An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
CANADA’S GOVERNOR-GENERAL pulls in roughly $290,000 a year in salary, plus bennies, allowances, two official residences, a chauffeur-driven limo and free laundry services.
When she leaves the job she will receive an annuity of just over $143,000 a year — plus cost of living adjustments — for the rest of her life.
A lot of Canadians are thinking she’s not worth it. Others think she never was, and that no other governor-general was, either.
Gov-Gen Julie Payette is under fire for allegedly being mean to her staff. So mean that the accusations will be delved into by the Privy Council Office, which promises a “thorough, independent and impartial” investigation.
It’s not the first time Payette’s suitability for the job has come into question, with earlier exposés suggesting she’s not really very interested in it.
She’s also not the first controversial governor-general. Adrienne Clarkson was known as a charming spendthrift, while Michaëlle Jean was accused of being a Quebec separatist, which she denied.
Each time a governor-general makes the news for the wrong reason, there are demands the position should be eliminated. Polls consistently suggest that stance, though one poll in January was strongly in favour of Prince Harry taking over the role.
Such opinions are based largely on perception of the job as being unimportant when, in fact, the gov-gen has essential constitutional duties, like giving royal assent to legislation and sorting out who should govern when no party has a majority.
If we didn’t have a governor-general, we’d have to invent one and call her something else.
The issue right now isn’t the job, but the person who’s in it. Payette has a little more than two years left in her five-year appointment. It’s inconceivably it would be renewed but we shouldn’t have to wait two years for a replacement.
Best she find a reason to return to civilian life and enjoy her generous pension.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.