Adrienne Clarkson

Citizen Handbook #3

Adrienne Clarkson was born in Hong Kong, 1939. During the war in 1942, she came with her family to Canada as a refugee and grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. She attended Lisgar Collegiate, and later on Trinity College. Lastly, she attended the University of Toronto on a scholarship where she became head of her class. She got her Masters of Arts degree for English in 1962. She also went to France and did her post-graduate work at La Sorbonne, Paris.

Her first occupation was initially broadcasting, journalism, the arts and public services. Adrienne Clarkson worked as a host, writer, and producer of numerous prominent programs on CBC Television from 1965 to 1982. Some of these included, Take Thirty, Adrienne at Large and The Fifth Estate. From 1982 to 1987, she was the first Agent-General for Ontario in Paris, which meant that she presented Ontario\'s business and cultural interests in various places. Adrienne Clarkson was also the President and Publisher of McClelland & Stewart from 1987-1988. She also was a very talented writer, known for her several articles to major newspapers in Canada and her three books. In 1988, she took on the responsibilities as the executive producer, host and writer for broadcastings such as Adrienne Clarkson\'s Summer Festival and Adrienne Clarkson Presents in which she did for eleven years. In addition, she wrote and directed several films. Her work in television has gained her many TV awards in Canada as well as the United States.

In 1992, she was selected to be an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1995 to 1999, Adrienne Clarkson was a Chairwoman for the Board of Trustees and of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Later on, she also became President of the Executive Board of IMZ, which was the international audio-visual association of music, dance and cultural programmers. As well, she became the executive producer and host of the CBC Television series, Something Special. She became Governor General as well as Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada in 1999.

In September 2003, Adrienne Clarkson went on a trip to Russia, Finland and Iceland, which was expected to cost around $1 million dollars in taxpayer money. The trip was supposed to "introduce Canada to the world" and included 59 Canadian authors, artists, politicians, and staff. Even the critics were saying that Adrienne Clarkson was using her position and infinite budget to take her friends and husband, on an unnecessary 19-day tour. Surprisingly, she spent a little bit more than what was expected, 5.3 million dollars, which didn\'t include the $307,000 the defence department used to pay a military airbus to fly Adrienne Clarkson, her guests and staff overseas.

Personally, I think that the Governor General\'s duty is important to Canadians but not by spending so much money to go to other countries. Right now in Canada thousands of people are homeless, jobless, or can\'t afford proper health care. Yet, it is more important to advertise around about how great Canada is. Yes, we should send a spokesperson to other countries in attempt to promote Canada\'s arts and culture, but not at such a high cost. I think it might be a good idea to be spending that money here, in Canada, to help support Canadians rather than on five-star hotels and private airplanes. I think the only good thing that happened out of this whole mess is that the government realised what they had done. So fortunately, they cancelled the second half of the Northern trip to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Greenland.