Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My afternoon with Adrienne

Before I relate a short encounter to you, let me refer you to Paul Wells' piece in Maclean's discussing Adrienne Clarkson's legacy. I agree heartilly.

Paul refers to Clarkson's masterful oratory. I once had the opportunity to hear her speak from up close - she was standing about 5 feet away from me. That's because Adrienne Clarkson and I received our doctorates together. I suspect it wasn't her first, but it certainly was a first for me. The University of Ottawa granted her an honorary doctorate at the Fall convocation where I received my PhD. After receiving my hood, I got to shake her hand, find my seat on the podium, and then enjoy her address. I also got to say a few words to her afterwards at the reception. It certainly perked up the endlessly long ceremonies that mark a bilingual graduation ceremony at U of O.

I hope that future governors general can live up to her example. She brought class and elegance back to the office, and made it a position that people paid attention to. I happen to believe that Canada should sever its ties with the monarchy, and would prefer that the position of head of state be Canadianized. Hopefully Canada will find a way of doing this without spurring a constitutional crisis, and our politicians will not let the fear of said crisis prevent us from making the effort.

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