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The Article

Choice of Governor General mainly benefits the Grits

The fawning, the feckless and the frenzied are all starry-eyed over Shipping Tycoon Paul Martin’s appointment of a virtually unknown French-language CBC-TV hostess to the once hallowed position of Governor General of Canada.

Teenyboppers stand in line for an autograph.

Yup, Martin, who continues in the tradition of his predecessor Jean Chretien to downgrade the institutions and traditions that once made us a great nation, is really going overboard about the pretty and effervescent Michaelle Jean.

The 49-year-old Haitian-born devotee of Lib-Left causes is, in Martin’s eyes, “the story of Canada.”

Beaming, he gushes: “Hers is a story that reminds us of what is best about ourselves and about Canada. A nation where equality of opportunity is our most defining characteristic, giving testament to our longest-held values.”

At least, “one of our most defining characteristics” is apparently no longer our Third- World-style health care system.

To my mind a pertinent “defining characteristic” of the soon-to-be Her Excellency is her documentary celebrating the 40-year rule of Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro.

This piece of propaganda, unlikely ever to be shown on The History Channel, gilded over Castro’s forced labour camps, his absolute censorship of the news media, and that average Cubans have to beg Aspirins from tourists because no dilapidated drug store can provide them.

OK, OK—I know we are to show utter respect, even stand in awe, over this appointment, but remember she will soon be, amongst other things, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

How will this faddish modern-day flower child measure up to tough-taking Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier, who says terrorists are “scumbags” and a soldier’s duty is to “kill.”

Yet, this being a democracy, Jean has a right to her views. What she did at CBC may be highly credible to her specific audience, but her accomplishments hardly qualify her to hold one of our nation’s highest offices.

Jean’s neatly crafted ‘bio’ is meant to paint her as a valiant lady who achieved considerable fame after supposedly fleeing the evil regime of Papa Doc Duvalier’s Haiti. Came here penniless, couldn’t even speak English, and worked her way to the top doing menial jobs. That’s the image the Liberals like.

It’s so heartening and inspiring.

In reality, she came from a privileged Haitian family, hardly like some truly wretched Cuban refugee clinging to a raft. Went to university in Montreal, Florence, Milan and Perugia, Italy and mastered French, English, Spanish and Italian.

Commendable, but hardly the stuff of a destitute refugee climbing steadily to the top through minimum wage jobs.

It’s all a bit like Alice in Wonderland.

True, our self-described “activist” and “agent of change” (and we thought the Governor General’s position was non-political and about preserving traditions rather than changing them to something more trendy) in the Grit scenario is an individual who has been much lauded for her TV and documentary work.

By whom?—by a small self-serving coterie of feel-good Lib-Lefters!

One had hoped after the awful Adrienne Clarkson—who spent millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money living like the Hollywood jet set—and was chastised by a bipartisan Parliamentary committee for doing so—we might get back to reality and with some dignity at Rideau Hall.

Sadly, no—the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta goes on.

As those of us who haven’t fallen for the Grit PR job know, the Governor General has a vital constitutional role to play.

The holder of the office has the power to dismiss the government, as happened in Australia only 25 years ago, refusing a government call for a federal election and, instead, ask the Opposition to try and form a government.

It was Lord Byng of Vimy, who, as Governor-General, in 1926, refused Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s self-serving request for the dissolution of Parliament.

One can pretty safely guess no matter what shenanigans or egregious behaviour a Liberal government got up to—and, my God, nothing is below this pack of Grits—no Governor-General of the Clarkson or Jean variety will ever raise even an eyebrow, never mind a finger in protest.

Martin, as with Chretien before him, has turned the office of the Governor-General into the theatre of the absurd.

Weep for the Dominion.

Paul Jackson
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