Pam for Next Governor General!

Don't laugh. (Well, ok, do.) But here's why.

By Will McMartin 28 Sep 2005 |
image atom

On Tuesday, Michaelle Jean took the oath of office as Canada's 27th Governor General. Like every one of her predecessors, Mme Jean, a Quebec television personality, is not a British Columbian.

Our Pacific province joined Confederation one hundred and thirty-four years ago, but to date not a single B.C. resident has been named to the highest office in the land. It is a veritable dagger in the heart of every British Columbian - or, mildly irritating, at least - to know that we have been systematically shunned when it comes to Canada's vice-regal selection.

There is but one redemptive act that can redress the wrongs we have suffered: when Mme Jean's term expires - likely in five years, on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler - a British Columbian of character, achievement, and above all, stature, must succeed her!

Justice will not be done if we wait for Canadians 'back East' to come to their senses. We, ourselves, must take the initiative and unite behind a single candidate who can be presented to the rest of the country as Mme Jean's heir-apparent, the Governor General-in-waiting.

But who should be our nominee? Surprisingly, the answer becomes ever more obvious the more one thinks about it.

Pamela Anderson.

With history our guide…

Our Pam's suitability for the post becomes glaringly evident when the credentials of previous vice-regal appointees are examined. Three identifiable phases can be discerned in the history of Governors General.

In the first phase, from Confederation to 1952, the post was filled by 17 British aristocrats. There were, in hierarchical order, three Dukes, one Marquess, six Earls, three Viscounts, and four mere Lords. Every one was a male.

Just a few of these high-born notables left a lasting legacy in Canada. Lord Stanley (1888-1893) donated a cup that has been awarded annually to North America's champion hockey team, while Earl Grey (1904-1911) followed with a mug for the best Canadian football club. Stanley also gave his name to an urban park alongside Burrard Inlet, and Lord Tweedsmuir (1935-40) is known to British Columbians because his name adorns a large park in the province's North.

The second phase, from 1952 until 1999, marked the 'Canadianization' of the office. No longer were Governors General shipped across the Atlantic from the mother country to a grateful colony. As a sign of our nation's growing independence, the federal government now chose the nominee from amongst Canadians and requested the British sovereign merely to rubber-stamp its selection. By a remarkable coincidence, every one of the individuals picked in Ottawa during this period was either a put-to-pasture politician or a toady of the party in power.

In chronological order, there was Vincent Massey, a Liberal backroom boy and fundraiser; George P. Vanier, a federal civil servant; Roland Michener, a former Liberal MP; Jules Leger, another civil servant; Edward Schreyer, a defeated NDP premier; Jeanne Sauve, a former Liberal cabinet minister; Ray Hnatyshyn, a defeated Progressive Conservative cabinet minister; and Romeo LeBlanc, an ex-Liberal cabinet minister and former senator.

Now we are in the third phase of vice-regal appointments. It began in 1999 with Prime Minister Jean Chretien's selection of Adrienne Clarkson, and continued in August with Prime Minister Paul Martin's pick of Michaelle Jean. Both women achieved a measure of public prominence as 'television personalities' with the federally-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Clarkson hosted and produced a slew of CBC television programs from the 1960s through the 1990s. Jean worked at the CBC's French affiliate, Radio-Canada, hosting and producing news and documentary programming.

So where the first phase of vice-regal appointees may be summarized as 'male British aristocrats,' and the second featured 'political hacks of either gender,' the third phase is 'female entertainers.'

Pamela Anderson, as we all know, is a female entertainer.

The prospect's resume

Pamela was born in Ladysmith on July 1, 1967. That's Canada Day, on the 100th anniversary of Confederation! Mere hours old, she was featured in news stories across the country as Canada's 'Centennial Baby.'

Like Adrienne Clarkson and Michaelle Jean, Pam also embarked on a television career. But unlike them, Pamela had huge audiences - millions upon millions of people around the world - watching her work. She became a regular cast member on the popular sitcom 'Home Improvement' in 1991, and a couple of years later gained international recognition as lifeguard C.J. Parker on 'Baywatch.' In 1998, she got her own television series, 'V.I.P.,' starring as private-eye Valerie Irons, and this year launched yet another series, 'Stacked,' a sitcom set in a bookstore. (Get it? 'Stacks' of books. What were you thinking?)

Hollywood beckoned and she was featured in several films, notably 'Pauly Shore is Dead' and 'Scary Movie 3.' In 1996, she had the starring role in 'Barb Wire,' a rollicking adventure of espionage and danger. And on top of all that, the hard-working Pamela found time to maintain her appearances with the Playboy organization, notably in 'Girls of Summer' (the '92,' '93,' and '94' editions), the 'Book of Lingerie,' (Volumes 33 through 38), and 'Playmates in Paradise' (1994).

Professionally-speaking, Pam is well-suited to follow Clarkson and Jean into Rideau Hall.

But there's more.

The Tommy Lee factor

In addition to being female entertainers, both Clarkson and Jean are married to self-aggrandizing artiste-philosophers whose work is incomprehensible to ordinary folk.

Clarkson's mate is writer John Ralston Saul, a supercilious swell whose essays reportedly find great favour in salons and faculty lounges from one end of Toronto to the other. Jean is wed to Jean-Daniel Lafond, a former philosophy professor who now produces films.

Pam's in step. She once was married to Tommy Lee, the drummer for Motley Crue, a heavy-metal musical group which sold millions of albums. And just as regular people haven't got the faintest idea what Saul and Lafond ramble on about, no rational person can fathom the popularity of Tommy Lee or Motley Crue.

Start the campaign

But there is one tiny problem. Pamela Anderson is (with two exceptions) what you might call a 'self-made gal.' Everything she has earned was through her own labour, creativity and perseverance. To the best anyone knows, she has never collected a nickel from the government: no patronage appointments, no awards, no contracts, no plums.

She's simply a hard-working woman who has achieved phenomenal success through her own initiative.

But consider the roster of Canada's Governors General. First there were the British snobs who received their aristocratic titles and vice-regal appointments through family ancestry. Then there were the ex-politicians and former civil servants who wanted to enjoy an early retirement while collecting a government pay cheque.

And now we have Clarkson and Jean, and their spouses, Saul and Lafond, who, between the four of them, have been feeding at the public trough for nearly a century in total. Employment at the CBC, contracts with the National Film Board, grants from the Canada Council, and countless appointments and sinecures from nearly every imaginable taxpayer-financed institution and agency, provincial and federal - the list goes on.

Why would any truly successful person like Pamela Anderson want to be appointed Canada's Governor General?

She wouldn't, of course. We must begin the crusade. Please, Pammy, don't turn us down.

Tyee columnist Will McMartin will be talking to Mehdi Najari about the BC Budget on CFUV Friday 9:00am to 10:00am. Click here.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Get The Tyee in your inbox


The Barometer

How could we do better on health care?

Take this week's poll