19 February 2009

Welcome to Canada, Mr. President...

Obama fever hit Ottawa today as President Barack Obama made his first official visit outside of the United States. I am not sure exactly what it is that has endeared this President to everyone's hearts, but he certainly has made an impression on us.

I think he might be the change people are looking for from the regular politician and the same old, same old. He seems to offer youth, energy, charisma and hope for better times ahead. As the first black President, the message is that anyone can aspire to the highest office, no matter their race, colour or creed, which I think gives us hope that we as humans have progressed from our past prejudices and hatreds.

He seems like a very capable man and it will be interesting to see how he performs as he enters this presidency in the worst economic times we have seen in a long time.

His family seem like the ideal American family. His wife is beautiful and has been compared to Jackie Kennedy in her style. His children look well behaved and are pretty young girls. Their new role must seem awesome to them.

It has always amazed me however that once someone becomes a President they start being referred to by their last name by the media and people in general. Everyone up here calls him Obama and our Prime Minister is called Harper.

Why do we not use their full name? Or it is that we just don't know how to address them so revert to last names?

What is the proper etiquette when addressing or writing to a President? If you ever have an opportunity to meet him, you should call him Mr. President or Sir and if you are writing correspondence you would write Dear Mr. President. If you are talking about him you should say The President of the United States or President Obama.

Letters to the President should be addressed as below:

The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC, 20500

I think people in positions of power should be given the respect for the office they are in and not be addressed simply by their last name. Even for convenience sake.

What does this post have to do with Administrative Assistants? Well, behind every important business person, whether they be the head of a Fortune 500 company, a movie star or even The President of the United States, they all need an assistant to help them manage their responsibilities. Our role is important to the success of executives and managers everywhere.

On a personal note, I work across the street from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. Our streets were filled with police officers at every corner, helicopters, police snipers on roof tops and barricaded streets. Traffic was heavy on the way home as we made way for the President to get back to the Airport for his flight home to Washington.

I think the visit went well and we are hoping for good relationships between our two countries. I heard on the news tonight that President Obama even went to a local bakery for some maple leaf cookies and asked for one of our delicious Beavertails.

P.S. Like everything else nowadays, if you want answers to just about anything -- Google it. Here is a video link on the proper etiquette to address a President.


Anonymous said...

Good Post!

Can you make a post about addressing government official in Canada? I was faced with this task last week, and while I think I did it correctly, a little guidance wouldn't hurt. For example, addressing the Minister of (insert gov't agency here) is it Honourable so and so or Mr. or Ms. so and so?

Patricia Robb said...

Here is a great site for that information. You will see I also posted on it for everyone's convenience.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! That was very helpful - really appreciate it!