Is there a Francophone in the house? -

Is there a Francophone in the house?

Bilingualism seen as a key requirement to GG post


It’s never been entirely clear what makes a good Governor General, but bilingualism appears to be a must. “Look for the PM to choose someone who speaks to things he admires in Canada—those hard-working main-street values,” says Conservative strategist Tim Powers, “and can do it in both of Canada’s official languages. There are lots of capable Canadians that fit that profile.” Two of the Conservatives’ rumoured favourites, however, aren’t among those “that fit that profile.” Neither Rick Hansen nor Wayne Gretzky are proficient enough in French to be considered fluently bilingual, making their chances of landing the job slim.

Globe and Mail

Filed under:

Is there a Francophone in the house?

  1. I just hope that whomever he picks was born in Canada and never worked for the CBC.

    • Why born in Canada?

      • Because those not born in Canada are just visiting. Jeeze, didn't you see the commercials?

    • That won't work because those who haven't work at CBC go to the Senate.

    • Is that just jingoism or full blown xenophobia?

  2. It is possible to be fully bilingual and not be a francophone– the headline is misleading.

    • It's also possible to be bilingual and not speak one of the official languages.

      Just saying.

        • it shows in Canada you can't get the best person, you can only get the best person out of the 16% that are bilingual english/french

  3. I'll put my monnaie on Graham Fraser, the current Official Languages commissioner.

    • The reason why I pick Graham Fraser is because he is an English-speaking Canadian (aka an Anglophone to all you Quebeckers), bilingual, and hasn't really embarrassed Stephen Harper in a big way other than the usual "Not enough bilingualism in Flin Flon, Wawa, and Frobisher Bay (or whatever it's called now. I think it's Gatineau).

      • Mr. Fraser also knows a lot about the workings of government being that he is the Awfulshul Languaj commissioner. Mind you, he ain't awful.

    • Sorry, Rideau Hall can't have him before 2013, when his 7-year mandate end.

      • Thanks for the reply.

        I don't think Mr. Fraser's seven-year mandate is fixed in stone. If Mr. Fraser agrees, Harper can recommend to the Queen that she appoint the Anglophone Mr. Fraser as the next GG while at the same time he can appoint a Francophone as the next Official Languages Commissioner.

        • Personally, I think Graham Fraser would make a fine governor-general.

          • He also makes a fine Commissioner, so we'd like to keep him until the end of his mandate if it's okay with Parliament ;o)

  4. Lewis Mackenzie is, in my opion, the best choice right now.

    Why would Gretzky want the job, it would mean he would have to move back to Canada, live in snowy Ottawa and have to be on call 7 days a week. I can't see him being even remotely interested.

    Rick Hanson on the other hand is a decent choice, who cares about not knowing French, most Canadians don't care.

  5. I'll settle for someone who understands the Governor General's role in Canadian government. Bilingualism strikes me as considerably less important.

    • I'd like both. A Governor General who's able to sit down at night, flip the tube over to Radio-Canada, or pick up La Journal de Montréal and understand what's being said or written is kind of a good thing in my mind.

      And you could just wait for the PQ and Bloc going on and on about how the ROC has no respect for Québec because they put someone in who doesn't speak french blah blah blah. I'd rather avoid the argument, being a Québecois.

      • Personally I couldn't give a rat's ass what the PQ and Bloc think about Canada or her various parts thereof, and I really don't think we should let their position on anything determine what Canada does other than through the Parliamentary voting process.

        • Your position is absolutely logical.

        • Well I do, so I believe we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't agree, however, that we shouldn't "let their position on anything determine what Canada does other than through the Parliamentary voting process." I do believe the selection of such a post should take into consideration the French, First Nations, and Inuit minorities. The Governor General is appointed as the representative ceremonial head of the federation, and to appoint someone who can not speak both official languages is, I believe, wrong. Why elect someone who you know is going to anger a province, a major opposition separatist party in that province, and a federal party? An argument can be made that separatists despise the post, as it represents British "dominion" in Canada, but when pissing in the wind, make sure the wind is to your back. I wouldn't be in favour of electing a Governor General whom only speaks French either; but it wouldn't anger me. If the person was honourable, and understood his/her position within the federation, I wouldn't mind. It does, however, smell of some hypocrisy. It is mandatory to know both official languages in order to get a federal job, yet the ceremonial head of the state/federation doesn't have to?

          I don't think that it will be a smart move if such a decision were to be made; as soon as Québec starts yelling and screaming, the Liberals will be right there to jump onto the bandwagon and chant that the Conservatives don't understand Canada and don't care about Canada's French culture/heritage, etc. Then we'll have one more useless argument instead of time for policy debate. Better to avoid the argument all together.

          • Good points MacCross.

          • "It is mandatory to know both official languages in order to get a federal job".

            That's absolutely not true. MPs do not have to be bilingual. Ministers neither.

  6. It's hard to think of two things more opposite than "hard-working main street values" and a highly-paid ceremonial position.

  7. I vote for Don Cherry even if unilingually challenged!!

  8. Look for diversity. In descending order, currently a black woman, before was an asian woman, an Acadian man (French not from Quebec), a French woman from Quebec; I guessing that the next GG will be native, but don't know who.

  9. The headline is insulting! There a lots of qualified Anglo phones who are sufficiently bilingual to fill this post. Frankly the numbers bilingual Anglophones keeps growing each year. We do not need an insensitive blowhards!

  10. I'll vote for the Conservatives if they do away with this useless fleecing of the Canadian Tax payer . We need NO One and the millions $$$ they waste. Give 500, 000 thousand Canadians per one MP too . Through the entire country . Cut down on the waste of my hard earned excessively taxed dollar.
    Definitely …….No one from one of the " have not "provinces ! Nobody from those provinces knows what it is like to pay through the nose going into some others future. and comfort.

    • Ummm, Iris, I'm betting that if you took a couple of deep breaths you might be able to make a more cogent argument.

      As to the point I think you're trying to make about the GG, I believe it would take quite the constitutional battle to get anywhere near the point of being able to remove the Queen (and her representative) from the head of our government system.