There have been news stories in recent days about my expenses since leaving Rideau Hall. Given that taxpayers’ money is involved, I want to address this matter.
Postgovernor-generalship, I have continued to participate in public life in an active and meaningful way. I believe in public service. I always have. It has been the joy of my life. Playing golf was not an option.
The financial support I’ve received is in line with what was extended to my predecessors, and has been to my successors, since the program was put in place in 1979. The existence of this program has never been secret. Other democracies similar to ours also provide postmandate support for the equivalent office to the governor-general. In the expenditures that I’ve incurred, I have always followed the instructions from the Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General.
Last year, I fulfilled 182 commitments, many of them public events. I gave 16 speeches with no honorarium or fees, and 10 pieces of writing for no fee. All of this was related to my life as Canada’s 26th governor-general, and all of this came to me at the request of Canadians. These numbers represent about 25 per cent of the total requests and invitations I received in 2017. I try to do as much as I can.
When you accept the invitation to become governor-general, you go through an intense briefing period. One of the things you are told is that this is not a job like any other – you will be engaging in a unique relationship with Canadians. And by its very nature, when you finish your term, that relationship will continue. My predecessors, whom I admired, all emphasized the importance of this to me.