What’s the controversy?


Angelo Persichilli on the Governor General bringing up Haiti in her meeting with the President.

Nonetheless, the matter raises serious constitutional questions about the role of the Governor General in Canada meddling into political matters. 

Really? How? Which constitutional questions exactly? Didn’t we just send the Governor General to Haiti, conceivably for the purposes of raising awareness about our mission there?


What’s the controversy?

  1. Who says there is a controversy?

  2. “We sent her to Haiti” – meaning that Canada, through the elected government of Canada generally, and Cabinet and the PMO specifically, expressed advice to the Crown to the effect that the viceregent ought to go a certain place and say a certain thing on behalf of Canada. That’s the proper role of the GG in foreign policy, and freelancing on her own interests is inappropriate.

    • Is there a list somewhere then of appropriate sentences and words she may use? Surely sports and weather are OK, but is she allowed to bring up any other topic, or only those listed on a handout by the PMO?

      Surely talking about her ancestral homeland, and how it’s a pretty rough place, is a reasonable conversation. Is there some evidence that she said (paraphrased): “You totally gotta save Haiti, Barack, or I’ll be so sad and Canada will hate you” ?

      • It’s inappropriate for her to pursue diplomatic discussions about her own interests in Haiti – including exploring visits to meet with US diplomats about issues primarily concerning Haiti and only secondarily or not at all concerning Canada – unless she’s been so advised.

        Is it really too much to ask that the head of state should represent the interests of Canada at the direction of Canada, and not those of another sovereign country of her own whim?

        • I don’t know. If we had a PM and a cabinet represented by a party that came to power on something more democratically legitimate than 22% of the electorate’s support, I’d be more willing to entertain nuanced discussions about the Crown’s appropriate role.

          • Man, you’re just going to keep beating that dead horse, aren’t you.

            Cabinet is Cabinet. The PM is the PM. If you don’t like the current foreign policy, then feel free to advocate they change their minds, or work to defeat them next election. The GG is not entitled to substitute her personal opinions for their policies, because you dislike the mechanics of minority government.

          • Man, you’re just going to keep beating that dead horse, aren’t you.

            I believe in substantive meaning, not regurgitated talking points.

        • You’re kidding right? This is satire, right?

          You don’t think that two people – two heads of state no less – meeting for the first time might talk about the things that interest them, including their own backgrounds and their own recent missions abroad?

          Man, can partisans drum the beat on nothing issues. It was a conversation that lasted less than the time to walk from Obama’s plan to the sit down and this is “pursuing diplomatic discussions” and “freelancing her own opinions”?

          Obama invited her to Washington to pursue the matter. What do you have against Obama? He is entitled to do that or are you trying to control what the President of the United States of American is allowed to do and say as well?

          • “two heads of state no less”

            And therein lies the rub. Obama’s a democratically elected head of state with popular support. Jean is an appointed figurehead. One is actually head of an executive branch of government, and to borrow his predecessor’s term, “The Decider;” the other holds a ceremonial position with limited constitutional power, which continues to exist largely because it’s easier to keep it than to become a republic. Of these two, which is more entitled to speak for their country, and to keep their own counsel on how they do so?

            Obama is entitled to solicit the opinion of anyone he likes. Whether or not it’s appropriate for the solicited party to respond, given their position and the context, is far more relevant.

          • The question is whether they talked about policy re: Haiti (presumably not) and, if so, whether Mme. Jean was the person to raise the question of policy. If Obama didn’t understand that the GG has no control of policy, he could very well have initiated the question and it would have been rude for the GG not to answer him. Blaming the GG before when we don’t know those details is over-the-top.

  3. What really struck me about this piece was how it seems to accord more credibility to an unnamed source than an on-the-record spokesperson. Doesn’t that seem sort of topsyturvy?

    • Exactly! An on-the-record spokesperson who had to reconfirm even. So, unnamed random voice is somehow worth more than twice it’s weight in named sources. Ridiculous.

    • This raises a longstanding thing that’s bugged me: who the hell is Angelo Persichilli, and why do people print his stuff?

      On a pro rata basis, I’m willing to wager he even eclipses the high priestess of hot-or-not as someone whose entire career seems based around “anonymous high profile Liberals” and “sources close to the leader” conveniently saying things that dovetail with the editorial point he wishes to make.

      A point that has never seemed to be particularly clear… as best as I can recall over the past few years, it’s been a complicated mess of “the Martin spaghetti caucus was constantly being abused by the evil Chretienite thugs and this is somehow news, but then the Liberals were good, but then the Liberals were bad, oh, and I now think we all need to read more Desmond Morton and salute the flag and isn’t that Jason Kenney a fine fellow and isn’t his ethnic identity politics so much better than the vile ethnic identity politics of the people I’ve spent previous years sucking up to..”

      Am I missing something?

  4. That One disembarks from AF1.

    At the bottom of the stairs he is greeted by GG of Canada.

    That One :- It’s a pleasure to be in Canada and to meet you. I understand you are of Haitian background.

    GG :- I can’t talk about that.

    • Lol!

  5. These petty criticisms of the GG, something earlier about the Rocky Mountains, the location of which I have no idea myself, and don’t care, but these two adults can talk about anything they want. This pettiness, and nit picking about the GG reeks of you know what. Yes, that’s it.

    • “You know what?”

      Man up and make whatever accusation you intend, there.

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