The Monarchist 1.0
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Friday, August 19, 2005
GG5: My Letter to the National Post

I submitted the following letter to the National Post in response to two articles defend the PM's choice for G-G. I doubt they'll publish it, but since I took the trouble, I'll inflict it on the blogosphere. I think I've beat the proverbial dead horse to hamburger, but on the other hand, this is the Monarchist, so why not talk about the G-G?

Dear Sir,

These are our left-wing pundits? Whether or not toasts in a smoke filled room make for a smoking gun, blowing smoke isn’t the same as clearing the air. Both Duffy and Asper’s defence of Paul Martin’s choice features ad homonym attacks against the appointment’s critics, accusing them of hyperventilation, right-wingery, and being either separatist pawns, or hard-line separatists engaged in some needlessly complex conspiracy. Attacking motivations and conspiracy theories are a substitute for solid arguments, and both men devote the bulk of their columns to them. I do credit them for not overtly suggesting the critics are racist, however.

The substance of the argument they do make is disturbing, however. They appear to suggest that loyalty to the state is the personal matter for a head of state. Asper’s comparison of our nation’s appointed figurehead to elected members of our governing institutions is particularly obtuse. While it would be nice if Canadian voters were committed to this country, they can apply any litmus test they want for their votes: loyalty, stand on social issues, even hair parted on the right or left. Appointments to our symbolic federal offices by our head of government are a very different matter: one would think that a very public commitment to federalism should feature prominently in the criteria.

In particular, expecting the commander-and-chief of the armed forces to be manifestly fiercely committed to preserving the state is not that crazy an idea. I bet if you suggested otherwise to anyone from any other country one the face of the earth, they’d look on you not so much as tolerant as mentally deficient. I attempted it with my retired-General-of-a-foreign-army father-in-law and I’ve never seen him laugh so hard. He’s a pretty jovial guy, too. I don’t think he was laughing with me.

As for it all occurring ten years ago, I’m inclined to recall Communist China’s Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai’s response when asked about the significance of the France’s 1789 Revolution: “its too soon to tell.” In contrast to this long view, many of our opinion-makers appear to think 10 years is too long ago to have any bearing on present. I hope they don’t also believe 10 years hence is the distant future, or I’m going to start packing my bags. The strangest part, though, is they talk as though the separatist threat were safely consigned to history. In reality, separatism is now exactly where it was in that very distant past 10 long yrs ago: 40% committed to it, 40% adamantly opposed, and 20% waiting to be swayed by whichever side has the best luck and can manage the best campaign. On that score, if the separatists are now disorganized, are the federalists in better shape? We are going to have another referendum, and I predict the federalists will begin the campaign like it’s already in the bag, only to win (or perhaps lose), by the narrowest margins.

But downplaying the importance of loyalty is surely unnecessary if the PM and the G-G statements have really cleared the air. Whether we want to accept their respective words is a different matter. Do I trust the G-G-D? I don’t know her, personally, or by reputation. I don’t know anybody who I trust who knows her, personally, or reputation or could even place her name when it was first announced. So I’ve got nothing to go on. That a smoking gun hasn’t yet been found is very cold comfort: you only look for one if there’s a dead body. Still, she seems nice, and I’ve little incentive not to believe her. Maybe she’ll impress me in office. I just wish she’d done more to impress me before her appointment, because when it comes to rising to the challenge of a two-mansion sinecure with lavish perquisites, I’m a hard guy to impress.

As for the man who appointed her: to be honest, I’ve never really been much of a Liberal supporter. I did initially like Paul Martin, however. I was impressed with his performance as Finance Minister. I was impressed when he admitted that the Liberals were breaking their promise to “kill the GST”. Standing next to the guy who claimed the Liberals did replace the GST, and then claimed they never promised to (I really, really wish I were making that up), he almost looked statesmanlike. When he started talking about ending the patronage system, curing western alienation and paying off the democratic deficit, I decided that even if he weren’t my first choice, he’d be a solid second.

His conduct since the beginning of the last election campaign has been steadily, cumulatively and deeply disillusioning. I now feel foolish about my earlier faith in him. He has made me feel like a fool. Will I listen to his word on this matter? I can no longer even bring myself to look at the man.

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