TORONTO – “It’s time for Canada to boldly go where no country has gone before.”
That phrase leads off an increasingly popular Facebook page calling for Canadian-born actor William Shatner to be named Canada’s next governor general.
Almost 12,000 people have signed on as fans on the page launched March 22 urging Capt. James T. Kirk to beam into Rideau Hall once Michaelle Jean stands down.
Jean’s five-year mission will soon expire and Prime Minister Stephen Harper is considering who will replace her.
The Facebook page asks fans to imagine Shatner reading the throne speech in that Captain Kirk style “we have come to know and love.”
A Shatner spokeswoman said the actor was “on set” Thursday and would not be available to comment.
However, a response was tweeted earlier via Shatner’s Twitter account.
“I’m being drafted by various groups to run for governor general,” the tweet reads.
“Would they accept me if I campaign for salmons’ rights?”
In a good-natured response to a similar effort last year, Shatner, 79, said he would prefer to be prime minister rather than take on the ceremonial post of governor general.
“As prime minister, I can lead Canada into even greater exploits so, therefore, I must – with my deepest thanks – turn down your honourable intent to advance me as governor general,” he wrote.
“Besides which, I don’t have time to be governor general.”
The Montreal-born Shatner, the original actor to portray Kirk before the “Star Trek” franchise was rebooted last year with Chris Pine in the role, recently sang Canada’s praises during the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics.
Wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen was recently mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Jean, but a spokeswoman for the Man in Motion said Hansen has not been offered the job.
Other possibilities include John de Chastelain, a former chief of defence staff and Canadian ambassador to the United States, Inuit leader Mary Simon and Reform party founder Preston Manning.
A Facebook page set up in March to promote Manning for the vice-regal position has just 500 fans.
However, another Facebook page pushing Canadian bard Leonard Cohen for governor general was closing in on 6,500 fans Thursday.
Fans maintain Cohen, who like Shatner hails from Montreal, would make an “ideal” choice to be the queen’s representative.
“He is respected and even revered both internationally and domestically,” the page states.
“He is fluently bilingual and is gladly claimed by both French and English Canada.”
Cohen, 75, is also “spiritual and morally centred” but doesn’t push his beliefs on others, the page states.
An unscientific poll – on themarknews.com – has Shatner by far as favourite to replace Jean, with 47 per cent of the votes.
Cohen has nine per cent support, just behind Hansen at 10 per cent.