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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August, 2005, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Canada gets new governor general
Michaelle Jean. Photograph courtesy: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Michaelle Jean fled Haiti in 1968. Photo courtesy of CBC
A Haitian-born journalist from Quebec has been appointed as Canada's new governor general - the representative of head of state Queen Elizabeth II.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Michaelle Jean, 48, has been named by the office of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

The announcement makes Ms Jean Canada's first black governor general, and the third woman to hold the post.

She has also replaced Adrienne Clarkson, also a former CBC journalist.

Ms Clarkson took up the largely ceremonial post in 1999. The term is five years and can be extended to seven.

The Governor General gives royal assent to government bills, signs state documents and presides over the swearing-in of the prime minister, chief justice and cabinet ministers.


Ms Jean, a producer, radio host and award-winning documentary filmmaker, fled Haiti with her family in 1968.

They settled in the French-speaking province of Quebec in eastern Canada.

"Canadians will fall in love with this woman. Her story, her nature and her character are nothing short of inspirational," a government source told CBC News.

The government's search for the post focused almost entirely on Quebec, Canadian media reports say.

The reputation of Mr Martin's minority government in Quebec has been damaged by a financial scandal.

Correspondents say he is looking to boost its popularity there before a federal election expected early next year.

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