Don’t mock faith, Wall tells Gover­nor Gen­eral

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - D.C. FRASER

REGINA Pre­mier Brad Wall is crit­i­ciz­ing Canada’s Gover­nor Gen­eral and ask­ing her not to mock faith.

Wall wrote a let­ter to Gov. Gen. Julie Payette over his con­cerns re­cent com­ments she made mocked the re­li­gious be­liefs of mil­lions of Cana­di­ans.

In a speech last week, Payette said, “We are still de­bat­ing and still ques­tion­ing whether life was a di­vine in­ter­ven­tion or whether it was com­ing out of a nat­u­ral process let alone, oh my good­ness, a ran­dom process.”

Saskatchewan’s pre­mier said he thought the re­marks were not ap­pro­pri­ate for a gover­nor gen­eral, and that Payette should be more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Cana­di­ans.

“I saw some­one who was mock­ing peo­ple who be­lieve that there is some sort of in­tel­li­gent de­sign, who have a faith, that be­lieve in a Cre­ator, that be­lieve in the god of Abra­ham, Isaac and Ja­cob, or Al­lah or what Hin­dus be­lieve,” said Wall. “As a gover­nor gen­eral, if that’s what you be­lieve, that’s fair but … I don’t think you should present those views be­cause there is an in­sen­si­tiv­ity to mil­lions of Cana­di­ans who don’t agree.”

Wall noted Queen El­iz­a­beth — who, as Gover­nor Gen­eral, Payette rep­re­sents — is the “De­fender of the Faith”, not “the At­tacker of the Faith.”

Crit­i­cism of a gover­nor gen­eral from a pre­mier is rare, but Wall is not shy about pick­ing fights. Asked why he thought it was ap­pro­pri­ate to write a let­ter to Payette, he said, “it’s im­por­tant for Saskatchewan peo­ple to hear the views of our gov­ern­ment and me, that I don’t agree with those kinds of state­ments and I don’t think they’re be­com­ing of the Gover­nor Gen­eral.”

De­spite his cri­tique, Wall said Payette is well qual­i­fied to serve as Gover­nor Gen­eral, based on her record of pub­lic ser­vice and pro­fes­sional achieve­ments. He also said he hopes she comes to Saskatchewan soon.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau didn’t seem to have any is­sue with Payette’s speech. He said his gov­ern­ment and Cana­di­ans un­der­stand the value of science.

In a speech in the New Brunswick leg­is­la­ture Tues­day, Payette did not di­rectly ad­dress con­tro­versy over her ear­lier re­marks, but praised Canada’s tol­er­ance and free­dom of re­li­gion. The former as­tro­naut spoke about see­ing Canada from space with­out bor­ders and talked of the need to work to­gether.

Payette be­came Canada’s 29th gover­nor gen­eral since Con­fed­er­a­tion when she was ap­pointed to the po­si­tion in Oc­to­ber.

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