I'm no political expert, but I think January could be a big month for North America. Obama gets sworn in on the 20th, and people are apparently willing to pay big bucks to get a front row seat and witness history in the making. Meanwhile, Canada's Governor General, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, has suddenly become one of Canada's most watched political figures thanks to her role in determining the future of the government.
A few weeks ago, the role of Governor General seemed to me to be a bit outdated and irrelevant - we're hardly connected with the Queen as we once were. Recently though, I've changed my mind. I figured that I should do just a bit of reading to learn more about this lady who may determine the political fate of Canada, and I have to say, I think she's great! Michaelle Jean is an insightful and utterly charming lady with an amazing background. Exceptionally well-educated, she has put it to great use working for women's shelters and later anchoring for CBC. French and English are just two of her five languages. She is without a doubt, a wonderful model of citizenship, and that's a good thing, because that's largely what the Governor General role is about.
In Jean's “New Year's Message” released on December 29, 2008 (watch the speech here) she speaks about the reality of the challenges we face - the recession, the political crisis in Canada, and global affairs of all sorts - but she doesn't lose hope:
"What these recent events bring to light is how important it is for us to work together—nations, governments, societies, businesses, organizations, individuals, side by side. The 'fend for yourself' mentality has no place in an interdependent world, where the decisions of some have a profound impact on the lives of others; where our fates are inextricably linked. Today, I am calling for greater solidarity between us.
Given the magnitude of the challenges before us, the time has come for us to invent new ways of living together. It is up to us to seize that opportunity."
In her GG role, Jean has made youth engagement in Canada one of her primary mandates, working hard to hear our ideas and concerns. In other words, if you want something changed, she's listening!
However our government turns out, one good thing about all the hubbub is that more Canadians are paying attention. Democracy works best when people get involved. Why not make this the year to take your involvement to the next level? Ask yourself what Canada should strive to be, both to its citizens and to the world. And after you ask yourself, share your answer! Need someone to tell? Tell Joel! He'd love to hear your thoughts!
Photo:Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall, September 27, 2005.
Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean
Little known-fact: Michaelle Jean is the Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
In USA, I think most know that the President is Commander-in-Chief. Of course, USA doesn't have a Governor General, or any representative of the Queen... the whole "revolutionary war / Declaration of Independence" thing put an end to that.
In today's world, is a monarchy a) relevant, and b) consistent with Universal Human Rights in that "everyone is created equal"? What do you think?
January 6, 2009
“Freedom has marked our history and our territory, it has marked our summer breezes and our howling winter winds. It has helped create the spirit of adventure that I love above all in this country, this country where each and every one of us is able to participate fully in the ongoing task of building it.
- Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean,
Governor General of Canada
Joel Hilchey speaks and facilitates workshops across North America, empowering students, educators & business leaders who want to build stronger, more positive teams and communities. Contact him by phone at 1-877-487-5635 or check him out online at www.joelhilchey.com!
RIDDLE: Your ticket, your say, from past struggle and toil, please use me, mark well, for I want not to spoil. What am I?
THANK YOU to the people who donated to Engineers Without Borders in response to my "Gift of Opportunity" campaign last month. We raised $1000 so far, and collectively, the campaign has raised over $64,000 from over 1000 individual donors - a pretty outstanding accomplishment, and a wonderful display of generosity.
Still want to help my wishes of Canada's Youth Becoming Global Citizens, Fair Trade Being Available, and Canada becoming a leader in the fight against poverty? Click here!
Wondering what you can do?
Make it Simple:
Send a letter to your MP or MPP
Read about the structure of Canada's Government
Read a book on economic policy. Better yet, read 2 books.