Four years ago, Michaëlle Jean, the Haitian refugee who became Canada’s governor-general, was touted as a kind of shiny Canadian innovation for the Francophonie. Now she’s an expensive luxury.
Her tenure as secretary-general of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie has been dogged by reports that the former governor-general of Canada was indulging regal tastes.
There was a $500,000 renovation for the Paris apartment put at her disposal, a $20,000 grand piano to put in it, a chauffeur and car for her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond. France’s l’Opinion newspaper reported her entourage spent $50,000 in four days at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Ms. Jean has argued her expenses were for the good of the Francophonie, or even part of a disinformation campaign against her. The Canadian government defended her, and endorsed her bid to keep the job.
But as the representative of an organization whose 57 members include some of the poorest countries in the world, the allegations were giving her a Marie Antoinette reputation.