The Governor-General and God

One major question than Governor General Julie Payette asked at the Canadian Science Policy Convention was, ““Can you believe that still today in learned society, in houses of government, unfortunately, we’re still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming up, or whether even the Earth is warming up; And still questioning whether life was a divine intervention, or whether it was coming out of a natural process?” Her speech has attracted criticisms from people of faith and lovers of astrology for debunking their beliefs during her speech. However, she merely raised the need to sift through the information available on the internet which is getting warped with lots of fake news nowadays. She insists climate change is real. Several people have even gone as far as insisting that as representative to the crown, she should be seen not heard. You can view the video here


Who is a Governor General?
This is a vestigial role in Canadian politics. The Governor General is supposed to represent the throne. The Queen or sovereign is the head of state in Canada. The Governor General of Canada represents the sovereign, and most of the powers and authority of the sovereign have been delegated to the Governor General. The role of the Canadian Governor General is mostly symbolic and ceremonial. Technically, ceremonially Queen Elizabeth is supposed to fill that role, but it wouldn’t be possible for them to fill this role for all former colonies. The Governor General Seat has acted as an important envoy and diplomate in the past. Currently, they hold an entirely ceremonial role.

Agent vs Representative
In the King-Byng crisis of 1926, the governor general at the time (Byng) refused to call the office of a general an election (with valid reason), and this led to a constitutional crisis at the time. This gave way to the codification of what had been in practice for decades. The different dominions would have been allowed to make their laws and govern themselves. The Governor General would only be a ceremonial representative; they wouldn’t be allowed to say no. David Onley faced a similarly comprising situation in 2012. As it turned out, occupying a vice-regal suite at Queen’s park came with its share of controversies. In this case, the premier requested prorogation while the public dubbed it a dictatorship. Onley did his duty to defend the Constitution and its conventions, but he ended up having to explain to the public about his actions and inactions, expressly pointing out that whether in Ottawa or at Queen’s Park, the first minister is the unrivaled chief constitutional adviser to the Queen’s representative — not vice versa.

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Understanding the role of the Governor General
The actual nature of Canadian political procedure can be a little confusing and its history, although quite interesting, can be somewhat irrelevant. However, today the role has been very impactful with several exceptional individuals being privileged to have held the role. Notable appointments have been Michelle Jean, who was a Haitian refugee, and the current Governor General, Julie Payette, who was a notable former astronaut.       
Logically, this raises the questions of whether Julie Payette should have made the comments that she did. Was she supposed to have given such straightforward opinions at a national convention? I’ll leave you the readers to form your own opinion, but there are two things which we have to point out.  

The value of appointments
The governor general’s statement shows us the value of appointment. It is important to note that there is a significant difference between an appointed official and an elected politician. An elected politician must always consider their language due to the potential to be kicked out of office. In essence, they were elected to uphold the views of the people, which can often discard theirs in comparison. Appointed individuals, on the other hand, can speak from the heart. The person appointed has been selected by a higher authority as a representative. His/her views can still be expressed.

Climate change should not be ignored
While creationism is a mostly harmless thought, denying climate change is a pressing morale issue. Global warming is indeed real and a phenomenon that should be taken seriously. There have been several observations by credible scientists to show that greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. We can make the planet safer instead of avoiding the subject matter. The use of solar panels is one way to treat our planet right. The proofs are all around us with the spikes in our heated environment. People should be careful in placing the two together. We must work on reducing the impact of global warming rather than just dismissing its obvious effects. 

Matthew Griffin