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Bill Kelly: Will the federal government dump the Governor General?

Governor General Julie Payette delivers the Throne Speech in the Senate chamber, Thursday, December 5, 2019 in Ottawa.
Governor General Julie Payette delivers the Throne Speech in the Senate chamber, Thursday, December 5, 2019 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

While the prime minister has certainly been playing defence in the WE Charity fiasco, the Governor General seems to have grabbed the spotlight of public scrutiny, and for all the wrong reasons.

A recent CBC report revealed unusual and perhaps unnecessary spending on Rideau Hall to protect the Governor General’s privacy; problem is, three years into her term as GG, Julie Payette has yet to move into her residence at Rideau Hall.

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We’re also told that multiple sources have come forward to describe examples of verbal harassment of staff, which has caused a number of staff to leave Rideau Hall.

There are also stories of similar concerns at Payette’s previous job at the Montreal Science Centre.

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So, amid this controversy, is the government offering support for its choice as the Queen’s representative?

Not really.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked twice if the government had confidence in Payette, and both times, Freeland said that the government has great respect for the office of the Governor General, but she would not comment on Payette; that’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

For that matter, the prime minister has not offered any support for Payette in these troubling times.

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Will the federal government ask the Governor General to step down? That would be unprecedented, but not surprising.

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Payette has brought undue attention and controversy to her position, and right now, that’s a headache this government doesn’t need.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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