by Jazminn Hintz
Governor General David Johnston made his first official visit to Saskatchewan in September. But is the Governor General important to everyone?
Johnston, previously president of University of Waterloo, has been Governor General since 2010. While in Regina, Johnston attended the First Nations University of Canada, Sept. 12, to participate in a discussion with students.
“Mr. Johnston is more low key and doesn't seem to be a celebrity” compared to past Governors General, Adrienne Clarkson, according to University of Regina professor Raymond Blake. He believes Canadians expect the Governor General to be more reserved, and Johnston is different from the others.
Seeing the Governor General was not a personal interest of Blake's, and he believes most Canadians share his ambivalence. To Blake, people should look at him "as not David Johnston, but as head of state representing the monarchy in Canada."
Blake thinks the Governor General is a chance for Canadians to come together. He also believes Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stressing the importance of the monarchy and crown, because, to Blake, "we need to look at the monarchy really in the sense of importance in history and heritage, because the monarchy is an enduring reality of Canada, so we should start promoting it more.”
Victor Guredam, U of R student, from Nigeria didn’t attend any of the events surrounding the Governor General’s visit, but he said the Governor General is of “great importance to all citizens,” because the position represents the Queen.
"A leader shouldn't just be in the office, because leadership is about people," Guredam said. He said a good leader “knows what the people want, because he talks with them and hears their perspective first hand."
In contrast U of R student Kristina Bute said the Governor General is "not at all" important to her and is "just an authority." Bute added the Governor General has a “historical importance but not political importance, because the Governor General doesn’t do too much, he just oversees what the Queen does."
Bute didn’t care that the Governor General visited Saskatchewan, but pointed out it is “important that he takes consideration of what people think, and gets involved in the community.”