Friday, 15 January 2010

Michaëlle Jean's defining moment

I believe Michaëlle Jean has just experienced her defining moment as Governor General of Canada.  In the hours following the devastating earthquake in her native Haiti, Mme Jean has shown true leadership, compassion, selflessness and a genuine human touch at a time when, quite frankly, the world needed it.

Her tearful address to the media where she offered an emotional thanks to Canadians for moving so quickly to help was what - for many, me included - drove home the severity of the situation in Haiti.  Her sincere warmth and compassion for the people of her native homeland has moved us and has earned her well-deserved praise and respect.

There are some who maintain that the Monarch and her representative shouldn't show emotion in public.  I disagree.  I believe that if the Crown is to be the personification of the state, then it must also reflect the mood of the people of the state.  A kind, caring modern monarchy does not forbid its representatives to shed a tear when circumstances call for it.

Her direct participation in discussing Canada's relief efforts provided a unique opportunity to leverage the vice-regal's experience and non-partisanship.  The Governor General's right to be consulted, advise and to warn was truly demonstrated.

Mme Jean has not escaped criticism from the League or from me personally.  We Monarchists expressed our outrage when royal portraits were removed from Rideau Hall.  And, we were quick to correct her when she referred to herself as "head of state." 

But, Mme Jean's actions these last few days have done much to endear her to us.  I have earned a whole new respect for our Governor General as I suspect many Canadians have. 

When I look back years from now and assess Mme Jean's Governor Generalship I believe I will remember Mme Jean most for the way she conducted herself these last few days.  For me, this is her defining moment.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

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