Legacy gift for outgoing Canadian governor general

Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Oct. 1 recognized the contributions made by outgoing Haitian-born Governor General Michaëlle Jean during her tenure as the country’s 27th head of state.

In keeping with the tradition of honoring outgoing governors general, Harper said his administration will be supporting the Michaëlle Jean Foundation as its legacy gift to her.

“As Canada’s 27th governor general, Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean has distinguished herself through her engagement with Canadians and her compassion and leadership in responding to the earthquake in Haiti,” he said in a statement.

“I am proud to announce support today for the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, which will help more young people become active citizens in their communities,” he added.

Harper said his government will be providing CAN$3 million in support of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, a non-profit organization that will promote citizen engagement through the arts and creativity, with a special emphasis on youth from underprivileged, rural and northern communities in Canada.

He said the government will also match funds raised privately by the foundation, to a maximum of CAN$7 million over a 10-year period.

Since the 1960s, the government of Canada has honored former governors general by helping them contribute to Canadian society by supporting the initiatives they pursued while in office.

Jean, the first Haitian to ever become Canada’s governor general, has been appointed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as its special envoy to Haiti.

In this capacity, Harper said she will draw upon her unique experience and dedication to Haiti, as well as her commitment to educational and cultural initiatives.