Governor General speculation!

The Star kicked it off and the Wicary at the Globe is trending the topic, so I might as well add my own two cents to the story.

I usually don’t report on the daily non-political lives of people in Ottawa because, well, there’s a certain line to be respected and sometime you just let people be. However, I made a particular observation about a month ago that I only then shared with friends in casual discussion, yet it now seems to inform a broader political context so I’ll share it here. I spotted the Governor General and her husband furniture shopping. Yes, Rideau Hall comes fully stocked but yet not stocked with the sort of timber that this middle-of-the-road sort of store had to offer.

So, why were the Viceregal and the Viceregal Consort shopping for furniture? With the revelation that the PM is actively seeking Michaelle Jean’s replacement, perhaps we now know the answer.

Now, the speculation begins for Jean’s replacement.

My guess as to who the PM will pick is Wayne Gretzky. The PM has made a special effort to normalize the idea of a good working relationship between himself and the Great One. Earlier this year, the PM hosted a reception with Gretzky for the Kinsmen club and hung out with Gretzky at some key Olympic events. The PM’s favourite photo ops are also said to be with athletes.

Some would point out that Gretzky’s french isn’t fantastic. He wouldn’t be the first Governor General to struggle with the language as Ray Hnatyshyn’s french abilities were also criticized.

The PM’s choice of Gretzky would be politically sound as no opposition MP or oped editorialist would find much currency in criticizing the choice.

Comments

comments

  • Nicola Timmerman

    They will say he isn't Canadian enough as they did before he was picked for the Olympic honours. However my choice is still Lewis Mackenzie. Time for an ex-soldier in the role.

    I see the media is already making it sound as though PM Harper is pushing the popular Michaelle Jean out even though the five-year term is usually it.Never let facts stand in the way of undermining the Conservative government.

  • LukeN

    Yeah. Gretzky would be okay, but I'd still prefer General Hillier, or Lewis Mackenzie, or someone of that ilk over a retired hockey player (not to diminish Gretzky, he is arguably the greatest).

  • damorris

    Let's not make the mistake of getting all star struck here,Gretzky was one of the greatest hockey players of all time, but he doesn't deserve the G-G post any more than fellow stars Avril Lavigne, Alannis Morrissette,Rene Simard, or Celine Dion.

    Hillier, MacKenzie, soldiers who contributed more than any “star” would be very appropriate right now,especially in view of the controversies created by the Lib-
    Dips over Afghanistan.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    The PM is going to get serious flak regardless of his decision. Some people will never be happy.
    Not sure if it makes sense go male. Will be accused of being anti-woman. My longshots
    Male
    1. Raymond Moriyama
    2. Wallace McCain

    3. Gail Asper
    4. Maria Campbell

    Vegas should give 100o to 1 for my picks

  • constructiveconservative

    Yeah, I gotta go with Lewis Mackenzie, a good centre conservative, with tonnes of eposure to the international scene.
    I'd love to see Preston Manning, but the left would have a shit fit with that one.
    Wayne's been outta the country too long and has really done nothing outside of hockey.

  • Switchyard O'Taylor

    I hope Chief Clarence Louie has been seriously considered.

    Otherwise I think I'd rather have Pinball Clemens than Gretzky.

  • Bryan

    To be completely serious, the very best choice I can think of would be Preston Manning.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    I also prefer Manning. But Gretzky is who I think the PM would pick.

  • Joe

    Id also like to see Preston Manning as gg. Has he had any CBC experience?.

  • David

    I had to check the date of this post to see if it was written on April 1st.

    The last two GG's were female, visible minorities, and were employed by the CBC.

    So why not a male, white and also employed by the CBC. Don Cherry !! Rex Murphy!!

    Seriously though –Lloyd Robertson
    –Preston Manning
    –Deborah Grey

  • Mary T

    How about she is not being pushed out, but is saying she will not accept another term as GG.

  • dave

    Does this country think about anything a little more serious than hockey?

  • http://phantomobserver.com/ PhantomObserver

    Gretzky? Nah. Not exactly smart when it comes to handling politics.

    But you know what? Ken Dryden has more experience with the political side, his hockey history is golden, AND appointing him would open up a seat that would be the perfect testbed for Tory tactics.

  • JJ

    Wayne Gretzky? … I greatly admire what the man has done for hockey and charities, but nominating him for the GG position is somewhat phony. While Michaelle Jean had a thin resume, she was still involved in journalism and current events and thus more suitable. A hockey player with little experience in politics is not exactly suitable, and the move would appear as an attempt to win votes. It would be awkward to see Gretzky sort of issues like the 2008 “coalition crisis.” However, I am hoping that I will be proven wrong.

  • http://sistersagesmusings.ca/ ck

    Except that would be kind of hypocritical now wouldn't it? I mean, Harper loved putting out those Iggy 'just visiting' attack ads, playing on the fact that he lived most of his adult life outside of Canada.

    Hasn't Gretzky been living in the U.S. for over 20 years now? Does he even still have a residence in Canada?

  • Irritable Canadian

    My picks:

    - Rick Hillier
    - Adrienne Clarkson (Give her another term – I liked her)
    - Preston Manning
    - HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York (would be a great way to highlight the monarchy) or Prince William
    - Hilary Weston — she was one hell of a great Lt. Governor in Ontario
    - Wayne Gretzky — why not.

  • batb

    “Seriously though — Lloyd Robertson”??????????

    He already looks mummified and he works for CTV.

  • batb

    I'm with others who would like to see Lewis Mackenzie as the next Governor General.

    As pointed out already, the last two GGs were women, both of whom worked for the CBC. Both were from visible minorities. It's definitely the turn of a male, probably of British extraction, about whom there should be no cries of chauvinism. Lew Mackenzie has more than paid his dues and would give the role a gravitas due the position. Preston Manning would also be a good pick but would probably be seen as overly partisan on PMSH's part.

    But, so what? Both Clarkson and Jean were partisan picks and the usual suspects didn't complain about them.

    As for Wayne Gretzky: I like him and I'm not even a hockey fan, but I wouldn't like to see him as Canada's Governor General. Being the Great One in hockey doesn't exactly translate into the Vice Regal role of GG.

  • L.J. Brooks

    Sorry Steve, but I doubt Gretzky would make it. While we like to make Wayne out to be the all-Canadian he's not. As other posters have mentioned he hasn't lived in Canada in decades. Then there is the fact that he is not as well liked as we like to think. I was stationed in Alberta when he played for Edmonton and a lot of Albertans just hated his guts. But, the most likely reason he won't get nominated is because of his wife Janet. People forget that she was on the front cover of Playboy magazine and had a semi-nude spread in said magazine – not exactly something you would want for someone in a vice-regal position. The tabloid press would have field day with it.

    Lots of other potential candidates out there. If I would go for someone I would go for Hilary Weston – already has the experience. Lew Mackenzie is another possible choice. A couple of months ago there was speculation of a candidate from northern candidate – sorry can't remember her name.

  • AtlanticJim

    Lew MacKenzie is the first name that popped to mind for me.

    A hockey player? Really? For the Vice Regal post? Twilight zone time.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Looks like we're getting a lot of feedback here

  • Mary T

    Imagine the heart attacks and strokes if the PM named John Manley as GG. Maybe iggy is missing in action cause he wants the job.

  • AtlanticJim

    Unlike what I suspect would be the majority on our side of the political fence, as a member of the CF I never had a problem with both of our last two GGs.

    Jean actually wears the unifroms she is entitled to wear. Can't remember the last one to do so. Hnatyshyn?

    And folks forget that Clarkson created a minor sensation when she cancelled the GG New Year's Day Levy so that she could spend Christmas and New Year's with soldiers, sailors and airmen deployed over seas.

  • http://thenorthernraven.blogspot.com/ Michael Martin

    My nominee would also be Lewis MacKenzie.

    I believe there is an episode of Turning Points of History on the History Channel that really showed how he lead the Canadian peacekeeping force in the Balkans in 1992. As fighting reerupted, he decisively lead a Canadian combat group to quell the fighting (and possible ethnic cleansing). And he did NOT wait for approval from the UN.

    The 'CBC' nominee I would like to see:
    - CBC personality Wayne Rostad from On The Road Again, at least he has visited more small towns than any Prime Minister.

  • cantuc

    I'd vote for Mansbridge , if he getsa set of double d's , and a red afro.

  • Irritable Canadian

    Clarkson was a class act. Didn't get enough credit as far as I'm concerned — but she was adored by many in the military, and rightly so.

    But Lewis Mackenzie… um… no. I don't want him in Rideau Hall. Hillier yes, but the crickets would chirp if Mackenzie was in there.

  • batb

    Why not Lewis Mackenzie, Irritable Canadian? Why would the crickets chirp?

  • Liz J

    This PM will give the posting a lot more consideration than some have in the past. Paul Martin didn't have much time to devote to the matter so delegated the job to someone else to if my memory serves me right.

    Wayne Gretzky, our hockey great, is hardly the right choice for that posting, doubt he'd even be interested.
    However. someone who has served the country in the military like McKenzie or Hillier would be suitable and fair choices. They are well educated and can parlez-vous.

    Of course, Preston and Sandra Manning would be very fine in that capacity as well but that may be seen as too political, so it won't happen.

    Great fun speculating though!

  • batb

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100403/natio

    Now that it appears that what the TorStar reported a few days ago, that Rick Hansen had “rejected” an offer to become Canada's Governor General, is untrue ('nice try, guys, trying to humiliate our PM), I'd like to add Rick Hansen to the list of possible GGs.

    He's got a great track record and obviously cares a lot about and is committed to what's best for Canada and Canadians. Apparently, his spokesperson says he's open to considering such a post.

  • east of eden

    Bottom line: discard all the chaff and the politics – has Jean done a good job? I think she has. She has made me proud on the world stage with her compassion, dignity, grace, intelligence and (I hate to sound shall0w) elegance. I don't see why we should change GGs at this time. As far as I can tell, she and the PM have a good relationship and in any joint public appearances, the warmth between them appears to be genuine. If it was up to me, I'd keep her in office. I couldn't wait for Clarkson to be given the heave-ho, that's for sure.

  • east of eden

    You'll hate me for this but I could never stand Preston Manning. I know he's respected in political circles but as a regular citizen, he just turned me right off.

  • east of eden

    Exactly. I think Gretzky was a terrific hockey player but he isn't the only great hockey player. As for GG? Absolutely not. I think his wife is still an American citizen and if I'm not mistaken, his children are all American, as well. The Libs would have a field day if Gretzky were to be appointed and we would not have a leg on which to stand.

  • east of eden

    Randy Andy gets my vote as does Weston. Clarkson – that arrogant old hag? I don't think so.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    I would also break the rumour and give the job to one more CBC journalist.

    Don Cherry, it would drive those pros nuts! We would be spared his suits.

    The Bloc would demand Quebec begin negotiations to leave . The CBC could start a reality show covering the GG called: The Don

    Remind me of the downside?

  • Lucky Albertan

    Given how long Wayne Gretzky has been living out of the country, I can just see the headlines if Stephen Harper chooses him to be Governor General – “Wayne Gretzky – Just Visiting”.

  • Mike in White Rock

    Not a hockey player, PLEASE!

    Rick Hanson is a better choice.

  • bigpictureinbc

    Gretsky as the Queen's rep in Canada? Come on!
    Gretsky as Harper's rep. in Canada? Would someone as smart as Gretsky agree to be tarred with that?

  • marian

    We do not need a GG until we balance the budget.In the interim the speaker of the house should perform the duties of the GG-in his spare time.

  • jjmccullough

    It would be nice to finally have a GG from British Columbia.
    Just saying…

  • Liz J

    Yes, it would be nice to have a GG from British Columbia. Any suggestions?

  • jjmccullough

    I think Rick Hansen would be the obvious choice. It's frankly an insult that the man has never even been appointed Lt. Gov of the province.

    Former Social Credit Premier Bill Bennett might be a nice choice if a politician is going to get the gig. He's probably the proudest “elder statesman” BC has produced in recent decades, and would be a respectful conservative nod to an important, transformative era of British Columbian history that often goes ignored in the east.

    Maybe Jim Pattison, too. A very successful local business tycoon, though despite his age I think he is still fairly involved in the day-to-day operations of his companies.

    There are a lot of lamer, more politically-correct BC choices the government could pick, too. I think I'd be reasonably satisfied if it was just a British Columbian, period. There's no excuse for continuing to shut Canada's third-largest province out of the selection.

  • batb

    Was it only three days ago? It seems like seven. Why not Lewis Mackenzie, IC? Please answer the question.

  • LindaL

    “I'd love to see Preston Manning, but the left would have a shit fit with that one.”

    I do like Manning as a choice. Sure the left would not go for this initially, but Preston Manning is a statesman at this point, with a great deal of integrity, and a wonderful knowledge about politics and the country. He deserves it! Fair minded people would recognize this, and after a short while I think even those on the left might stop demonizing Preston and the Reform Party. Don't forget, Jean was also a controversial appointment — and she seems to have overcome the misgivings that many had about her initially.

  • Switchyard O'Taylor

    You are wrong. He was the best.

    He scored 92 goals in one season.

  • Rob Wolvin

    I have seen so many 'great canadians' & deserving representatives of minorities proposed all over facebook & the web. I want a Governor-General who doesn't just rubber stamp the requests of the Prime Minister. I'm tired of the continued concentration of power in a PMO populated by shady political operatives. Our constitution was designed the way it is to create checks & balances on offices of power. How can the Prime Minister's power ever be checked if the credibility of the crown is continually undermined to the point of irrelevance. Can't Canadians see what successive Prime Ministers are getting away with? The crown is not just some tired leftover from colonialism, loved only by anglophiles who pine for the days of empire. The type of monarchy we have was invented by the Fathers of Confederation, many of whom where French Canadian because it suited the needs of our new country. Lets discuss why we have institutions, like the crown. If the crown isn't serving it's original purpose. Lets find out why & try to reform the institution before discarding it. One problem. We aren't British and our sovereign is. Lets get our own royal, resident & active in Canada. I recommend the appointment of Prince Andrew! A royal would be known to everyone, unlike some on this list and would be a constant reminder of the fact that a Governor-General is the stand-in for our actual Head of State, The Queen and not just a plumb to be handed out to a lackey, political has-been or even a representative of a miniority who's time in the sun has come.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Even in the UK the Queen is not an effective check on their government.

  • gladaman

    Canada's monarchy is different from that of the UK. The Queen's role in Britain is heavily based on traditions & not defined in a constitution. Her position has largely been propped up by a privileged upper class who need her less & less each generation. These things are not necessarily true in a Canadian context. Also, we have had the different roles of government clearly laid out in the BNA (essentially our constitution before patriation) since 1867. Mackenzie King's actions, not unlike Harper's are not in the interest of democracy and Lord Byng & Madame Jean were right to challenge them. A Canadian monarch need not be afraid to direct His/Her office to explain to Canadians why their interventions where in defence of our constitution and collective rights. A foreign representative of a foreign monarch is too shy to make such pronouncements. If we had a resident monarch, I believe Canadians would accept that monarch's participation in Canadian affairs. His/Her role in Canadian society, like the Netherlands, Sweden or Spain would reflect Canadian needs and sensabilities.
    As a first step to addressing this foreignness of our Head of State, I recommend Prince Andrew to the position of Governor-General of Canada. After we have had a highly placed member of our royal family present in Canada for 5 years, lets see how respected our Governor-General is and what people think of having our own monarch, resident in Canada.

  • gladaman

    Yes, Preston Manning would probably be a classy Governor-General. His term in Rideau Hall would be very 'presidential”. My understanding is that he, like Harper is a republican. How can a republican be a good representative of the monarch? They are always trying to out shine Her Majesty & keep refering to themselves as the Head of State.

  • gladaman

    I like Lewis MacKenzie.

  • gladaman

    Canada's monarchy is different from that of the UK. The Queen's role in Britain is heavily based on traditions & not defined in a constitution. Her position has largely been propped up by a privileged upper class who need her less & less each generation. These things are not necessarily true in a Canadian context. Also, we have had the different roles of government clearly laid out in the BNA (essentially our constitution before patriation) since 1867. Mackenzie King's actions, not unlike Harper's are not in the interest of democracy and Lord Byng & Madame Jean were right to challenge them. A Canadian monarch need not be afraid to direct His/Her office to explain to Canadians why their interventions where in defence of our constitution and collective rights. A foreign representative of a foreign monarch is too shy to make such pronouncements. If we had a resident monarch, I believe Canadians would accept that monarch's participation in Canadian affairs. His/Her role in Canadian society, like the Netherlands, Sweden or Spain would reflect Canadian needs and sensabilities.
    As a first step to addressing this foreignness of our Head of State, I recommend Prince Andrew to the position of Governor-General of Canada. After we have had a highly placed member of our royal family present in Canada for 5 years, lets see how respected our Governor-General is and what people think of having our own monarch, resident in Canada.