Previously published in Examiner
To learn more about Canadian or Quebec politics, both McGill University and Concordia University in Montreal offer wonderful political science degrees, that you may want to look into.
Montreal’s Concordia University has a wonderful women’s studies program at the Simone do Beauvoir Institute
Adrienne Clarkson: Chinese Canadian Female Governor General of Canada
We have reviewed the work of Jeanne Sauve, the first female Governor General of Canada who happened to be a Montrealer. Now we will review the work of the second female Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson. Adrienne was a former journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and a Canadian diplomat prior to her appointment as Governor General of Canada.
Adrienne Clarkson – the early years.
Adrienne’s ancestors hailed from Hakka in Taishan, Guangdong, China, Her grandfather then emigrated to Australia and opened up a general store. Adrienne’s father, William, was born in Australia; but returned to Taishin. From there he moved to Hong Kong and met his wife Ethel Poy and had two children, a son named Neville in 1935, and a daughter Adrienne, born in 1939. William worked with his father for the Canadian Government. His son, Adrienne’s brother went on to become a plastic surgeon working in Toronto and married Vivienne Poy who became a Canadian Senator. As you can see the young Adrienne grew up and was surrounded by Canadian politics.
Japanese invasion of Hong Kong
One of Adrienne’s earliest memories was hiding in basements during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, known as the Battle of Hong Kong, in 1941. Adrienne and her family was able to escape Hong Kong and emigrate to Canada because of her families ties with the Canadian Government. They still had difficulty leaving though. The Canadian Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 had set restrictions on who could enter the country. The Canadian Department of External Affairs intervened on their behalf, stating that prisoner of war quotas had not been met. Canada had an exchange program going on with the Japanese Imperial Forces, and so the family was given free passage into Canada.
By this time, William, Adrienne’s father, lost the family fortune and the family settled in a cramped duplex in Ottawa. Adrienne went to public school in Ottawa and had the fortune to see the Princess of Edinburgh, later to become Queen Elizabeth II ride by in her motorcade.