“Canada’s Next Governor General Chosen Following Consultations”
The Senate was STILL sitting this week in Ottawa. As I mentioned last week, Senators were working to pass important and time-sensitive Government legislation, most significantly, our Jobs and Growth Budget 2010, Bill C-9.
This second phase of our Conservative Government’s economic action plan received Royal Assent on Monday to become law after a very robust debate in the Red Chamber. Eight other pieces of legislation have also received Royal Assent since the House of Commons sitting ended in late June.
This included our legislation to end pardons for sex offenders like Karla Homolka. And legislation that will better prevent the manipulation of our immigration and refugee system with bogus claims while enhancing fairness for genuine refugees, also became law.
The Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement also passed, thereby providing greater access to a market of 45 million people to Canadian farmers and exporters of paper products and heavy equipment, among other goods.
Other laws receiving Royal Assent included legislation that will help First Nations move forward with commercial developments, and amendments to enhance access to Employment Insurance benefits by our soldiers and their families.
Interestingly, the Senate passed 17 Government bills in this session of the 40th Parliament, whereas the House of Commons passed 11. I am hopeful that when Parliament returns in September that Members of Parliament in the opposition will have spent the summer listening to Canadians and their overwhelming desire to see other important legislation passed, including vital justice reforms.
Speaking of Royal Assent ceremonies, which are usually conducted by the Governor General, Her Majesty the Queen announced last week that David Johnston will be Canada’s next Governor General. Mr. Johnston will commence his new role when Michaëlle Jean’s four-year term ends this Fall and she assumes her appointment as the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Special Envoy to Haiti.
This is the first time a Governor General has been chosen following a robust consultation process. Any past consultations have been ad hoc. Yet, recognizing the significant and non-partisan role the Governor General fills as the Crown’s representative in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed an expert advisory committee to lead an unprecedented national consultation effort to provide recommendations on who should be Canada’s next Governor General.
The advisory committee engaged in extensive consultations across the country, meeting with leading constitutional experts, past and current political leaders, and other distinguished Canadians before providing the Prime Minister with its confidential recommendations.
Mr. Johnston is not yet a household name (he soon will be) but he enjoys the respect and support of a broad range of Canadians in every region of the country, among political parties of all stripes, and in government and academic circles.
He currently serves as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. He has a long and distinguished academic career and a strong record of public service. He has extensive legal expertise and a comprehensive understanding of government. These are skills that will certainly serve him well when he becomes Canada’s next Governor General in September.
If you would like to learn more about David Johnston, go to: www.pm.gc.ca.