The Prime Minister and the Governor General 2009: not exactly a love story

Oct 13th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with Governor-General Michaelle Jean as she waits to deliver the Speech from the Throne in the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday Jan.26, 2009. [The Canadian Press].

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with Governor-General Michaelle Jean as she waits to deliver the Speech from the Throne in the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday Jan.26, 2009. The Canadian Press.

One of the more intriguing sidebars to current Canadian federal politics is the relationship between Conservative minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean, who was (rather brilliantly, some say) appointed by Liberal minority Prime Minister Paul Martin, not too long before he was turfed from office, by a gang of conservatives, socialists, and separatists, etc, etc.

The relationship has inadvertently crept onto at least a small corner of the “American actors on an English stage” in Ottawa, in what has been called the “bizarre spectacle” of the “head of state debate,” the week before Canadian Thanksgiving. The debate was precipitated by some remarks from the Governor General during a speech in Paris, La Ville-Lumière. Mme Jean described herself as Canada’s “head of state.” This was almost virulently objected to by the Monarchist League of Canada, and the Prime Minister’s Office subsequently joined in. What does it all mean? Check out our preliminary report, “Will the real Canadian head of state stand up?” CLICK HERE or see “Canadian Republic” to the right of the page.

UPDATE OCTOBER 19: See Randall White’s article in today’s Toronto Star, “Who is our head of state: Jean or the Queen? … The debate started by Michaëlle Jean touches on the future of the monarchy in Canada.”

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