Monday, April 05, 2010

Selecting the new Governor General

Since the Governor General speculation is proceeding, it's worth noting some words of wisdom that make one of the most useful contributions to the discussion thus far:
With the likelihood of continuing minority parliaments, a new governor-general must be seen to be scrupulously non-partisan, said Patrick Monahan, dean at Osgoode Hall Law School.

“Given the minority governments that we’ve had and the prospect that we may well have continuing minorities, we’ve seen the increasing significance and the real discretion that the GG may be called upon to exercise,” Mr. Monahan said.

“So you want someone that is a person of stature and will command respect, and a person who is seen as independent of any of the major political parties. I think that is going to be the overriding element that you would be looking for in this appointment.”
Monahan's comments underscore how ridiculous some of the names being swapped about have been thus far. He's strongly insinuating here that the former athlete type, to name one example, is just not appropriate at all (that speculation is likely just milking the discussion in any event). Given the controversy we've had in two consecutive Decembers now with prorogation, that kind of choice would be a mistake. It would show that Harper seeks to dominate the position and that's not a good look on him, image-wise these days.

Harper will probably make a safe choice. His judgment has been off this year, starting with prorogation, arguably the dancing around on the maternal health initiative then more recently with the national anthem wording change. He needs to show some competency in his judgment.

Well put by Monahan, setting the bar appropriately high and injecting some much needed basic principles into the discussion.