Friday, February 6, 2009

Jean Charest, Ordre de la Légion d'honneur

The Hon. Premier John James Charest, P.C., M.N.A., L.L.B

Two days ago, Premier Jean Charest was invested as a Commander of L'Ordre de la Legion d'honneur de France in Paris, J.K Rowling of Harry Potter fame received the same honour. This is the third of five levels in the Order. This is similar to the Order of Canada.

I can remember being at the Vancouver Airport in 1998 when Daniel Johnson Jr. resigned as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. Wondering who would stand up and defend Canada against the PQ and Lucien Bouchard, a few months later some one decided a united Canada was more important than federal politics and made the move to join the "National Assembly." Jean Charestwas the person who decided to step up, I clearly remember that NO ONE in the federal Liberal Party from Quebec was willing to make the move to Quebec Politics. (not Martin, Dion, Pettigrew...) For that, I am thankful and happy that he was able to win the 2003 election and hold on again in 2007 and again last year. 

Having a premier who is a federalist receive such an honour from the French government is quite special as you will read from this excerpt from the Globe and Mail.

For a long time, the official French iteration was " ni ingérence ni indifférence" (neither interference nor indifference), a phrase suitably subtle that it could be read in a variety of ways.

Now that subtle formula has been ditched. Whatever ambiguity attended French attitudes toward this tiresome question has been jettisoned, courtesy of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr. Sarkozy, awarding the Legion of Honour to Quebec Premier Jean Charest on Monday in Paris, repeated in the strongest language yet that he and his country totally oppose the separation of Quebec from Canada - a declaration stunningly ignored by some English-Canadian newspapers.

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