On what is to be her last celebration of Canada Day as governor-general, Michaëlle Jean is being dispatched to visit China Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Monday.There is significant goodwill toward Michaelle Jean in Canada for her term as Governor General, to have arranged this series of events in this way just doesn't seem like the right thing to do.
The visit is to take place from June 30 to July 5, 2010, during which time Queen Elizabeth will arrive in the nation’s capital, and will take centre stage with Harper for the nationally-televised annual bash that mark’s the nation’s birthday.
Instead of being in Ottawa to bid her last “Happy Birthday Canada” wishes, Jean will mark Canada Day half a world – and several time zones—away at Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
If anything, it seems to be part of Harper's enmity toward the role of the Governor General. We saw it last summer where eyebrows were raised when Harper took a salute meant for the commander-in-chief, i.e., the Governor General:
We've seen it in the unseemly floating of names about her successor over these past many months.
This choice stands on its own though, it's petty and sad all at once. There are a lot of Canadians, myself included, who would like to see Jean and the Queen together, a meeting that would be celebratory of Jean's ending term coinciding with this visit of the Queen which may well be one of her last to Canada.
Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister, you've got the stage all to yourself.