By Paul Wells - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
News that the Governor General will meet with aboriginal leaders (or at least with those aboriginal leaders who are pleased to show up) after Friday’s meeting with the PM (if it happens) at Rideau Hall (unless the venue changes) offers us our umpteenth opportunity to consider the autonomy of governors general and lieutenant governors.
They have none.
OK, for the sticklers in the audience, I’m willing to amend that to: they have limitless autonomy which they essentially never exercise. Which is the same as having no autonomy.
The PMO sent out word today that David Johnston will have a “ceremonial” meeting with First Nations leaders, at Stephen Harper’s request. Then Rideau Hall sent out a communiqué saying the same thing. I would be surprised if the timing of the two communiqués was not co-ordinated, so the PM’s staff speaks before the GG’s. This is as it should be, and as it has been since Lord Elgin signed the Rebellion Losses Bill.
One of the enduring modern bits of Ottawa lunacy has been the persistent belief that governors general will do something besides what the prime minister asks them to do. Continue…
By Andrew Potter - Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 10:43 AM - 128 Comments
The great virtue of Canada’s political system is that it is dead simple
Feschuk’s been having great sport with Bev Oda and the ridiculous answers being offered on her behalf to questions put to her in the House of Commons. He’s absolutely right – Baird’s behaviour is pathetic, and for us private citizens, incessant mockery is probably the best response. The bigger problem, though, is that the Opposition doesn’t seem to have any better ideas. Continue…
By Andrew Potter - Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 12:05 PM - 26 Comments
As the soccer-mad world cocks half an eye at the goings-on in Hunstville and…
As the soccer-mad world cocks half an eye at the goings-on in Hunstville and Toronto, The Mark presents a look at just what sort of image, or brand, Canada should be presenting on the global stage. It’s a fun series of short essays, with a pretty impressive list of contributors: Two former prime ministers, a bunch of academics and policy wonks, and… some journalist.
What is Canada’s most exportable trait? Kim Campbell suggests it is our approach to federalism, while Eddie Greenspon proposes “Open foreign policy”. My own view is that an effective nation brand can’t be too narrow (which is why I think Paul Martin’s “banking genius” won’t work), and it shouldn’t be tied to a moral trait, which is why I’m not keen on Judith Shamian’s “Clever compassion”.
I suggest “responsible government” as our nation brand, although I intend it in a much broader sense than it is taught in civics 101. Of the other suggestions, I think Tom Axworthy’s “Charter government” is probably the one with the best chance of success.
More on nation branding: An interview I did with nation branding guru Nicolas Papadopoulos, and what I think is the second ever column I wrote for Maclean’s, on the prospects and perils of nation brands.