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(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Aug. 29, 2005)

Rescind the G-G Appointment -- NOW

John Pifer

Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Canada:

Dear Paul Martin:

My intention two weeks ago was not to raise the thorny question again about your royal appointment of another pleasant, left-leaning CBC reporter to the post of Governor-General of Canada, the nation’s highest position of power and influence.

However, as more is revealed about the background and present-day information about your choice, Michaella Jean, this humble scribe is moved to address the issue further.

There seems to be little argument that Ms. Jean is a bright, intelligent, well-established woman, who has impressed many people with her rise from poverty upbringing in Haiti to becoming a celebrated fixture on French tv in Quebec.

All of that is true and wonderful. It is also true that she has declined to renounce her French citizenship, gained solely through marriage, as she prepares to take over (and no doubt refurbish at taxpayers’ expense) the Governor-General’s mansion in Ottawa.

It is also true that the majority of Canadians are greatly concerned at the links between Ms. Jean and her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, with the terrorist group, the Federation Liberation du Québec (FLQ). M. Lafond and his bride enjoyed private dinners in recent years with Pierre Vallieres, founder of the FLQ. A tape of one such encounter shows Canada’s G-G Designate raising a toast to independence and "no more dominated people!" … people such as Quebeckers, one presumes.

Those of us with memories longer than remembering the last NDP Premier of BC have not forgotten the 1970 trail of bombings, kidnapping and murder that was conducted by the FLQ, as it sought independence for La Belle Provence.

So forgive us if we question your sanity in choosing such a person to represent the Queen in Canada – to be in a position to decide who is to lead government in any constitutional crisis. The fact that it was your selection, and yours alone, suggests that you rushed to ensure that a partisan friend would be in the post, one from the media cash cow that relies on you and your government for its existence. It further suggests that either you did not do your homework regarding Ms. Jean, or if you did, you simply shrugged off her too-close links to the FLQ powerbrokers.

Please, Paul, wake up and smell the deodorant! Rescind this appointment now, and let us have a Governor-General – if Canadians still insist upon having one – who is better qualified, and who has served the nation, not just a gang of thugs in Quebec or the diseased CBC.

National political commentator Mark Milke, former BC head of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, in a recent article quite rightly sneered at the statement issued by Ms Jean that she and Our Jean-Daniel are unequivocally "proud to be Canadians and that we have the greatest respect for the institutions of our country."

Sorry, Chief, Canadians can’t, and won’t buy that. The fact that you continue to shrug off the questions and the will of the people, and that your media “friendlies” are acting as though the issue is over and done with, and is no big thing, is an insult to all Canadians.

Set aside your narrow-minded political patronage power just this once. You would gain more respect immediately for admitting that you goofed, than you ever could for pushing this appointment through in the dangerous and dictatorial way that you seem determined to stick to, regardless of our concerns.

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at


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