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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

why does canada still have a governor general?

After yesterday's 7 minute and 30 second Speech from the Throne, I have some serious questions about the purpose of the Governor General in Canada (questions like, why do we still see fit to continue having a Governor General?). I posed this question on twitter, and received some great responses (I feel like @ricksanchezcnn!).

Question: davecournoyer Could someone please remind me why we have a Governor General?


crazydan @davecournoyer I wish we have a "strong" republican movement in Canada like Australia. But that's a long-shot dream.

dkaszor @davecournoyer To take ceremonial and some diplomatic duties off of the plate of the PM.

CitizenFish @davecournoyer Oh, you know. "Tradition"

bgrier @davecournoyer Uh, in case the government has '...fallen and can't get up.'?

ConalPierse @davecournoyer Because somebody needs to wear all those fancy capes we have lying around, and Mr Dress-up is gone, man. Gone

glenkruger @davecournoyer so the PM can tell them what to do

djkelly @davecournoyer Because no federal politician wants to re-open the constitution

jdarrah @davecournoyer I have no idea. "Throne" is keeping Canada from an identity as a place in the world.

phendrana @davecournoyer To represent the state in a non-partisan fashion - sometimes it is really needed. She was doing a different function today.

KenChapman46 @davecournoyer To give retired CBC on-air people a job?

chrishenderson @davecournoyer those sad European monuments don't tour themselves.

keppykarpala @davecournoyer not only that but why is the Queen still the head of state? It's all about tradition and ritual.

AB_get_rich @davecournoyer Because its one of the few visible things that make us not American.

chigaze @davecournoyer ;)


James Bow said...

I think its good that the position of head of state in this country is something mostly de-politicized. The Governor General speaks for all Canadians, and takes that banner with her when she meets with other heads of state during various ceremonial encounters. It certainly leaves the Prime Minister more time to do the important job of actually governing the country, and it prevents him from cashing in too much on the ceremonial stuff, preventing us from equating the prime minister with the country as a whole.

The Governor General brings with her the best wishes of both the prime minister and the leaders of the opposition when she engages in her ceremonial activities.

A said...

I agree with djkelly. And Henderson.
And had a huge discussion about this while wandering around on a sunny afternoon in Dedza in December.

And really should go home now.

Dunkler said...

Before November, I would have agreed that we could get along just fine without a GG. While I could take our leave the argument that she does the ribbon cutting minutia so the PM doesn't have to, I think the issue of the coalition is an argument in favour of having an impartial arbitor negotiate parliament.

In some cases, it's not always obvious which party leader has the best chance at forming a viable government. The party leaders sure can't come to an agreement between themselves.

Anonymous said...

What's the alternative to continuing with the Crown? ... Electing a head of state? Given our politics, that would probably result in stoking up the fires of regionalism, the cancer of our politics, even higher.

But, personally, I think there's bigger things to worry about right now than the Governor-General and the status of the Crown in Canada; getting through the current financial mess, name one. But, in the longer term -- electing progressives to government.

I'd rather spend energy working to change the way we elect our governments so that Parliament is fair and more representative - and maybe nix that apathy thing in the bud at the same time. One can dream.

These things can be done without going after the Crown.

Anonymous said...

The monarchy itself is offensive. A foreign person having any power in a sovereign nation? What a joke.

Abolish the monarchy!

Anonymous said...

dictatorship is part of democracy