CBC Digital Archives

2005: Michaëlle Jean is 'surprise choice' for governor general

CBC Digital Archives has put together a collection of radio and TV clips featuring all who have performed the viceregal role since 1952: Vincent Massey (1952-59), Georges Vanier (1959-67), Roland Michener (1967-64), Jules Léger (1974-79), Ed Schreyer (1979-84), Jeanne Sauvé (1984-90), Ray Hnatyshyn (1990-95), Roméo LeBlanc (1995-99), Adrienne Clarkson (1999 to 2005), Michaëlle Jean (2005-10) and David Johnston, our newest governor general.

Prime Minister Paul Martin has made "a surprise choice" for Canada's next governor general: Michaëlle Jean, a Haitian refugee who grew up to become a successful journalist in Quebec. At the press conference following the announcement, Jean herself seems a little taken aback at how far she's come. "Imagine... my ancestors were slaves and they fought for freedom," she says. In this 2005 CBC-TV news report, the prime minister explains his choice, noting that Jean's life as an immigrant represents "the story of Canada."
• Michaëlle Jean was born in Haiti on Sept. 6, 1957. She and her family fled the country in 1968 to escape the oppressive regime of François Duvalier. They first arrived in Montreal, then settled in Thetford Mines, Que.
  • She became a journalist for Radio-Canada in 1988, hosting shows such as Actuel, Montréal ce soir, Virages and Le Point. She later hosted programs such as Le Monde ce soir, l'Édition québécoise, Horizons francophones, Le Journal RDI and RDI à l'écoute. In 1999, she began working in English for CBC Newsworld, hosting The Passionate Eye and Rough Cuts.

• Jean became Governor General in 2005 and planned to step down in the fall of 2010. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 4, 2005
Guest(s): Keith Brownsey, Nguyen Cuong, Michaëlle Jean, Reed Jones, Paul Martin, Cam Ostercamp, Fabienne Pierre-Jacques
Host: Diana Swain
Reporter: Eric Sorensen, Natalie Clancy
Duration: 6:19

Last updated: March 10, 2014

Page consulted on March 10, 2014

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