Michaelle Jean, Canada’s Governor General-designate, has taken a few weeks to think about it, but she’s finally admitted that she and her husband are “proud” to be Canadians. “[W]e have the greatest respect for the institutions of our country. We are fully committed to Canada.” Unfortunately, nobody was asking how much she liked Canada. Many sovereigntists claim to “love” and “respect” Canada, though they believe that Quebec should not be a part of it. Nothing in Jean’s statement, including her claim to be “committed to Canada,” precludes this interpretation. As the Toronto Star points out this morning, how hard would it have been for Jean to affirm her “allegiance to a ‘strong, united Canada’”?
Even her most unequivocal statement manages to equivocate: “Let me be clear: we have never belonged to a political party or the separatist movement.” Well, that’s not really what was being alleged either, was it? No one claimed that she was a card-carrying member of some sovereigntist group. Only that she supported sovereignty, expressed this support publicly, and likely voted for it. The fact that she refuses to deny any of this suggests that all these allegations are true.
There’s very little to add to this after Andrew Coyne’s devastating analysis in yesterday’s National Post.
Suppose Prince Charles had chosen for a wife a woman whose idea of a good time was to go down the pub with a few mates from the IRA. Now suppose Charles himself, at one of these gatherings, raised a glass to the cause.
Imagine the President of the United States hoisting the Confederate flag.
But while her commitment to a united Canada remains questionable, her character is blindingly clear. Former FLQ member Jacques LanctÃ´t has recently portrayed Jean and her husband as conceited salon intellectuals. That, of course, is about as obvious as it gets. (Jean: “Independence isn’t given, it’s taken.” Jean-Daniel Lafond: “So, a sovereign Quebec? An independent Quebec? Yes, I applaud with both hands and I promise to attend all the St-Jean Baptiste Day parades.”)
What a sorry mess.