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.


 

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

  1. Well, 'tis the season for politicians insulting parliamentary democracy, I guess?

    Honestly, this seems like such small fry to me that I can't help suspecting I'm missing a very thin strand of satire woven through AC's post. I mean, if Shatner and Gretzky are on the short list, Iggy should get the Order of Canada just for advising sober second thought here.

    • The Liberals seem to be following the advice of Frank Graves to start a "culture war". We'll see how it works out.

  2. Well, you read a lot more into his comments than I did. I thought he just liked Michaele Jean, thought she'd done a good job, and didn't see a reason to replace her.

    Having said that, this Liberal is not onside with her Leader. I see no reason to extend appointments unless it is to finish something the appointee is in the middle of. For example, the MPCC Commissioner, who wasn't finished his hearing into the detainee issue. Perhaps if Ms. Jean's term ends in the middle of the G20 conference or something like that, it should be extended for a week or two, but that's about it.

  3. "Ignatieff was consulted by the Canadian Secretary to the Queen at the request of the prime minister for suggestions on a successor to Jean. . .""!

    He was consulted, and he suggested Jean be retained. And the MSM go overboard.

    • Actually, constitutional scholars went "overboard." Presumably the same constitutional scholars who said Harper should hand over detainee documents and shouldn't have prorogued, whom you were more than willing to quote to defend your attacks against Harper, but who you are now summarily dismissing when they attack Ignatieff.

  4. Your criticism of Ignatieff for "politicizing" the GG appointment implies that Harper won't do the same.

  5. Clarkson's tenure was extended to provide stability during a minority government. I would suspect the same argument is being made here. You seem to be reading an awful lot into this Mr. Coyne…

    (now why Harper would want to replace the GG that let him do an end run around responsible government is another question entirely)

  6. Why the outrage? Iggy was asked for advice and he gave it. Had the advice been unsolicited, I would agree with your sentiments, Mr Coyne, but they appear misplaced given the facts.

  7. Are we actually expecting Mr. Ignatieff to offer up anything at all at this point? Yes, the PM asked, but he asked the Liberals for a preferred list of people who they'd like to see at GG – how much can we now look forward the Ignatieff crying like a baby when they don't like the PM's choice? This is becoming all too predictable from the LPOC I'm afraid. Perhaps Ignatieff didn't understand that question as put to him by the PM?

  8. This is a no winner for Mr. Ignatieff and I suspect Mr. Harper knows it. There are a sufficient number of Canadians around who would like to see the post abolished – no matter what Mr. Ignatieff says, they won't be happy. Those who like the idea of a Governor-General but don't like Ms. Jean won't be happy either. Conservatives won't be happy because she actually researched the idea of prorogation rather than just cutting Mr. Harper a blank cheque.

    All in all, Mr. Harper has presented Mr. Ignatieff with a lose-lose proposition.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  9. This is a no winner for Mr. Ignatieff and I suspect Mr. Harper knows it. There are a sufficient number of Canadians around who would like to see the post abolished – no matter what Mr. Ignatieff says, they won't be happy. Those who like the idea of a Governor-General but don't like Ms. Jean won't be happy either. Conservatives won't be happy because she actually researched the idea of prorogation rather than just cutting Mr. Harper a blank cheque.

    All in all, Mr. Harper has presented Mr. Ignatieff with a lose-lose proposition.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  10. Andrew;
    I’m a conservative supporter, I like the GG I think she is wonderful, I bet The Prime Minister does to, and I am sure he has a great deal of respect for her. I also bet she does not want to be extended, who knows? But you would think she must be offended by Iggy and the Liberals trying to wedge this for politics, Ignatiaef”s statement was very patronizing, she must be embarassed.

    The Liberals are ethically and morally challenged, the Liberal Culture War is on!

    Steve

    • a liberal wedge issue… give me a break….you guys are reading way too much into this.

  11. "Ms. Jean has done a superb job." (quote from Ignatieff)

    I honestly don't understand why he would want her stay. She has propped up the Conservatives at every turn. She's performed fine on the social side of the role of GG but on protecting our democracy? Massive FAIL. I say we need someone new. I'm curious as to who Harper would slip into the position actually and just what they would do with that crucial bit of power. Reign him in for a change? One can only hope.

  12. I'm sure the GG is well liked by the conservatives. She is a puppet in Harper's hands. Need to prorogue out of a tricky Afghan detainee situation? Call 1-800-pro-rogue and Michelle Jean will rubber stamp it. No need to show up for a messy photo-op.
    http://bowjamesbow.ca/assets_c/2009/12/harper-pro

  13. Andy,
    I agree 100% with your opinion. In my mind, they will broadcast anything for polictical points. Afghan anybody?

  14. You're presuming then that the Liberals are taking Graves advice on culture war politics. Personally, considering that the Conservatives have done "culture war politics" for awhile, I hope the Liberals take that advice because I don't mind the strategy at all.

    I just don't see it here with this announcement.

    • *You're presuming then that the Liberals are taking Graves advice on culture war politics. Personally, considering that the Conservatives have done "culture war politics" for awhile, I hope the Liberals take that advice because I don't mind the strategy at all.*

      Well of course the Lieberals are taking his advice.

      And Coyne has already explained how it is attempting to use the GG appointment in a `culture war' against the Conservatives.

      But since you're Liberal and thereby stupid, you should go back and read it slower. You'll get the drift.

  15. Iggnatieff will say and do anything to survive .. he's viande morte .. si evident ..!!!

  16. I liked it better with Leaders of the Opposition just attacked Govenor Generals for being seperatists. It was just… more genteel. I also find denouncing people as separatists as uniting.

    Jean's declaration answers questions; Statement of loyalty is well received 'No doubt' of her devotion, Martin says
    Toronto Star – Toronto, Ont.; Andrew Mills; Aug 18, 2005; A.12

    "I want to tell you unequivocally that both he and I are proud to be Canadians and that we have the greatest respect for the institutions of our country," Jean wrote. "We are fully committed to Canada. I would not have accepted this position otherwise." Prime Minister Paul Martin, who has come under fire from [Stephen Harper] for not thoroughly investigating the future vice-regal couple's past before announcing the appointment, issued a statement of his own defending his nominee.

    That didn't satisfy Harper who panned Martin for failing to come forward and explain how Jean and [Jean-Daniel Lafond] could be committed federalists, yet appear to be connected to the sovereignty movement. Harper called on Martin to come forward and speak to Canadians personally.

  17. I am astonished at the knee jerk reaction here. It is not as if the Liberals are attacking the governments appointee, they are simply affirming support for for a GG that is wildly popular amongst Canadians.

    Give your head a shake andrew, you have been in the bubble far, far too long.

    • Ted it is you who needs to give his head a shake. The PM has indicated for weeks that he did not intend on extending the appointment of Ms. Jean. What did Iffy not comprehend. He can't be that dense can he? He made his comments for the exact reasons that Coyne laid out. It is you that needs to take off those partisan glasses and see what your party has become….a laughing stock.

  18. What makes this particularly offensive is how Iggy perverted the non-partisan process of the Government asking the leader of the government in waiting for his input. Harper handed Iggy the non partisan ball and Iggy tried to throw it in Harper's face.

    Of course, rather than Iggy looking clever, it just appears to be a cheap, gotcha moment that smacks of desperation and underscores just how unserious and unready to govern Iggy is.

    The only question that remains is whether Iggy is just ignoring his advisors, or are his advisors just that politically tone deaf.

  19. MPs should elect the GG, like they do the Speaker. #cdnpoli

  20. Mr. Coyne, it would appear that you've just been, as the kids say, pwned.

    • Brings forth an interesting question. Who, exactly, is responsible for "politicizing" the GG appointment…the person who makes the appointment, or the person who publicly questions it?

  21. Cynical yes. But probably effective. Not with the Canadian public that is, that would be rediculous as most Canadians will see this for what it is.

    But more and more of Iggy's moves lately reflect a willingness to cater to the partisan left base. He's not trying to gain ground with the center. He's fearful of losing what meager base he now has.

    In other words, he's (correctly) fearful of what appears to be an impending conservative majority. The problem for him is that desperation hail Mary's often end up as interceptions.

  22. Oh for heavens sake Coyne, you're getting carried away here. He was asked for his opinion and he gave it. Harper shouldn't have asked for the Queen's secretary to ask for Ignatieff's opinion if he didn't want it.

    Mr. Coyne – politicing the CBC and trying to ruin a man's career (Graves) for fundraising and political points – how do you feel about that?

  23. I am with Jenn. I think at most he thought Jean is popular, has been more or less inoffensive, and I can score some points by being seen as being on Team Jean. I can't give Iggy much more credit than than when it comes to scheming.

    That being said, I don't disagree with Andrew that this is a bad play/president as it does both further politicize the office of the GG (I think her neighbour did plenty to get the ball rolling at a steady clip), and could be more generally divisive (iggy seems to be slow on the realization that every time the Libs make a pliy for divisiveness (e.g., abortion; election timing) it has more or less backfired).

    further it plays into the CPC hands on Graves 'culture war' idiocy, which i note AC has taken up in writing this post.

  24. Could it be that Ignatieff doesn’t understand what he is doing? Doesn’t this American understand Canadian traditions and our system of government?

    You simply DO NOT play politics with the GG’s appointment, to do so would only undermine the very purpose of the institution! The Prime Minister has the sole responsibility of appointing someone who is viewed as impartial and above the political fray.

    But now, thanks to Iggy, no mater what Harper does it will be viewed through a political lens. It is not hyperbole to say this could jeopardize the very foundation of our democracy.

    Ignatieff needs to climb down from his comments immediately. And if the Liberal Party had any sense, they would get rid of Ignatieff before he does some real damage to Canada.

    • You realize he spent the great majority of his time away in England right?

      And as for your comment about NOT playing politics with the GG appointment – I trust you felt EXACTLY the same when Harper openly questioned Jean's allegiance to Canada, right?

      • Great rebuttal Richard.

    • "Could it be that Ignatieff doesn't understand what he is doing? Doesn't this American understand Canadian traditions and our system of government?"

      Given this past week, I have a feeling that "American" has a better understanding of our system of government than our current PM.

  25. I've really got to disagree. While some of Iggy's language was rather panderish, it was no more so than one would expect from any politician. As for his contesting of the appointment, he's not. He was asked his advice, and he gave it. He then had a press conference to say what his advice was. That's it, that's all.

    As ChrisinKW has stated, had the advice come unsolicited you would have a valid point. As he was asked for his advice, he has every right to tell everyone what that advice was. Feel free to disagree with it, but to claim he's trampling over convention is a little much.

  26. Steve, could you provide a link to that Toronto Star article you cite? Reason being, I googled the headline & got to a Wiki article, where one could read this note:
    "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michaëlle_Jean#cite_note-HMLO-10
    " Stephen Harper, then the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition as head of the Conservative Party, offered his congratulations and said that Jean's life story "serves as a great example to many Canadians. I know Mme Jean will serve Canada in a dignified, viceregal fashion."[9] Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, said that he wished Jean and her family well, and that he looked "forward to seeing a family again in Rideau Hall, which is fitting for the first Governor-General [sic] of a new century," and went on to say that Jean "knows well the value of the peacekeeping operations that give Canadians so much pride.[10] Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe expressed disappointment at Jean for deciding to "accept a position… within an institution that is not democratic."

    You're not engaging in some creative revisionism, are you?

    • No, I distinctly remember this episode myself. You could have called it a bit of a witch hunt.

  27. This is the second incident in as many months where Mr. Ignatieff has completely disregarded Canadian protocol as adopted by all parties in the past (the other incident being his intention to whip the Gun Registry Private Member’s vote, a free vote by established tradition).

    I am aghast at Mr. Ignatieff’s stupidity in this regard as it’s impossible for him to make any such suggestions about the Governor General without it being partisan and politicized. He represents a party and not the one in power.

    For me, I can’t wait for Mr. Ignatieff to go home to Harvard and see the Liberals elect a leader for a change (another example of disregard). Seeing a Loyal Opposition capable of advancing the state of politics would be wonderful. Mr. Ignatieff does not understand Canada, Canadians our our nation’s parliamentary traditions and its most disconcerting to see his inability.

    • I love it when the Conservatives get all 'rules are meant to be followed' silly. They're very selective about this.

    • I trust you were just as aghast when Harper used the nomination of Jean to score points against "the separatists" right?

  28. Oh, I think the CBC was politcied for some time…….that ship has sailed.

    Graves is doing a pretty good job of ruining his own career.

  29. Iggy is a fool. I don`t think Harper even bothers to set traps for him anymore……Iggy just creates them on his own.

    Maybe it`s just a result of him being the leader of a Party with no real principles or values……they just look for any way to score in their dirty game of politics.

    Go play some Parliamentary Games Iggy.

  30. Well, between Harper's anti-choice stand and Nicholson's announcement that he's going to bring back the silly – what is it – two pot plant incarceration bill – who is it that's catering to his partisan base?

  31. AC you need to chill out. I've read your link and i see your point to a degree but… yesterday you said "legal obligations" was just in the PMs head – well i think this one's may be just in yours this time. It is possible Ignatieff is merely being politically correct and actually thinks MJ has done a good job, and may be taking a bit of cheap shot at the PM.at the same time..but i hardly think it's as calculated as you read it…at least i hope not.
    I'm still holding out for Cpt Kirk…next time Harper wants a prorogation it'll be the brig for him….maybe they can rig out the GG's throne to look like the bridge on the enterprise?

  32. Relax. It could be lot worse. Andrew once stated, publicly, that Canada should have one of the "Royal Family" members, Prince Andrew presumably, stay in Canada as the Canadian King, funded naturally by taxpayer money.

    As a diehard monarchist, Andrew Coyne's (sp)utterings on the subject should be taken with a grain of salt.

  33. Here I think Coyne’s over-reacting. Our GG played politics (dirty politics) eating a seal heart in a desperate grab for attention after she failed to speak openly about her reasons for approving Harper’s prorogue. When Obama came she talked about Haiti, not Canada. Let’s not blame the Grits for politicizing her departure. She’s all about dirty politics, having played it (though Harper called the game. Let the best Aboriginal Woman win! No white males for the post? Is that what Coyne’s reacting to? Guess he’s not content that every PM is a white male.

    • cheap shot, eating what the locals eat is now dirty politics ?? Speaking about Haiti is somehow wrong, was it wrong for Obama too ?

  34. The most important part of the governor-general's job is his/her ability to command bipartisan/cross-regional support in a constitutional crisis. This role is even more important than correct interpretation of the rules (who cares about the rules if the country falls apart – order and survival must come before justice). For this reason, parliament has to pretend that the governor-general is not a partisan hack (though often g-g's have been), and have to avoid politicizing the appointment process. If Jean becomes the "Liberal" governor-general candidate, and somebody else becomes the "Conservative" then partisans of the other stripe will be less inclined to view decisions made during a constitutional crisis as being legitimate.

    I should add that along those lines Harper needs to make a good choice for governor-general. If he picks somebody that is not up to the task, the ramifications could be serious.

  35. Harper must end his daily prayer with these words:."… and please God, protect and preserve Michael Ignatieff, keep him safe from all misfortunes public or private. Amen."

    Leaving aside the question of whether or not Iggy's intervention is outrageous, what the hell did he hope to achieve by it? Certainly any small chance for her extension was eliminated the minute that Iggy identified her as the Liberal Party Candidate. I wonder if he even spoke to her before he announced himself as the president of her fan club?

    Just a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to do…

  36. Why are you surprised Mr. Coyne? All morality has fled this land years ago, from teen girls doing it in bathroom stalls, to politicians who cannot believe they're immoral, unethical and pretty much lice on the body politic. Has anyone heard of Alex Doulis? One should read his books. The people who do not comment on sites such as this are already headed for the exits. What is really amusing is they're the middle class not the Paul Martins of the World..with the Steamships and all… although when you read you'll most assuredly heed why Paul, and Canad Steamships got a by.
    Also, you will learn of the Bronfman's trust, and earlier the Irving's departure..all something little folks cannot do..until now. Alex Doulis. You'll love him!!!

    Meantime, the complete and utter cynicism of Liberals trying to grab onto G-G Jean, is as much a nauseous event as recognizing AdScam escapers are still out there, or Ismaili muslims are taking over the country you called home. Good luck with that by the way.

  37. I guess the only thing Iggy could have done worse for himself would have been to give his list of preferred candidates:

    Let`s see……..Buzz Hargrove
    Warren Kinsella
    Elizabeth May etc. etc etc,

  38. Why are you surprised Mr. Coyne? All morality has fled this land years ago, from teen girls doing it in bathroom stalls, to politicians who cannot believe they're immoral, unethical and pretty much lice on the body politic. Has anyone heard of Alex Doulis? One should read his books. The people who do not comment on sites such as this are already headed for the exits. What is really amusing is they're the middle class not the Paul Martins of the World..with the Steamships and all… although when you read you'll most assuredly heed why Paul, and Canad Steamships got a by.

  39. The way I see it, she's already had five years of living the good life on the taxpayer's dime. Give the perk to someone else for a while. As liberals and leftists always say, share the wealth, right? lol

  40. If Ignatieff had stopped with his recommendation after pointing out the good job she's done, I don't think there would be anything to complain about. He was after all asked for his opinion by the Prime Minister and I'm glad he gave an honest one.

    But Andrew is right that Ignatieff has no business dragging Ms. Jean's race, language, gender and ethnicity into the discussion of why she should be extended. This is the Governor General, it's not an affirmative action position for God's sake. In light of the Graves controversy it is really disturbing to see Ignatieff going down that rat hole.

  41. So, all this call for civility and respect by liberals is just another desperate attempt to get back power? Thanks.

  42. Did you ever think Jean signed the prorogration papers because she knew it was the right thing to do ?

    She knew that the coalition was unfit to govern.

  43. Iggy is making that bag of hammers look smarter every time he opens his mouth and sticks his political feet in.

  44. Looks like some in the media are finally recogniing the divisive nature of the Liberal "culture war". Don't think for a minute Frank Graves is the only Liberal giving this advice. The Liberals are banking big time, the MSM will overlook this horrible policy, because it's all they have for policy. "Don't want us in government, then we'll just try and destroy democracy, and divide Canada with a culture war. Thank God Harper and the Conservatives are leading us. Can you imagine what the American would do? Now there's a scary hidden agenda.

  45. "Certainly any small chance…"

    Hey! Maybe Michael didn't like her after all? Just saying..

    …clutching at straws aren't i? If you are right, then this just one more example of how unsuited to the game of politics Ignatieff is…now if i'm right, and Harper picks a right wing bozo, Ignatieff''s a genius…sigh!

  46. For once I agree with CM — the CBC was politicized long, long ago.

    And as for Frank Graves — have you seen what he actually said that caused the controversy? Only a completely obtuse, hard-core supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada could fail to see what was offensive in what Graves said about Alberta. If you can't understand what's offensive about:

    1. Implying that everyone in Alberta is an "angry male"; and
    2. suggesting that Alberta be thrown under the bus in the name of political expediency,

    then you're basically brain damaged.

  47. " Unfit to govern." And there was me thinking we had a constitution and rules and all that good stuff.

  48. I'm more concerned about a press release that includes the line "consulted by the Canadian Secretary to the Queen at the request of the prime minister". Aren't such things supposed to be private?

  49. No argument here. Well, a bit of an argument. I strongly disagree with him touting those qualities as if it were affirmative action, as you said. But I doubt he did it as a divisive wedge. And the reason I say that is because, to me, it is such a "meh" kind of thing. I can't see people getting excited because we didn't extend an appointment to a woman, a black person, a french speaker, etc.

    I fell for a similar thing with Dennis F a few threads down. Just because you or we are paying attention to the Graves thing, doesn't mean it's top of mind for Ignatieff. (In fact, my partisan opponents will readily agree that if WE are thinking about it, that automatically means Iggy ISN'T :) )

  50. Liberal " culture war"…give me a break. Elitist professors, women, aboriginals and gays as self interst groups. Tim Horton's vs the Latte liberal crowd, ordinary folks vs out of touch elitist libs…ring any bells? Graves didn't start the cuture wars yesterday. That's been a political fav of politicians since the year dot.

    • The culture wars began when Preston Manning rode into Ottawa on his Reform horse. It's been downhill ever since.

  51. Wait a second. Ignatieff was asked to provide suggestions. So, are you sayig that no matter who he suggests, that person will be considered the "Liberal" candidate? Because if so, then anyone Harper appoints must therefore be considered the "Conservative" appointee, no matter who they are or what their credentials.

    We don't need this.

  52. It seems the Harperites can play the Sarah Palinesque class card but nobody else is allowed to.

  53. Those don't appear to be political points, though. They are making an argument for a course of action. If they were saying "The CONSERVATIVES under Harper are not serving Canadians by not continuing the fine work of LIBERAL APPOINTED GG michelle jean…"

    Seeing as Ms. Jean also rolled over for the governing conservatives when perhaps she should not have, one might think the best political course of action would be to get a new person. Harper may want a spineless lapdog again before this is over…

  54. Oh, so you're an advocate of what you consider to be a Sarah Palin tactic. Fascinating.

  55. Ha, too hilarious, Coyne. Michaëlle Jean is certainly the most brilliant GG in my/our lifetime despite your reservations. Partisan, indeed.

  56. Thinking about it, the only thing Ignatieff did wrong was to go public on it. You're right, he's entitled to his opinion . i'm pretty sure he just thinks she did a good job…the stuff that's upsetting AC was very likely just MI being PC. I'm amused that the same people who are accusing Ignatieff of igniting a culture war, are the same people who say he's isn't smart enough to get in out of the rain…i'm not sure he can be both a clever unprincipled operator and a fool. I tend to think he's a bit of a fool. He's unlikely to have thought out all the ramifications of his words…which on the whole i believe meant exactly what he said…she's done a good job, why not keep her on.

    • Yes, agreed KCM. In many ways he was truly demonstrating that he was not being partisan; he was not holding any grudge for her allowing proroguation to happen, twice. He was also pointing out his support of the diversity and equality promotion aspect of the position.

  57. There's no contradiction. In fact, it fits in quite well with what we've been hearing for over the past week, which is that Iggy is BEING TOLD to ignite a culture war. So, it's some other genius like Graves or Donolo that's telling him to do it, and he's happily obliging – if one thinks it's part of a plan.

  58. You know, maybe you`re right; maybe they are fit to govern.

    So the three Parties in the coalition shoud run as one in the next election. I`m sure all the amateur parliamentarians here will find a way for them to follow the rules and constitution and all that good stuff.

    Iggy and Jack and Gilles all on the same campaign plane ………love to see it

  59. You give that kind of advice in private, it's just a matter of professionalism.

    Calling a press conference to back any particular candidate is just horribly inappropriate. It shows incredibly bad judgement.

  60. Quick, the smelling salts! Coyne has the vapours!

  61. That is so 2005. Try to keep up eh?

  62. Andrew Coyne wrote:
    "This is about painting the Tories as anti-woman, anti-black, and anti-francophone, and if you don't think that's what's going on here you don't know the Liberal Party of Canada."

    Agreed. The culture was has begun.

    Iggy's latest brain wave is just cheap politics aimed at the large Haitian population in Quebec in particular.

    Unspoken however is this; By calling for the extension for Jean, whom he considers to be doing a bang-up job, is Iggy now hinting that the previous Governor General wasn't deserving of the same consideration?

    Hmm………interesting. I guess Iggy hasn't read Adrian clarkson's book. According to herself…..she was quite spectacular. Why no second chances for her? She's CBC enough….Liberal enough, ethnic enough?

    what gives?

  63. No need for it to be spoken – Paul Martin extended Clarkson's tenure by 1 year.

  64. Exactly, AEK. It was just plain stupid for Ignatieff to go public with his opinion.

  65. Hmmm…thanks for that update. I was not aware, however, one would wonder if it was because of the good job Adrianne was doing, or because martin needed a known variable in the position due to the tenous grasp on his Government?

    Again……interesting.

  66. Oh please. They didn't have to go public with their "advice." And they didn't have to specifically attach their objections to her status as "a francophone woman" and the "first black Canadian" appointee. This is about painting the Tories as anti-woman, anti-black, and anti-francophone, and if you don't think that's what's going on here you don't know the Liberal Party of Canada.

  67. you say, "He was asked for his opinion and he gave it".

    It was stupid of him to give it publicly.

  68. Well it's not as if he suggested Linda Keene for the job.

  69. "Conservatives won't be happy because she actually researched the idea of prorogation rather than just cutting Mr. Harper a blank cheque. "

    Is that a joke?
    I mean, really?

  70. Andrew, that may be, but given the way that the prime minister has abused his prerogatives regarding the GG in the past (prorogation) I would tend to be cautious about he appoints a new one as well. Which brings me to an important question for you. Would you support a change in the process of selecting the GG to include a general election along the lines of what the conservatives suggest for the Senate? I am thinking that the current council that comes up with a short list could put 2 or 3 forward to the people, all efforts would be made to make it apolitical, more about which of the suggested faces Canada wishes to put forward. No parties would be allowed to campaign for a candidate. And Prime Minister would promise to adhere to the result of the election when appointing the GG.

    I think it would lend more legitimacy to the role and could be done without devolving into petty politics. But it would give Canadians the opportunity to discuss how we want our nation to be seen and represented on the world stage.

    I'd be curious to hear your opinion Andrew.

  71. I agree with you… exactly my thoughts of how stupid it was, when asked to contribute, to go public with it.

  72. Point taken. It doesn't look good. He shouldn't have gone public…this guy doesn't seem to learn.

  73. And it is funny how all Liberals commentators here think Andrew is wrong, but if the piece is about Harper's mistakes then Andrew is right! Please, give it a rest, Ignatieff screwed up and that's that , Andrew called it for what it is!

  74. You're probably right…he's being told – if it's part of a plan, and not him simply being inept. I don't like it. I didn't like it when Harper set himself up as TH's man vs the Latte crowd, and i don't like this either. Perhaps AC is right. I preferred to believe that Ignatieff was being sincerely PC on this – but why go public as Igarvin says?

  75. Hey Gabby,

    The story is behind a pay firewall, I found that bit in the summary portion searching the archived news search with Google:http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/thestar/access/883478

    I find it very hard to believe that everyone seems to completely have forgotten that it was quite the little storm that started over Ms. Jean's appointment. Harper raised it as an issue. In fact, premiers raised it as an issue as well:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/08/12/jean-so

    And to your comments, just because Harper raised the issue doesn't take away his ability to applaud it afterward. Just as suggesting the national anthem should be changed does not take away one's ability to later decide not to change it.

  76. "Mr. Bennett stated in 1936 that when Lord Tweedsmuir's name was being considered, he, as Prime Minister, first discussed the matter with Mr. Mackenzie King, the Leader of the Opposition, so that the Governor's appointment was in effect quite non-partisan in character inasmuch as it carried the approval of the leaders of both major parties."
    This arrangement of bi-partisan recommendation, [MacGregor Dawson] said, "may prove to be an accepted practice." Whatever its practical advantages, a moment's reflection will show that it is hardly in accord with the theory of responsible government …
    (emphasis added)

    # The Appointment of the Governor General: Responsible Government, Autonomy, and the Royal Prerogative
    # J. R. Mallory
    # The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science / Revue canadienne d'Economique et de Science politique, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Feb., 1960), pp. 96-107

    Perhaps it's time for the practice to evolve into something more accountable, as Prof Mallory has suggested.

  77. Andrew, I agree with your comments. Clearly Ignatieff doesn't have the decency to keep his recommendations private, choosing instead to make a divisive political issue out of the Governor General's appointment.

    The Prime Minister might be having second thoughts about asking Ignatieff for non-political advice ever again.

  78. He was asked for his opinion but in private consultations with the PM as was Layton, Iggy should not have gone public, at least Layton has some credibility, Iggy no long has any.

  79. And why is that that you hope the Liberals take Frank Graves' advice? Do you, like Mr. Graves, see all Albertans as angry males who ought to be thrown under the bus for purposes of partisan politics?

    • Andrew, what happended to your reputation points? I agree with some of the others that you went a bit far on this one, but to be down 60 points?

  80. He was probably trying to do a few things:

    – Capitalize on Jean's popularity.

    – Engage in Frank Grave's culture war.

    – Try to finally get out front on an issue with some public resonance. (ie. the public probably likes her, and also wouldn't mind an extension).

    I guess that all of the above trumped some of the longer-term ramifications of his actions.

    I'd hate to say it — or maybe I don't hate to say it, lol — but more than a year into his tenure as Liberal head, and just like his predecessor, he doesn't seem to get what the job is all about.

    Yes, yes, yes…..it would appear that Michael "Iggy" Ignatieff is also not a leader! lol.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  81. Perhaps we could resurrect Ray Hnatyshyn. Or Ed Schreyer. Or perhaps we could just put the embalmed corpses of either one on display and name it the GG. Nobody would be able to distinguish their previous terms from their present ones. Huh.

  82. uhm, i think you meant that Harper hasn't done worse.

  83. Ignatieff shouldn't have gone public with this. The GG is supposed to have a 5 year term, only to be extended under special circumstances.

    • I agree with this. A concern would be that reappointment sets a precedent . . . maybe not intentionally, but for future GG appointments, it could begin to look like a rebuff (or negative assessment of performance) if a GG is not reappointed. I think it is better to stay with tradition and stick to the 5-year appointment and make reappointment the exception.

      I also disagree with Ted's "wildly popular" assessment. I think she has done a credible job, but I have never been comfortable with the thoughtless way she was appointed and the issue of whether or not her past accomplishments warranted such an appointment.

  84. According to the news item in the Star, it's custom for the PM to consult the Leader of the Oppostion, but the custom is also that that advice is kept confidentail. That Ignatifief has chosen to flout this parliamentary tradition does seem to indicate that he is choosing ot make this appointment a partisan issue which is unforfornatunate, He also seems unaware that our previous GG was female, an immigrant, and came form a family without any great resouces. As a woman, I'm a tad insulted that Ignatieff can't come up with any other notable women as potential candidates. Does he think they're that scarce?

  85. Of course, this is also this little gem :

    "Ignatieff was consulted by the Canadian Secretary to the Queen at the request of the prime minister for suggestions on a successor to Jean, the Liberal Party said Sunday."

    Why do I always fall for your disingenuousness, Coyne ? I guess I want to believe in you.

  86. "On two occasions she had the duty to call on the opposition to form a government when Harper asked to close the House. She did not!"

    Who says it was her duty to do so? You? Don't make me laugh…

    As a result of the Liberal/NDP/Bloc attempt to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Canada (as they were planning to do even before the election was over, don't forget), the Conservative poll numbers shot up to 40%. The Liberals fell to 20% and the NDP was at 10%, so clearly the public was NOT HAPPY with your attempt at a coup. Sorry. The Governor General read the public mood perfectly, ruled accordingly, and that's just one of the reasons that the Canadian public loves her.

  87. SInce I have zero respect for the office or having some non elected foreigner as head of my country I vote we save a few bucks and not replace her. Now is a prime time to eliminate a bit of government waste. Boot out the Lt. Governors at the same time.

  88. While I disagree with what Ignatieff has done here, personally I'd much prefer a politician that says too much rather than too little.

    • That may be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. There’s nothing better about “too much” over “too little”. They’re both stupid and bad. Just because bad is the enemy of the other bad doesn’t make it the friend of good.

      • Really?

        Here's the benefit of too much over too little: Saying too much gives us the opportunity to evaluate what the politician is thinking. We can choose to discard it as a gaffe, or consider it as evidence the person may be unfit for their job. Either way, it give the opportunity to you and I to decide whether the politician is up to the job we've elected them to do.

        Saying too little doesn't.

  89. This will all blow over if Harper chooses a well-respected and non-partisan Governor General to replace Jean.

    Undoubtedly, though, he will be tempted to appoint a loyal Conservative to the post, thus ensuring that he will get his prorogations whenever he wants them.

  90. Considering how much this GG has cost us tax paying Canadians I have to agree with Taxslave. If Harper doesn't take this chance to reign in the waste of this position now then please send me an aplication to the Wild Rose party and cancel my Conservative membership!

  91. If she's smart she'll hire Jaffer to lobby for her re-appointment. I hear he's well connected.

  92. No argument here.

    Waterloo Region is having a follow-up to our Canada150 event, where we hope to get more indepth on some of the issues raised. It will be on May 18th at Angie's Kitchen in Waterloo–a smaller, more intimate venue. You know, to get from "we should" to "how we should".

  93. Angie's kitchen, eh? Anyone told Angie yet? (Ba-dum)

    Just make sure there's no kitchen table in there, or ol' man Layton will own your tush for brand infringement! (Drummer pitches sticks towards lead microphone; MC now understands importance of cane to wrap handle around performer's neck for a good yank…)

  94. Paul Wells said it best:

    1. Please tell me the Liberal leader isn't scrumming on a Sunday so he can demand a 5-year extension on Michaëlle Jean's term.

    2. So much in Ottawa seems to be determined by Random Event Generator. Next week Ignatieff will scrum about cranberries or Mahler.

    3. This is how seriously Liberals take their legacy: Ignatieff is the third leader in a row who makes his predecessor look good.

    http://twitter.com/inklesspw

  95. The GG has been a great GG and every Canadian should be proud of her.For Iffy to play politics and talk about extending her tour shows just how little this guy knows about his own country,There are man worthy Canadians who could serve this post.She has set the bar high than means a tough choice.For the opposition leader to suggest that her term be extended shows the nature of stupid down and dirty politics the Liberals play.This will take Jaffer off the front page and political shows and replace him with the great blunder of politics. A man who forgot how his countries politics work and playing the American way that he is more familiar with as a foreigner

  96. I don't see what all the fuss is about. Some are actually suggesting that Ignatieff should have made his suggestion privately. That would have been a complete waste of everyone's time. There is zero chance that Harper would appoint ANYONE who Ignatieff suggested. Zero. Well, okay, maybe 10^(-20) probability, allowing for the probability that Harper could suffer a brain aneurysm at the moment of the appointment. Anyone care to argue otherwise?

    By making this public announcement, Ignatieff may have pushed Harper a bit away from appointing some hyperpartisan Harper supporter (e.g. the GG analog of Mike Duffy for Senate) because that would feed into the culture war in a way that does not benefit Harper. If that is the case, Canada will benefit.

    I'm surprised that Coyne is suggesting that there is one area that Harper has not already turned to partisan advantage. That doesn't sound like the Harper we know. And, in fact, I recall Harper attacking Paul Martin over the current GG.

  97. All three and they could call it "Faulty Powers"

  98. Ouch!

    btw, I, too, am starting to believe — as amazing as this sounds — that Dion may well have been a better leader than Iggy. In terms of competency, there doesn't seem to be much of a difference. However, with Dion, you had someone whose loyalty to Canada was beyond doubt, who Canadians knew and trusted, and who most people believed was at least trying to do the right thing. The same can't be said of the Count! lol

  99. Dion was a better leader than Iggy, despite Iggy's superior English skills. As Mme Krieber pointed out, Dion never managed to sink the Liberal Party as low as 23% in the polls.

  100. But a responsible politician should know when to stop talking. And personally to me, that's what's the problem about Ignatieff doesn't know what to do or say quite often.

  101. Much ado about nothing.

    Partisans will see it as shameless partisanship; what else is new.

  102. No one went overboard. By making his statement public and bringing race and sex into the GG decision Ignatieff is following Graves' advice. That is to do everything you can to start a culture war in Canada in hopes that it will benefit the Liberal party.

  103. Sadly, Ignatieff has politicized any consideration of a possible extension to her tenure as GG. I happen to have liked her manner as GG and would normally have encouraged her extension in the post. Unfortunately, now, Harper has no possible choice but to replace her through no fault of her own but at the fault of Ignatieff.

  104. You have it pegged.

  105. It doesn't have to be true, it just has to be plausible.

    • . . . as the Liberal Party of Canada consigns itself to another generation of unelectability in Canada's fasterst-growing province.

  106. You are reading several grade levels below yourself.

  107. Forgive him for he knows not what he has wrought.

  108. Seems to me that you are all reading quite a lot of subtlety into this. I find it hard to believe that this announcement could in any way fuel the culture war (that the Tories started, to be clear) unless it is flogged in the future by the Liberals. This, so far, is pretty low-key. And just because Iggy said he likes Jean to continue, does not mean he would oppose Harper's pick.

  109. A drowning man will clutch at a straw.

  110. How did the Tories start the culture war again? Wasn't it Graves who depicted ideological opponents as racist dummies, and Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, as prime ministers, depicting opponents as un-Canadian slobs wanting to put women on floors in abortion clinics and fire loaded guns at people? In Canada! On our streets?!

    But, hey, why expect liberals to take responsibility for anything they do, right?

  111. Good lord you people are ignorant. Please indicate which democracies where parties campaign together on the understanding they will form a government after the election. It's not how it's done. You work out who needs to be in your governing coalition after the chips fall where they may. We should be able to have a grown-up democracy where we don't have these histrionics.

  112. Electing the GG is an absolutely terrible idea. We don't need a president.

  113. By reading all the posts up to now , I concur with AC about that bang on comment. It just boggles the mind how many people do not understand our system government which depends so so much on tradition for good reason. There has been too much tampering with our system since Trudeau that few understand it anymore. It is time to get back to the basics because to much has become out of control.

    Clearly the GG position must be retained as a non partisan posting. The Queen herself maintains a rigid neutrality from partisan politics if at all possible. As long as we have a monarchy in Canada this is the ONLY way for these symbolic Head's of State to act. The Governor General is the Queen's representative in Canada.

    if Michael Ignatieff wants to change our constitution to that of a republic his partisan statements are the way to go. Be wary Ignatieff supporters of what you wish for.

  114. She's a Canadian citizen, not a foreigner as you suggest.

  115. What don't you get?. The PM had already decided that her appointment was not to be extended. Having made that decision the PM through the Canadian Secretary for the Queen was asking for fresh names from Iffy as a courtesy. However, Iffy true to his lack of political skill wants to be a contrarian or create some headlines and he suggests extending the appointment. So Harper tries to reach out and allow Iffy an opportunity to make suggestions and he holds a press conference and recommends extending Jean's term. God help if he is ever elected PM of this great country.

  116. It is the prorogative of the PM soley whether you like it or not. I am sure if Harper politicizes the appointment you and the rest of the Liberal cronies will be out in full force to criticize.

  117. It is the end of her term pure and simple. Why is this so hard to understand? You are absolutely right about Clarkson's term extension. In fact she and Martin did not get along so Iam sure he would like to have gotten rid of her at the end of her term but because of the precariness of his government he elected to a brief extension.

  118. I fully agree with you Andrew. Good for you. Let them have it.

  119. Dear Jenn:

    Assuming Ignatieff was invited to provide suggestions for successors to the current GG, it is, at the very least, unhelpful to provide the only name who would not be a successor. And especially, as so many others (including many who would ordinarily have sympathetic leanings towards the Liberals) have said here, go public with such a boner of a move.

    The thinkers' conference was way more impressive than I had dismissively assumed. What has happened to all that thinking?

  120. Right on!!!!!!!!!!

  121. You are kidding I hope.

  122. Indeed.

    Now Mme Jean is the Liberal party Governor General, and the person Harper chooses is the CPC Governor General.

    What a debacle.

  123. Thwim and PhilCP, I do agree that is nice to have a forthcoming politician but is not very wise, you don't want to put your foot in your mouth and Ignatieff does that a lot, and Harper is also wrong he takes it to an extreme by being so secretive.

  124. No culture war… well what about the abortion issue, what about more food on the table for rural/urban split, long gun registry, what about the tar sands (east against west), now the GG issue. Its starting and he has taken Graves advice. It is not the Tory's who started this culture war discussion it was the Liberal pollster Frank Graves. Iffy seems to be following lock step. It will end badly for him and the Liberals. The Conservatives have outed them and anything the Liberals do in the future will be looked at as part of a culture war.

  125. so criticise what somebody might do? but not what somebody actually did?

  126. Catherine don't you get it? He actually screwed the GG instead of helping.

    CR, and the problem is that they don't even get it !

  127. Iggy might regret pandering to the anti-Gretzky crowd. I suspect it's not a large demographic in Canada.

  128. This article proves to me that Coyne has fallen hook line and sinker for the CPC attack on Frank Graves.

    To note that Ms. Jean is francophone, female ect. is something that would have happened last month without the blink of an eye. You would almost expect it as part of the politically correct culture. Now however, everything is seen through a culture war prism.

    Politics have sides, its a fact of life. Political parties have to choose sides often and there's nothing wrong with that. Now however, everytime the Liberals pick a side you're going to have journalists like Coyne talking about a culture war and vilifying the Liberals. He can't help himself, the narative has been set.

    It's such a shame that journalists can be hoodwinked into propogating a narrative so easily.

  129. Well I agree with Mr Coyne. A Canadian branch of the House of Windsor would give us a link to our current Sovereign and lets us keep our monarchy. At the same time, a new Canadian branch of the family would be 'culturally Canadian' within one or two generations. Don't give up on this idea yet Mr Coyne!

    • Harry might go for it. He would be instantly legit.

  130. Don't you get it? There's no way Ms. Jean was staying either way. He didn't screw her out of anything.

    What Iggy did by endorsing the status quo was rob Harper of the opportunity to make his pick look good by villifying Iggy's pick.

    He also probably protected some unknown person from being subjected to the Conservative hit machine which has a habit of taking any public figure linked to the Liberals in any way and dragging them throught he mud. Ed Clark and Frank Graves being notable examples.

  131. I wouldn't even be that surprised.. it's a meaningless gesture he can perform and then point to when people accuse him of acting too partisan, and Ignatieff made it possible.

  132. Looking forward to the day a politician (with a spine) would stand up and say that Canada no longer needs a monarchy representive in this country and our provinces. The GG posistion is that of a de facto bureaucrat which nobody voted for in the first place. Imagine the hundreds of millions of dollars saved each year for the taxpayers. If the queen of england gets mad, let her pay every cent. Bet she won't. Why? Too expensive.

    Igantieff is wrong to keep the current GG in power and Harper is just as guilty for using the current GG to avoid work by proroguing parliament every time Oral questions get a bit too tough for him to handle.

  133. I can't speak for Andrew but it didn't imply that at all to me. Just as "but the liberals were just as bad" is not a valid excuse for the conservative behaving badly, "Ignatieff is politicizing the GG appointment" is in no way an implication that Harper is not going to.

  134. Hmmmmm……interesting.

    For a moment there I was agreeing with you, but then I snapped out of it when I thought about the old joke or story or fable or whatever that involves a scorpion and some other animal crossing a river…I "worry" that it's just not in Harper to pass up an opportunity to be partisan.

    I guess, in the fullness of time, we will know. :-)

  135. This is just more of Iggy's 'culture war'. Its bad policy and it's inappropriate.

    Jean did a great job, and in many ways helped show Canada why the role isn't just 'ceremonial'. She should be proud. But – she did her term and now it's time for someone else to have a chance to make their contribution.

    Making this a political fight is just wrong. Iggy really should stop this kind of nonsense, it's just not in Canada's best interest to make the GG's appointment political.

  136. It's not surprising. The Ignatieff Liberals will milk almost anything for shameless partisan advantage. (It's a sign of desperation.)

  137. This is precisely how the Liberals justify their exceptionally bad behaviour to themselves.

  138. Have Coyne, et al seen Doug Finlay's latest fundraising letter? If Coyne and the rest of the media aren't outraged, something is terribly wrong.

  139. Exactly. At its root, politicians exist to take care of public business on our behalf; I want to know what they are thinking. Otherwise there really is no way to know if they are making policy and decisions with which we agree.

  140. Non sequitur.

    You mean, you enjoy burning goats for your pagan rituals? Thanks.

  141. The fact is there is no reason for Iffy to say anything. He was consulted and gave his opinion. That opinion should have been given in private. Why the press conference? To make mischief thats why and Coyne is right. He is politicizing the GG's position. Then to go on about her ethnicity, her background, her eating of seal meat and her feelings towards Haiti as reasons to extend her appointment will say the next candiate who is not black, does not eat seal meat or who does not come from a poor background is somehow less deficient to be GG.
    Besides the PM had already indicated that he was not going to extend her appointment. Is Iffy that stupid or is he just trying to make headlines. Unfortunately they are always negative headlines. You need to give this carpetbagger some lessons in Canadian politics.

  142. great idea!
    further, the list should be devised by an arms length commission of members of Order of Canada recipients and the vote has to be a free, non whipped vote

    • Wouldn't that present itself as a conflict of interest given that the GG is responsible for handing out the Order of Canada awards?

  143. Good god.

    "I was not aware" should be your epitaph.

  144. If he was asked for advice by the Prime Minister, Iggy should have given his advice to the Prime Minister not to the public in a Press Release.

    That's what's political about this. It was done, just as every other thing this man does is done, to embarass not to assist.

  145. You know, I think we desperatly need a parliamentary and constitutional expert as GG – the mission to enlighten Canadians about our democracy. The ignorance of it is disturbing and Harper has played on this.

    But Harper wouldn't have the balls to do that. He needs the ignorance and stupidity.

  146. Reminds me, why are Harris-Decima doing a poll right now asking questions that are divisive – loyal and disloyal Candians?

  147. I don't think you have the right to praise Dion at this point, after you participated in the assassination of his character. Absolutely repugnant. He's a good man who you and your ilk put through the meat grinder.

  148. Ok, I meant the other Andrew, nice descriptive name though.

    This is the automatic argument against it, but I don't think the GG would become a president just because they are elected (Note that Ireland has almost exactly the position I am talking about, an elected, mostly powerless Taoiseach). Nothing in the constitution would change under my proposal. The GG would still only have a couple real powers. But with an election they could become slightly less than a powerless figurehead and actually perform the duty of a check on Prime Ministerial power. Most countries do have such a position. What Harper has demonstrated in the past two years is that we do not. The PM has no checks, other than a majority vote from parliament itself. Of course, that is only a real threat in the case of a minority parliament.

  149. Why not – why do have to have secrecy about everything. I think it should be open and transparent. This is way overdue.

    And, please spare me this nonsense that Harper hasn't politicized it. I suggest you all read blogger "Impolitical".

    Eye-opener

  150. Ah yes, the Royals – the richest welfare family in the world.

  151. agreed, this is a pretty non story, there are so much more important things to worry about

  152. I think that's inaccurate. I don't know why Ignatieff is trying to argue she should stay on, it is a misguided attempt to use her image to rub off on his party. But, I am very wary of how Harper will use the appointment as many of his supporters want the post abolished outright. Many people on the centre/left would like to see the post strengthed and legitimized in some way, and I think Andrew is in that group, even if he is overreacting here a bit.

  153. Unfortunately extension of her term (or lack thereof) was going to be viewed by some folks through the political lens in either case.

    Prior to this tempest in a teapot the chances of Harper extending Jean's tenure was slim, now the chances have moved from slim towards none.

    OTOH, ultimately nothing stopping Harper from saying something like "On further reflection I am recommending that Michelle Jean's term should be extended by X years."

    • And your point is?

      • Some will view Ignatieff's public comment as ill advised; I don't. I prefer politicians who operate more in public and less in private, and I believe that we should encourage them to be more public with their thinking. If that is going to happen, the public will need to stop viewing every utterance through a political lens, and that is what I'm doing in this case.

        Harper is free to extend Jean's term; it would hardly take </>any spin at all for him to do just that, regardless of whatever Ignatieff might have said. Therefore Ignatieff is not to at fault if Jean's term is not extended.

      • Some will view Ignatieff's public comment as ill advised; I don't. I prefer politicians who operate more in public and less in private, and I believe that we should encourage them to be more public with their thinking. If that is going to happen, the public will need to stop viewing every utterance through a political lens, and that is what I'm doing in this case.

        Harper is free to extend Jean's term; it would hardly take </>any spin at all for him to do just that, regardless of whatever Ignatieff might have said. Therefore Ignatieff is not to at fault if Jean's term is not extended.

  154. Absolutely, if you tend to say more rather than less, the probability of putting your foot in your mouth increases. Some folks see putting your foot in your mouth as the biggest blunder a politician can make.

    But I try to judge politicians not so much by what they said as they inserted the foot, but more by what they say as they remove their foot. Not saying that I'm always successful, but that's the goal.

  155. So, you are implying that Harper might personally want to extend Michelle Jean, but, now that Ignatieff has publicly supported her, Harper will change his mind. Really… if Harper actually wants to extend the GG, exactly what is the downside for him now doing so?

    And you think Ignatieff should have told Harper privately that he thought the GG should be extended and then Harper would have taken Ignatieff's advice? No, don't think so.

    Perhaps you think Ignatieff should have privately told Harper not to extend the GG, and then Harper would have extended her? Kind of like some people deal with two year olds?

    • Yes, Iam implying that, she could be the only option at the end of the day. There is a protocol to follow and he didn't, Harper followed the protocol by asking the opposition leaders advice, Layton did his part and did n't make a big circus about it but Ignatieff screwed up.

  156. I do hope there's a new scandal tomorrow because this one is beyond boring.

  157. Oh please – get off your sanctimonious soap box.

  158. Clearly Ignatieff has little respect for anything outside of his own sights.
    Regarding the GG’s re-instatement, she has had her five years. She did well, but certainly there must be other well deserving ethnic female CBC employees who deserve a go!

  159. What is it with some of you that absolutely no criticism is allowed of your precious leaders? You can say anything you want about Harper and Conservatives, but your opponents can't tell the truth about Dion and others? Despite his good qualities, he was a terrible leader. Does that offend you? My God.

    Wow, what a classless bunch some of you are. Angry and resentful, too.

    And those who simply click on thumbs up or down? Cowards. lol. Next.

  160. Actually, they touched 21% during the Madness, while Dion was still at the reins.

  161. Depends on how one defines "culture wars", I guess. A reasonably broad enough definition, and you could find examples going back to John A's time ("A British subject I was born, a British subject I will die" was a "cultural" clash between himself & the Liberals of the day, I'd say.)

    In more modern times, "Screw the west, we'll take the rest" came out of Sen. Keith Davey's mouth in 1980, long before Manning showed up in Ottawa.

  162. So if Harper extends Michelle Jean does that make her a coalition Governor General?

    Actually, I think Harper's choice, and not Ignatieff's statement, will determine whether his choice is seen as a CPC GG. For example, Preston Manning would be seen as a partisan choice no matter what anyone, including Ignatieff, says.

  163. Just a slight reminder….Harper had already said publicly that he was not renewing her term. It was specualted in the media weeks ago and was confirmed this past week by the PMO. Then what does Iffy do? He says publicly extend her term. If that's not politicizing the whole appointment process I don't know what is? What did he expect to achieve the man who pretends to lead the Liberal Party?

  164. can we have a vote about kicking Toronto out of the country? wouldn't that do wonders for national unity? just imagine a world without torontonians………bliss.

  165. Yes – extend Michaelle Jean's appointment – why not? What a dignified, classy, sincere, kind and caring lady! Canada shouldn't let go of this stateswoman! Heather Linka, Six Mile Lake, Ontario

  166. Coyne clearly pointed out how the Libs had appointed their own cronies but suddenly it is bad to remind the Libs that they are hypocrits. Just forget the past folks, move on there is nothing to see here. Well we Conservatives are not going to do that. We are going to remind the Libs every chance we get of their sordid past. They are hypocrits and everyone needs to be reminded at every opportunity.
    Harper can appoint whoever he wants because it is the sole perogative of the PM and I know whoever he appoints will drive the lefties nuts in this country but too bad.

  167. Harper has already politicized the role of the GG. He practically shoved her out of the way to receive a salute intended for the representative of the Queen, and, by NOT renew her term when it has been very common to do exactly that, it is pretty clear that he is booting her out, possibly because she made him wait for a couple of hours before allowing the prorogation of parliament.

  168. So what you are saying is that a minority government can no longer work in Canada. If the opposition parties don't like it they simply gang up on the government, vote non confidence and install themselves as the government. I could accept a coalition if it was the Libs, the Official Opposition, and the NDP. However, having to include the Bloc whose sole intent is to break up the country is and was offensive. For the coalition of fools to work they would have had to cowtow to what Gilles wanted. If he did not want legislation put before the House which he considered not in Quebec's interest it would not have happened. There is legislation that is not a matter of confidence put before the House all the time. This would not have been good for Canada. Its tough enough to get one party managing the country without three and their competing interests. Jean made the right decision and we as a country are better for it.

  169. Of course we need to move on. The Libs are being vilified (sarcasm intended).

  170. Remember galas, calling liberals pedophiles, terrorist-sympathizers, traitors, etc.? TH vs latte.

  171. You need to put your tinfoil hat away. Its not becoming.

  172. Are you trying to pretend there has not been a culture war going on over the past few years?

  173. The Bloc were not a member of the coalition. They merely gave said they wouldn't defeat the coalition for 18 months.

  174. And let's be clear: Jean did not pick between governments. That would have happened if she had denied the request for prorogation and let the House decide that confidence vote. She allowed the executive to shut down the legislative branch for two months during an economic crisis to avoid an impending vote of no confidence. Even if you think the coalition would have brought on the end of days, you should be concerned about the precedent that our government is allowed to shut down the house whenever it might vote no confidence. That is a legitimate threat to our democracy, as it allows the executive to govern, unchecked and against the will of our elected representatives for up to 1 year.

  175. I don't think anyone really knows who had the reins during that time.

  176. You're the last person who should be lecturing people about tinhats. You wear one multiple times every day on here as Con cheerleader/Liberal hater.

  177. *shrug*

    I assumed we'd hang onto Ms. Jean until we formally asked Haiti to become our first tropical province and second fully francophone province.

  178. Still, I think Dion's poll numbers were consistently higher than Iggy's have been. I think he was usually in the low 30's, while often being considered "tied" with the Tories, while Iggy often seems to sink into the 20's, and hasn't been considered "tied" in a while.

  179. Once again the Conservatives have the MSM doing their dirty work for them. They leak an internal memo telling all their members not to comment on Mr Ignatieff's gaff, setting the stage for the outraged media to spew forth their endless drivel about the Liberals. Meanwhile Harper sits back and enjoys the show as every con supporter hits the comment boards for the pile on. This story is nothing more then a channel changer to get the attention off Jaffer, detainee documents, abortion, and whatever other as yet uncovered important issues the government is hiding. Frankly I think we could use a story about the lack of quaity journalists that refuse to be PMO shills.

  180. You weren't criticizing. You were performing a character assassination. You portrayed him as foolish and dim-witted because his english was weak. Anyone who has followed his career should know he is anything but dim.

    My criticisms of Harper as a person centre around his deceitfulness and cynicism, both of which are pretty well documented. I'm not lying about his character.

    • Andrew (not PorC)……you are aware that Dion's "Clarity Act" was simply the plagiarized version of the points Prime Minister Harper presented to Jean Chretien BEFORE the referendum in Quebec right?

      Don't credit Dion for Harper's work.

      That applies to Paul Martin as well. The Liberals took the REFORM Party's ideas about balancing the books and once again claimed the work as their own. And who do you think wrote most of the economic policies of the REFORM Party Andy?

      Harper.

      So let's look at the Liberal record. Ahem.

      Balanced the books and took us into surplus using:

      GST – Brian Mulroney's legacy.
      Free Trade – Brian Mulroney's legacy

      Reduce Deficit – Reform Legacy – through Harper

      So……now let's consider what the Liberals gave us: Ahem.

      Shawinigate
      HRDC scandal
      Gun Registry
      Sponsorship scandal.

      Yep…….I can see why your so impressed Andy.

  181. He's not using his regular IntenseDebate account. Note the WordPress "W" at the bottom right of his avatar.

  182. I don't share Andrew's apparent confidence that Harper will follow the tradition of not abusing the power to appoint the GG.
    As far as emphasizing her gender, race, language, and birthplace is concerned, it's probably because some of us won't be surprised if Harper's choice turns out to be a male, white, anglophone Albertan who will not embarrass him by making him sit through a two-hour lecture on parliamentary democracy whenever he wants to prorogue.

  183. There is nothing constitutional about a Governor General's length of service. The five year term is only a convention. Others have had their terms extended.

    • Political scientists and constitutional scholars have weighed in on the subject. Whether their fields of study are relevant or not is… well, irrelevant. If Scott wants to attack the media for going "overboard," then he should also focus his wrath on these scholars, which he does not.

  184. Since Mr. Ignatieff agrees that Madame Jean has contributed greatly to the recovery of Haiti, why not let her continue her work, without having to deal with the job of GG. Perhaps she may become a political leader in Haiti as part of promoting its recovery. Better to do it as an insider than an outsider.

  185. Yes, what, in the eyes of a Liberal supporter, could be more evil than an Albertan?

  186. Partisan slags partisan for being partisan.

    Priceless.

    • Orson Bean, couldn't agree more!

  187. Yes, and Scott Reid, and now Frank Graves, are following in the Grand Liberal Party of Canada tradition of demonizing Alberta.

  188. Off the top of my head: New Zealand (ACT announced in advance that it was going to back the Nationals) and Australia, where the Liberals & Nationals have been in a coalition for years, but still run separate candidates.

    In other countries where coalitions are common, what you DON'T see are possible partners, such as the CDP/CSU and the Free Democrats in Germany, swear up and down that they won't form a coalition only to do so at the first opportunity. That's what we had with Dion & Layton here in '08.

  189. and thats why he's never going to gain enough confidence among Canadians to get a majority goverment,

    Seems like a minority gov't is a serious check on PM power.

  190. Traditionally the next GG is supposed to come from the West, so it's no suprise that Iggy would want to use the GG as a wedge issue. It's all part of the LPC's East vs West culture war.

  191. The Libs are getting more and more desperate as each day goes by. Their leader is a dud. Nothing they say is catching on with the regular folk. They can't make a faux scandal stick and the polls keep telling them they are going to lose the next election. So all they can do is get on these boards and lash out. Nothing like a Liberal when he/she is cornered. They are outsmarted and outmatched and they don't like it much.

  192. you forgot separatist sympathizer who doesn't know that the Queen is Canada's head of state, not her.

  193. Meh

  194. The west in general. Alberta in particular.

  195. OK, at this point I'm pretty sure a Conservative operative has infiltrated the highest ranks of the Liberal Party and is deliberately giving Iggy bad advice. As a Conservative this makes me happy.

    But there may be another explanation: remember, Liberals have been advised by genius Liberal adviser Frank Graves to campaign against morality. They're *literally* opposed to the very concept of right and wrong! In this context, of course everything the Liberals do will kind of make normal everyday morality based Canadians roll their eyes if not hurl. Do you think they care if playing politics with a decidedly apolitical matter may be seen as somewhat gross by normal functioning Canadians such as Coyne here? Of course not!

    What do you expect from an anti-moral party? Good ideas? But they're against the concept of good!

  196. More amazing insight from the posters on this site:

    1. Every male, white anglophone from Alberta, given the chance to be Governor-General, would grant a prorogation of Parliament without question and without delay. In every conceivable circumstance.

    2. Everyone else from every other racial, linguistic and geographic group would do the opposite.

    Isn't that something?

  197. Is that you James Moore? Go Canucks eh?

  198. There's nothing more evil to a Liberal than an Albertan. But of course they would never use wedge issues to pit region vs. region.

  199. Thanks Crit. I fgured something like that was the case; I was actually joking.

  200. proroging parliament just a few weeks after a general election, here in Ottawa in the open, this is a threat to our democracy when the people had just elected another cons. minority ? Don't remember the people electing a coalition.

  201. Most of that is your own knee-jerk characterization, and it obviously happened well after my obvious Liberal examples. Like I said, you never have to take responsibility for anything, but can spew any kind of accusation at anyone else. What an agenda.

  202. Yes, and you Liberals were more than happy to start it. You just can't stand it when good people decide to fight back.

  203. I am glad Harper is sending her packing. Hard to believe people forget she and her husband were dining with FLQ convicts before she was appointed …love of country, the Queen's representative… give me a break… she was probably a separatist until Mr. Dithers appointed her…eating seal meat and crying over Haiti do not qualify the unqualified…

  204. Hatred of T.O. unites the rest of Canada.

  205. Not evil, just familiar and reliable.

  206. And hatred of Alberta unites the Liberal Party of Canada.

  207. This is another example of a dysfunctional opposition, who's main course of action, is to be the Canadian version of the Party of No.

  208. "Familiar and reliable" was not what Frank Graves said about them. Nor Scott Reid. Nor Keith Davey. etc.

  209. hmm, good point. it just seems like you'd want a reputable group of nonpartisan canadians to talk to the population to come up with the short list. I'm not sure it would really be a problem since the people being nominated for GG would not be adding these people to the Order, and as long as the GG can only serve one term there'd be no worry about them stacking the Order with people to choose them.

  210. I agree in principle. It's just that there are multiple levels to the Order of Canada. someone might want to be inducted as an "Officer of the Order of Canada" instead of just the basic membership.

  211. Anyone who has followed either aghast or in admiration at Harper's strategic approach to government will agree that he would not lose the opportunity to use the appointment of the next GG to his political advantage. Moreover, recent gamesmanship by Harper and the opposition has clearly made the GG a much more important position than in the past. Given Harper's tendency to go for the "home run", appointing a soul mate is neither out of the question nor unlikely. Ignatieff has succeeded in making this less likely by sensitizing the press and that small fraction of the population that is paying attention. My guess is that Ignatieff has decided it was better to take an immediate (but temporary) hit in the polls as a trade off for making the attainment of a complicit GG more difficult for Harper.

    • Just curious, but when is Ignatieff's "temporary hit in the polls" supposed to end? It's already been, what, 8 months that his "temporary hit in the polls" has lasted?

  212. Iggy with a strategic ability or sense …. me thinks you are deep into the realm of wishful thinking!

  213. Sheer partisan sophistry.

  214. Andrew would be correct if there was any posibility that Harper could be trusted, but he can't. We have a minority government. The governing party is very close to being in comptempt of Parliament. The PM has used the power to prorogue twice in a way that abused the insitution of the GG. The PM has routinely bullied other appointed officials. There is no possibility that Harper's request was genuine or that it would be considered unless made public. This is the most partisan government we have seen in Canada's history and Andrew is concerned that Ignatieff is making this issue a partisan one! Try something else Andrew, you blew it on this one.

  215. So the PM offers a private opportunity for Iggy to constructively participate in this appointment and he blabs it to the whole world, in a bid to score some political points. So all you Liberals out there, why should we trust this man and his party with top secret info on Afghanistan when he cant even keep a private request a secret? Taliban Jack did, why not Iggy? Because he does not have an ounce of political sense that's why. But you Libbies just love him don't you. You people would vote for a literal jack ass if it were on the ballot under Liberal.

  216. A temporary hit on the polls…. Even with all of Harper's mistakes he can't get ahead on the polls, that's bad!

  217. The best choice would be one of the Royal Princes. Who best to represent our Head-of-State but a real Royal. A Prince would definitely be NON-Partisan and bring some class, distinction, pomp and respect to the Governor General position. A Prince would definitely be a tourist attraction too. A 5 year term for Prince William or Harry or Edward—-sounds fine for me.

  218. "This is the most partisan government we have seen in Canada's history "

    So, like, umm, do you have some sort of comparative study to back up this assertion?

  219. Why is the media trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill here.
    Harper asked the Ignatieff who he would consider as an appointee for GG. His choise is the status quo.
    A woman who I might add, the Liberals have no reason to love as she has proven herself to be King Harper's puppet as far as prorogation goes.
    Even tho I am not overly fond of the whole idea of the office itself, Mme GG has served us well and done a wonderful job

  220. Again, we should remember that it's constitutional and political scholars that are supposedly making a mountain out of a molehill, not merely the media.

  221. Completely tactless and willing to exploit confidences for purely political gain, regardless as to the damage it does to the insitition he wishes to exploit?

    Hey, lets give Iggy the secret national security documents he's been pining for!

  222. Oops,I should of said "hit IN the polls". I am sorry, as I am translating in my head, I write as it sounds and make the mistake of not checking it out. I need to pay more attention! Having said that, this commenting has been very helpful for my English.

  223. We need someone who will defend the constitution from Prime Ministers who try to close parliament instead of facing criticism! The senate must effectively protect the interests of the regions equally, not their respective political parties. Minorities must be represented at the highest levels. First Nations must have their unique statis reaffirmed in the minds of all Canadians.

    Constitutional monarchy can only work if a monarch is resident in and seen to be a part of the national daily life. I'd argue that our countrymen must see royalty working for us in our own daily Canadian experience. I recommend that Canadians, in defense of our heritage & our democracy, lobby for the appointment of HRH Prince Andrew to the post of Governor-General of Canada. He's someone with an international reputation, experience and contacts that can help Canadian diplomacy & industry and would be a true representative of the Queen!
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=11313751205

    After our royal heritage is reflected in our daily life, for 5 years… Let's see then if Canadians want to reform or get rid of the monarchial system we have.

  224. The current situation, where Canada has a foreign Head of State is intolerable. It becomes more intolerable with each passing decade. I believe that we need our own, resident royal family.

    The only requirement to make this happen is an act of Parliament that changes the succession laws. We could have anyone we liked when Her Majesty passes away or abdicates. She could abdicate tomorrow, since Canada is a separate crown, with no effect on her role in the UK, or her other realms.

  225. It would make sense for the indigenous house to be a branch of the current royal house. After all they inherited the authority of every sovereign house that has been associated with this land since Europeans arrived. One could argue, that Canada's only right to sovereignty over these lands stems from the rights of the monarch, as Queen of Canada, who inherited lands seeded to her family, and not to the government of Canada or the United Kingdom. First Nations, some with royal traditions of their own, have negotiated treaties with the crown or at least have expressed loyalty to that same crown throughout our history. Were the sovereign present in Canadian daily life, this special relationship may have allowed for greater prominence & respect to be afforded our First Nations.

    There is precedent for this type of evolution, a new royal house being a branch of the old. For instance, Brazil gained it's independence and 80 years of economic & social progress when they took the heir to the Portuguese throne as their own Emperor in the early 19th century. Norway is another example.

  226. What if, when the current sovereign passes away, the new monarch was selected through a partially elective process. What if the only requirement to run for the office was to be a descendant of Canada's first Queen, Queen Victoria and be a resident of Canada? To keep the candidates above the frey, they could be required to have a group advocate on their behalf, in the election, rather than running actively themselves? The post would be for life unless resignation is requested. If the post becomes vacant then the same process could be followed or some other succession law could be enacted, with the consent of Canadians, after we have our own resident family.

    This way Canada could get it's own monarch and that person or family would have the legitimacy of election as well as ancestral heritage.

    According to our constitution, the cornerstone of government, federal & provincial as well as the judiciary, is the crown. For that institution to be disrespected and misunderstood is to created a vaccumn of legitimacy that power hungry politicians are too happy to step into. Addressing this impairment goes a long way to saving our democracy. Let's get it done so we can move onto the next challenge.

  227. I truly figure this out post. I