A royal welcome
The Queen’s representative in this country, Governor General Michaelle Jean, received a truly royal welcome to Cupids and other destinations in this province last week. It was fascinating to watch ordinary citizens crane their necks in order to get a glimpse at her, with one elderly lady from Carbonear commenting that the Cupids 400 celebrations were nice, but her real reason for making the trip to Cupids last week was to see “that beautiful woman.”
Not only is she beautiful in appearance, but it’s also obvious that this lady is a woman of extraordinary sensibilities and taste, and unafraid to tackle thorny issues or shy away from controversy. Remember the headlines she generated after eating a raw seal heart? Or the leading role she took after her native country, Haiti, was devastated by an earthquake earlier this year?
And during a ceremony to unveil a memorial to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in St. John’s last week, she noticed a sign in the crowd saying “Build houses, not statues.” She could have ignored the sign and stuck to her script. But Jean weighed in with both feet, noting that housing is important, but so, too, are statues and the need to commemorate our past. The incident was symbolic of her personality, and the broadcast media gave the incident plenty of air time.
It’s easy to be skeptical about royalty and question the necessity and expense of having a Governor General of Canada, but every once in a while someone like like Michaelle Jean comes along and the critics find it hard to have their voices heard. Instead, we hear comments like this from people like Premier Danny Williams: “ Your warm heart and your courageous spirit have left a deep and lasting impression on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and we want you to know you are truly admired and respected. It’s truly a pleasure to watch her and Canada truly loves our Governor General.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Like Williams, we wish Michaelle Jean all the best as she concludes her term as Governor General of Canada next month. To her successor, David Johnston, who will be sworn in Oct. 1, you have big shoes to fill.