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Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.

Sworn in: October, 7, 1999.
Born: Hong Kong, China, 1939.



Adrienne Clarkson


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Adrienne Clarkson was born in Hong Kong in 1939 as the far east was hurtling towards total war and chaos. By 1942 with the Japanese army advancing on Hong Kong, Clarkson's parents managed to evacuate her form Hong Kong and escaped to Canada where they ended up in Ottawa. She was a dedicated student and focused on English for which she was awarded her Master's degree from Trinity College. She also mastered French and did some post-graduate work in Paris at the Sorbonne.

Clarkson joined CBC and became a broadcast journalist where she was quickly recognized as an up and coming talent. Her roles at the CBC were many and varied as she took up the role of writer, producer and TV personality. She worked on several landmark and influential Canadian Television shows such as The Fifth Estate, Take Thirty and Adrienne at Large. She also became a high profile writer and contributor to Canadian journalism and literature.

In 1982 she received her first government appointment when she was designated First Agent General for the province of Ontario to France with a mandate to promote Ontario - France, business and cultural relations and exchanges. In 1987 she left this post to move into the private business world where she became the President of McClelland and Stewart, one of the largest book publishers in Canada. This was another breakthrough for women in Canada.

In 1988 Clarkson expanded her activities into arts on the stage, on the screen and as a patron of the culture on the Board of The Museum of Civilization and the International Music Centre. Continued work in support of Canadian and international cultural activities dominated her life and efforts for the next 10 years and by 1999 was named as Governor General of Canada.

As Governor General she paid particular attention to the Canadian Armed Forces and it's members, as it's role after 9/11 expanded and became particularly more dangerous. She travelled widely around the world to visit Canadian troops and show her support for their efforts and commitment. She played a recognizably touching role in comforting the nation when 4 Canadian troops were killed during a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in 2002.

Like her predecessor, Romeo LeBlanc, she established an order - The Governor General's medal for the North, which recognized specific outstanding achievements in Northern Canada.

Upon leaving office she was appointed Colonel in Chief of the PPCLI, in recognition of her efforts and work for the Canadian Military. She was the first Canadian to be accorded the honour of that position. She has also been active in the Institution she founded with husband John Ralston Saul, The Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

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