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Harper, Jean spar to the end Add to ...

According to a report on CBC's The House, Michaëlle Jean extracted two commitments from Prime Minister Stephen Harper before agreeing to prorogue the House in December, 2008. This report, based on an interview with Peter Russell, who advised Her Excellency during the near-crisis, helps explain the last minute sparring between the two that we've seen in recent days.

Buried in Ms. Jean's parting message to Canadians on Thursday, we read:

"Representing Canada on a number of occasions on the international scene, and leading several missions - as de facto head of State - from one continent to the next, has allowed me to see the world, both larger and smaller than ever before."

A day later, at the installation ceremony for the incoming Governor-General, Mr. Harper said:

"For Canada's Monarch today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Professor Johnston you will become her 11th Governor-General, just as I am her 11th Prime Minister and Madame McLachlin, is her 9th Chief Justice. Such constitutional milestones remind us all that Elizabeth II has reigned as Queen of Canada, our Head of State, for almost 60 years, an epitome of stability, continuity and service, for which, as was evidenced once again during the most recent Royal Tour, Her Majesty is held in great respect and affection by Canada and its people."

In his acceptance speech, His Excellency, Governor-General David Johnston perhaps brought this quarrel to an end:

"I begin by saying thank you to Her Majesty the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Canadian people for this call to service. My wife and I accept it with joy - as we contemplate the role of Canada in the years ahead - and with gratitude at the opportunity to serve as the Queen's representative in Canada."

But with the prospect of continued minority governments the most likely scenario, it will be interesting to see whether relations between Mr. Johnston and Mr. Harper remain as harmonious in future

 

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