“The wonderful thing about being Canadian is that despiteour blemished history, we have shown we are capable of change. Attitudes in Canada don’t stay entrenched.”Her appointment was called a “reflection of the diversity and inclusiveness of our society.
” Like sunlight through a window, Adrienne Clarkson has smoothly transcended the shadows of the cold, hardlined, 1940s Canada she was raised in, only to lead Canadian diversity into the third millennium. Nearly denied entry into Canada because of a law prohibiting Chinese entry into Canada, Clarkson has become the epitome of the successful Canadian immigrant.
With the firing of artillery salutes and a flypast of CF-18 fighter jets, Mme Clarkson was installed as Canada’s 26th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief in a Parliament Hill Ceremony on October 7, 1999, becoming the first visible minority and first immigrant to be appointed to the Vice Regal post. Stressing a sense of forgiveness and wholeness as characteristics of Canada, the new Governor General mentioned Grand Chief John Kelly’s view of the circle of the Ojibway expanding as Canadians of diverse backgrounds entered it.
Her Excellency continued by suggesting “That the aboriginal circle enlarges to include all of us native and immigrant arriving by boat and plane to a vast and beautiful land…” Known for her outspokenness on issues such as cultural nationalism, Clarkson is only the second woman to be named Governor General and the first in twenty years to come from outside political ranks. Clarkson brings to the forefront a strong sense of nationalism, and personal pride in her own ethnicity. Her Canada is encompassing of Aboriginals and immigrants, English and French, East and West, and not only praises their contributions to Canada as a multiethnic society, but is representative of each and every one. Most importantly, she is the truest example of the cultural diversity of her adopted Canada, on both national and individual levels.
Through her significant achievements in her journalistic career, Clarkson has been unwavering her determinism to build cultural awareness in Canada. Clarkson exemplifies Canadians, encourages acceptance of all peoples, and as a political figure, will continue to affect change encourage progress and celebration of Canada’s diverse ethnocultural society. n/a
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