Saturday, September 27, 2008

"As you know the Governor-General does not have political opinions."

Harper denied the La Presse report that Michaelle Jean asked him to repatriate Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay. Plus he took the opportunity to give a lesson to the nation on the role of the Governor General:
When asked to clarify if the Governor-General had in fact raised Mr. Khadr with him, he said: “As you know the Governor-General does not have political opinions. The Governor-General is our constitutional head of state. Obviously I would not get into any discussion that would attribute political opinions to the Governor-General.”

“The story, as I've said, is not correct, is not true.”
The leaked report of this request either came from the Jean side or the Harper side. The Globe editorial board has a theory:
La Presse reported that Ms. Jean's intervention came after she and her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, had consulted with experts in constitutional and international law, concluding that the government must repatriate Mr. Khadr to comply with Canada's Charter of Rights and international conventions on child soldiers. It is not the kind of information likely to have come from one of Mr. Harper's spin doctors. It happens to come a few days after Mr. Lafond, speaking in the context of the Conservative government's cuts to art funding, told The Globe “it's very safe for a politician to destroy culture.”

If it is in fact shown that the Khadr leak originated at Rideau Hall, then questions would need to be asked about Ms. Jean's impartiality, and hence her ability to exercise her constitutional responsibilities.
Why so certain it didn't come from the Harper team? It's a one day story and they might get rid of the GG as a result. Mr. Lafond gave them an opening, perhaps. Now see the Globe helpfully pushing the story along, it becomes more likely we'll be saying goodbye to Ms. Jean. I'm sure Mr. Harper would like to see a much friendlier GG in that constitutional role anyway. After all, there was a little too much debate on his ability to call an election in light of his fixed date election law. And perhaps a little too much uncertainty about whether she would grant it. I could indeed see a scenario in which Harper much prefers not to have Jean around.

The exit of Michaelle Jean...not exactly a topic I expected to be on the table during this election...