GG has much to give — and a bit to learn

Tillsonburg News - - OPINION - — Post­media Net­work

gov­er­nors gen­eral tend to take up causes while in of­fice, and Cana­di­ans broadly ac­cept their ac­tivism. The last res­i­dent of rideau Hall, david John­ston, ex­tolled vol­un­teerism. His pre­de­ces­sor, michaëlle Jean, ad­vo­cated for help­ing Haiti af­ter the 2010 earth­quake. adri­enne Clark­son vo­cally sup­ported the mil­i­tary, the arts and the arc­tic.

True, all of them ran into controversy for dif­fer­ent rea­sons: Clark­son for allegedly spend­ing too much, Jean for de­fend­ing the seal hunt and be­ing too out­spo­ken on Que­bec, John­ston for a brief ref­er­ence to in­dige­nous peo­ple as “im­mi­grants.” but mostly, mod­ern ggs have stayed on the right side of public ad­vo­cacy and thus added to the dig­nity of their of­fice.

Julie payette, how­ever, is in of­fice dur­ing the so­cial me­dia era, where nas­ti­ness and ridicule are ac­cept­able. she cap­tured the snide tone in re­marks last week in which she crit­i­cized re­li­gious views and peo­ple who haven’t made it past the de­bate stage on cli­mate change.

We hope, and be­lieve, she’ll take a les­son from the blow­back over those re­marks. For payette has much to of­fer.

as an as­tro­naut, engi­neer, busi­nessper­son, woman and fran­co­phone, she can be a cru­cial role model, a pow­er­ful ad­vo­cate for science and a won­der­ful ed­u­ca­tor on ev­i­dence-based think­ing. putting her into rideau Hall has the po­ten­tial to kick­start fresh en­thu­si­asm for sTem— science, technology, en­gi­neer­ing and math — in a coun­try try­ing to show the world it is a tech-savvy des­ti­na­tion for higher learn­ing and in­no­va­tive jobs. Think of payette’s pow­er­ful sym­bol­ism as this coun­try reaches out to global iT busi­nesses that might be con­sid­er­ing lo­cat­ing in Canada.

mean­while, says philippe la­gassé, an in­ter­na­tional af­fairs pro­fes­sor at Car­leton uni­ver­sity, it is ap­pro­pri­ate for her to warn about the dan­gers of cli­mate change, but it should be done with­out point­ing to spe­cific pol­icy pre­scrip­tions — yay or nay on a car­bon tax, for in­stance. and of course it should be done with­out mock­ing peo­ple.

she might also like to hone her science fo­cus fur­ther: in­dige­nous re­search, says a re­cent ma­jor re­view of Canada’s science pol­icy, doesn’t get the at­ten­tion it de­serves, and in­dige­nous peo­ple are un­der­rep­re­sented among pro­fes­sors. so are women and those with dis­abil­i­ties. it’s fer­tile ground for vice-re­gal con­scious­ness-rais­ing.

as long as payette fol­lows the golden rule — a guide­line as­so­ci­ated with myr­iad re­li­gions, by the way — her voice will be an as­set to public dis­course. and it will be em­braced by Cana­di­ans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.