Thursday, August 18, 2005

Missing the Point

So our Governor-General-to-be, Michaelle Jean, has publicly declared that she is committed to federalism. I for one am incredibly relieved. After all, it is an extremely important position: she represents the Queen in Canada. It took many hundreds of years of careful imbreeding to create the delicate balance of ugly and stupid that is the House of Windsor and you can't just let anyone represent them.

'Lemon, I can't believe you are being so glib about this', I hear you thinking to yourselves (or is that just the voices again?). Don't get me wrong. I think that the fact that the Prime Minister picked a GG whose commitment to the country can be questioned at all is kinda sad (but that's what happens when you let Liberals make decisions). But I find it much sadder that we don't get to pick our head of state. It is the 21st Century and we have a monarch. And not even our own. We have to share her. Am I the only one that thinks this is the bigger problem?

No one has ever really been able to explain to me why constitutional monarchies make sense. There's that old lie about "stability" that my history teacher used to feed me. But seriously, am I to believe that if we had an elected head of state that all of a sudden the country would become an ungovernable mess? When was the last time that the Queen (or her chosen representative) stepped in to resolve one of our problems? I know things can get pretty hairy with the health care debates in this country sometimes, but somehow I don't envision King Charles using his superior intellect to solve the dilemna.

I'm also not buying the whole argument that we have to have some head of state so why not the Queen. Because that's just laziness, which I don't think is generally a great quality in a nation. I don't want to suggest that it would solve our problems of national identity, but it might help a little if we had a head of state that we actually believed in.

My favourite of all the arguments for keeping the monarchy is that it distinguishes us from the Americans. No matter how bad an idea is, as long as the Yanks didn't have it first, cling on to it for dear life. Let's all go barefoot in January... they'd never think of that!

So yes, Michaelle Jean was a horrible choice -- even ignoring her attitudes about separatism. But when you're picked to represent a woman who is basically trailer trash with lots of money and a castle, it is hard to get concerned. Wake me up when the country cares about the bigger issue.


ciclouseau said...

Since when does someone with a French citizenship automatically become a Quebec seperatist? Much has been made about MJ's Frenchness but it probably amounts to nothing. Apparently, Canadians and their multicultural benevolence are still capable of good old fashion xenophobia. Like Andrew Coyne who suggests we should look at other candidates that are a visible minority, because surely someone, even someone black according to his National Post article, doesn't have another citizenship to soil things up.

ciclouseau said...

But yes I agree that this is all missing the point and the bigger issue is our constitutional monarchy and whether we should be a republic or something else.