It’s what happens when you become a member of the Privy Council — you get to add the term “Honourable” to your name. And today our Leader of the Opposition became a member.
So what else does he get? Well according to the Privy Council Office, he gets the following:
- The adding of the suffix “P.C.” to his name. For “Privy Council,” not “Progressive Conservative,” “Politically Correct” or the Intel-powered geekoid device that dares not speak its name, lest it be compared to something called “Mac.”
- The opportunity to swear two oaths. Well, given the latest press coverage and poll results, one suspects that the Waffle’s been doing quite a bit of swearing already. But actually, these are oaths of loyalty — one to the Queen, and one to the Council itself.
- A position on the Table of Precedence. No, it’s not like King Arthur’s Round Table, it’s more like the order in which guests come in at a formal occasion. As Leader of the Opposition, the Waffle already had position number 8, but once he’s no longer Opposition Leader (which will probably happen a lot sooner than he thinks), he would drop down to Position No. 10. Mind you, he’d have to wait in line behind the current Privy Councillors who were appointed before him.
- The privilege of having the flag half-masted at the time of his death. Of course, he’s not going to be around to enjoy that one.
The list of current PCers, by order of appointment, is available here, and as you can see the Waffle is currently at the bottom.
It should be noted that appointing the Leader of the Opposition to the Council is a very recent phenomenon. Stockwell Day, for example, wasn’t appointed until he became a Cabinet minister in 2006. And Preston Manning has yet to become a member.
Federal NDP leaders have also been appointed to the Privy Council, usually under Liberal governments needing cooperation. Jack Layton, for example, was appointed in 2005, during the Martin minority.
You know, although Preston Manning’s name has been floated around as a possible Governor-General candidate, I’d suggest it’d be more appropriate if the Harper government could see clear to giving him a PC appointment. It’d be a bit more reflective of his role in the Conservative movement in Canada, don’tcha think?