Governor General’s Office


Recently (not so recently now) the CBC did a phone-in talk show about the Governor General's office and its roll in Canadian society. Canadians are constantly second guessing the role of the Governor General, complaining about the expense of the office, and occasionally extolling the validity of doing away with the office.  I used to be one of these.  Why would Democracy need a connection to Monarchy?  Why would we need someone who allows the Democratic parliament to govern Canada at her pleasure?

The answer to this is simple.  Democracies do not actually go hand in hand with rights and freedoms, and not even with the rule of law.  These have had to be fought for.  Often bitter fights and all to often with bloodshed.   Monarchy or Democracy (cyclical dictatorships voted in by the people) are only interested in maintaining their own power regardless of the greater good.  If the population wants change but the government sees that change as weakening their position, we get, no change.

We need another mechanism to do an end run around politicians.

Not only should Canadians maintain the office of the Governor General, but we should move to make this office our means of reform when other levels of government are unwilling to do so.  As I already said, governments  are “unwilling to do so” in situations were simplifying a law would decrease their own ability to wield power and to manipulation the population.

Reforming our tax system with a Flat tax is one such example.  A Flat tax would undermine politician’s ability to manipulate the population with tax incentives or penalties.  A tax should be for just one purpose, the collection of tax.  Currently politicians tinker with the tax system to advance their own agenda.  They would never simplify the system, as that decreases their own power.

Rules regarding remuneration of politicians would be another example of where politicians should not be able to make up the rule.  Another is when to call an election (an example of something that should be set).

Under the current system, Canadians have no way of effecting these changes.  Even referendums are initiated by government, and governments  formulate the question.  Is there possibly anything more circular?  Around and round and again no change.

By expanding the roll of the Governor General, Canadians would be able to make things happen when the government stalls.  Governments create legislation through argument.  The people would pass legislation through agreement.  We would take an end run around Ottawa, provincial and municipal governments taking the results of a referendum or plebiscite directly to the Governor General.  This referendum or plebiscite would be reviewed by the courts, and if found consistent with the Canadian Constitution, be signed into law by the Governor General.  The Governor General would not initiate legislation, only sign the positive results of referendums or plebiscites into law.

Maybe we could start by getting ride of Provinces and Provincial Governments (the source of our separation difficulty).  Yes, a future topic.


Harold Dickert.


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