For many Canadians who worry about Stephen Harper's approach to parliamentary democracy, one of the low points came in December 2008.
That's when he asked then governor-general Michaëlle Jean to shut down the House of Commons when it appeared that a majority of MPs were prepared to back a new coalition government led by then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion.
The plan called for NDP MPs, including then leader Jack Layton, to join cabinet; Bloc Québécois MPs were prepared to keep the coalition in power in any votes that came before Parliament.
At the time, Harper and his ministers falsely characterized the plan as a "coup d'état", even though this is how parliamentary democracy works in other countries.
In the end, Jean approved the prime minister's very questionable request to suspend Parliament, staving off the defeat of Harper's government in the House.
Since then, Harper has demonstrated a stunning disregard for parliamentary democracy by introducing omnibus bills that alter dozens of pieces of legislation at a time.
As John Ralston Saul wrote in his new book The Comeback, bills C-38 and C-45 amended 133 "largely unrelated laws" in 2012 with "very little debate".
Saul's long-time partner and Jean's predecessor at Rideau Hall, former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, has never spoken publicly about how she would have handled the prorogation crisis in 2008.
However in an interview with the Georgia Straight in 2011, Clarkson said that she has given a great deal of thought about what the boundaries are for a governor general in that position.
“I wrote it all down and put it in my papers for the National Archives,” Clarkson said at the time. “They can be opened in 30 years, so there is a lot of material there for a PhD thesis.”
Jean's decision to let Harper get away with essentially padlocking Parliament emboldened him to become even more aggressively antidemocratic after that point.
Jean gets a plum international post
Today, Jean was named secretary-general of la Francophonie, making her the first Canadian to head the organization of French-speaking countries.
The former CBC Radio-Canada broadcaster and immigrant from Haiti now has a platform to speak about the Harper government's international initiatives on maternal health. No wonder the prime minister is crowing about her appointment.
Harper's wife Laureen even tweeted her approval: "Félicitations à mon amie @MichaelleJeanF!"
Her appointment came with the support of the Canadian government and all other members of la Francophonie. And it will no doubt help the Conservatives advance claims in the next federal election campaign that they're a benevolent international player.
David Johnston helped Conservatives in the past
Jean isn't the only governor general who's been useful to the Conservatives. Former university president and law-school dean David Johnston helped Harper politically before being appointed as Canada's 28th governor general in 2010.
As the independent advisor to the Mulroney-Schreiber task force in 2007 and 2008, Johnston wrote the terms of reference for the inquiry into payments that the German businessman had given to Mulroney after Mulroney left office.
Justice Jeffrey Oliphant's inquiry was limited in scope, preventing him from examining Air Canada's decision to buy Airbus planes in 1988, even though Schreiber had been a lobbyist for Airbus Industrie.
Johnston's decision to limit the terms of reference was covered extensively in Harvey Cashore's 2010 book, The Truth Shows Up: A Reporter's Fifteen-Year Odyssey Tracking Down the Truth About Mulroney, Schreiber and the Airbus Scandal.
Two months after the book was released, a Toronto Star column by James Travers reviewed this issue shortly before Johnston was named governor general.
Travers noted that by limiting the terms of reference at the Mulroney inquiry, Johnston ensured that Oliphant couldn't examine what happened to $20 million in Airbus commissions.
"A Prime Minister looking for a Governor General to be, among other things, a credible constitutional referee would take a needless risk naming someone who has already made a contentious decision that, fairly or not, is widely seen as tilting in Harper’s favour," Travers wrote at the time.
That, of course, didn't stop Johnston from becoming governor general. And now, Jean has become the face of Canadian humanitarianism abroad.
Perhaps the time has come for Clarkson to scribble down some thoughts about both of these developments and place them in the National Archives for future historians to ponder.