The next Governor General should watch Netflix to avoid problems


National Post, 27 September 2018

Elizabeth the person and Elizabeth the queen will frequently be in conflict, the newly crowned sovereign is warned: 'The crown must always win.'

In a most extraordinary turn of events, accusations are being made against Governor General Julie Payette for not readily fulfilling her duty. That is serious criticism when the entire purpose of the office is to do one’s duty.

The accusation took the form of a major story in the National Post but it reflected what senior voices in Ottawa have been saying for some time. Madame Payette, it seems, prefers being more Julie the accomplished astronaut emerita, and less Her Excellency, Her Majesty’s vice-regal representative in Canada.

All of which reflects rather badly on the Governor General and the prime minister who chose her after bypassing the vice-regal advisory bodies established by Stephen Harper. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly entrusted the appointment’s preparation to the Liberal party’s research office.

Payette, in an interview with a French-language CPAC journalist this week, denies she’s unhappy in her post. She apologized if charities feel she’s been taking too long getting back to them, but defended her choice to review (and adjust) some of her official, but non-essential, duties. Still, reports out of Ottawa suggest that the search is on for a face-saving way out for the Governor General, and an accelerated search for her replacement. Herewith some advice for whomever is entrusted with the new search: Ask the prospective nominee to watch the first season of Netflix’s The Crown.

Upon the accession of Princess Elizabeth to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, the new queen receives a letter from her grandmother, Queen Mary. The scene is both thrilling and terrifying, as the dowager queen underscores the gravity of the moment and the mission.

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