12 July 2010

UPDATED: Something Stinks

I googled the names of the members of Stephen Harper's secret advisory committee, the one intended to make recommendations regarding potential candidates for Canada's next Governor-General.

To my admittedly sensitive nose, something stinks.

  • Sheila-Marie Cook, Chair of the committee, was appointed by Stephen Harper in September 2006 to secretary and deputy to the Governor-General.
  • Rainer Knopff is a University of Calgary political-science professor and member of the Calgary School.
  • Kevin MacLeod was appointed by Stephen Harper in 2008 to the Senate Usher of the Black Rod.
  • Christopher Manfredi, McGill University political-science professor, has written about the 'dangers' of 'feminist activism', referencing the Supreme Court and the work of LEAF.
  • Christopher McCreery is Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.
  • Jacques Monet is director of the Canadian Institute of Jesuit Studies and the Archives of the Jesuits of Upper Canada.

By their Harper appointments, Cook and MacLeod would appear to have passed Harper's liberal whiff test.

In his note to journalists this morning, Dimitri Soudas, Harper's director of communications, didn't just name names; he also outlined the committee's primary activities and mission.

"The advisory committee engaged in extensive consultations across the country, meeting with leading constitutional experts, past and current political leaders, and other distinguished Canadians before providing the Prime Minister with its confidential recommendations...

The members were guided "by one key question in assessing their recommendations to the Prime Minister: 'Will the next Governor General be able to serve without partisanship and according to the Constitutional role he/she will be given?'" [my emphasis]

Given the makeup of the committee, can you imagine Soudas writing that with a straight face? This is the best evidence yet that the man's got a sense of humour.

UPDATE: Well, lookie here! It appears that Paul Wells agrees: "Three minutes’ googling would tell you Chris Manfredi and Rainer Knopff have built long and fruitful careers drinking each other’s intellectual bathwater."

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