It's a Question of Loyalty Your Excellency
Our new Governor-General has given her first interview while in office. According to the Ottawa Citizen (via Neale News ) she was "hurt" by criticisms that she is a separatist who voted for the independence of Quebec.
Sorry Your Excellency, that doesn't cut it. You may well have the legal right to keep your vote to yourself, but you are the representative of the Canadian Crown and Canadians have a right to expect you'll be straight with us on this matter.
As someone whose role called for her to bite her tongue in order to remain removed from politics, Ms. Jean says it was her daughter, Marie-Eden, who emerged as a source of strength. "There were moments when she saw me sometimes a bit sad because there were days where some things that were being
said about me really hurt me,'' Ms. Jean recalls.
In her first public comments on the controversy that threatened to dog her term, Ms. Jean makes clear the attacks and the allegations were not only deeply partisan, but also completely out of context. "I think they were playing games with that,'' she said. "Yes, I think the idea was really to build an image of me that they knew would really frighten the rest of Canada, of course, of course. "And unfortunately, since we don't know each other well, I think some people really fell into that kind of a trap. It was a very mean strategy.''
But what, then, of the now infamous clip from her husband's documentary in which she, in the company of former FLQ members, lifts her glass to independence? What exactly was she toasting? In Ms. Jean's mind, it is not only too simple, but also fundamentally wrong to take that toast, in a documentary touching on broad notions of freedom and slavery as seen through the poet Aime Cesaire, as being in favour of Quebec's separatist movement.
"And what we were there for was to talk about that Haitian experience. And how that aspiration to freedom has been manipulated for years by dictators,'' says the former CBC journalist.
While Ms. Jean will explain herself and her role in her husband's documentary, which way she voted in the Quebec referendum, which this month marks its 10th anniversary, is a no-go zone.
"You want to know how I vote in '95?'' Ms. Jean begins, then pausing and looking away for a moment. "In the voting booth, like every Quebecer, this is how I voted. As a citizen, with clear ideas about where she belongs and who she is and what she wants. That's all. And there was no way that I was going to just break that fundamental principle of secrecy of vote. It's something that's very personal to everyone. And it's a civic responsibility.''
I simply cannot imagine a loyal Canadian citizen, who voted against Quebec's separation from Canada, fudging an answer to this central question. You and your husband are under a cloud of your own making. It's what happens when you engage in terrorist chic. Until you answer the question honestly and unequivocally, I cannot support you. And neither will many Canadians.