Dear Editor

February 28, 2004

To the editors of the Calgary Herald;

Are we getting our money's worth from the Governor General?  85% say no, according to your poll.

Here's the trouble with polls: I guarantee you that 99.99% of the 12,000 odd people who have responded to this poll have virtually no idea of what the Governor General does, or what she costs us. Including me. There is currently a big flap because she took a trip and spent $5,000,000. Is that a lot? Who knows? Take your poll on the day after Remembrance Day, or when she is in Afghanistan visiting the troops, and you'll get a different result.

What I have come to realize is that ritual and tradition play an important part in our lives, and that they have a psychological importance to us to which it is difficult to attach a price. Somebody has to cut the ribbons and hand out the medals. Nobody does this stuff better than the British monarchy.

The beauty of a constitutional monarchy is that they have no power. They are just for show. What is the alternative? An elected President? Combining the head of state with the head of the government lends unwarranted charisma to politicians. You end up conferring godlike attributes on people like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.

The Queen and her representatives are the living embodiment of the sovereignty of the people. When we send the GG out to represent us, we don't send her on the bus. As the symbol of everything we cherish about our nation, she goes first class by definition.

As far as I am concerned, Adrienne Clarkson is one of the best Governors General we have had. She has brought presence and visibility to the job, and always with dignity and warmth. She is a first class act. I think the Governor General is a real deal for Canadians, a much better deal than supporting the whole royal family.

Wayne Smith

Dear Mr. Smith,

On behalf of Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, I am responding to your e-mail message below in which you express your support for the Governor General. The Governor General appreciates hearing from Canadians about issues that are important to them. Thank you for writing.

Yours sincerely,
Marthe Séguin-Muntz, INFO
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive / 1, promenade Sussex
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A1
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