"The narrow notion of
'every person for himself' does not belong in today's world, which
demands that we learn to see beyond our wounds, beyond our
differences for the good of all," Jean said as she urged unity and
Prime Minister Paul
Martin hailed the new Governor General as a glowing example of what
lies at the core of Canada: respect for all cultures, races and
"Madame Jean is
renowned for her compassion, her eagerness to listen and for her
desire to act," he said.
Jean, 48, a
Haitian-born Montrealer and television journalist, was sworn in
during an elaborate ceremony in the Senate Chamber, which included
musical performances by artists from across the country.
She expressed her
love of the country she came to as a young girl in 1968, when her
family fled Haiti.
"I am determined that
the position I occupy as of today will be more than ever a place
where citizens' words will be heard, where the values of respect,
tolerance, and sharing that are so essential to me and to all
Canadians, will prevail," she said.
"Those values, which
are paramount for me, are linked inextricably with the Canada I
emphasized the importance of Canada's diverse population as well as
the value of its young people, before speaking of her own youth.
"The story of that
little girl, who watched her parents, her family, and her friends
grappling with the horrors of a ruthless dictatorship, who became
the woman standing before you today, is a lesson in learning to be
free," she said.
Jean arrived at
Parliament Hill with her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond. She was
greeted by a military honour guard before joining the prime minister
to enter the building.
The ceremony began
with a stirring musical performance by Madrigaia in the Rotunda that
moved Jean to tears as she sang along.
Inside the crowded
chamber, Jean's family members, including her six-year-old daughter
Marie-Eden, listened as she took the oath of allegiance to a
standing ovation from a chamber packed with dignitaries and MPs.
Adrienne Clarkson, who ended her six-year term at Rideau Hall.
Clarkson also attended today's service -- marking the first time in
more than 100 years that an outgoing Governor General was present at
the swearing-in of a successor.
During the ceremony
Martin thanked former Clarkson and her husband John Ralston Saul for
their work over the past six years.
intelligence and wit they have honoured this high office and made an
indelible contribution to our nation," Martin said after a prolonged
standing ovation in the Senate.
Jean's appointment as
Governor General was controversial, with accusations that both she
and her husband, film-maker Lafond, had associated with and
sympathized with Quebec separatists.
She also was
criticized for holding French citizenship. Jean became a French
citizen when she married Lafond, who holds both Canadian and French
passports, two years ago. She announced Sunday she was giving up the
Jean is the first
black person and only the third woman to hold the title of governor
general. And she is also one of the youngest to hold the office --
the highest in Canada's constitutional order.
Jean's personal coat
of arms shows two black mermaids blowing conch shells under the
motto "Briser Les Solitudes" -- breaking down solitudes.
Her office says
breaking the solitudes, a term often used to describe French and
English Canada, is at the heart of her objectives as vice regal.
In the centre of the
coat of arms is a sand dollar, which her office says is a special
talisman for Jean. The mermaids are from Haitian culture and are
said to symbolize the vital role played by women in advancing social
A CTV/Globe and Mail
poll conducted before Jean was sworn in showed broad support for
her, particularly with young Canadians and among Quebeckers. In that
province, 71 per cent of people polled said they thought she was a
good choice for the job.
Her first day as
Governor General began with her arrival on Parliament Hill from her
new residence at Rideau Hall. It will end with a dinner for 900 at
the Civic Centre in Ottawa.
Both Clarkson and
Jean are former CBC journalists, and both have been controversial.
Clarkson stirred criticism in her vice-regal role, mostly for her
extensive and expensive travel and for authorizing costly
renovations at Rideau Hall.
You can also learn about her
coat of arms.
And so now you know a bit about her :-)
On Wednesday 28th September I headed out
to get my medical for my immigration application. Got to the
Doctor's at 11.45am but had to wait around half an hour to see him.
I did see the nurse prior to meeting him and she revealed her maiden
name was McIntyre :-)
Anyway... having got the medical bit
done it was on my way to the Chatham Hospital to get a chest x-ray
and blood tests done. Like most places in Canada you get a number
and then wait until your number is called and then things progress
from there. After the usual wait I got my X-Ray taken but told
them that they had spelled my first name incorrectly as Alister
instead of Alastair. They assured me this would be corrected. I then
went up to get my blood work done and again had to point out the
spelling of my name and this time I saw the Doctor heading away to
get this corrected and later she showed me it had so that was good.
I should mention here that you are
charged $12.00 for the blood work test and a further $41.00 for the
x-ray. I mention this as I had thought the $100 I had to pay
to the Doctor was all I needed to pay. You pay this other money at
the cashier's office prior to leaving the hospital.
And so by 3pm I was finished and so
headed out to the car park to get my car, and have a well earned
cigarette only to find I needed a further $4.00 to get out of the
car park and the machine only took $1 and $2 coins... so you guessed
it... back into the hospital to get the correct change as all I had
were quarters :-)
The hospital will send everything back
to the Doctor and he will then forward everything to the immigration
folk. They don't really explain things to you but I understand they
are looking for medical problems that could cost Canada a fortune in
health care costs. So this means you have an AIDS test done and I
guess they are also looking for signs of cancer, etc. I'm told that
being a diabetic is not a problem.
On Thursday I got my work permit
application back as I hadn't included the processing fee of $150.00
<gulp>. I did look again at the form and it didn't say anything
about that so I guess I must have short circuited the process by
just getting the form. So... it was hot footing it down to the
bank to get a money order then into the post office to post it back
I was also closing off my UK tax affairs
meaning I'm being transferred to the ex-pat dept. of the Income Tax
I'm also transferring my company address
in the USA as by doing this we'll be only some 50 yards from the
main telecom exchange. This means that in the new year I
should be able to get fibre installed for my leased line and it
looks like I may also be able to double my capacity for around the
same price as I am currently paying and so that is real good news.