Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mr. Harper's Neighbourhood

People who live in big cities might not even know their next door neighbour's name. Or if they do, they've never had any real opportunity to meet.

The good folks at the Toronto Star should know this phenomenon of urban alienation quite well, but suddenly it's become newsworthy when two particular Ottawa neighbours have been ignoring each other:

She's the elegant arts lover, a former journalist who charms with her smile and grace. He's the hockey dad across the street, a serious guy who likes to do things his way.

So what does it mean for Canada that these two don't meet regularly? A neighbourly tiff? A constitutional crisis?

News that Governor General Michaƫlle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have not had a formal, sit-down meeting since March, not long after he was sworn in, has raised eyebrows and questions whether there's trouble afoot.

"One formal meeting in nine months seems low by historical standard," said Scott Reid, former director of communications for prime minister Paul Martin.

"If anything, in a minority Parliament, one expects more routine discussion between the governor general and the prime minister because of the possibility that the government's program might fail."

Over beer and popcorn, no doubt.

The Prime Minister has likely taken the measure of the Governor General and found her as trivial and insubstantial as the predecessor government that appointed her just to check off a few boxes on the diversity scorecard.

In that sense, he has revived a tradition that dates back to the appointment of equally trivial and insubstantial vice-regents just to make use of mediocre nobles.

Give them the honour due their office, then ignore them when serious work is to be done.

Source: Toronto Star

No comments: