Adrienne Clarkson. Universally acknowledged to have transformed the post of Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson was born in Hong Kong in 1939 and came to Canada as a refugee with her parents William and Ethel Poy in 1942. A leading figure in Canada’s cultural life, Madame Clarkson has had a rich and distinguished career in broadcasting, journalism, the arts and public service. She worked as host, writer and producer of several influential programs on CBC Television, including Take Thirty, Adrienne at Large, and The Fifth Estate from 1965 to 1987. An eminent writer, she has authored five books and contributed numerous articles to major newspapers, magazines and anthologies across Canada.
Adrienne Clarkson was sworn in as Canada’s 26th Governor General on 7 October 1999. Her tenure as Governor General was remarkable for the considerable attention she brought to the courage and commitment of Canada’s Armed Forces.On March 17, 2007 she became Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), the first Canadian to be Colonel-in-Chief of a Canadian regiment. The PPCLI is garrisoned in Edmonton, Alberta and has been serving in Afghanistan. She visited the 2nd Battalion there in Kandahar in August 2008.
Adrienne Clarkson actively promoted “tolerance,” acceptance, belonging and public responsibility in her work as Governor General and as a broadcaster, writer, diplomat and cultural champion. National Post Columnist John Fraser remarked that Adrienne Clarkson “has the ability, unique among public officials, of making Canadians feel good about themselves and their country.” This talent was recognized by the Blood Tribe of Alberta who adopted her as an honourary chief. Madame Clarkson is proud to retain her new title “Grandmother of Many Nations.” Her official titles include membership in the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (PC), Companion of the Order of Canada (CC), Commander of the Order of Military Merit (CMM), Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (COM) and the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD).
Since leaving the office of Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson has founded the Institute for Canadian citizenship (ICC) and chairs it with her husband, John Ralston Saul The Institute’s purpose is to help acculturate new Canadian citizens into mainstream Canadian life through initiatives such as community citizenship ceremonies with roundtable discussions, cultural vouchers to introduce new citizens to cultural activities and museums, and a programme to increase awareness and use of our wilderness parks. Her social activism continues with her serving as patron of Pathways to Education in Regent’s Park and as Honourary Patron to Bridgepoint Heath Centre, an innovative and unique center for treatment of chronic illness, aging and urban aboriginal health. (via Adrienne Clarkson)
Day 33 of Racism Free Ontario’s100 People of Colour Spotlight.
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