To be sure, a majority of Canadians love Her Majesty. It’s not difficult to feel warm regard for the 94-year-old monarch who has stoically (if not always perfectly) done her job for almost 70 years. She’s the only head of state most of us have known. And she has maintained a dignity neither her children, nor grandchildren, appear to demonstrate.
But as we look down the road, that doesn’t mean we feel as warm and fuzzy about the institution she heads, or its involvement in domestic affairs. While we may genuinely mean it when we sing “God Save the Queen,” and while we may truly wish that she is long to reign over us, fewer than one-third of people want to see this country continue as a constitutional monarchy for generations to come.
For now, however, we remain entrenched in the system we have, one that since 1867 has seen 29 different people appointed governor general (not one of them a Canadian citizen until 1952). Little wonder it is a position people view as distant and inconsequential.
Only one-in-four sees the role – which combines parliamentary, military and ceremonial duties – as “unique,” while the rest say others in government could perform different aspects of it. This is an already existing state of affairs as Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner pinch-hits in absence of a new “Excellency.” Further, a significant segment would reduce the scope of the position, if it were up to them.
Then there’s the compensation component of the job posting. Given Canadians’ druthers, there is room in the governor general’s benefit package for some trims. Maybe it’s the annual salary of roughly $300,000. Maybe it’s the paid housing at Rideau Hall. Or the personal driver, or the six-figure pension. Or the expenses of up to $200,000 allowed after leaving the role. Little wonder nearly 90 per cent of those surveyed look at all that and deem it “too generous.”
This content was originally published here.