Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Representing Canada

The two former governors-general who attended the Mandela commemoration in Johannesburg seemed to me a credit to the country, adding grace, stature, sense, femaleness (let's say gender equality instead), and colour to the delegation.  We are frequently well served by our heads of state, even in retirement.

Which reminds us what a hard sell it is for arguments like those to be found in Canada and the Crown, edited by D. Michael Jackson and Philippe Lagassé, another in a recent series of essay collections that strive to make a case for the continued relevance of the monarchy in Canada. How many members of the British royal family were relevant to Canada here? (The same number as most Canadians wanted, I would guess.)

Our ex-prime ministers were also prominent, of course, and at least one of them wanted more of these public assignments:
Mr. Chrétien also expressed his disappointment that Canada doesn’t put its former prime ministers to work for the country’s betterment and to promote international relations after they leave office. “It’s not our tradition,” he said. “And it’s too bad.”
Roderick Benns of Fireside Press, who used to have a history blog, has moved on to a new one, devoted to precisely this topic: Leaders and Legacies, focussing on the post-prime-ministerial careers of retired Canadian politicians. With historical columns by Christopher Dummitt and John Boyko, so far.

(Photo credit Adrien Wyld, Canadian Press via CTV)
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