On the heels of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s controversial appeal to retain Michaëlle Jean as Canada’s governor general, the New Democrats have requested that she be appointed to Bill Clinton’s Haiti Reconstruction Commission once her term ends on Sept. 27.
In a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said giving Jean a role in the Haitian effort would be “a great Canadian contribution to assisting the Reconstruction Commission with its important task.”
“With her deep understanding of the nuances of the Haitian society, her ties to the Canadian-Haitian community, and her vision for Haiti’s redevelopment, Ms. Jean would be a valuable leader on the Reconstruction Commission.”
At a press conference earlier this month, Ignatieff called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to extend the popular vice-regal’s term in office—something critics said was politicking and showed inappropriate partisanship.
Although the Harper government had privately consulted Ignatieff for his recommendations on the next GG, an internal e-mail sent to Conservative MPs called the Liberal Leader’s public comments “unacceptable and inappropriate.”
The Haiti reconstruction effort, which will include representatives from the major donor countries, is to be headed by Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. After 18 months, full control of the endeavour will be handed over to the Haitian government.
Dewar wrote that Jean’s trip to Haiti in March demonstrated that “her presence on the commission would be popular with the Haitian people and would strengthen their trust in the commission’s approach to reconstruction.”
According to a new survey, 47 percent of Canadians would like to see Harper reappoint Jean for another 5-year term. Fifty-eight percent said they believe Jean has done a good or excellent job as governor general.
However, that may be a moot point now. According to a report in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail, Harper intends to appoint a new governor general this fall.
A number of names have been floated for the job, including paraplegic athlete and activist Rick Hansen, and William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek. Also being considered are John de Chastelain, Preston Manning, Wayne Gretzky, and Romeo Dallaire.