Commentary by John Muggeridge
Special to The Interim

Since the appointment to the governor-generalship of Michaelle Jean, a refugee immigrant from Haiti and aCBC reporter, conservatives in Canada have been wondering what this relative newcomer to public life has to offer a deeply divided country that seems to hover perpetually on the edge of disunion. While Jean’s personal accomplishments are seen in English Canada to be insubstantial, on the other side of the French curtain, darker implications are starting to be revealed.

An article in French by the Quebec novelist, Rene Boulanger, published in the sovereigntist magazine Le Quebec, sheds a clearer light on Jean’s connections to the Front for the Liberation of Quebec, the violent Marxist separatist organization that harried Quebec in the 1970s.

The governor-general is the representative of the head of state of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II, and, as such, is the office where Canadians must turn for a steady hand in any constitutional crisis. The office is, historically, understood to be above partisan politics. Jean, however, along with her immediate predecessor, is entirely beholden to the Liberal party and is an enthusiastic proponent of its ongoing leftist social re-engineering project, but with the Boulanger article, her connections may offer reasons for other serious concerns.

“Michaelle Jean et les felquistes (Michaelle Jean and the FLQ)” documents the ties that linked the soon-to-be governor-general and her film-maker husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, with the FLQ, whose bomb-throwing, robbing, kidnapping and murdering activities disturbed the peace in Quebec and this dominion 35 years ago.

Boulanger says the soon-to-be viceregal consort, Jean-Daniel Lafond, has no truck with such “trashy” (de pacotille) politicians as Belinda Stronach and Jean Lapierre. The former philosophy professor, he says, deals only with pure revolutionaries, like the ones during the 1970 October Crisis, for example, whose violent behaviour, Boulanger proudly points out, provoked Ottawa to declare martial law and send the army into Quebec.

One example that should stir some of Canada’s longer-term memories is of one of Lafond’s scriptwriters and closest associates, Francis Simard. Simard was a member of the Chenier FLQ cell who, together with his fellow terrorists, Paul and Jacques Rose and Bernard Lortie, seized Quebec’s deputy premier and labour minister Pierre Laporte while he was playing football with his children. He later used Laporte’s religious medal to garrote him and stuffed his body in the trunk of a car.

During the crisis, seven people died and dozens were injured. One bomb was planted somewhere in Quebec every 10 days. The country hovered on the brink of collapse and the federal government declared martial law under the War Measures Act.

Boulanger, himself a scriptwriter, has had professional dealings with Lafond, whose loving documentary about the FLQ “freedom fighters” has won accolades. He recalls visiting the future royal couple in their Petit Bourgogne apartment to discuss filmwriting. Before they got down to business, his host showed him around the place, pointing with particular pride to a recently renovated library. The man Lafond hired to do the renovations was none other than Jacques Rose, who not only put up shelves, but also created a hidden compartment for Lafond to stash weapons in.

The same Jacques Rose likely built the fake wall behind which he and his fellow murderers hid while the police searched for them in vain. As Boulanger admiringly remarks, Lafond doesn’t keep company with just anyone.

In case anyone is thinking that Muggeridge is making it all up, I draw your attention to the comments made Aug. 12 in the Montreal Gazette by the separatist head of the Organization Against Canadian Corruption and Propaganda and a former president of the Societe St-Jean Baptiste, Gilles Rheaume, to the effect that there is little doubt in Quebec that Jean and her husband are sovereigntists. Rheaume said, “In the nationalist circles, many people were sure that Mme. Jean and her husband were sovereigntists. Many persons believed that.”

Rheaume speaks for more than a few when he demands to know how Jean voted in the 1995 Quebec referendum. Rheaume said on Aug. 11 that Prime Minister Paul Martin should have checked Jean’s credentials more carefully and called him “an amateur to name a person who many believe is a sovereigntist, to name this person head of state.”

It seems the political stuff is already hitting the fan. Alberta MP Leon Benoit, chairman of the government operations committee of the House of Commons, was interviewed by the Globe and Mail and said that Jean and her husband need to make clear statements of their support for the federalist position and distance themselves from any separatist position.

Half of all Canadians are not yet 40 and modern methods of teaching history and civics precludes the kind of objectivity that would raise a cloud of alarm at the appointment to the highest office in the land of a woman with such connections. Moreover, a strong and unbiased hand is likely to be crucial for Canada’s next few years, as the country continues its perpetual constitutional identity crisis and the Liberal party attempts to solidify its grip on power.

Boulanger expects his revelations to create a furor in English Canada. Let’s hope they do, but somehow, I doubt it. Paul Martin knows how bored we all are with middle-class Marxist twaddle. Let’s hope he has misjudged us.

John Muggeridge is a retired professor of history and English and a long-serving pro-life activist. This column originally appeared on, Aug. 12.