Letter: As Governor-General, Julie Payette should address U.S. assault charges

Editor: Re: The wisdom of Julie Payette as Governor-General

The Liberal national government has seen fit to recommend appointing a woman for the position of Governor-General who was charged with second-degree assault. Ms. Payette was charged with second-degree assault on Nov.24, 2011 when she was residing in the state of Maryland. Those charges were dismissed about two weeks later.

One would think that this would have been a relevant concern which Ms. Payette would have thought worthy of mentioning in the interview process. If it was not mentioned by her, one would think that such a failure on her part, may perhaps disqualify her for the position of Governor-General. Our Prime Minister refuses to confirm which contingency is the case. She and he need to provide an explanation to Canadians.

Ms. Payette will not comment on these charges, which she called unfounded through a statement issued from Rideau Hall. I submit when one seeks, or accepts, a position in our government second only to the Queen, it is incumbent on that person to make a comment when such an issue surfaces. If Ms. Payette was a man would she be given a pass by our federal government, and would her silence be tolerated by the media? I suspect not. If Ms. Payette wants the job of Governor-General she needs to explain herself and her past actions. If she does not want to publicly explain herself she should remove her name from consideration.

Does Ms. Payette’s judgment on this issue show that she has the capacity to deal with a constitutional crisis if one should arise during the course of her five-year term? What does her appointment say about our so-called political leaders that picked her in the first place?

As long as we have continued majority governments the role of the Governor-General is simply ceremonial. Should we hope for majority governments so Parliament can effectively control her? We can also hope that difficult issues do not fall on the desk of this political appointee, for if they do, do we want someone who refuses to comment, in times of crisis, as our vice-regal representative?

Mr. Trudeau states that Ms. Payette represents “openness to the world” and “curiosity.” That does not appear to be the case when it comes to her background and her suitability for her newly designated position.

David R. Thompson,