Clarkson responds to spending criticism
By Marshall Bellamy
Among the graduates honoured at yesterday's Convocation ceremony
was Canada's Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, who was given
an honorary doctor of laws degree.
The Gazette caught up with Clarkson after the ceremony and
asked her to address the controversy surrounding the amount
of spending in her office. "The trips are initiatives of the
Department of Foreign Affairs," Clarkson said concerning a
recent trip to a number of European countries.
According to Clarkson, the initiative has been around for
several years and has sent her to several South American countries,
Germany and other countries where she feels her visits have
improved relations and represented Canada in a more true manner. "I
think its cutting edge and different," she added.
Clarkson continued by pointing out the recent trips to Iceland,
Finland and Russia have brought forth discussion of issues
concerning the North. Along with the official dinners there
have been numerous roundtable discussions between policy makers
and experts on issues as diverse as environmentalism and Russian
arts and literature, she said.
"[The Embassy] has never been able to penetrate Russia," Clarkson
noted, adding the visit brought about dialogue between Canada
and Russia which had not previously existed.
"This is a long-term investment," Clarkson added, noting the
total benefit of her trips will not be fully realized immediately.
She cited the example of the relationship that developed with
Chile following her trip during Chile's democratization.
Clarkson noted the visits also enhanced relations to the point
where the countries were able to improve the transmission of
ideas, which can potentially improve cultural growth in some
countries. "We have influence in this world and we should show
it," she said.
"In Adrienne Clarkson, Canadians see both a Viceregal representative
and a part of themselves - [we] are inspired by her own personal
example," stated Western President Paul Davenport at the ceremony.
"At the outset of the 21st century, we have sufficient distractions
of technology, gadgetry, prophecies and the like to take us
far away from the ideals once sought in humanism," Clarkson
said in her address to the graduates, adding finding a balance
between human progress and cultural achievements is the goal
"My own graduation was an excitement I cannot tell you - because
my parents lived for my graduation," Clarkson said of her Convocation.
"I'm working and continuing my passion for salsa that I developed
here at Western," said honours business and administration
grad Chris Asper on his future plans.
"We all have this debt but we have jobs and it's finally over," stated
Valerie Derooy, a new master of clinical science graduate.