Manning not cut out for Vice Regal role
As Canadians continue to speculate on who Canada's next Governor General -- the successor to the incomparable Michaelle Jean -- will be, the editors of The Mark have begun to collect hypothetical nominations from prominent Canadians.
Ezra Levant has nominated former Reform Party founder/leader and Canadian Alliance founder Preston Manning.
"Preston Manning is an ex-politician, but he's non-partisan," Levant argues. "It could be argued that he was even non-partisan while he led a party - he often put reforming the democratic system above his own immediate political interests."
"Since leaving Parliament, he has built an even more impressive legacy: a non-partisan think tank dedicated to improving the political system in a practical way, with everything from political campaign training schools to workshops on journalism," Levant continues. "He's a true nation-builder."
But as great a Canadian as Manning turly is -- despite the simmering hatred bore for him by Canada's far left -- no one should count on him being appointed Governor General. It would actually be a mistake to do so.
Manning could certainly stand -- and deserves -- the opportunity to rehabilitate his reputation from the many slanders foisted upon it by the far left. Contrary to what ideologues like Murray Dobbin would have Canadians believe, Manning would have been recognized as a giant of Canadian multiculturalism had his policies not been misrepresented by the shrill harpies of the far left.
Manning's proposed fair language policy -- which would have declared Canada to be a multilingual, not merely bilingual, state -- better reflected the realities of Canada and would have better served hundreds of thousands of Canadians than the current policy.
Manning's policy would have seen government services delivered in any number of languages, contingent on a significant community speaking that language. It would have seen government services available in Chinese in places like Vancouver, Farsi in places like Montreal, and Ukrainian and Polish in Edmonton. Among others.
But there are two things that Canadians cannot afford their Governor General to be: partisan and ideological.
One can say what one will about Preston Manning, he is unabashedly conservative. While being conservative shouldn't in itself disqualify anyone from being Governor General, Canada's Vice Regal must represent all Canadians, of all political stripes.
It just isn't realistic to expect Manning to be able to do that. At least not in the minds of liberal Canadians.
Manning's status as a former party leader, however, should disqualify him outright. The office of Governor General must, above all else, remain entirely non-partisan. This, admittedly, is a challenge to the notion that the Governor General should be elected, one that would have to be solved through mechanisms in the nomination process.
Ezra Levan'ts heart may be in the right place in nominating Preston Manning for Governor General. But this is one thing that can simply never be.