Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Please, for the love of God, don't call him "Mister"....

OK, all this "Steve" talk has a lot of people making suggestions about what we should call the Prime Minister, including the Globe and Mail's current online poll, which has among its suggestions (as many others have suggested) "Mr. Prime Minister".

Oh, for the love of God no!

You can't just stick "Mr." in front of "Prime Minister" the way one does with "President", it just doesn't work. "Prime Minister" is the proper form of address should you not wish to use the Prime Minister's name.

"Good morning, Prime Minister."

"How are you today Prime Minister?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

...but NEVER "Mr. Prime Minister".

You would never call a cabinet minister "Mr. Minister" (tell me you wouldn't!) and one should no more refer to the PM as "Mr." Prime Minister than you would call the Minister at your church "Mr. Minister". It's not that I don't like the "Americanization" of stealing the "Mr. President" meme, it's just that for a Prime Minister, it's wrong. As in "incorrect". Or, as I prefer, wrong, wrong, wrong.

OK end of rant. Sorry about that, but the whole "Mr. Prime Minister" thing that people who don't know any better use really gets under my skin, and I've seen it 20 times since the whole "Steve" thing came up.

Knock it off people.


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montreal simon said...

Lord Kitch you are right technically speaking. But the whole point is academic. By now it's more than clear that Stephen Harper doesn't care whether it's Mr PMS or just PMS. He'd rather be known as Mr President. I'm sure the whole confusion arose when the PMO staff started calling him that to flatter him. Oh well at least it's better than Mr Steve...

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

You're right. It is academic. In fact, really, it doesn't matter at all. Of course, that's what makes it funny.

I don't think the "Mr." thing started when the current PMs staff started using it. This has bugged me for a lot longer than Harper's been PM. :-) I'm sure I've heard (or read) Martin and Chretien addressed as "Mr. Prime Minister" in the past. Probably at scrums.

I was also thinking that I don't get why someone would find "Mr. Prime Minister" to be more flattering than "Prime Minister". If "Prime Minister" was good enough for Winston Churchill and Sir John A MacDonald, it's good enough for Stephen Harper. Though, I hasten to add, I have no reason to believe he doesn't know, and believe that himself. I don't think I've ever heard it discussed, or read about it anywhere. I don't know how Prime Minister Harper feels about "Mr. Prime Minister".

I hear his Mom doesn't like "Steve" though.


Anonymous said...

That bugs the hell out of me. So does calling ministers "Minister X" like "Minister Toews" or "Minister MacKay." It's not a freaking prefix. You call them "Minister" or "the Minister of Foreign Affairs" or "Mr. MacKay." That's it!

Aeneas the Younger said...


Another fine example of how we have sold-out The Queen's English/Canadian English to the Americans.