SHE IS “THE STORY OF CANADA?”

Prime Minister Paul Martin has appointed our newest governor-general, Mrs. Michäelle Jean, a Haitian refugee, and presently a “Canadian and a Quebecer”, to quote her own words.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to go off on a tangent, as that is not my intention. But what exactly does Miss Jean have, or what has she done, that makes her the story of Canada, as Prime Minister Martin has called her? The closest liberal definition I could come up with was that she wasn’t born here. That seems to be one’s biggest asset today. Perhaps that is what he meant.

Furthermore, we are once again smacked upside the head with that term “Canadian Quebecer.”, by no less than Mrs. Jean herself. I ask you, is there any other kind? All Quebecers are Canadian, because Quebec is in Canada. See how that works? It seems that Michäelle has what it takes, because she already has the hyphenated Canadian thing down.

Me, I’m just a Canadian. Not an English Canadian, not a Canadian-British thingy, nor am I a Canadian-Ontarian. Funny how in the rest of the country, we simply say we are Canadian. I can’t wait for some French beer company to come up with the slogan “I am Canadian-French-Quebecer.”

While I will probably be called petty for writing this article, you have to realize something right away. Mrs. Jean was named for one reason. Prime Minister Martin needs Quebec votes, and as much as I can picture him standing up with his perfect news hour face and acting outraged at my accusation, I still believe it to be true.

To be fair, this is not Michäelle’s fault, and I am sure that she has the best intentions. I hope that she is as honourable as she seems, and I truly hope that she reaches our youth, as that is one of her self-proclaimed goals.

Our governor general, however, has always been named because of what they had done for Canada. What has Michäelle done for our country? We have plenty of choices that would have been more fitting, but would not have helped our beleaguered leader muster further votes. How sad.

This dismisses so many who are known by many of us, such as astronaut Marc Garneau, writer Margaret Atwood, our man in motion Rick Hansen, or actor Michael J. Fox, who has championed research into Parkinson’s Disease. The list of more credible candidates is long. Having said that, I do realize that Mrs. Jean is well known. Unfortunately, that only applies to Quebec, where she is known as a journalist. As well, her husband is renowned for his documentaries, but again, mainly to Quebecers.

If our prime minister has indeed picked Mrs. Jean because of her abilities, it is a shame that our government has created the very atmosphere that makes his pick so suspect. I mean no disrespect to our newest governor general. Being used as a pawn is never one’s own choice.

Here’s hoping our new “woman in action” spends a lot less of our money.