Thursday, August 04, 2005

The New GG: Well, It Didn't Take Too Long ...

... for the sniping to start.

Here's Ravishing Light on the appointment of Michaelle Jean as the new Governor-General:

...Is there any way this could be more of a pandering laundry-list affirmative-action pick? She's meant to be appealing to Quebeckers, immigrants, women, urban professionals, and the black community - a new record. It's like someone said, "Can we get another Adrienne Clarkson, but in French?" Oh, wait: that's exactly what seems to have happened.

I'm curious; did the PMO consider their strategic handiwork might be a bit too blatant if they'd picked someone also gay and wheelchair-bound?

(Also interestingly worrisome: GG-designate Jean will be, as the Globe notes above, the third journalist in a row to hold the office. The CBC is probably the only media outlet in the world to offer - unofficially, of course - promotion opportunities going all the way up to viceroy...)

And then there's this snippet from Political Staples:

Michaelle Jean will be the next Governor-General. Never heard of her. Considering that the CBC has become the breading ground for GGs they love her.

To be honest, I've never heard of her either, but then again I don't watch Radio-Canada all that much.

Even Damian Penny makes a mild dig:

I'm having nightmarish visions of Mary Walsh becoming the Queen's next representative in Canada.

I'd agree that Ms. Jean's profile is a wee bit too much in sync with Peter Worthington's multicultural stereotype. And frankly I don't like the implicit message that CBC culture would make a good breeding ground for executive sovereigns.

On the other hand, I could make the argument that the PM has actually learned a lesson from President George W. Bush and his nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court:

a) Pick someone under the radar
b) Make sure (s)he's got a biography that can't be argued with without looking stupid
c) Make sure the credentials are hard to question (granted, the GG position doesn't exactly demand much by way of qualification other than level-C bilingualism)
d) Surprise everyone who thinks they're in the know

The execution of d), though, could stand a little work. Bush was able to keep Roberts' nomination a secret right up to the official announcement. As of this writing the official announcement's a few hours away. Which means there's still the likelihood that Paul Martin could change his mind, but with all the news coverage, it's doubtful. Still, I'll bet this sort of leak must irritate him no end.

My opinion of the pick? It's a "wait-and-see" attitude, but having a G-G who looks at home at MusiquePlus probably isn't a bad idea.