Hope for Haiti - Macleans.ca

Hope for Haiti


The Governor General writes of the Haitian people.

Every ordeal is an opportunity to rediscover what is essential and to learn from what has happened to better resist and return to life. This is what my grandmother told me and I have always thought she was speaking on behalf of our ancestors, that this was key to the Haitian people’s much-talked about resilience and inextricably linked to the country’s history.


Hope for Haiti

  1. Wow – I sure hope Harper re-ups her when her term is up (which might be soon if I am not mistaken) definitley a class act this lady .. and no doubt about it!

    • She's got him out of two serious jams by proroguing for him. I think he owes her, and will probably do whatever she wants. But after this, maybe she wants to work with some kinda Haitian aid organization, or something.

  2. One of Canada's few modern historic figures…

    • "Historic". I love that weasel phrase. I suppose Clifford Olson was a("n") historic figure. The holocaust was a historic event.

      She's historic only because she is partly black. A white woman with equal credentials would, by your reckoning, be non-historic, and therefore lesser, only because of her skin.

      You like her and admire her and think she is "historic" because of her skin colour; we call that soft bigotry. You and your kind – PC chilled Stuff White People Like phonies – are a running joke among a lot of your less PC chilled countrymen.

      Please don't respond to this by saying that "she's so well spoken and that she speaks so well", that only will make it worse.

      • Wow. Sub "Grumpy Old" for "Mature Rational."

        The daughter of refugees grows up in her adopted country, thrives, and prospers, enough to represent the country's head of state and be commander-in-chief of its armed forces. Her performance overcomes many a Canadian's initial reservations — not because of her skin pigment, but rather "oh no not another lefty CBC nutso…" She then leads this country's emotional energy to assist her former country's inhabitants in a moment of unthinkable tragedy and crisis.

        You have better eyesight than I do to find the soft bigotry.

  3. Um, mind if I ask for a clarification? She certainly seems to have fans. I must admit, I'm not one of them. But I'd very much like to know the thinking of those who are. This is pretty big praise, and I've seen lots like it elsewhere. Would anyone care to explain why they feel this way?

    • Personally, I like her because she's tough. The seal thing was great, showed a bit of fearlessness. She's very respectful and thankful of our troops, and is 100% supportive of them. She's quite obviously an extremely caring person. Last, but not least, she understands that her roll is mostly ceremonial (most of the time).

    • I like her because she is genuine. She has a lot of compassion and doesn't feel the need to hide it at all, and can bring hope, inspiration and ambition to those who need it. She's also classy.

      I understand the precedent has already been set for her to take the advice of her Prime Minister; I do wish she'd have blazed a new trail in this instance, but then that could get us into even more trouble down the road. So, perhaps it is better that Stephen Harper wears this with no help from her.

      • I think Jenn nailed most of the GG's personal characteristics that I admire, but the larger sense is the impact she has on Canadians. She is one of those rare individuals that can be genuine and still create buzz. The seal heart is a great example… I have yet to hear even the most cynical critic suggest that it was a contrived act and yet the response (especially from youth) was remarkable. Certainly the very position of GG is an archaic throwback to a colonial past, and yet our current GG can inspire youth in a way that none of our elected policitians can.

        One the other side, it would be interesting to hear from Conservatives why they resent Jean so much. Jenn's comments about classy could certainly be applied to her dealings with the current government. Indeed, I can't think of a single statement or action that was partisan since she took office.

        • Thanks, Stewart, I agree.

          GG is an archaic throwback to a colonial past, but it is probably the thing I love most about our form of Government. When it is done well (Michaelle Jean is a great example of this, but there have been others) it can do so much more for us than the pomp and circumstance (which I also love and feel fills a need for our emotional connection).

          One other thing about Michaelle Jean, which I think shows the toughness characteristic Sourstud touched on, is how she has represented us on foreign soil in the presence of the Queen. One of the other, other things I love about our system of Government is that it can evolve, over time, by itself. This was one of those times, and it means that now while we are still connected to the Queen through our GG, our GG is our "effective" head of state at all times and in all manners. I like that new sense of controlling our own destiny!

        • I think you will find fewer and fewer Cons resenting her, these last few years.

          To answer Dan's question: I am not sure that every word and action has been "genuine" as Jenn states, although certainly her choices (and her advice) have served her well in earning the respect and support of Canadians. But here's what I like most about her. She symbolizes — and unabashedly verbalizes — how grateful and lucky that, of all the countries of the world a very young Michaëlle was brought, she was given the gift of building her life in Canada.

  4. Watching her on live TV the other night, I held it together during her remarks in French, and in English, though it was close.

    But when she spoke in Creole…

    Pran couraj
    Pa lagé

    I don't speak a word of Creole. But I knew exactly what she had said.

    And then I lost it.

    • you and i both…

    • Make that three…

  5. I still can't believe you compared her to Oprah. I've seen this movie before and it is called Obama: buncha PC chilled white people who want to show how super unracist they are by praising mediocre black poltical figures. Blech.

    There are a lot of reasons why I and others don't like Jean; one is that she encourages youths to vandalize by promoting and praising graffiti as "art", another is that she is absolutely obsessed with "diversity" – a concept incompatible with self determination and synonymous with ethnic cleansing – to the point she seemingly can't speak more than two sentences without referencing it, and finally, she has referred to her appointment as, and I quote, "sweet revenge".

    Are we sure vengeance is what we're looking for in a GG, people? She's suggested in one of her documentaries, and repeated this during her Brazil trip, that the countries of the north and south hemispheres should unite. Like, WTF?

    I think her new headband look is undignified, her politics are extremely radical, and I really don't like the fact that she, an unelected radical with a self admitted grudge against white people, is commander in chief of our armed forces.

    • There is too much nonsense, hafl-truth and innuendo in your post to bother responding to in detail. I'll just point out that our commander in chief has always been unelected and that has worked out just fine for our country. Mme Jean is a fine occupant of the office and has, in particular, filled the role of commander in chief well.

  6. One of the few (very few) things from the Martin govt's legacy that I can point to and say "that was good."

    • Yes, I get your conclusion. But why do you feel that way?

  7. For Gawd's sakes, the Governor-General is NOT the Commander-in-Chief of anything!

    Mme Clarkson started to call herself this, and no one ever bothered to correct her.

    • Yes, she is, gobshite. Crawl back to your hole. Perhaps while you're there, you can study about our system of government and learn something.

    • Yes she is.

      • Well why don't just shut my big mouth?

  8. There are MANY reports coming in that the Haitian people are very, very angry that help didn't arrive fast enough. Time magazine ran. then pulled from their site, an article "Into an angry land" in which the anger was detailed. A team of doctors was recently pulled out because of "security concerns"; there were riots close to the hospital.


    If you're thinking about donating to Haiti, please reconsider. The more we give, the more they hate us. We send help, they complain we didn't send enough. Canada, prior to the quake, has spent enormous sums on Haiti already. Rush Limbaugh was right: we already gave, it's called Canadian Income Tax.

    • For example:

      "There were continued incidents of looting, and isolated reports of rescue workers being stoned by angry crowds. ..The UN undersecretary general for peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy, added: "There have been some incidents where people were looting or fighting for food. They are desperate, they have been three days without food or any assistance…The working conditions for rescue teams remain extremely tough, however. Even with armed security teams, most deemed it unsafe to continue working at night. "It isn't just the challenges of transport and communications, it is security as well," said one UN official. "One rescue team had stones thrown at them." "


      • "The more we give, the more they hate us."

        Wrong. They hate their government, which is entirely useless and steals everything it can from the Haitian people, not us. Don't confuse matters.

      • Dude. Civil society was broken in Haiti long before the earth moved. That's the kind of thing that happens when kleptocrats run the joint for decades and trade away the freedom of their citizens in exchange for unearned luxury for themselves.

  9. It wasn't Harper's photo-ops that got me – it was watching those beautiful little Haitian children and the GG that made me want to donate.

    She's a breath of fresh air considering our former GG's. She's a today woman.