Job-seekers should spruce up their resumes, as reports out of Ottawa this week suggest that prime minister Stephen Harper will decline to extend the term of Governor General MichaÃ«lle Jean beyond September. As such, Canada may be on the hunt for its 28th vice-regal representative. Who should Harper recommend to Her Majesty to fill Jean's shoes? Many names have already been suggested, but few Canadians understand the requirements for the role.
First and foremost, the representative should probably be Canadian. This isn't a stringent rule -- in the past representatives were specifically chosen from outside Canada as an oversight -- but the practice has been to swear in a Canadian who understands the country. Vincent Massey was the first Canadian-born Governor General, sworn in back in 1952, but Adrienne Clarkson was born in Hong Kong and our current vice-regal was born in Haiti. Citizenship seems to be the only thing that matters.
Next, the traditional practice has been to alternate between a Francophone Governor General and an Anglophone one. Jean lives in Quebec and was born in Haiti, so she meets the Francophone criteria rather nicely. However, the fact that Clarkson lived and worked in Ottawa -- a necessarily bilingual city -- and held a diplomatic posting in France suggests that the Governor General position need not necessarily oscillate between Canada's two solitudes. Granted, the tendency has only been exhibited through the last three governors general, but it seems prudent -- both politically and otherwise -- that the new appointee be able to grasp the realities of both English and French Canada.
Third, the Governor General should probably have a decision-making background. The Conservative government has challenged the governor general to make some tough calls over Jean's term and it would help if the next one has some understanding of the Constitution. At the very least, the person should have a university degree and some exhibited knowledge of Canada's political landscape and history. Prior governors general have had extensive backgrounds in politics, the military or journalism.
Names have been thrown out all over the internet suggesting a wide gamut of candidates. The Man in Motion, Rick Hansen, has been suggested. So has Star Trek's William Shatner. Environmental activist David Suzuki has also been touted. However, one prominent Canadian has been ignored. One who has experience asking the tough questions, one who has a university degree from the University of Calgary and a background in journalism. A vice-regal representative that young Canadians would actually care about and one Stephen Harper might even realistically appoint. He wouldn't even be the youngest to take the position.
George Stroumboulopoulos should be Governor General.
He'd make as much bloody sense as anyone else Harper could possibly appoint, anyway.