agree on a few things:

1. After the coalition insanity, it's clear this isn't just a symbolic position. With that in mind, I think the days of naming former politicians to the post might be long gone. Can you imagine what would have happened had Rideau Hall been occupied by someone like Ed Broadbent or Preston Manning in December 2008? Yes, they're respected individuals, but accusations of partisanship would be run rampant.

2. Even though it won't be a partisan individual, that doesn't mean this isn't a political decision. It's no secret Michaelle Jean's appointment was designed to earn good favour with the Haitian community. I find it hard to believe that the micro-targeting machine that is the Conservative Party will pass up an opportunity like this.

3. They must be bilingual. Tempi pour toi, Wayne.

4. Harper will want to put his stamp on this one - he'll want someone who represents Canada, as he sees it. So, in other words, a military man is probably more likely than a former CBC personality.

5. In keeping with the alternance tradition, I expect we'll move outside Quebec for this pick. Following point 4 above, I think it's extremely likely we'll see a Westerner named to the post. Given that BC has never had a GG and there are a lot of swing seats there (see point 2), that seems like the most likely location.

With that in mind, speculate away!



  • "3. They must be bilingual."

    To be more truthful, they have to speak English & French.

    An English-Mandarin speaking person, while perfectly bilingual, is a non-starter.

    Must be able to appease or spoiled child after all.

    Oh . . and it can't be anyone from Quebec this time . . . Michelle was their kick at the can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:48 a.m.  

  • Fred - true. English and French.

    My money's on an aboriginal from BC. I'm not sure it will be Louie, but there are probably a few other solid candidates Harper could call on.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:24 a.m.  

  • "It's no secret Michaelle Jean's appointment was designed to earn good favour with the Haitian community."

    - Really? You think that was the driving factor in choosing the current GG? Do you think the same applies to Clarkson or Hynatyshyn (sp.)?

    By Blogger Mark, at 9:29 a.m.  

  • Phil Fontaine? Not a bad idea.

    Don Cherry - are people kidding? First of all, Harper hates anyone upstaging him. Geez, Harper would have to get crazy suits. And, Cherry's situation with Quebec.

    Most of all, he'd be an embarrassment - totally.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:20 p.m.  

  • "Really? You think that was the driving factor in choosing the current GG? Do you think the same applies to Clarkson or Hynatyshyn (sp.)?"

    Given that Martin had to pick somebody from Quebec, going for a community concentrated in Montreal - where his Liberals were under a post-adscam assault by the Bloc - made a lot of sense.

    Clarkson and Hynatyshyn were less political choices because they were made during a time of majority governments. I guess there may have been a modest first Asian push for Clarkson (and a first woman push for Chretien's previous pick), but that is a different kettle of fish. It isn't so much about winning over a specific community as it is about buffing up the Prime Ministerial CV.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 1:50 p.m.  

  • You honestly believe that the driving factor in determining the last Governor General was winning over a bloc of potential Haitian-Canadian voters?

    How was Chretien's previous pick (i.e. the late Romeo Leblanc) a push for "first woman"?

    The first female Governor General was Jeanne Sauve, who was appointed long before Chretien became Prime Minister.

    I'm not sure what's more disturbing, your knowledge of the position, or your cynical view of the selection process...

    By Blogger Mark, at 3:03 p.m.  

  • H2H is my favorite blog commenter in the world.

    I wrote to the PMO to say I was enthused about the idea of Mary Simon - but an aboriginal candidate from any province will pique my interest, it'd be a great idea and long overdue. My fingers are crossed for some aboriginal representation in Rideau Hall.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 5:09 p.m.  

  • Mark: did you just fall off the turnip truck? Do you really mean to say that you think pleasing the Montreal Haitian / immigrant community was *not* one of the motivating factors in picking Ms. Jean? Or pleasing Acadians wasn't a factor for LeBlanc?

    They didn't just throw a dart at a list of names . . .

    By Anonymous van.centre, at 6:38 p.m.  

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    By Blogger About Me, at 12:16 a.m.  

  • Hmmm. Turnips. I love turnips.

    Hey, staff, hey PCO, hey everybody, it's the PM here and I need to name a new GG, and it's got to be "designed to earn good favour with the Haitian community".

    Seriously. On a list of 20 criteria, currying favour with any particular ethnic group, ranked about 21st on that list of 20.

    By Blogger Mark, at 9:11 a.m.  

  • I think most readers here are satisfied with Dan or H2H's education and analysis on Canadian politics. They're reliable and well-read and generally non-partisan (despite the name of Dan's blog).

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 9:22 a.m.  

  • I remember when my friend heard about Jean's appointment. "What, they couldn't find someone who was a disabled lesbian, too?"

    Still, I believe she was the perfect choice, because it is SO Canadian to pick someone for reasons other than their qualifications.

    We want to be able to elect a white man, but then point to our GG and say "See - Canadians are open-minded and tolerant!" :)

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:55 a.m.  

  • "Seriously. On a list of 20 criteria, currying favour with any particular ethnic group, ranked about 21st on that list of 20."

    You are serious? Wow. Hey look--your shoes are untied.

    By Anonymous van.centre, at 11:56 a.m.  

  • By Blogger mmjiaxin, at 8:17 p.m.  

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