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Jean becomes Canada's 27th Governor General

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Jean becomes Canada's 27th Governor General

Michaëlle Jean, a Haitian-born Montrealer and television journalist, is Canada's 27th Governor General. Jean was sworn in during a colourful ceremony in the Senate chamber Tuesday morning. It included musical performances by artists from across the country.

Jean replaced Adrienne Clarkson who ended her six-year term Monday amid artistic and cultural celebrations and expressions of gratitude from the Prime Minister and many other Canadians.

Among the many dignitaries at Jean's investiture was Clarkson. It was the first time in over a century that an outgoing governor general has attended the swearing in ceremony.

On Tuesday, Jean made public her coat of arms. It depicts two mermaids or "Simbis, water spirits from Haitian culture who comfort souls, purify troubled waters and intervene with wisdom and foresight." The mermaids are said to symbolize the vital role played by women in advancing social justice. Under them is Jean's motto "Briser les solitudes" - breaking down solitudes.

Jean's appointment as Governor General was controversial, with accusations that both she and her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel 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. Lafond holds both Canadian and French passports. She formally renounced her French citizenship this week.

Both Jean, and her predecessor Clarkson, were broadcast journalists at the CBC before taking office.



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