Tag Archives: Governor General

Responsible Government

Upper Canada fought long and hard for responsible government, leading ourselves away from the Family Compact which was governing the people of Upper Canada with only an image of elected officials. However, our government is still not perfect, and can be improved to be more democratic and representative to the people? Here’s some ideas:

  • Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to donate to political parties.
  • Clear and concise guidelines for the reserve powers of the Crown and how it can be implemented by the Governor General.
  • Petitioning the Commonwealth to revise the Statute of Westminster to no longer show gender and religious precedence so that the Heads of State reflects the “Just Society” we have created.1
  • A democratic Senate responsible to the People, rather than the parties who appointed them, while still being distinct from the Commons. Whether the best bet is an independent Senate or term limits, I’m not sure, but a means to make the Senate responsible to the provinces they represent.
  • Decentralize the government from unelected partisan employees in the PMO and return powers to the elected government Ministers.
  • Clear laws on proroguing parliament, and thorough review of potentially undemocratic laws.
  • Clear and enforceable laws governing when the Prime Minister can drop the writ.
  • A better election system than First Past The Post, and a thorough investigation into the possible choices, along with clear and concise advertising to allow the general public knowledge on how the chosen system works.
  • After a choice for Governor General has been thoroughly vetted, a vote in the Commons before presenting the choice to the Queen.
  • Open and clear discourse with the Canadian People.

Any other ideas?

  1. If William’s first child is a girl, she should be able to take the throne, even if she chooses to be Catholic. []

Governor General James T. Kirk

Friday morning’s Toronto Star had William Shatner on the cover, the former star of Star Trek, who has a fan movement on Facebook vying for him to be Governor General of Canada.

For those unfamiliar, the Governor General is the nation’s de facto head of state. While the monarch (currently Elizabeth II) is the actual head of state, she cannot perform those duties, as she is also the head of state for numerous other countries, and resides in the United Kingdom. Governors General provide a mostly symbolic role, they represent the nation on an international level, are a spokesperson for the country, sign bills into law (once they’ve passed through the Commons and Senate), dissolves parliament, calls elections and read the throne speech. For Americans this might be a strange thing as their head of government and head of state are within the same role, President. Most world nations divide the two roles.

Governors General are appointed by The Queen upon recommendation by her Prime Minister. Until 1952, Canadian Governors General were British Lords, Dukes, or Earls, with ties to the Royal Family. In 1952, Vincent Massey was appointed as the first Canadian Governor General of Canada. Currently Michaëlle Jean holds the position; a reporter who immigrated to Canada from Haiti, and is fluently bilingual, she possess the two qualities important in a Governor General, is fluently bilingual and is statesman-like.

William Shatner might be amazing, but he is not in any way statesman-like. Would Canada really want him representing us on an international stage? Sure, if we needed someone to Captain HMCS Enterprise1, he’d be the first one we’d call.

Does Shatner even speak French?

Leonard Cohen, however, is a much better choice. He’s a fluently bilingual artist, who is respected, not mocked. Cohen is very statesman-like, and could be the first Jewish head of states in Canada2. That is assuming we ignore the fact that he’s now an ordained Buddhist monk.

What’s most annoying about this entire thing is The Star’s reporting on it. Someone said, “it would be awesome if Shatner were Governor General. I’m gonna start a Facebook group.” People joined. Then the Toronto Star ran an article on the FRONT PAGE. Proof once again that newspapers are useless.

  1. Her Majesty’s Canadian Starship. []
  2. Have there been any outside of Israel? Benjamin Disraeli was Prime Minister of England back in the 19th century, but that’s head of government. []

Prorogation Part II

Today marked the second December in as many years in which the Head of Government has asked the defacto Head of State to prorogue Parliament. This wouldn’t be a problem if there was a practical purpose to end the session early, however, in both cases the Right Honourable Prime Minister has used this little-used Parliamentary tradition to serve his singular purpose.

Last year, Her Excellency, the Governor General prorogued parliament on the advice of her Prime Minister to prevent an election or a coalition government forming. This year, Madame Jean had a precedence set, if he asks, she must grant; what happened to the oversight of the Crown? What’s the purpose of this prorogation? An outsider would just assume that the government was done its job for the session. However, the government had over 30 bills sitting, waiting to be debated and voted on.

Some speculate it’s to prevent any negative news during the Vancouver Olympics. Some suggest that it’s to delay any investigations into abuse and torture allegations in Afghanistan. Some think it will allow Mr. Harper to appoint another five Conservative senators and then shuffle the committees to be more blue-friendly.

None of these are in the spirit of what prorogation is meant for, none of these are anything less than self-serving options. How about a bill specifying reasons in which a government can prorogue parliament. The NDP/Liberals/Bloc have the majority of seats. Would this not be easy enough to pass through Parliament and the Senate? Oh wait, you can’t pass any legislation when Parliament is not in session.

Michäelle, remember why you’re the one in the throne, you’re the one representing Her Majesty.

All hail, King Adam I?

http://canadiancynic.blogspot.com/

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/740829