Monday, August 9, 2010

A New Governor General

This post will probably start out boring and educational -- but stick with it, because it will end up amusing, I promise.

David Lloyd Johnston
So anyway, on October 1st of this year, David Lloyd Johnston will succeed MichaĆ«lle Jean as Canada’s Governor General, aka the personal representative of the Queen of Canada (Queen Elizabeth II). Since the Queen is also queen of 15 other nations (aka “The Commonwealth,” aka “not bad for a collapsed empire”), she appoints someone to carry out her traditional and constitutional duties (the candidates are generally selected by the Prime Minister of the country in question, but the Queen actually makes the appointment). A new one is generally selected every five years, though they actually serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Mostly, the job involves a lot of travel, diplomacy and ceremonial function. Current GG MichaĆ«lle Jean was most recently here in Victoria to “review” the Pacific Canadian Fleet on the occasion of its 100th anniversary -- but the job does have a few actual teeth left.

For example, it is the job of the GG to set the legislative agenda for the year via a “Throne Speech,” it is she who convenes and dissolves Parliament (or, as seen twice last year, prorogues it) and she has the power to actually nullify a passed law if deemed necessary (it hasn’t been deemed necessary in living memory).

There are always arguments as to whether the job of GG is actually meaningful in the 21st century, but my personal position is that if you’re going to have a monarch who doesn’t live here be the head of state, then you need a representative. So I guess I’m pro-GG.

Okay, history/educational lesson over. In the most recent process of finding a nominee to get the Queen’s approval, a committee looked at many worthy candidates, and a few left-field ones. I don’t know if he was ever a serious candidate, but one name that caught a lot of people’s attention followed by the musing “well why the hell not?” was one William Shatner.

Given that the job has both a personality element and a constitutional element, I sincerely thought Shatner would make a great Governor General, giving more (much-needed) meaning and attention to the role. No matter what you may most associate him with, he actually does have a serious side, the necessary gravitas and certainly the drive to accomplish great things -- and the people of Canada and the world would love him as they have always done.

To that end, I recently made my impassioned pitch for why I think he should have been given the job (albeit too late of course) as part of my standup performance last night in downtown Victoria. Have a look:


Anonymous said...

I'll always wonder if Shatner would have gotten the nod if he had been bilingual. We'll never know...

chas_m said...

Bilingual? Shatner is at least TRI-lingual! He speaks English, Hebrew, and Klingon! :)

(I have actually heard him speak in French but I don't know if he really knows it or not)

chas_m said...

UPDATE: I am now reliably informed that Shatner is also fluent (FLUENT!) in Esperanto. Yes, really.

Anonymous said...

Well, dang.... that would have made the Esperanophones in that province, um.... over there on the other side of the mountains, somewhere, .... happy to finally have one of their own picked as GG.

Which also also begs the question - Why is Captain Kirk fluent in Esperanto? Really, think about this... why would he have taken the time to learn a, basically, new language?