Mad about Michaëlle
No one expected Michaëlle Jean’s tenure as Canada’s Governor General to be as eventful as it was, herself probably included. The second former-television reporter as Governor General in a row (not to mention, second ethnic minority woman ), Michaëlle’s charm and Haitian immigrant background excited Canadians in a way that our ceremonial heads-of-states usually fail to. Then came the questions about whether she had separatist sympathies (an odd suspicion, I always thought, because if she was a Quebec sovereinist, why ever would she want to be the Queen’s representative for Canada?).
There were uproars, abeit minor ones (we’re a staid country, if anything,) when she tasted some raw seal meat, when she confused the mountains of British Columbia with the Rockies, and when she, like many of us, seemed unclear on whether she was technically Canada’s head of state or not. Ugliest were the grumbles that she showed too much emotion when her native Haiti was ravaged by earthquakes, as though she couldn’t hold both her old and new homes dear in her heart. Mostly, her tenure will be remembered for her historic decision on whether to allow Prime Minister Harper to prorogue government, or accept a parliament headed by coalition of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc. While I may have decided the other way (my sympathies were not with the Conservatives), she made the decision that was in keeping with our parliamentary traditions. It’s interesting to think that this woman, as different as a Canadian from Stephen Harper as imaginable, ended up saving his skin a couple times.
I will miss seeing her, and I hope she returns to TV. The CBC should give her a talk show. I enjoy these two pictures of her: the left one as Governor General, the one of the right I believe a CBC stock photo. Note the difference in skin tone due to lighting. It reminds me of the argument in the documentary ‘Good Hair’ that black women must straighten their hair to be taken seriously. Perhaps significantly, at the end of her time as Governor General her hair has returned to her previous cute, curly ‘fro.