Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dynamic symbol for Liberal Canada 

Just to show how insular we are with our International outlooks, Canada installed a new Governor-General yesterday. I didn't notice either, despite having an interest in Canadian matters, or so I thought. Thoughts - great, Canada, some envy from me, and a plus point for Canada's Federal Liberal government...

Anyway, the new 'GG' is Michaëlle Jean. She is a former refugee from Haiti.

Official Governor-General site here.

This from the Globe and Mail:
The rewriting of the job definition began with Adrienne Clarkson, whose
energy and activism earned admiration among Canadians. She became a patron of
the armed forces at a time when the military was often ignored, visited
regularly with aboriginals and had a general, common touch.But she might have
been an anomaly in the job had Mr. Martin (the Prime Minister) not cemented her
approach by choosing Ms. Jean as her successor.
As a refugee from Haiti, the 48-year-old former journalist symbolizes the
equality of opportunity that is slowly becoming this government's hallmark. That
characteristic is perhaps best exemplified by the legalization of same-sex
marriage, but can also be found in Mr. Martin's embrace of policies that would
increase the number of immigrants.
Ms. Jean is also a Quebecker who comes from neither the French nor the
English side of the debate. While her role is not to bridge that chasm, her
appointment does at least reflect an emerging and different demographic in the
In her ambassadorial role, Ms. Jean laid out yesterday what her personal
crusades will be. While Ms. Clarkson championed natives and the military, Ms.
Jean will be an ambassador for children, Canadian unity and the equality of

"Nothing in today's society is more disgraceful than the marginalization of
some young people who are driven to isolation and despair," she said. "We must
not tolerate such disparities."

From her speech:
Car l’espoir a éclairé tout mon parcours d’enfant et de femme et s’est
incarné dans ce pays aux possibilités illimitées que, il faut bien l’avouer,
l’on tient parfois pour acquis. Depuis la petite fille née dans un autre
pays “barbelé de pied en cap”, pour reprendre l’expression si forte de mon oncle
le poète René Depestre, celle qui a vu ses parents, sa famille, ses amis aux
prises avec les horreurs d’une dictature sans merci, jusqu’à la femme qui se
tient devant vous aujourd’hui, c’est tout un apprentissage de la liberté qui a
vu le jour. Je sais à quel point cette liberté est précieuse et quel héritage
fabuleux elle représente pour chaque enfant et chaque citoyen de ce
pays. Moi dont les ancêtres étaient des esclaves, moi qui suis
issue d’une civilisation longtemps réduite aux chuchotements et aux cris de la
douleur, j’en connais le prix et je reconnais en elle notre plus grand trésor
collectif. "


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