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Haitian-born Quebecker to be Canada's next governor-general

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 governor-general.

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.

Source