Guess who I ran into – almost literally – today?
I mentioned in an earlier post that I had a doctors appointment this morning. I went to see a family doctor that specializes in pain management, who I’ve been seeing on average once a month since last January.
I walked into the building, took the elevator to the second floor and as I was walking towards my doctors office I saw a very familiar looking lady walking towards me.
It was Adrian Clarkson, Canada’s former Governor General.
I was looking at her thinking “Is that the Governor General, yeah I’m sure it is.” and she was looking at me, and I’m certain she knew I had recognized her. I nodded my head and went past her towards my doctors office because that is what Canadians do. We acknowledge celebrities, or otherwise well known people, but we generally don’t get all excited and mob them. We go about our business and let them get on with theirs.
Now, I’m sure the Americans, and possibly others from the many other Countries, that view this site might not know exactly what a Governor General is, so I’ll tell you:
Role and Responsibilities of the Governor General
The Office of the Governor General, Canada’s oldest continuing institution, is a thread that ties Canadians together. From Samuel de Champlain in 1608 to Viscount Monck in 1867 to Vincent Massey in 1952 to today’s Governor General, the institution of Governor General dates back nearly 400 years.
What is the Governor General’s position in Government?
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. This means Canadians recognize The Queen as our Head of State. Canada’s Governor General carries out Her Majesty’s duties in Canada on a daily basis and is Canada’s de facto Head of State.
Like many other democracies, Canada has clearly defined the difference between the Head of State and Head of Government.
The Governor General
- represents The Queen who is the Head of State
- is appointed by The Queen on the advice of Canada’s Prime Minister
The Prime Minister
- is the Head of Government
- is the leader of the party with the most support in Parliament
What does the Governor General do?
The Governor General’s role is built on four major themes:
- Representing the Crown in Canada
- Representing Canadians and Promoting our Sovereignty
- Celebrating Excellence
- Bringing Canadians together
In a nutshell, the Right Honourable Governor General of Canada (currently Michaëlle Jean) is the closest thing we have to Royalty in Canada. I’m sure for Americans my chance meeting today would have been similar to bumping into one of your former presidents.
Actually, from time to time I work on my families history, and I believe, in fact I’m almost certain, that I might be related to one of Canadas 13 founding fathers – i.e. Canada’s Fathers of Confederation. Therefore, I might also be, in a manner of speaking, Canadian “royalty” as well.
Now isn’t that neat?