By BRIAN LAGHI AND JANE TABER
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Updated at 8:17 PM EDT
Globe and Mail Update
Ottawa — A Haitian-born
journalist whose family fled the regime of one of the world's most
brutal dictators will be tapped Thursday to become Canada's next
Sources said Prime
Minister Paul Martin will make the surprise-appointment Thursday
of Michaelle Jean, a decorated 48-year-old broadcaster and
filmmaker. Ms. Jean will replace the outgoing Adrienne Clarkson
after an exhaustive search that focused almost exclusively on
candidates from Quebec.
She will become Canada's
first black governor-general and the third journalist
(broadcaster) in a row to be selected after Romeo Leblanc and Ms.
Clarkson. She also follows in the steps of Ms. Clarkson in that
she is an immigrant and a non-politician.
“Canadians are going to fall
in love with this woman,” said a source. “There is no other word
to describe her than inspirational. She is extraordinary.”
She is best-known in
Quebec as a television journalist on Radio-Canada and was also the
host in the English-language CBC Newsworld of the Passionate Eye
and Rough Cuts.
She has also made a number
of award-winning documentaries.
Sources described her life
as a “success story” in spite of some difficult odds. Born in
Port-au-Prince, Ms. Jean came to Canada in 1968 as an 11-year-old
child of parents fleeing the persecution of dictator François
“Papa Doc” Duvalier.
In a profile for The Globe
and Mail five years ago, Ms. Jean recalled the occasional racist
taunts she was forced to absorb as a child in Quebec.
Ms. Jean is married to
documentary film-maker Jean-Daniel Lafond and has a six-year-old
adopted daughter, Marie-eden, meaning that a family with children
will reside at Rideau Hall for the first time since Edward
Schreyer took up residence there in 1979.