Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Crowning Shame

Paul Martin has done the impossible yet again: he's making me wish Adrienne Clarkson would stay on as governor general.

First it was Jean-Daniel Lafond's friendship with former FLQ terrorists, even having one of them renovate his home.

Now it's further evidence of Michaelle Jean's Quebec separatist leanings:

Hardline sovereigntists are continuing to hammer away at governor general designate Michaelle Jean and her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, with further allegations that the couple has supported Quebec sovereignty.

The sovereigntist newspaper Le Quebecois drew attention Monday to a 1993 book authored by Lafond in which Jean, a former broadcaster, said "you don't give independence, you take it."

The comments were included in a 1991 documentary film by Lafond and in his subsequent companion book about French-speaking author Aime Cesaire, Le Quebecois reported. The context of Jean's comment, which was made during a discussion about both Martinique and Quebec independence, was not clear.

In the book about the documentary, Lafond appeared to support Quebec independence.

"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," the cinematographer wrote.

He added that Quebec will affirm its identity and become a real country in the modern world.

Associating with separatists is not, of itself, a disqualification for the office of governor general. It's impossible to do otherwise in Quebec, unless one lives in a vacuum-sealed bubble.

But associating with former terrorists and their fellow-travellers, especially when they have been less than forthcoming in repudiating their prior violent activities, casts serious doubt on Mme. Jean's judgment and the influence the separatist movement might hold over her during a genuine national unity crisis.

How might she exercise her powers to dismiss a government, dissolve Parliament or refuse royal assent to legislation if to do so might benefit a separatist government in Quebec during, before, or after a referendum vote in favour of independence?

Is it too much to ask that Mme. Jean have some loyalty to Canada and Canadian unity as a condition of being its head of state?

Mme. Jean cannot retreat behind a wall of dignified, vice-regal silence and refuse to answer these questions. Her own loyalty to Canada is in doubt. Her appointment might well be an embarrassment not only to the country, but also to the Crown. I doubt that Her Majesty is amused by the prospect of her vice-regal representative being committed to the dissolution of one of her dominions.

Source: CTV

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