Omigosh, just what kind of a witch is Julie Payette?
In her previous gig, at the Montreal Science Centre, former employees said she was a “harsh boss”. This, at a museum! And at the Canadian Olympic Committee, she faced other workplace complaints. And now, she’s called out for verbal harassment and public humiliation in the office of the Governor-General. Clearly, this is a crone who does not work well with others.
Oh, and you have to love this: in tendering her resignation as GG, Julie writes that she resigned “for the good of the country” (gosh, thanks sunshine). But she adds that none of her alleged behaviour was tested in official workplace complaints.
Oh yeah? Say Julie, what is it you don’t get about the CBC’s report that several staffers left Rideau Hall over what they called “verbal harassment and public humiliation” by you? And are you really not getting the fact that you clashed with the Mounties over your security detail? And that you said you weren’t entirely ready for the job’s public scrutiny? And that Rideau Hall spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on renovations which you demanded personally for privacy and accessibility reasons?
Guess it never occurred to you that there are some qualifications beyond entitlement required for the post of Governor-General, huh. You know, like a willingness to live at Rideau Hall (poor you!). And that a modicum of grace in dealing with underlings is needed. And understanding that you can’t just pick up and go AWOL from the RCMP on a morning jog. (The National Police Federation took the unusual step Thursday of saying it hopes that now, RCMP members will be able to experience a more positive work environment.)
So now, Justin Trudeau is left seeking a replacement GG. (Federally, there hasn’t been a viceregal resignation as abrupt as Julie’s; Romeo LeBlanc stepped down early due to health problems, but he stayed long enough for prime minister Jean Chrétien to find a replacement.)
But here’s my question, one that I’ve posed before: why are we looking to replace this harpy anyway? Why do we, as an independent country in the twenty-first century, feel we need a Governor General? Or Lieutenant-Generals in the provinces? You know, puffery roles that are costing us millions of dollars every year that could be much better devoted to education and healthcare. (Don’t get me going on the fact that despite leaving early due to her workplace scandal, Julie-babe still qualifies for a lifetime pension of at least $149,484 per year! Ouch! How do you feel about that fellow tax payer?)
As Campbell Clark writes in the Globe and Mail: “Most Canadians don’t have too clear a picture of what the governor-general does, or should be, but you can be pretty sure they don’t like to think of the Queen’s representative in Canada as someone who uses the viceregal position to harass and berate employees.”
Well, in the hope of being helpful, let me clarify just what the governor-general does for you to ensure you have a better, more rewarding life. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. It’s a pomp and circumstances gig that has no place in today’s world, short and simple. Sure, back in the day when the British Empire was a cause to be reckoned with, and before the Royal Family outsourced it’s responsibility of governance to a Prime Minister, the king or queen needed a rep in each of their fiefdoms to ensure their bidding was being looked after. But, see, those days are gone. And with them, so should this silly Governor-General role. Canada does not need a head of state representing some distant doyenne living in a palace.
Now, please don’t tell me we need these vice-regal folks to open schools and stuff like that. Do you really want to spend millions of dollars in a crumbling economy for that kind of nonsense? I sure don’t. Get a sitting politician to do it.
Julie’s malfeasance and sense of entitlement is right up there with Ontario’s former Minister of Finance who felt he could jet off to St. Barts (not Florida, you understand, but St. Barts, playground of the rich and famous!) when the rest of us had to stay home in lockdown. Good riddance to both of them.
And let’s take this very timely opportunity to cut out the outdated role of a pastime. Grow up Canada: no more Governor-General.
What say, are you with me?