So it appears that the title of Governor General of Canada has caused current GG Julie Payette’s head to increase to a size that is now being investigated by the Privy Council.
Firstly, she won’t move into Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General, until all the repairs she has demanded are done. She’s already three years into her five year term.
Money spent so far, $140,000 for a study of a private staircase. $140,000 for the study, not the actual stairs, which haven’t been built. $117,500 on a gate and doors to keep the public away from the GG.
At this rate, the mansion should be ready right about the time her term is up.
If she lasts that long.
According to whispers from staff at Rideau Hall — who whispered to the CBC — Her Majesty doesn’t want to have her view tainted by maintenance workers. And the public who are allowed to freely wander the grounds? Please! Keep them away!
The Privy Council has launched an independent review in light of allegations of bullying and harassment of employees at Rideau Hall.
Reporting from CBC says that GG Payette has “ created a toxic environment at Rideau Hall by verbally harassing employees to the point where some have been reduced to tears or have left the office altogether”.
Payette has said she is “deeply concerned” about the allegations, and welcomes an independent review.
Mind you, what is she supposed to say?
This whole thing is not good news for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While he obviously has no real knowledge of how Payette treats her staff, he did appoint her in 2017. Thus, she is his governor general in the minds of Canadians.
Did his team not vet her thoroughly? Because there have been previous allegations against Payette. There is record of an assault charge in Maryland in 2011. Those charges were dropped, and Payette maintains she is innocent. Other reporting says that similar complaints of bullying were aired during Payette’s time as head of the Montreal Science Centre.
Ms. Payette may have been appointed by Trudeau, but his government is currently engaged in a bit of back peddling.
Though he has not gone to the Trumpian extremes of “I don’t know the guy, I think he may have brought be covfefe once”, Trudeau has been conspicuously silent. And his Deputy PM Christia Freeland had this to say:
She has great respect for the office of the Governor General. Pressed by reporters to express confidence in Payette, Freehand dodged, reiterating that the Governor General plays an important role and that she has respect in the office.
For Payette, that’s a big ouch. With no public support from the government, she is between a rock and a hard place.
It’s particularly important right now because during a time of minority government, it is in fact the governor general who will decide if Canada goes to the polls in the event of a non-confidence vote.
For this reason, the office must be above reproach, and have the full confidence of the people of Canada.
That certainly does’t seem to be the case. Technically, the only person who can fire the GG is the Queen, acting on the advise of the Prime Minister.
Experts say that is unlikely to happen. Being a bully is not criminal. It’s just wrong. A lot of people think that the right thing for Payette to do is resign.
I’m betting she won’t. People arrogant enough to order their line of vision cleared of the common folk are not likely to do the right thing.
I’m sure Justin Trudeau, the scandal magnet, would be exceedingly grateful if his Vice Regal did resign.
He’s already got the WE scandal to worry about, he doesn’t need the Royal WE as well.
Carolyn Grant has been editor of the Kimberley Bulletin for 17 years.