There has been a massive wave of concern, some of it justified, about Governor General Julie Payette’s remarks at a recent scientific conference.
The concern has been exacerbated because both prime Minister Trudeau and Opposition Leader Scheer have waded in, on opposite side, of course.
Her remarks were, in my opinion, pretty mainstream for someone with a hard science-engineering background to make when speaking to a bunch of scientists … But Her Excellency is not “just” an astronaut-engineer, she is the “face” of the country. When she speaks she speaks for all of us.
She is faulted, rightfully, for a “mocking tone” when she talked about beliefs. Beliefs are special … we all have some, and some of them (some of ALL of our beliefs) probably don’t stand up too well against hard reasoning … I’m 100% sure that some of mine don’t, and I didn’t find much with which to disagree in Her Excellency’s remarks. But Julie Payette is the personification of ALL of our values and beliefs rolled up, into one, and none of them should be mocked. She and her staff need to take account of some of the public reaction to her remarks and learn from this rookie mistake … because that’s all it was.
The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader also need to learn to stay away from this sort of controversy: neither set of public remarks was helpful.