My friend Tony wants to lose some weight. He's OK with dieting but doesn't like exercising, so I suggested he might want to join me and my loyal pups Molly and Macy at the off-leash park where I am at least 4 times a week, walking around the 10 acres, up and down over hills, etc. It's great exercise and, as I said to him, "You'll lose weight for sure on these walks."
Apart from adding to the fitness routine, Tony and I have some great talks as we hike around the park. Just yesterday the topic was our vice-regal system here in Canada. Question: why do we still have this anachronism that's costing us millions of dollars every year, funds that should be better devoted to education and healthcare?
Back in the day, before the British royalty decided to outsource their responsibility for ruling over the land to a First Minister so that they – the royals – could concentrate on... well, you know, doing whatever it is that royals do. That's why they now have a Prime Minister in Britain who sets the tone for government, not the royals who concentrate on... well, you know, doing whatever it is royals do.
Meanwhile, the reason vanished for each of the British protectorates (such as Canada, India, Australia, etc.) to have a "Governor General" overseeing Britain's interests. And yet, here in Canada, imagine how many tens of millions of dollars goes to support a Governor General in Ottawa and Lieutenant Governors in the provinces and territories when their responsibilities have devolved to be nothing more than pomp and circumstance. It served a purpose, yes, but that purpose is mythological today.
A friend, who knew former GG David Johnston, sticks up for him when I raise this situation. "He is a wonderful guy," I'm told. "I'm sure he is," I reply, "but that doesn't mean we need him to do a costly job that's become ceremonial." This begets the argument, "Well, what happens when we need to call an election? The Governor General must get the Queen to utter a proclamation and..." And indeed: it's at about this point that even the most fervent royalists realize they cannot sustain such a tired, hollow argument and the discussion runs out of gas.
The day of the royals in Britain is done. So too, the day of our country existing at the pleasure of the Queen. And so too the requirement to have a very expensive network of vice-regal potentates across this land sucking up millions of dollars. Nope, it's time to bury this olde tradition and get on with the program.
Talk about an idea whose time has come!
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