Haitian-Born Immigrant Michaëlle Jean is Canada’s 27th Governor-general

CIC News
Published: September 1, 2005

Michaëlle Jean immigrated to Canada from Port-au-Prince in 1968 and studied at the University of Montreal as well as Universities in Italy before beginning her career as a Quebec television journalist in 1988. While Jean tended to her pursuit of higher education she assisted hundreds of women and children in crisis, and passionately donated her time to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout the province of Québec and elsewhere in Canada.

Jean’s deep commitment to social causes and domestic issues fostered her prosperous career as a highly respected journalist and anchor for Radio-Canada working as a reporter and host on such news and public affairs programs as Actuel, Montréal ce soir, Virages and Le Point. Since 1995 she has worked on such shows as Le Monde ce soir, L'Édition québécoise, Horizons francophones, le Journal RDI and RDI à l'écoute. Anglo-Canadian viewers of the CBC were first introduced to Jean in 2000, when she began presenting documentaries on The Passionate Eye and Rough Cuts.

“...My ancestors were slaves, they fought for freedom. I was born in Haiti, the poorest country in our hemisphere. I am a daughter of exiles driven from their home by a dictatorial regime ...I have come a long way." - Michaëlle Jean

At Jean's official public appointing to her duties as the newly elected Governor-general of Canada, PM Martin said "... She has known what it is to come to a new country with little more than hope, hope and a belief that with hard work a new country can bring new opportunity," and furthered his motion by calling Jean "an extremely talented woman who will bring a new perspective to the office."

Jean, in her first press conference as Governor-general of Canada, stated that she wanted to reach out to young people and the disadvantaged. Prime Minister Paul Martin, never one to miss an opportunity to exalt the virtues of this great nation, was quoted as saying...“She is a reflection of that great quality of Canada, a country which focuses on equality of opportunity”.

What does it mean to be Canada's Governor-general?

The role of the Canadian Governor-general is mostly symbolic and ceremonial in nature. The position is selected by the Prime Minister of Canada, although the formal appointment is made by the Queen of England.

The term of office is usually five years, but may be extended up to seven years. Traditionally the appointment of Governor-general alternates between anglophone and francophone candidates. The official duties of the Governor-general of Canada include:

- Giving Royal Assent to bills passed in the Canadian House of Commons and the Senate
- Reading the Speech from the Throne which outlines the Canadian federal government agenda for a new session of Parliament
- Executing orders-in-council or cabinet decisions.
- Appointing superior court judges, on the advice of cabinet.
- Summoning, closing and dissolving Parliament, on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Inviting the leader of the party with the most support in the House of Commons to form the government.
Acting Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.
- Encouraging excellence in Canada through a system of honors and awards such as the Order of Canada and promotes national identity and national unity.

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at media@canadavisa.com
Top Stories
Canada announces measures to help individuals impacted by the ongoing crises in Haiti
British Columbia and Manitoba issue provincial nominations in latest PNP results
Canada’s immigration minister proposes new legislation for Canadian citizenship by descent
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Citizenship
Canada’s immigration minister proposes new legislation for Canadian citizenship by descent
Immigration Minister Marc Miller has introduced legislation to update Canada's citizenship laws.
Canada celebrates Citizenship Week 2024
Canada is marking its annual citizenship week.
Canada processing proof of citizenship applications faster than pre-pandemic standards
A father and son at a Canada day parade, surrounded by Canadian flags
Study: Fewer recent immigrants are seeking Canadian citizenship
Young family with children having fun in nature on a picnic
Link copied to clipboard