David Onley is Ontario’s new Lieutenant-Governor

An inspirational choice:

Ontario’s incoming lieutenant-governor said Tuesday he will play an “activist” role over the next five years aimed at improving the lives of people who, like him, live with physical disabilities.

Stricken with polio when he was three, Onley grew up to become one of Canada’s first on-air personalities with a physical disability when he joined CityTV in Toronto in 1984 as a science and weather reporter.

In his long career with the station, he has also been an education reporter, a science and technology reporter, news anchor and producer.

Outside of his journalistic endeavors, Onley has been high-profile advocate for people with disabilities

Some may look at this appointment and shrug as another media personality is named to another ceremonial role. However, the more I’ve thought about these sorts of appointments, the more that the nominations of people such as Clarkson, Jean, and now Onley make sense.

These roles haven’t any real power and they are largely ceremonial, meaning the most important parts of the job description are to visible, a good speaker and yes, telegenic. Onley is also a highly accomplished Canadian in his own right and Ontario will draw upon his professional talents in his new job.

The other types who may fit well in these sorts of roles are sports personalities, actors, and maybe former politicians. Since most sports stars can barely utter that there’s a “home… run… deal… at… Bob’s… Chev… olds” with any authority, that leaves actors, former politicians, and media personalities. Former politicians bring partisan baggage to a role that is supposed to represent Canada’s apolitical head of state, our queen. Actors can deliver a good speech, however, media personalities can do this and bring a professional credibility to the job that most can appreciate.

As said, these roles are purely ceremonial and the technical responsibility of these people are to represent the Queen in Canada. We are long past being ruled by a monarch, thus these positions simply afford an opportunity to put a good face – a face that can deliver a speech, with credibility and on television – forward to represent Canada.

Prime Minister Harper made the appointment and Dalton’s man Kinsella seems to appreciate the decision. Therefore, this shouldn’t make for any rough political waters.

UPDATE: Some readers have, of course, pointed out the constitutional importance of GGs and LGs! I would respond by saying that advice and recommendations on constitutional matters are never in short supply to these people when such advice is needed for such a situation. Presumably and hopefully, all GGs and LGs make those decisions under much advisement. Further, this also speaks to the appropriateness of journalists to take up the role as they are generally more versed in political matters than most people.

A constitutional scholar on the other hand may not be able to fulfill the de facto responsibilities of these figures because while they may be versed in the legal function of their role, they may not be ideal for lacking the qualities I outline above.

Dalton wastes your money

John Tory’s Ontario PCs filed a freedom of information request to detail expenses of a recent first ministers meeting in Niagara On the Lake.

  • $837 was spent to ship ice from Toronto to Niagara on the Lake;
  • Hotel charges for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s and a staff of 15 amounted to $16,184 or just over $1,000 bucks per person;
  • More than $6,000 was spent on rooms that went unused;
  • The province incurred a $9,000 bill to have a landscaper repair damage to the grounds of Fort George, a Parks Canada site, following an event there;
  • A whopping $56,837.56 was spent on golf shirts and other presents and promotional items.

Our tax dollars at work.


Eves on his career

ernie-eves-pc-party.jpgFormer premier and PC Party leader of Ontario Ernie Eves gave a candid and honest view of his tenure as premier of the province to Ian Urquhart of the Toronto Star. While the Tories have revitalized themselves with new leadership, Eves gives a sense of where the party lost its footing leading up to the election and where it needs to go from here.

Some interesting quotes:

“The best advice I could give him (McGuinty) was: trust your inner self. Sometimes you’ll be advised to do things that something inside you tells you isn’t the right thing to do, and you’re going to have to have the courage to (say), `That’s all very interesting, but we ain’t doing it that way. We’re going to do it this way.’ Because at the end of the day you’re going to be the one who pays for it.” — Ernie Eves

“The strength of our party has always been that when we do fall on bad times, we have been able to revitalize our party. … I think the party now has a tremendous opportunity because, rightly or wrongly, and I’m not knocking Frank or Jim, I think the party now has chosen a leader that doesn’t have the Harris-Eves baggage. And I think that’s a tremendous opportunity.” — Ernie Eves

“I think he’s been captured by exactly what I advised him not to be captured by. I think Dalton McGuinty is basically a decent guy, but he doesn’t have the experience that some of us had going into the job. … You can’t please all the people all the time in public life. … You can govern for a while on political spin. You may even get lucky and win an election. But I think ultimately at the end of the day people get a sense of what you’re about.” — Ernie Eves

“I don’t regret one moment I’ve spent in public life, and there have been some that have been more pleasant than others. I think people go into public life because they want to try and make a difference. … I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity and then to be able to serve in cabinet” — Ernie Eves