Canada's next governor general is French, female

10th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

OTTAWA, Aug 10 (AFP) - Canada's next governor general, who represents Britain's Queen Elizabeth in this country, is a French citizen, her spokesperson said Wednesday.

OTTAWA, Aug 10 (AFP) - Canada's next governor general, who represents Britain's Queen Elizabeth in this country, is a French citizen, her spokesperson said Wednesday.

Michaelle Jean, a Haitian-born journalist who immigrated to Canada as a child and settled in the mostly French-speaking province of Quebec, will assume her duties as of September 27, representing the queen, who is Canada's head of state.

Her appointment was announced August 4 by Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Catherine Gagnaire, the spokesperson for the future governor general, told AFP Jean holds dual French-Canadian citizenship and is a French citizen through her marriage to French filmmaker Jean Daniel Lafond.

Lafond left France in 1974 and obtained Canadian citizenship in 1981. Several other famous Canadians also hold dual French citizenship, La Presse newspaper reported Wednesday, including Environment Minister Stephane Dion and former Quebec minister Louise Beaudouin.

Now 48 years old, Jean immigrated to Canada with her family in the 1960s, fleeing persecution from the regime of Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier in Port-au-Prince.

"From Samuel de Champlain to Michaelle Jean, we went a long way," she told reporters last week when asked about her views on the monarchy.

Champlain founded New France on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in 1608 and later became its first governor. The British took over the colony in 1760, a year after winning the strategic battle of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City.

The last French governor in Canada was Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, born in Quebec in 1698. King Louis XV blamed him for the loss of France's empire in North America and briefly imprisoned him in Paris.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Canada, Michaelle Jean

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