Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Betting On The GG

For what it's worth, Michaelle Jean is getting some good polling numbers in Quebec:

According to the results of a The Globe and Mail/CTV poll, Jean has the potential to build support in Quebec, a province typically reluctant to embrace any vestiges of the British Monarchy.

Unlike the rest of Canada, where 64 per cent of those polled said they think the Governor General's job is an important one, that figure in Quebec was just 37 per cent.

The potential Jean could turn that around however, is found in her overall popularity. In stark contrast to the rest of the country -- where 46 per cent of those surveyed thought her appointment was a good choice -- Jean had the support of 71 per cent in Quebec.

Jean's popularity also skews to younger adults and women, 65 per cent of whom think her role is important versus 51 per cent of men.

As Canadians get to know their new Governor General better, the poll results also suggest Jean can expect her popularity to rise.

After hearing the broad outline of Jean's life story, however, starting from her childhood in Haiti to her emigration and successful career as a multilingual broadcaster, her approval rating jumped from 46 per cent to 63 per cent.

Will the office of governor general now become the exclusive preserve of Quebecois appointees, much as the prime minister's office has effectively become a Quebecois office since Pierre Trudeau?

If so, it will be for even less purpose, because Quebec is not likely to forget the Plains of Abraham and conscription any time soon and embrace the monarchy of les anglais.

The rest of Canada's attachment to the Crown is already fairly weak. Quebec's will always be that much weaker.

If the office is essentially a sinecure for Liberal hacks and affirmative action tokens who do nothing but rubberstamp the PMO's decisions and cut ribbons, why drag the Crown it represents along with it?

Our own growing prime ministerial dictatorship needs an effective executive check to help restore parliamentary democracy in Canada. The tradition of governors general acting only on the advice of their ministers has allowed the Crown to become a tool to subvert democratic government.

A popularly-elected head of state with a democratic mandate to act, when necessary, against a prime minister would carry more legitimacy than an appointed representative of an increasingly foreign monarchy.

Only constitutional inertia prevents Canadians from implementing the best solution: replacing a feeble vice-regent with a powerful president.

Source: CTV

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