Saturday, January 30, 2021

History of paying the Governor General

A propos of protests in the media about a pension to be paid to the outgoing governor general:   

When I was explaining to my constituents the terms of Confederation and the various reasons that had brought it about, my people accepted my explanations in a very excellent spirit and appeared perfectly disposed to give me a free hand in all points but one, and that point on which they struck was the Governor General’s salary. The proposal to raise the salary of the Governor General of Canada from £7000 to £10,000 met with the warmest disapprobation and I was heckled remorselessly for supporting it…. I can assure you it told very seriously on the result of the elections. I refused point blank to pledge myself to vote for a reduction of His Excellency’s salary, and it cost me hundreds of votes and very nearly lost my election.

That's Richard Cartwright, confederation-era politician, recalling in his memoirs the one element of confederation his constituents just could not stomach. 

I don't begrudge the money. I do regret that we still haven't make the GG our head of state, with appropriate standing and respect, and started getting what we are entitled to.

February 2:  Helen Webberley comments from Auz:

I don’t begrudge the money either.

The Governor General is the head of state, there to represent the country overseas and to receive overseas dignitaries who arrive in our country; dissolving Parliament and issuing writs for Federal elections; setting out the government's programme by reading the 
opening speech etc. He or she is not a politician and cannot replace or overrule duly elected parliamentarians.

Be very very grateful Canada has a proper head of state, not a politically powerful President like the USA had, or Belarus, Poland, Russia, Chad, Congo, Uganda and half the other countries on earth.

Of course this is all irrelevant to the debate about keeping the Queen as head of state, but that is a discussion for another time.

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