A couple years ago I was given the opportunity to take part in an interview with Governor General Michaëlle Jean. There would be two of us and the rules were quite clear from the GG’s people: My editor was to conduct the interview, I was to take photos.
We went to Ottawa’s Rideau Hall and were seated in a fancy room. A few words of decorum were discussed (i.e. do not shake her hand unless she initiates the handshake) and after a bit of a wait, the Governor General arrived.
As a broadcaster, Ms. Jean always seemed to radiate with a charisma and warmth on television. And, I must say, that instantly came across in person. She approached us, outstretched her hand, and we were introduced.
I would be the photographer, her aide said. Yes, of course, she replied, but I understand you are a journalist as well. She then continued on to compliment my work.
To be honest, I can’t remember exactly what she said, I just remember being quite smitten.
Over her five-year term as Governor General, Michaëlle Jean endeared herself to the country. At events such as Canada Day (above in 2008) I distinctly recall Canadians seeming genuinely happy to see her and she happy to see them.
She will be missed.