A gentle reminder

The Prime Minister clarifies the Governor General’s place in the hierarchy.

“Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and Head of State,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued to Canwest News Service on Thursday. “The Governor General represents the Crown in Canada.”

The extraordinary reminder from the country’s head of government to its top viceregal representative follows an uproar over Jean’s use of the phrase “head of state” when referring to herself during a speech in Paris on Monday.

Mind you, specific issues of protocol, such as whether the Prime Minister is entitled to a salute and to what degree John Baird can overrule the Governor General, are often subject to interpretation.

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