Monday, September 26, 2005

Michaëlle Jean No Longer French

Probably the more troubling part of Michaëlle Jean's controversial appointment as Governor General was her French citizenship. Prior to her coming swearing in ceremony, she renounced it [CBC News, New governor general to give up French citizenship]:

"In light of the responsibilities related to the function of Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, I have decided to renounce the French citizenship that I acquired for family reasons in 2004.

"France acceded to my request by decree on September 23, 2005."
Once again, I'm satisfied.

I'm probably one of the few that likes the post of Governor General. I like the idea that we have a royal tie, albeit in ceremony only, to the Queen and the United Kingdom. The office could probably have a smaller budget, sure, but it's nice to have Canadian "royalty".

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5 comments:

Canadian Perasma said...

I can't agree with ya there. What kind of message does that send to Canadian immigrants? You have to give up other citizenships to move into the highest eschelons of our society? Isn't that contradictory to the values Canadians purport to espouse since those former citizenships acquired make up the diversity part of the Canadian mosaic?

In my case I am American and Canadian by birth (as are many Canadians). Realistically, I know that condition in and of itself would preclude me from ever reaching the highest eschelons of Canadian society but I would never give up both because people demanded or had some latent expectation of it.

France did have just an eensy beensy part in the foundation of Canada, and former GG's were even French subjects.

Quebecers would be correct in thinking this is yet another slight against the French influence in Canada. I doubt anyone would expect a GG of British Citizenship to renounce theirs to assume their spot in a "Canadian Royalty" even though the Queen herself is an absentee "Canadian".

You should take care that your quest for satisfaction doesn't step on the very values of Canada that you say you treasure so much.

Jim said...

I wouldn't generalize it to say the "highest eschelons" of our society. I don't think I have a problem with a dual citizen becoming an MP (I haven't thought about it), nor a Premier, nor a CEO of a Charter 1 bank.

I simply don't think someone with the responsibility of directing government in Canada can become head of state or head of government while a dual citizen, and I don't target Ms. Jean because she's French.

I think I would even require it of the Leader of the Opposition ... again, solely because they will offer opposition to government proposals.

I would expect a dual British-Canadian citizen to give up their British citizenship in order to become GG or PM.

Canadian Perasma said...

You do realize that you're generally dividing Canadians into Class 1: Native Born and Class 2: Overseas Born. You don't have to do anything extra to show your loyalty to Canada but someone like me under your line of thinking does. Don't allow derivative citizenship or allow immigrants to become citizens (like many European countries do) otherwise you're creating an artificial glass ceiling that makes Canada look hypocritical by espousing acceptance and tolerance but only for the few.

By definition "royalty" and "government" is the upper class power structure. It's not really a generalization to say that.

You personally might not construe the events behind Ms. Jean's actions or mean your statements as an attack on French Canada but might you be able to step outside yourself for a moment and see how many of them who feel like an unwanted minority in Canada might take it that way.

And we already have dual citizen MPs, many of them Tory, Diane Ablonczy would be one. And if I recall correctly she was in the running to become Tory (then Alliance) leader and thus leader of the opposition at one time. We've already had British nationals as GG and PM before so the precedent allowing British Citizens (at least) to maintain that status as well as become GG is there whether you would expect it to be otherwise or not.

Maritime Liberal said...

I must say it didn't matter to my either way if she gave up her French citizenship or not. To me, when she swears the oath to represent the Queen in Canada, that demonstrates her loyalty to Canada and commitment to the duties of the GG. I think that would have been sufficient.

In regards to the comment you made about the position as a whole. You fortunately are not the only one who supports the idea of the GG. Count my support in both in regards to the position of the GG and in regards to keeping the monarchy as the head of state in Canada.

bijoux55 said...

I am a survivivor of a FLQ bomb that blew out the windows on my home when I was a kid. No Hurricane Katrina but bad enough for me. I have posted unrelentingly on this issue and I have written my Member of Parliment Steven Owen and Paul Martin himself begging that this appointment of Michaelle Jean be rescinded. Remember the FLQ murdered innocent Canadians, kidnapped the British Consul and assassinated the Honorable Pierre Laporte, member of the Quebec Cabinet. They garrotted him with his own religious medialion chain and dumped his body in the trunk of a Montreal taxicab.

We used to call people like her and her husband traitors. I look at her and I feel a stab of betrayal of pain in my heart. I do not want five years of that feeling.

We have thousands of Canadians above reproach who could fill this position which could be very important. The GG assents to legislation such as the War Measures Act, he/she can dissolve a minority government...or not. All the more reason for someone like Paul Martin to have a weak, unqualified and beholden person whose loyalty is in question, in that position. Don't give up the fight to have the GG positon appointed to a qualifed person, or better still, elected.

Ms. Jean will also have the dubious distinction tomorrow of being the first GG to have uttered the phrase "the white niggers of quebec have their black niggers" on film.

How low we have sunk that this pathetic CBC reject and her left wing dillettante husbard are appointed to the high positions in this great land.

Me, I remember. Je me souviens.

The Prime Minister can be reached at pm@pm.gc.ca