The ‘best of Canada’ indeed

The more I think about this David Johnston appointment, the more I’m inclined to revise my initial reaction. This isn’t just a good choice. It’s an outstanding choice: the best, on paper, since Michener. (We’ll see how he actually performs in the job.)

There are few Canadians with lives more filled with accomplishment, or whose character is more widely respected. As such, he brings not only impressive practical credentials to a job that, as we have been reminded of late, is much more than a ceremonial post. His selection also offers an important signal of what we value as a society, of the qualities we think are important, of what we aspire to: experience, scholarship, service to others, personal decency.

I was critical of Johnston’s work in framing the terms of reference for the Mulroney inquiry, but I don’t have the slightest doubt that it reflected his honest judgment of what was in the public interest. And it’s a small complaint set against his remarkable lifetime of achievement. Distinguished legal scholar, with degrees from Cambridge, Harvard and Queen’s. Principal of McGill University. President of University of Waterloo. A list of publications and public service involvements as long as your arm. Fluently bilingual. Father of five. Captain of the Harvard hockey team (!). And, the clincher, a stint as a CBC broadcaster (he hosted a political talk show, The Editors, that was seen on Newsworld): the fourth Governor General in a row, and fifth in the last six, with that distinction.

In sum, the appointment of David Johnston is of a kind that ennobles the office, rather than the reverse. Which is as it should be.

CAVEAT: On the other hand, he did spend several years living outside of the country. I take it the Conservatives no longer consider this a disqualification for high office.




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The ‘best of Canada’ indeed

  1. White males rejoice!

    There's hope for a return to 'normalacy' yet eh?

    • Hi Nola,

      I was just going to make a comment poking fun at you… but you've beat me to it.

      • Hi Harry. All a-tingle are you? Or just as scrambled as usual?

    • You're right Emily – Johnston being a male plays into a dangerous and UNTRUE stereotype that only white males should be GG. Just like you play into a dangerous and untrue stereotype that women are shrill and irrational.

      • No, the idea that women as shrill and irrational is Con policy.

        • So in any event Emily, what is your point? That no white male should ever be appointed GG again? Or what?

          • I think we've had quite enough of them over the years.

            It's an old stuffy image, and not what we need for the country right now.

          • STOP IT! You really are doing your damnest to set back the women's movement to the 1960's aren't you.

          • LOL like you'd care.

          • Bitter much, say that's a great new nickname for you Bittermuch….. Anyways, why wouldn't I care? I suppose you'd think that just because of where my bits are on my body. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but some members of this gender don't conform to your prejudices (yes it is apparant from my vantage point that you may be THE single most prejudiced person on this board) but some of us have daughters who we would hope would get past this gender inferiority complex some members of the female gender seem to extoll ad nauseum. The victim role is getting a little old at this point.

          • Because all appointments should be based on the "image" that person portrays, qualifications be damned, eh?

          • Well Johnstone doesn't have any more 'qualifications' than she did. So the difference here is image.

          • So what's the image problem here? If people see a white male representing Canada, they might get the false impression that white males actually exist in Canada?

          • Justin Bieber for GG! That's image!

          • Emily, women should be equal and being equal means accepting decisions for their merit and not their sexual orientation.

            Grow up.

    • Emily's messages are the most clueless comments and most dim-witted observations I have ever witnessed. I am not a white male. Well, my skin is shiny white but I am an Asian. I wholeheartedly rejoice in the GG choice. Pursuing excellence is an inspiration to all decent human beings except bigots like you. Long live the True North strong and free.

  2. The more I think about it, this would of being a great job for Michael Ignatieff!

    • Wrong colour, too many testicles.

      (Okay, I will stop now)

      • He does??

        • To paraphrase one of your antecedents, "one is too many."

          • It is??

            You are one confused dude.

      • He is a lousy politician but he truly is a great intellectual and he should be very proud of his lifetime achievements except for politics, not his forte!

    • I agree with you — in fact I had thought of that myself, except that Ignatieff has ruined his chances.

    • Damn, that's actually a really good point! If he hadn't gotten involved in politics, I'd even say he had an honest chance!

  3. CAVEAT: On the other hand, he did spend several years living outside of the country. I take it the Conservatives no longer consider this a disqualification for high office.

    Did he spend a lifetime living anywhere but Canada, then decide to come back to lead us?

    Anyhow, Iggy would be all too happy right now if the only obstacle to him becoming PM was his visitor status. He's got a lot more to worry about these days, doesn't he.

  4. I completely agree with Andrew Coyne's revision: David Johnston's selection is a home run, not merely a standing double.

    However, I have to say that I'm dismayed by the revelation that Johnston actually had a stint as a CBC broadcaster. I was hoping we could finally put an end to that bizarre trend.

    With regards to Coyne's caveat: Spending a few years living outside the country is hardly the same thing as spending three and a half decades outside the country. Had Johnston lived abroad for that long, I daresay he'd never have been seriously considered for the GG role, just as Shatner was never seriously considered (for many other reasons as well, no doubt).

    • Yes, I'm sure it will go over well politically. [rolls eyes]

      Same ol', same ol'….

    • I still agree with whoever said that Shatner would be worth it for the reading of the Throne Speech alone.

      • Scott Tribe said that, if memory serves. We could always persuade Mr. Shatner to read excerpts from the throne speech on his TV show, as he did with Palin's book. ;-)

        • Nah.. wouldn't be the same.. it needs the pomp and ceremony.. the big red chair and deferential politicians.. for the full effect.

    • I had the same thought: everything about him sounds promising except for his involvement with the Corpse. I'm not saying I'd disqualify him for it, but it's definitely not a mark in his favour.

      • Given his age, for most of his life there WAS only one network. LOL

        • Hey, do the righties know that Duffy got his start working for the CBC?

    • If I am not mistaken, The Editors was a PBS project dealing with Canada & US relations and politics. I was not aware that Newsworld picked it up, but I do not think they had any more of a role than as a rebroadcaster. Anyone?

      • Purely off the top of my head that sounds right, although it MAY have been a co-production.

      • I definitely watched it on PBS. Was Newsworld even around then? All I remember is he had Howard Dean on a lot – he was a Governor then.

        • Governor, and not remotely crazy sounding…

      • Yeah, PBS.

        I think Newsworld just has re-broadcasting rights, I'm pretty sure it was all PBS. WNED (Buffalo-Toronto) I believe, which may be the only PBS station to officially serve a Canadian City (it's literally WNED Buffalo-Toronto, and there's a maple leaf in their logo) but I'm not sure about that.

      • Yes, I always thought of The Editors as a PBS program.

  5. So there is a university president as GG. Will he press for tuition increases for everyone?

    (that was a joke, in case some student politicians or their opponents get riled up)

  6. …a job that, as we have been reminded of late, is much more than a ceremonial post.

    Oh, the post is much more than ceremonial. The incumbent is tasked with the grave responsibility of rubber-stamping the quasi- or patently anti-constitutional gambits of the executive. We can't have some rank amateur making of hash of that.

    …an important signal of what we value as a society…scholarship, service to others, personal decency.

    We might want to remind ourselves that the foregoing more accurately describes what we should value as a society, unless the close to 40% of Canadians who voted CPC last election represents a clear, passionate pan-national commitment to "scholarship, service to others, [and] personal decency".

    • Hey – this week they're into scholarship – it's a start.

  7. In 2008, our government party trashed the Leader of the Opposition for being a geeky "professeur" to the chortling amusement of an indulgent punditocracy; now we're supposed to congratulate the same government for its wisdom in appointing a professor to an office distinguished by its current constitutional impotence.

    Let's just leave it at, "Mr. Johnston, best of luck acting in a role that requires the perfect antithesis of the scholarly acumen and commitment to excellence you've demonstrated throughout your enviable career. Better you than me, frankly, but just hang in there: it'll be over soon".

    • It is different, he is not trying to run this country and as much as I admire Ignatieff credentials, he is one lousy politician, nothing wrong with that, he just doesn't have it in him but he would of made and excellent GG.

      • I think he's referring to Dion. Not that that really changes anything else you said in your comment.

        • Oops sorry !!

      • The snide CPC "professeur" attacks were made against Dion, not Ignatieff. The latter is "Just Visiting". Please get your puerile CPC memes straight.

        • Got it, Sorry!

    • Why exactly do you feel that the GG role is " the perfect antithesis of the scholarly acumen and commitment to excellence"?

      I think these qualities will serve Mr. Johnston very well in his role as Canada's viceregal representative. For one thing, he may even write his own speeches (with the exception of the Throne Speech, of course).

      He could also use his position to focus on education and other national priorities. An extremely talented person like Mr. Johnston can do a lot of good for Canada in such a high-profile appointment. He doesn't have to limit himself to merely being a ceremonial figurehead.

      • Why exactly do you feel that the GG role is " the perfect antithesis of the scholarly acumen and commitment to excellence"?

        Because one cannot exercise one's acumen or commitment to excellence in the act of doing nothing of significance.

        …he may even write his own speeches.

        Virtually all of Government House's business, including its speeches, is the creature of the PMO's vetting authority.

        He could also use his position to focus on education and other national priorities.

        I've seen no evidence that education, a provincial matter in any case, is a current priority for any level of government. The CPC's main education-related priority appears to be to convince the country that people with too many post-secondary degrees are unworthy of high elective office.

      • Governors General are not the equivalent of American First Ladies; they are not expected to have substantive priorities or foci, nor is it feasible for them to make meaningful interventions in the national dialogue on any matter whatever. The last activist GG was Julian Byng, and it was precisely the national backlash against his activism that restricted the constitutional scope of all succeeding G.G.'s.

        Governors General are walking wedding cakes, as much as it pains this monarchist Tory to admit it.

    • It is kind of interesting to speculate what crapola the CPC would be spouting if his new job was Liberal party leader, isn't it?

      • Your point is?? Is it not normal politics to attack the credibility of alternative leaders. Harper gets attacked pretty freely by all of the oppostion parties. I think the main problem of late is that the Liberals have made it a little to easy with their two most recent leadership choices. The Conservatives have succeeded in undermining the credibility of the last two Liberal leaders because their criticisms have hit home.

  8. With CR sorry Emily…

  9. If only Mr. Harper had not so recently given us reason to realize how important the office is, and why someone of Mr. Johnston's qulaifications is appropriate.

    • What 'appropriate' qualifications does he have?

      • It's a job that involves, among other things, interpretation of the Canadian legal structrure, institutions, the Constitution and constitutional precedent and conventions. Johnston is, among other things, an esteemed lawyer and legal scholar. I can't believe you're trying to argue that his qualifications are somehow suspect, lacking or irrelevant. And to argue that there are no qualifications for this job is equally daft.

        • But, but – will he have the b*lls to contradict Harper if necessary?

          • Personally, I think Johnston oozes integrity, so I don't see why he wouldn't, if it was appropriate to do so.

          • OntarioTown….he will follow the advice of his first minister. That's how it works. The inference in some of these posts is that Jean did something wrong when she prevented the coaliton of idiots from taking power. The vast majority of people, other than Quebec, agreed with her decision. Whether it was routed in the constitution, precedence or whatever she made the right decision. Can you imagine having Jack Layton, Stephane Dion and Gilles Duceppe trying to run the country in the worse recession since the great depression. The thought of it sends chills down my spine.

        • That is why the GG has a host of Constitutional experts as advisors. If there is a risk in this it is that Johnston might see himself as enough of an expert that he could ignore the advice of other expert advisors. The GG is usually expected to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and has very little scope for acting independantly — but I agree he seems like man of integrity and common sense, so I don't see a huge risk here.

          • He does seem like a decent guy and I don't think Harper will pull another prorogue fiasco again!

          • MaryLS21……..I think the issue is that those critical of Jean's decision do not believe she made the right decision and in fact had no basis for making that decision because according to them she lacked the cred to have the decision accepted as being the right one. I suspect if Johnston made that decision there would be less criticism. We shall see though. Probably it wouldn't matter who made the decision because the supporters of the opposition parties were dying to get rid of Harper even though he won the election 6 weeks earlier with an increased mandate. Talk about wanting to steal power without a mandate.

  10. Why can't we get guys like Johnston to run for office any more?

    • Well for one thing, it's a huge cut in pay. For another he'd actually get criticized, rather than worshipped.

    • Good question. The wringer of Canadian politics doesn't seem to appeal to our best and brightest anymore (assuming it ever did). Perhaps we should double MPs' salaries to lure more first-rate talent?

      • No, just pick better candidates. And stop the gotcha routine.

      • Perhaps we should double MPs' salaries to lure more first-rate talent?

        Yes, the lure of a fat pay packet shall help us rake in the "best and brightest" in droves. Nothing tempts the intellectually and morally gifted like the chimes of pealing cash registers. ;)

        • I don't know about "morally gifted", but the intellectually gifted might be tempted by higher salaries, just as they are in the private sector.

          I'm not really endorsing a huge MP salary increase, I'm just raising it as a hypothetical. I'm sure there are many successful, highly talented men and women in the private sector who would never run for office because they can earn so much more in the private sector, and they can do so without exposing themselves to the ugliness and emptiness of partisan politics in this country.

          • During the first sixty years of Confederation, CR, Canadian politicians were paid so poorly, many had to hold down second and third jobs in order to support their families (or draw from slush funds established by supporters). Can we really say that the level of public discourse has improved since then?

          • Can we really say that the level of public discourse has improved since then?

            I don't know, has it? There has certainly been a decline in eloquence and oratory, and Hansard reveals a decline in QP civility. However, as you've pointed out on your blog, public discourse pre-WW1 was a lot less genteel than we imagine it to be, with plently of vile race baiting, inflammatory rhetoric, accusations of treason, English/French and Catholic/Protestant bashing, etc.

            Has the average talent level of ministers and backbenchers declined since then? Probably. While every party today can boast of talented "star" MPs, generally speaking there's obviously room for improvement.

            I'm curious what could be done to attract more of our best and brightest to federal politics, and I think that raising MP salaries is one of many ideas worth considering.

          • Let's put it this way. Johnston already has worked in public service for the public sector as a university professor in this country. Our thinkers don't necessarily have to be our rulers to shape and influence the direction our country takes. And they know it, so they don't go for all the abuse that comes with a political career.

          • "During the first sixty years of Confederation, CR, Canadian politicians were paid so poorly, many had to hold down second and third jobs…"

            Just like the old NHL. And the hockey hasn't improved.

        • It is the argument used to rationalize the pay we give to the likes Deputy Ministers and heads of Crown corporations.

      • I don't think pay is the issue; I think the problem is that the job has devolved into sitting in a chair all day listening to empty partisan drivel rather than Websterian statesmanship. I would attribute that to a general lack of appreciation for reasoned argument over gotcha soundbites. And I would attribute that to poor education…. the cause for which is a much longer discussion.

        • You don't just sit in a chair all day. You do get to stand up when you are told to stand up.

      • Crit Reasoning…..do you really think the best and brightest want to put up with the bulls.it on any given day? The media is out to take all politicians down including our system of government and the opposition parties have no scrupples because it is all about power and not really what is in the best interest of the country. Until there is a change in how politics is conducted in Canada we will have many good people choose to sit on the sidelines and we will be left with 3rd stringers.

        • unfortunately as long as we have the 24-hour news cycle, we'll have the type of media coverage that will drive talented individuals away in droves.

    • We still do get luminaries, though: Cotler, Ignatieff, MacCallum, Emerson….

      • Mike T,

        McCallum?… You've got to be kidding to include him with Cotler and Emerson

        • To be fair, McCallum looked like, and was billed as, a star candidate when he was first proposed as one. Mainly based on his tenure as a senior executive of a major Canadian bank. But as time has passed, I agree that he hasn't lived up to his initial promise.

          • McCallum was only the chief economist at RBC. That's a far cry from being one of the bank's most senior executives. To put it in context Doug Peters had the same job at TD. Few called him one of the stars of the first Chretien Cabinet.

          • Thanks for the correction, I had forgotten McCallum's position. The thing is, though, the cheif economists at our banks often do tend to have quite a bit of public profile, because, e.g., they are so often used as talking heads for stories on the economy on our major TV newscasts and our major business papers (e.g., Globe & Mail ROB). Sherry Cooper and Jeff Rubin, for instance, both have significant public profiles. Don Drummond too.

      • Mike T…..Ignatieff? p.l.e.a.s.e. You are joking right? McCallum is a buffoon who looks like he is tipsy all the time. Cotler certainly is a quality MP who is underutilized because he does not have the killer instinct vis a vis the idiot Mark Holland. However, Chris Alexander former Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan will make short work of Holland in the next election. Emerson was driven out of politics because of the media and the opposition parties and their hypocritical accusations of Emerson being a turn coat. He is a good example of what happens to a quality person when snared in Canadian politics these days.

        • There has been no CPC MP under Harper with a resume 1/3 as impressive as Michael Ignatieff.

    • Look what happen to Ignatieff in paper he sounded amazing but couldn't do it.

      • So conservatives keep saying….

  11. One of my original criticisms of the Jean pick was the lack of a substantive resume, at least for a job like this. For the most part, I'd say that Mr. Johnston has that component covered.

    However, another component is the symbolic. On that score, Ms. Jean proved to be a home run. Not sure if her successor will have as much luck looking good in front of the cameras as she did.

    • LOL oh I see. A Master's, several languages, and a lifetime of work aren't 'substantive'. But hey, she's a hottie.

      • Well, Nola, we're talking about the Queen's representative – a de facto head of state. From a credentials standpoint, there are a lot of people in this country who have more than a master's degree and a knowledge of languages, including Mr. Johnston. In fact, would you not agree that he's far more qualified on this score than she is? And, although Ms. Jean is attractive, I was thinking more of the way that she carried herself and gained a following by her presence, in much the same way that the Queen herself does, or Lady Di, etc. Charles could use some lessons himself. In many ways, just standing there and looking important is as big a requirement for the job as anything else, good or bad, which I guess is one of the criticisms that I have of the monarchy. It is largely symbolic and undemocratic.

        • Oh I see, Fred.

          NOW the job is important! It's not just hostessing parties, and modelling clothes…..it's what Jean said it was…'de facto' head of state'…..the very thing she was roundly criticised for saying!

          There are lots of people in this country with more qualifications than this guy ….of course not all of them are white males.

          I don't see him as having any great qualifications for this office….and he'll put a school room full of kids to sleep!

          • Well, Nola, Jean claimed that she WAS head of state, not DE FACTO head of state. And you clearly have a resentment towards Mr. Johnston because he's a white male. Congrats.

          • You know what de facto means, Fred?

            Don't start wandering off on your hate mission again, I said the GG represents the country to Canadians, and to the world….and a stuffy ol white guy again isn't much of an effort.

            What we have here is an elderly white queen, [and Charles looks older than she does] an elderly white GG, an overweight white male PM, an elderly Opposition leader….and on and on…

            Great image. Inspiring to our youth. Not.

          • Got it. Now age and experience are bad. You know, in some cultures, age and experience are revered and valued. And as far as representativeness goes, the fact is that Canadian society is , as a whole, umm, aging.

      • Madame Jean's "lifetime' is shorter than what is normally needed to develop a lifetime of work type resume. She did a good job, but don't go overboard in boasting about her prior resume.

    • Qualifications and achievements, vast as they are , aside, you just know he was picked for the 'Love Story' connection.

      • Hahaha, that was it!

      • No, it was the Harvard hockey team.

  12. Since being a CBC regular has become a de facto GG pre-requisite, and "middle-aged white guy" is now back in the game, something tells me AC added this post to advance his own vice-regal ambitions more than anything else.

    • Je ne sais pas si M. Coyne parle très bien le français.

  13. The Governor General should be the first-born son of the previous Governor General. This would most aptly represent the British Monarchy.

    • The Governor General should be the first-born son of the previous Governor General.

      Should he be allowed to be Catholic?

    • Much like Justin Trudeau expecting the same crowning as his father.

        • And, whatever I think of him as a limelight-hogging buffoon, he chose to scrap it out in a tough riding to get elected.

  14. Why does Andrew Coyne hate the monarchy?
    Why does Andrew Coyne hate our constitutional monarchy?
    Andrew Coyne, closet republican or now full-on out-of-the-closet republican?
    Andrew Coyne, republican 5th columnist?

    With all due respect, many are either missing or deliberately ignoring the point: what odds Johnston would be GG if not for Mulroney Terms of Reference? If we’re VERY generous, and assume he would still have had a chance, then all the worse, as his involvement and apparent recompense, diminishes the office of GG, which is supposed to be the Crown’s apolitical rep!!!

    People focus on personalities and forget about institutional implications. If you’re a republican or anti-parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy, then I agree, a fine choice to subvert the institution from within.

    But if you think we have a basically good system, dependent like all on good faith and good will, AND THE APPEARANCE OF SUCH, then a complete and utter shower. What next, some judge makes a judgment favourable to the govt and becomes next GG? The currently quiescent ethics commissioner becomes the GG after that? Etc..

    Think people, for gods’ sake. Johnston may be a fine chap etc., but having served/helped the govt as he did, so recently, absolutely the wrong choice for a position that is supposed to be above suspicion.

    Of course one expected a “sound” Tory to be appointed. But there must be others, even other law professors, who could have been appointed without any clear appearance of pre-established. A quietly sound Tory was needed, not the guy who just a year ago helped the cons escape from a most dangerous swamp.

    But no, on further thought, I revise my initial reaction. This was an excellent choice and I only hope Tom Flanagan, Barry Cooper, etc. are the next fine academics appointed as GG by Harper. Or as judges. Because heaven forbid anyone point out how this absolutely undermines the very crucial independence of the position.

    All obviously partisan appointments to GG are bad, but the others at least hadn’t rendered essential political services, uh, like, LAST YEAR!

    Anyway, one happy result is Andrew Coyne is more francophile, French even, today than he was yesterday.

    • If it was really a partisan appointment, I doubt Michael Ignatieff would have praised the appointment so effusively, describing Johnston as "an ideal choice for Governor General."

      • Well if IGGY thinks he's a good choice, that's that, then. Risible.

        Iggy is not exactly my exemplar of good judgment, nor of dissent from elite consensus – more "power to truth, then truth to power" as Salutin said so well. I'm intrigued to learn that there's a CPC supporter who thinks Iggy's judgment is recommendation enough.

        Of course, he is a UCC chap, and we do call him Iggy because his last name is not, say, Kerensky, let alone Trotsky.

        Good argument. At his rate I'll be convinced the Iraq War was a good idea and that hooding and sleep deprivation are legitimate methods of "coercive interrogation" , and Team Canada never won in 1972 because they got Clarke to cynically eliminate Kharlamov, and other fairytales.

        Nonsense.

        • If Eugene Forsey was alive today, I'm sure he would have supported Johnston's appointment.

          • Thank you. That actually made me laugh.

      • Crit, for Ignatieff, anything more contentious than "given my past embarrassment involving what I thought about candidates to replace Her Excellency Madame Jean, the less I say now, the better," would have made him look the fool. So kudos to him for not looking the fool, here.

  15. Since the post of GG is fundamentally a symbolic, representative choice, i must admit i'm horrified at the incoming old white guy. What he represents to me is nothing more than WASP-ish Upper Canada boy's clubs, the inbreeding of the "social elite" of Toronto which happily produces its own insular kind of people who have no attachment to either the lives of anyone else in Canada or for that matter represents something beyond a white-bread colonial impression of Canada to the rest of the world.

    Qualifications? Sure, i guess he has them though honestly the post doesn't seem to often be called on to perform any duty beyond perfunctory ribbon-cutting photo-ops. Perhaps if his tasks included actually weighing in on constitutional matters or the authority to vet parliamentary output that would matter more. But instead what we get is just another old white guy who "represents" Canada on the world stage. Argh. Damnit. Granted, i admire the man for at least having knowledge and education on his side; my slight inclination to super-geniuses running things is my one form of elitism.

    That said, i'll admit that i though Michaelle Jean was the most spectacular GG we've had in my lifetime. Her shining moment was in Africa when she, an immigrant black woman, stood at a slaver port and proclaimed on behalf of Canada, that globally we should be pushing forward from the bad old ways of the world, that she stood as the representative for our country — progressive, multicultural, enduring and embracing of all people. That's the Canada i belong to, and she's a damn sight closer to the people i know as Canadians than Mr Johnston.

    • So are you in favour of some sort of moratorium on hiring or appointing white males to any position for a certain period of time? Just wondering where you're going with this.

    • Definition of a racist-racism –
      The use of race to establish and justify a social hierarchy and system of power that privileges, preferences or advances certain individuals or groups of people usually at the expense of others.
      Racism is perpetuated through both interpersonal and institutional practices.

      Congratulations Jules Killam you're a winner.

    • You know, roughly 84% of Canada is white (according to the last census).

      If you're suggesting that we not allow white males to be Governor General, I hope you realize that you're excluding about 40% of the population of Canad from the post.

  16. "CAVEAT: On the other hand, he did spend several years living outside of the country. I take it the Conservatives no longer consider this a disqualification for high office."

    In fairness, Mr. Johnston did spend more than 5 minutes back in the country before deciding he wanted the job.

  17. The reaction against Mr. Johnston as being an "old white guy" manage to concisely combine ageism, racism, and sexism in an expression of extreme prejudice. But we won't hold our breaths waiting for the usual condemnation from those who professionally exercise their indignation on the basis of political prejudice.

  18. Coyne had the caveat about Johnston having lived outside the country which was intended as a snide comment. I am sure Andrew knows that living outside of the country say for several years and then coming back and contributing to the betterment of the country is hardly comparable to a man who lived outside of the country for 34 years and only missed Algonquin Park. That is why Johnston will make a great GG and why Ignatieff will never be PM of Canada.

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