Michaelle Jean new Governor General of Canada

My apologies for yesterdays outage.. trouble with the Internet provider.

Michaelle (pronounced, MeekaEl) Jean (soft-g “gon” silent-n) was sworn in yesterday as Canadas’ Governor General. She took over the position from Adrienne Clarkson. For those not familiar, the Governor General is the Official representative of the Monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) in Canada. She gives Royal Assent to new laws, swears in the Prime Minister and other important political posts, and acts as Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.

I have not heard her speech, but given the positively glowing reviews she has received from the nations major papers, on both political spectrums, it seems we are in for a treat.

No doubt, Michaelle represents the epitomy of what it is to be Canadian. She was born in Haiti. Her father moved their family to Montreal when she was young. She is active and well known in the Haitian community there and has worked for the betterment of Haitians still in Haiti. She embraced the French culture of Quebec and is now well known as a broadcaster for the French service of the CBC. She was also the host for many documentary programs on the English CBC and CBC Newsworld.

Jean made this Canadian identity a clear in her speech. Perhaps her most uplifting words were these:

“The narrow notion of ‘every person for himself’ does not belong in today’s world, which demands that we learn to see beyond our wounds, beyond our differences for the good of all.”

“Quite the contrary: We must eliminate the spectre of all the solitudes and promote solidarity among all the citizens who make up the Canada of today.”

This from a prominent and influencial native french speaker. A Woman. A Black woman. Finally. Someone who can speak for Canada. From Experience. In both official languages and across all cultures. As was said in the Globe and Mail:

“We are an entirely different country from the one reflected in the words and faces of those who lead us – old faces, old men, who nurse ancient animosities and scratch at phantom wound.”

Jean represents what Canadians believe they are. Multicultural, diverse, progressive and compassionate.

Join me in welcoming our new Vice Regal, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean.

8 thoughts on “Michaelle Jean new Governor General of Canada”

  1. Michaelle Jean

    She was a Haitian but gave that up
    She was buddies with the FLQ but gave them up.
    She was buddies with the Bloc Quebecois but gave them up
    She was a French Citizen but gave that up
    She was the Governor General of Canada but…?
    She will do and be whatever is expedient to advance herself.

  2. “The narrow notion of ‘every person for himself’ does not belong in today’s world, which demands that we learn to see beyond our wounds, beyond our differences for the good of all.”

    “Quite the contrary: We must eliminate the spectre of all the solitudes and promote solidarity among all the citizens who make up the Canada of today.”

    Hmmm…sounds like the Mission Statement of the Borg.

  3. bijoux55:

    “She was a Haitian but gave that up”

    Why don’t you try asking the Haitian community that? Sheesh, so now if you’re an immigrant to Canada you automatically “give up” your connection to your birth-country, no matter how young you were when you came over, OR what you did for your fellow immigrants afterwards?

    “She was buddies with the FLQ but gave them up.
    She was buddies with the Bloc Quebecois but gave them up”

    Do you have proof of that or are you just parroting what others have claimed?

    “She was a French Citizen but gave that up”

    By marriage. And as Governor General would you want a French Citizen as Head of State for Canada?

    “She will do and be whatever is expedient to advance herself.”

    Funny.. and I thought “advancing” yourself was a goal that all people should be allowed to pursue… or is she not allowed because she wasn’t born here? Or she’s a Woman?

    Care to explain yourself?

  4. While Jean’s speech is redolent with socialist philosophy, she seems like a worthy person to me and has overcome many many obstacles and that type of individual achievement speaks very well of her.

    Of course, I just might be mistaking her strong belief in a unified Canada (when’s that gonna happen Seems all your national leaders are French speaking born and raised in Quebec or is that just my imagination?)for a call to more collectivism in social policy? If so, my apologies. But even with my political reservations as an interested outsiderk, I think she is a classy lady and will be a credit to Canada now and in the future.

    So Brava, Michaelle Jean. You have a lovely name and a lovely spirit. I applaude Canada’a choice.

  5. No, worries, didn’t get lost.. just got trapped by my spam filter for some reason. There it is now. 🙂

    What you might say is a “call to more collectivism” in policy I think Canadians would simply intepret as a call for a unified Canada in spirit and direction.

    The “solitudes” Jean refers to is a common term in Canadian dialogue describing the two official languages and cultures of English and French descent. So what she is calling for is a unification of what has, until now, been two distinct societies (distinct society being another keyword from the time of the Meech Lake accord which attempted to include Quebec into the Constitution while preserving it’s “distinct” cultural status).

    “when’s that gonna happen Seems all your national leaders are French speaking born and raised in Quebec or is that just my imagination?”

    This may be your view because every top Canadian official you have seen is perfectly fluent in both languages (or in Chretiens case, barely understandable in both. 😉 ) This is because French and English are both official languages and obviously if a PM wants any shot at winning seats in Quebec, they’d better be able to speak the language. 🙂

    As far as Prime Ministers go, that has been quite true in the past few decades, Martin, Chretien, Mulroney Trudeau… all born in Quebec. John Deifenbaker, PM from 57-63 was from Ontario. The main reason PMs are often from Ontario and Quebec is a) because they are much more likely to speak both official languages natively… b) because those two provinces are the largest, have the most seats… etc.

    Only a few PMs have been born outside Ontario/Quebec…

    As for the Governors General, I don’t think the trend has been quite so skewed towards Quebeccers… historically and by law the GG is associated with the Reigning King or Queen of the British Commonwealth. Thus historically I think the GG was generally English-native speaking… however, in the past couple decades, as Canada got its’ own constitution in 1980 and such, the GG has reflected more Canadian values and people rather than British ones… so we will likely see more French speaking, but also immigrants holding that post. Adrienne Clarkson, the former GG was born in Hong Kong I believe, so she spoke neither French nor English natively.

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