Priorities of the Governor General of Canada
Breaking down solitudes
“Breaking down solitudes” was the motto chosen by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean when she was installed as the Governor General of Canada on September 27, 2005. This motto is the image of the Canada she wants for generations to come. By solitudes, she means those that so many men, women and children in various segments of the population find themselves confined by. The Governor General believes it is essential to create opportunities for different generations, cultures, disciplines and communities to communicate and work together for the well being of everyone in this vast country of ours. She believes it is time to put an end to the very narrow “every man for himself and his clan” mentality.
Giving people a voice and enriching the dialogue
As Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean wants the position she occupies to be a place where dialogue prevails and where the words of citizens are heard. The Citizen Voices Web site that she and her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, launched is a place for dialogue, debate and discussion forums on the challenges Canadians are facing, especially young people.
Throughout her mandate, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean would like to create strong ties with all Canadians to encourage us to forge bonds of fellowship and to help strengthen the social ties between the different populations that make up today’s Canada. She would like to meet their realities head-on and validate and encourage their initiatives.
It is in that spirit that she travels to every province and territory, visiting people, associations and organizations; she is always ready to listen to their concerns and attentive to the efforts they are making.
Place for youth
Young people are one of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean’s priorities. She would like the institution that she represents to give them special focus. She wants them to know that their ideas count, as does their way of seeing and understanding the world.
That is why the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean decided to create urban arts forums to illustrate how young artists from all backgrounds use urban arts (graffiti, hip hop, spoken word, dance, etc.) to fight exclusion, violence and crime, and to make changes around them, in their neighbourhoods, cities and communities. These forums have taken place from one end of Canada to the other, as well as in Brazil and South Africa. They have resulted in new community initiatives, which, on more than one occasion, have encouraged entire communities to work together.
The Governor General launched a mentorship program that allows members of the Order of Canada—women and men from every discipline, recognized for their merit and remarkable contribution—to work with young people who are looking for role models and sources of inspiration.
Celebrating Canada and its people
For generations, Governor Generals have been using Canada’s Honours System to honour the heroes of yesterday and today, and to celebrate the excellence, genius and generosity that characterize Canadians. These women and men shape the face of Canada; artists, researchers, thinkers, teachers, journalists, architects, soldiers, as well as citizens from all walks of life who are recognized for their bravery, their meritorious service and their caring.
Supporting soldiers, their families and their loved ones
As Commander-in Chief of Canada, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean meets regularly with members of the Canadian Forces at home and abroad.
She can attest to their generosity, their courage and their willingness to improve the welfare of people all over the world, in countries where it is imperative that peace be re-established and maintained, where urgent assistance is required or where reconstruction efforts are needed.
She knows what price these soldiers and their families pay, and they have her full support in good times and in bad, especially at repatriation ceremonies for soldiers who have died during missions abroad.
Redefining the ties that unite us globally
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean strongly believes that the 21st century should see us finding values that are common to every civilization. In her opinion, our horizons have now been expanded to the size of the world and require even greater solidarity.
It is this call for solidarity that she emphasizes everywhere she goes as part of her duties. To date, the Governor General of Canada has made official or State visits to Afghanistan, Algeria, South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France, Haiti, Italy and the Czech Republic.