Friday, November 26, 2004


A Common's committee has recommended cutting the Governor General's current $19 million annual budget by $417,000. This is, of course, a result of various complaints that I'm sure everyone is aware of, that the Governor General, particularly our current Governor General, lives a far too lavish lifestyle. The stereo typical 'champaigne and caviar' line inevitably comes up whenever this issue is mentioned.

I'm also sure that many others will be voicing opinions much like Sean's in support of the budget recommendation, but since his is the first post I found, I'll pick on him.

First, Sean says,

A $417,000 reduction of a $19,000,000 budget amounts to two percent. I can't speak for you but in the world where I live, trimming two points from 19 mill isn't a slash, it's a paper cut.

I agree about that. The cut is not actaully that much, and not nearly as bad as I feared it would be when I first saw the article headline. However, the cut is indicative that the committee believes the G.G has been spending too much, which is unfortunate, but I'm coming to that.

Sean then writes,
As for the substance of the matter, I've no objection to knocking the G-G's champagne-and-caviar lifestyle back a notch.

There's that cliche 'champaigne and caviar' line. I'm willing to bet that Madame Clarkson and her husband are actually more fond of Ontario or British Columbia wine, since they have done an incredible job in promoting both wine industries across the country and around the world, but lets move on.

Sean next writes,
While she has an important role to play in representing Canada on the world stage, I don't see why hardworking taxpayers should pay through the nose for conferring on her the privilege of doing so.

Hold on. Sean thinks that a 2 percent cut on a budget of $19 million is not a 'slash' but 'a paper cut,' yet he says Canadians "pay through the nose" for the budget of the Governor General? The federal budget for Canada is in the range of 200 billion dollars. At $19 million the G.G's budget is less than 1/100 of a percent of the total Canadian budget. 'Paying through the nose?' I'm willing to pay Sean's share for him.

Sean admits the Governor General has an important role to play. Shouldn't we be funding the position so that whomever holds it can carry it out well?

Sean continues:
I don't think I'm alone in this view. Here in the middle class, we'd like our representatives to be a little more representative, wouldn't we?

First, please spare me the 'middle class,' 'tax-payer' appeal, it's so tired. I don't want to be identified as a taxpayer. I'm a citizen of this country. Yes, that involves paying taxes, but it involves a whole lot more. Reducing Canadian citizenship to nothing more than forking over money to the government is demeaning. I participate in the life of this country in way more ways than just by paying taxes. I'm a citizen, you don't need to remind me that I pay taxes.

Secondly, I have a representative. Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands) sits in the House of Commons. Its called the House of Commons because it is composed of commoners. The Governor General represents The Crown for God's sake! We live in a constitutional monarchy. The Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada. She is our head of state. The Governor General represents her. We have city councillors, we have MPP's we have MP's, we even have Senators (but lest not drag them into this). There are plenty of levels of governmet that adequately represent me.

I don't want our head of state to be representative of the average Canadian, because Canada is greater than the sum of its average parts. That is what the Governor General represents. I don't want the Governor General entertaining war veterans and foreign leaders in a syle that would embarrass the country.

I want the Governor General flying across the country and around the world. And I want the Governor General to bring along the best representatives of Canadian food, culture, and arts with her. I want the Governor General to be elite and to showcase Canada's elite. Goveror General Clarkson has done an outstanding job in making Canada look good, and in promoting Canada to Canadians and the world.

Madame Clarkson's budget has been higher than any other previous Governor General because she has done more work than any previous Governor General.

I can't stand the complaints of people who want our head of state to be average. I can't stand the complaints of people who would cheapen our country's traditions over something as petty as money (especially when it amounts to so little of it). How much humility does this country really need?

The Governor General makes us look great and reminds us that we are great. The position is worth every penny and Madame Clarkson has been worth ten times as much.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:10 a.m.