Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Marvelous Michaelle

Michaelle Jean may be Canada's best diplomat

When Michaelle Jean ascended to the role of Governor General, she would have been forgiven for thinking that she didn't have her work cut out for her.

Considering the central importance of the Governor General's office to Canadian democracy it's odd that the Governor General has largely been irrelevant in Canadian politics.

However, it's becoming increasingly clear that Michaelle Jean is setting the bar for future Governors General higher than it has ever been before.

There should be little doubt that Jean is one of the best diplomatic assets Canada currently has at its disposal -- if not the absolute best.

It seems that no matter which world leader Michaelle Jean meets she cannot help but impress. Following Barack Obama's visit to Ottawa this week Jean has been invited to continue correspondance with Obama regarding the situation in Haiti.

With Canadian soldiers still serving in the country, Haiti has become Canada's forgotton mission. And while Canada recently increased its aid commitment to Haiti the day-to-day prospects of Hatians has reportedly improved very little.

While the arduous task of arranging a formal visit to Washington may be prohibitive to Jean actually paying a visit to Obama in person, Jean will hopefully keep the lines of communication between herself and Obama open.

The new US President isn't the only foreign dignitary -- and key ally -- that Jean has mightily impressed. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was known to be awestruck by the Governor General.

Considering Jean's obviously incredible talent for the task it seems that the amount of time it takes to plan an official visit -- reportedly upwards of a year -- may actually make the Governor General's office a waste of her talents. Perhaps it's time for Canada to establish a new office -- perhaps something along the lines of a Diplomat General -- to accomodate individuals of Jean's mammoth talents, and allow other, less overwhelmingly impressive, individuals to serve as Governor General.

To date, Jean's efforts have produced dividends on two important areas of Canadian policy -- the fight against Quebec separatism and Canada's peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

By contrast Jean's successor, Adrienne Clarkson, ran up an impressive bill traveling Europe peddling the questionable idea of "Nordicness" to not-so-impressed northern European dignitaries.

If Michaelle Jean continues to impress on the global stage one can only imagine where her career path could take her. Perhaps elected office could lead her to becoming Canada's second female -- and first black -- Prime Minister.

But considering the normally apolitical nature of her office, such speculation may be more than slightly imprudent.

One way or another, Michaelle Jean is an incredible asset to Canada. Hopefully, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is wise enough to make the most of it.

Other bloggers writing on this topic:

Rod 2.0 Beta - "Obama and Michaelle Jean, Canada's First Black Governor General"


  1. WHen I first heard that Michaelle Jean had been invited to Washington I couldn't help but smile.

    Then I heard the political commentaries on a few news shows asking: "who does she think she is?"
    The obvious answer is: She's Canada's Governor General, as such, she represents the Queen who is our head of state.

    I think that regardless how it takes to arrange the visit, Jean should go to Washington and talk about Haiti. There is no doubt that she has a tremendous ability to make an impression when she meets people face to face.

    I wouldn't mind seeing her for elected office one day... Heck I'd probably vote for her regardless of which party she ran for.

  2. Even if she ran for the Bloc?

    (Although I'm not convinced she would.)

  3. Her husband might... But she wouldn't.... at least I don't think.

    Oh and to answer your question... No, not if she ran for the bloc... As far as I'm concerned they're never EVER going to be an option on the ballot for me and they have no business in federal politics.

    I meant more along the lines of I'd vote for her even if she ran for the conservatives.

  4. I think she'd probably run for the Liberals most likely.

    I'd be tempted to vote for her myself if the party could produce an economic plan that doesn't have "disaster" written all over it.

  5. I seriously hope she stays above the fray and does not lower herself into the stinking CESSPOOL we call our political system and run for office. If she were to do that it would mean a loss for Canada. We need a GG that is not a blatant partisan or political HACK or just a high-minded, high society social butterfly like the previous GG. Jean has done a good job and I hope she continues to serve Canada and her people.

  6. I agree, Michaelle Jean has served the country beyond honourably.

    But I'm concerned that her talents may be wasted.

    Then again, the greatest question is this: does she have any desire to serve in a capacity greater than Governor General? Even if one wants to see her talents used more fully, it's all a question of what she herself wants to do,


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