Personal Coat of Arms of the Governor General
Coat of Arms of Her Excellency the Right Honourable MichaŽlle Jean Governor General of Canada
In the centre of the coat of arms is a sand dollar, which is a special talisman for Michaëlle Jean. Sand dollars are marine creatures found on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada and Northern United States. The Royal Crown symbolizes the vice-regal function and service to all Canadians. Above the shield, the sea shell and broken chain allude to the famous sculpture Marron inconnu by Albert Mangonès, displayed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, depicting an escaped slave blowing a sea shell to gather and call to arms his fellow sufferers around the whole island. For Michaëlle Jean this image evokes the victory of her ancestors over barbarism and, more broadly, the call to liberty. Beside the shield are two Simbis, water spirits from Haitian culture who comfort souls, purify troubled waters and intervene with wisdom and foresight. Moreover, the Simbis' words are enlightening and soothing. These two feminine figures symbolize the vital role played by women in advancing social justice. They are shown in front of a rock set with a palm tree, a symbol of peace in Haitian history, and a pine tree representing the natural riches of Canada. The motto Briser les solitudes, which means "Breaking down solitudes", is at the heart of the objectives Michaëlle Jean intends to follow. An annulus inscribed with the motto of the Order of Canada, DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (they desire a better country), encircles the shield, and the insignia of a Companion of the Order of Canada is suspended from the shield.