Sunday, April 11, 2010

What Should the Qualifications of a Governor General Be?

Governor General Michelle Jean's term will be up in a few short months and will not be extended. The Prime Minister is searching for a new one. With all that said, what should the qualifications of new GG be? They can be an example and set the tone for the nation.

Should a GG have to be born in Canada? Should they have to speak fluently both official languages? Should the GG be a man or a woman? Should they be able to hold dual citizenships? What should be the job requirements?

Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen has a good article on whether or not it should be mandatory for a GG to be bilingual. Apparently, yeah, they should.

I don't really care if the GG wasn't born here or not or do I care about the color of their skin. Look at our current one, Michelle Jean. She was born in Haiti and has done a remarkable job as GG. In fact I will be sad to see her leave. She's one of the best Governor Generals in my lifetime.

A GG in my mind should a have a full knowledge of Canada that should include our history and be able to carry out the official duties of a Governor General while reflecting Canadian values. For instance here are the duties that is required of a GG.

Official Duties of the Governor General of Canada

The official duties of the Governor General of Canada include:

  • giving Royal Assent to bills passed in the Canadian House of Commons and Senate
  • reading the Speech from the Throne which outlines the Canadian federal government agenda for a new session of Parliament
  • executing orders-in-council or cabinet decisions
  • appointing superior court judges, on the advice of cabinet
  • summoning, closing and dissolving Parliament, on the advice of the Prime Minister
  • inviting the leader of the party with the most support in the House of Commons to form the government. That party leader becomes Prime Minister.
  • in times of emergency or special circumstances, exercising the special personal authority of the Governor General to appoint or dismiss a prime minister or dissolve Parliament. This authority is rarely used.
  • receiving and sending ambassadors.

The Canadian Governor General plays a strong role in encouraging excellence in Canada through a system of honours and awards such as the Order of Canada and promotes national identity and national unity.

The Governor General of Canada is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.

One I think,should also have a decent set morals because one in a high position like GG, standards should be set fairly high because they represent the country to the world and are in the public limelight and reflect the morals and values of the country.

But then again , all of us should set for ourselves a decent set of morals standards to live by too.

So, have your say. Remember, the Governor General whoever they maybe, represents all of us.


  1. OFF TOPIC on both

    frmgrl, send Hunter a message for me. tell her that I have sent her an email. thanks

    Take a look at this website and you never know it will interest you or not.
    I wonder what would think after reading this and what will they tell their people.

  2. First of all, yes consider it done. I will sent Hunter your message.
    Thanks for the link you sent me. I have to say WOW! One wonders why Obama just won't produce the real birth certificate. That would clear up the controversy and that would be the end of it.
    Unless that is done, the question will always be there. Is he US born or born in Kenya or somewhere else?

  3. I too have grown to admire and respect our current GG. I can gracefully admit that I wasn't always a supporter and she has earned every ounce of my changed position.

    Having said that, the birthplace will never fly as even the Canadian PM doesn't have to have been born in Canada. (which I find a travesty)
    I do not agree that the candidate must be fully bilingual but will be, guaranteed. Why? Who knows but for some reason this country cannot have a reasonable dialogue about this aspect.

    My personal preference is someone with a military background, preferably McKenzie.

  4. Lew Mackenzie is my choice for sure. I hope the PM is considering him.

  5. Bec, I'm curious to know why you find the fact that our prime ministers need not have been born in Canada a "travesty". After all, Macdonald was born in Scotland, as was Mackenzie. Bowell was born in England, as was John Turner. Now I recognize that Bowell and Turner (who together held the office for a grand total of 18 months) hardly rank amongst the greats, and Mackenzie was pretty much average, but Macdonald?

    Sorry, I just don't see the argument that would be used to hamstring ourselves in this manner.

  6. I care if the person is born here because they represent the crown and they have to understand that, not just pick it up as they go along. That is not fair. If we do that then the list of potential GG's is really long as it can be anybody in the world literally. (real conservative)

  7. Anonymous, surely you don't mean to suggest that only those born in Canada can understand what it means to represent the crown. With all due respect, the stance has more than its share of irony considering the monarch being represented was not born in Canada. I add that the vast majority of our Governors General were not born in Canada. I see no evidence that they lacked this understanding in performing their duties.


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