"She is the Becoming Canada"
Michaelle Jean has been sworn in as Canada's 27th Governor General. From what I can tell it appears that the main stream media is falling all over itself in giddy adulation over her installation. While the positive reaction in the immigrant Haitian community in Canada is understandable, I personally see little about her installation to celebrate.
Call me old fashioned if you will, but I have trouble with appointing to the office of Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of our military an educated, affluent, clever member of the Quebecois chattering classes who probably voted to dismember my country, is caught toasting the possibility on film, is employed by Radio-Canada, (the French arm of the CBC, known to be a hotbed of separatist sentiment) and who engages in what is called "terrorist chic" by socializing with, and employing, known terrorists who have committed murder trying to destabilize our constitutional order.
Other than that, of course, she seems to be a nice enough person. And her husband is from France where it is accepted that there are nuances in such matters which lie beyond the analytical capacity of les Angalis. So perhaps I don't grasp the underlying philisophical essentials.
In the film, Jean is seen with several sovereigntist hardliners, including poet Gerald Godin -- a co-founder of Rassemblment pour l'independence nationale and Parti Quebecois cabinet minister, Yves Prefontaine, former FLQ member Pierre Vallieres, novelist Dany Laferriere, Andree Ferretti and poet Paul Chamberland, according to Le Quebecois.
At the beginning of one scene, the guests toast independence. Vallieres later says: "Not only should Martinique go to independence, but to revolution, as Quebec should."
To that, Jean replies: "Yes, one doesn't give independence, one
According to CBC News, columnist John Ibbitson, in the Globe & Mail and Andrew Coyne of the National Post were impressed to the point of addled hagiography by her performance during the installation. Said the former:
And Andrew Coyne? No less besotted, it appears.
"Her promise is the promise of what we almost are, of what we want to be. She is the becoming Canada." [He really wrote that dreck.]
Ibbitson cast Jean as both the wave of the future and of the present, symbolic of a new and different Canada.
"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."
And, "here is this beautiful young Canadian of Haitian birth, with a smile that makes you catch your breath, with a bemused older husband by her side, and a daughter who literally personifies our future, and you look at them and you think: Yes, this is our great achievement, this is the Canada that Canada wants to be."
In the Post, front-page columnist Andrew Coyne was no less enthralled: "Madam, I surrender. Let us forget past criticisms. Let us put aside old quarrels. Your speech has collapsed my defences. You are my Commander-in-Chief."
She is the becoming Canada? Madam, I surrender? Gentlemen, get a grip. She is a married woman, for God's sake. Stand at ease. And stop drooling! It ill becomes your cynical ink-stained pose as senior main stream pundits. Has her babe factor looks completely addled your brains? Be men for crying out loud. Okay, silly comment. You are.
Pardon me while I pause for a moment to scratch a phantom wound. My wounds you see are indeed phantom in nature, if you mean by that that they are wounds of heated dialogue, of principled argument, blathering politics and personal pride rather than wounds of the blood and gore genre. It cannot be said, however, that the victims of Madam Jean's social circle were so lucky. On August 25th of this year, the blogger known as The Black Rod posted an email from Bruce Vallance to Winnipeg radio host Charles Vallance. I think I'll be forgiven for printing it in full.
I suppose it needs saying that I do not believe Madam Jean or M. Lafond complicit in the murders of inncocent Canadians, such as Jeane D?Arc St Germaine, or (go read The Black Rod for details) others such as night watchman Wilfred Vincent O'Neil, store manager Leslie MacWilliams, or secretary Therese Morin.
I visited the site and watched the film clip [of the future vice-regal couple toasting the separatist cause.] To say that I'm offended is to understate the case. The people she is cavorting, laughing and toasting with are some of the same people who tried to kill me.
During the FLQ crisis I was stationed at Canadian Forces HQ in Ottawa. The bomb they placed outside of my office window was meant to kill those in the room and I suppose make a statement. They succeeded only too well. The lady they killed was not only a co-worker, but also a friend. After I picked myself up off the floor some thirty feet from where I was standing I saw my friend laying on the floor.
I remember kneeling in a pool of her blood trying desperately to staunch the flow. Her eyes seemed to be pleading for me to help her. This tiny middle aged French Canadian single mother of two who had been so happy. She had been talking for several days about her up coming vacation. The first in twenty years. Now she lay struggling to breath through her torn throat.
Desperately I tried to staunch the flow of blood. I watched as the light in her eyes slowly dimmed and then disappeared. Here was a grown man and soldier kneeling in the welter of her blood crying like a baby as I cradled her in my arms.
My next conscious memory was lying on an operating table as a young doctor probed my back and side for glass. He continuously apologized for the pain, but explained that he couldn't anaesthetize me because I had to be able to tell him when he pressed on a shard of glass. It took 43 stitched to close my wounds. I still occasionally have pieces of glass surface.
Am I offended? You bet I am offended. This appointment is an insult to me and to Pierre La Porte and most importantly to Jean D'Arc St Germaine.Paul Martin has insulted all of Canada including the people of Quebec.
Nor is she and her husband involved in blowing off hands, as her friends did to Sgt. Major Walter Leja, who tried to disarm an FLQ bomb in a mailbox. No, these people were just the unfortunate detrious created by their terrorist friends in the FLQ. I wonder if the families grieve still?
I guess I'm one of those of whom John Ibbitson is writing when he pens, "...old men, who nurse ancient animosities." Not so old really. I'm of Irish/Scottish descent and we Celts know the difference between new and old grievances and this grievance is a toddler as grievances go. It sticks in my craw that they befriend FLQ terrorists and hired a man to build them a bookshelf who was involved in the 1971 murder of Pierre Laporte (Quebec's then Labour Minister).
What I find distasteful is the apparent frisson which Mme Jean/M. Lafond appear to get by associating with such "revolutionary" figures.
Paul Martin appointed her to our highest constitutional office. I'm afraid however, that it will take a great deal more than banal rhetoric to extinguish the two solitudes which haunts this northern polity. "The time of the 'two solitudes' that for too long described the character of this country is past." Is it? Do your FLQ friends believe that, your Excellency.
And while were at it, am I the only one disturbed by the fact that the Prime Minister's Office stepped in and vetoed her plans for an "intimate" dinner of 100 or so friends at Rideau Hall and substituted their own public relations gala instead? This does not auger well for her sense of independence from the current prime minister in a minority parliament situation where she may be called upon to exercise her residual constitutional authority to decide who gets to form a government. Will she be taking orders from the PMO then as well? Just wondering. It does not look promising.
Oh yes. She does have a nice smile. One can go far on a nice smile in an age of a lapdog liberal media. Although in fairness, I should note that even conservative pundits appear ready to lower the flag and surrender at the sight of that glistening perfect toothpaste smile.