Really, Grits? You're going to drag the Governor General into it? -

Really, Grits? You’re going to drag the Governor General into it?

Andrew Coyne on Ignatieff’s call to extend the GG’s term


This is just outrageous. I cannot remember any opposition party, ever, politicizing the appointment of a governor general before in this way.

Of course, it’s always a political appointment, to a greater or lesser extent. But it has not previously been a point of partisan controversy, and on such calculatedly divisive lines. The appointment is entirely within the purview of the prime minister, and as long as that power was not abused via a manifestly unsuitable appointment, opposition parties have always gone along with it.

They have been right to do so: the Governor General is supposed to be above party politics. As the personification of the state the Queen must be, and must be seen to be, impartial as between rival contenders for power; so must her representatives. Dragging the Governor General down into the mudpit of partisan politics can only cast an overtly partisan light on the appointment, and thus diminish respect for the office.

Worse, in mounting this highly public lobby for her to be retained, the Liberals have chosen to emphasize her demographic credentials: as a woman, black, francophone and immigrant. These were in large part why she was appointed, of course, and perhaps that’s fair enough, though some of us grumped at her signal lack of other qualifications to the job. But to invoke these in the debate over whether she should be reappointed is deliberately to suggest that the government’s decision to replace her is an insult to these groups — making whoever replaces her, should they happen to be white or male or some other genetically incorrect makeup, the embodiment of that insult. That’ll do wonders for his or her legitimacy.

And so an office that is supposed to unite the people is now to be just another casualty in the culture war. What a cynical, destructive ploy.