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Michaëlle Jean

Don't let political, economic upheaval cloud hope for future

Michaëlle Jean 54%

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cbcnews.ca Last Updated: Monday, December 29, 2008 | 9:19 AM ET


While Canadians have reason to be hopeful as they look ahead to the future, there are considerable challenges for the country to overcome in the weeks and months ahead, Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean says.


Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean pointed to the economic and political crisis as causes of anxiety for many Canadians. (Canadian Press)

In a holiday message posted on her website, the Governor General called on Canadians to be optimistic even though the economic downturn and recent parliamentary crisis have been cause for unease.

"The challenges are considerable and have caused a great deal of anxiety," Jean said in the pre-recorded video.

"This past year came to a close with the announcement of a global recession, one from which we are not immune, while an unprecedented political crisis shook the country."

The Governor General herself played a pivotal role in the political upheaval that gripped the country earlier this month.

Facing the loss of a confidence vote on its November economic update and a subsequent Liberal-NDP coalition with Bloc Québécois support, Prime Minister Stephen Harper convinced Jean to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament and temporarily prevent the fall of the minority Conservative government.

Parliament resumes on Jan. 26, a day before Harper's government is slated to present its budget and economic plan, which has been the source of opposition angst. The budget will face a confidence vote sometime after it has been tabled.

Jean also made note of the growing number of Canadian troops killed in Afghanistan, which passed 100 in December and now stands at 106. Three soldiers died there at the end of last week, all victims of roadside bomb attacks.

This turbulent brew of economic and political upheaval, combined with instability overseas, gives Canadians good cause to work together and strive for "greater solidarity between us" in 2009, Jean said.

"The fe. d-for-yourself mentality has no place in an interdependent world, where the decisions of some have a profound impact on the lives of others, where our fates are inextricably linked."

The Governor General is the Queen's representative in Canada. Jean is Canada's 27th governor general.

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