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Dear Governor Simon, beware of Greeks bearing gifts

4 7 0
11.07.2021

Too often, journalists are preoccupied by the “who” to bother considering the “why”.

This grating tendency has been on predictable display in the aftermath of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s belated – as some insist – decision to appoint an Indigenous woman as governor-general earlier this week.

Mary Simon, an Inuk leader and former diplomat, is the first Indigenous person to serve as Canada’s titular head of state.

“Canada is a place to find a people, a people who serve those around them; who tackle big challenges with hope and determination and, above all, who never stop working to build a brighter tomorrow. In other words, people like Mary Simon,” Trudeau said while introducing the new governor-general at a press conference.

The prime minister was applauded by a gushing establishment press that always gushes and applauds when another governor-general is unveiled in typically subdued Canadian fanfare. (More on this later.)

Still, several writers chastised Trudeau for not appointing Simon governor-general in 2017, having chosen instead to elevate astronaut and engineer, Julie Payette, to the frilly, ceremonial position. (More on Payette later, too.)

Left unanswered amid all the gentle tsk-tsking – so as not to deflect from the historic moment – was why Trudeau had dithered in making his “ground-breaking” selection.

The answer lies in Trudeau’s signature cynical, calculating modus operandi.

In 2017, Trudeau and his haughty corps of know-it-all advisors likely calibrated that there was little to no public relations dividend to be derived by making an Indigenous person governor-general, although several eminent candidates were being promoted at the time.

The persistent, grinding injustices and deprivations that remain a common aspect of the lives of many of Canada’s First Nations were not on much of the media’s myopic radar. They did not matter then.

So, Trudeau and always-on-the-lookout-for-profitable-optics-company opted to replace an ageing male academic with the young, smart and exuberant Payette to confirm the new prime........

© Al Jazeera


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