Jean's family hails from Haiti; she was born in Port-au-Prince, baptised at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, and spent winters in that city and summers and weekends in Jacmel, her mother's hometown. Though her father worked as principal and teacher for an elite Protestant private school in Port-au-Prince, Jean was educated at home, as her parents did not want her swearing allegiance to the then Haitian president, François Duvalier, as all Haitian schoolchildren were required to do.
Journalism, broadcasting, and film careers
Governor General of Canada
As governor general-designate On August 4, 2005, it was announced from the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada that Queen Elizabeth II had, by commission under the royal sign-manual and Great Seal of Canada, approved Prime Minister Paul Martin's choice of Jean to succeed Adrienne Clarkson as the Queen's representative. At the time, Martin said of Jean that she "is a woman of talent and achievement. Her personal story is nothing short of extraordinary. And extraordinary is precisely what we seek in a governor generalship—who after all must represent all of Canada to all Canadians and to the rest of the world as well." Almost immediately, there was speculation that Martin had been influenced by the political climate in Ottawa at the time, leading the Prime Minister to deny that rejuvenated popularity for his party in Quebec was a motivating factor in his decision...
|“||[H]ere is this beautiful young Canadian of Haitian birth, with a smile that makes you catch your breath, with a bemused older husband by her side, and a daughter who literally personifies our future, and you look at them and you think: Yes, this is our great achievement, this is the Canada that Canada wants to be, this is the Canada that will ultimately make way for different cultural identities.||”|