Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday August 17, 2005
Only a month and a bit to go before installation day
Declaration of loyalty, please
It’s starting to sound like a French Revolution of sorts with all the harsh words about our new Governor General.Vice-regent-in-waiting Michaelle Jean and her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, have been spared the guillotine so far, but the trashing in the court of public opinion has been relentless.
It started with an article in a Quebecois magazine that claimed Jean and Lafond are part of the province’s intellectual sovereigntist community. Lafond is even alleged to have FLQ sympathies. He wrote in the script of a film on FLQ member Francis Simard that he developed an “instant bond” with the terrorist.
Premier Ralph Klein and Opposition leader Stephen Harper have raised concerns about the appointment, and the prime minister is reported to have scolded them for speaking out.
And yet appeasement in this summertime diversion is such a simple matter. Instead of the dull roar of silence we have heard so far, the G-G designate should stand up and say, unequivocally, that she supports federalism and that Quebec should remain part of Canada.
Then we would be done with this. Jean could get on with boning up on vice-regent protocol and ordering new wallpaper for Government House.
But if she has trouble speaking words of federalist loyalty, then she should consider returning to her previous career in broadcasting. As a governor general, it’s wonderful that she comes from Quebec, is part of a visible minority community, is a woman and speaks several languages. But the job needs someone who lives and breathes for a united Canada. Supporting national unity is an important part of the governor general’s role.
So far we’ve only really heard from Prime Minister Martin’s spokesperson on this: “When the prime minister says these people are committed Canadians, he has good reason to say so, ” Scott Reid, Martin’s director of communications, told reporters.
But now is the time for Jean to step forward.
It’s the least she could do for being given the keys to a very nice house in Ottawa. (Hamilton Spectator Opinion)