The Michaelle Jean controversy

08.18.05

Michaelle Jean, the new appointee for Governer General of Canada, has been generating a ton of controversy since she was named. The attacks stem mostly around speculation that she and her husband have sovereigntist leanings, or that she may have conflicting loyalties because she also holds French citizenship. She’s issued a denial of the separatist accusations, and the latter doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, but her naming has still generated tons of criticism.

It seems a little bizarre that in the entire country, there was not a single candidate who could be found for the job who didn’t come equipped with such heavy baggage. But to me, all those things miss the point.

The thing is, amidst all the speculation and all the attacks, I’ve yet to see why Michaelle Jean even deserves the position in the first place.

Sure, one could argue that the job of Governer General isn’t exactly rife with prerequisites. It’s a largely ceremonial post, one that many Canadians argue should be abolished altogether. But scoff at it or not, it does have its share of demands.

Like her predecessor, Adrienne Clarkson, Jean is a minority woman. She’s also a Quebec francophone. But nobody has told me about a single real qualification that she holds for the job, other than the colour of her skin and the language of her speech. Oh, and the fact that she’s photogenic and has TV experience. But how does that qualify someone to represent our country?

For a purely political appointment, Martin could’ve done better. Much better.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DaninVan 08.19.05 at 7:47 AM

She doesn’t have a background in Constitutional Law, don’tcha know?

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2 half canadian 08.19.05 at 8:15 PM

Would be nice if she would at least undergo an unambiguous rejection of Quebec secession before taking office.

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3 Tré 08.24.05 at 5:18 PM

If she were really a sovereignist, she would not have taken the job.

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4 John Palubiski 08.26.05 at 3:52 PM

Methinks it’s time the job went to a “polophone”! ;o)

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