Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Governor General's "geography" mistake

That rather strange article in yesterday's Globe devoted to Michaelle Jean's public geography mistake that seemed to take up quite a bit of space was a bit of a puzzler. Was it really all about the geographic knowledge of the vice-regal? Did it really warrant that much real estate in the Globe? The point in publishing it may have been to put this mistake out there, yes, as it may have some minor newsworthy value. And there's actually a Globe editorial on that point today, that Jean has a duty to know such details ("The person who exercises the Queen's responsibilities as Canadian head of state, indeed who lends her patronage to a geographical society, should not be ignorant of one of Canada's foremost geographical features.")

Somehow this does not seem to be truly and entirely about the geography. Maybe the Globe is pushing this point as a know, in respect of the Governor General's duties to be well informed, in light of very recent historical events in which she made one momentous decision, then nearly another, for the nation. If that is the tactful and diplomatic point being made, that seems worth the column space.