Note that Rideau Hall seems to have beaten PMO to the punch as far as putting out the first official announcement on President Obama’s arrival. (No, the background briefing for bureau chiefs doesn’t count; it has to be on paper. Or pixels. You know what I mean.) Not that ITQ is keeping track, of course.
Governor General to meet with President Obama upon his arrival in Canada
February 18, 2009
OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and Jean-Daniel Lafond, will welcome The Honourable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America, on Thursday, February 19, 2009, at 10:30 a.m., at the Ottawa International Airport. The Governor General will then meet with President Obama.
For information on media accreditation, please contact 613-995-xxxx.
A couple of questions that spring immediately to mind:
“Honourable”? Really? Is that the standard honorific? I’m not sure why that surprises me , but I guess I expected something a little more impressive for a sitting president of the United States of America. I mean, any old Privy Councillor can be styled “Honourable”.
Also, re: the very last line: “media accreditation”? More media accreditation? By the time the plane touches down, we’re going to be so weighed down by lanyards and badges that we’re not going to be able to chase the motorcade, yelling questions at random SUVs. (Unless … that’s the whole cunning plan!) (Just kidding, PMO.)
Seriously, though, didn’t yesterday’s briefing stipulate that there would be “no TV cameras, audio equipment, or reporters […] permitted in the airport lounge where the president will meet with Jean for 15 minutes,” according to Canadian Press? This isn’t going to turn into a showdown between PMO and Rideau Hall, is it? Because — actually, come to think of it, at this point, bring it on.
UPDATE: Okay, I think we may have a simmering four-alarm protocol fire on our hands here. According to Miss Manners, the president is styled as, simply, “Mr. President” or “The President of the United States”. The Canadian Heritage guide to protocol does allow for the use of “The Honourable”, but only when it follows “His Excellency”, which would still render the above incorrect — unless, of course, excellencies don’t address other excellencies as His Excellency, which makes just enough nonsense to be the case. Still, I’d tend to go with Miss Manners when it comes to anything involving American etiquette, or, really, anything else. She’s kind of awesome.