Secretary-General of EDU enjoys personal meeting with senior Canadian Statesman
In his role as the Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, His Excellency Irving Levance enjoys the privilege of meeting notable individuals from the world stage. Few of these encounters can be described as friendlier, or better natured, than his recent meeting with Canadian politician The Honourable Martin Cauchon.
The two statesmen immediately established a rapport which quickly developed into what the Secretary-General described, in deference to Mr. Cauchon’s Québécois heritage, as “bonhomie”.
A lawyer by trade and training, Martin Cauchon is a leading Liberal political figure in Canada and has served his nation first as Secretary of State for the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec, under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and later as a full Cabinet Minister.
His ministerial career saw appointments as Minister of National Revenue and then Minister of Justice. He also served as Quebec Lieutenant.
Always keen to learn about policies that promote understanding and cooperation, the Secretary-General was particularly interested to hear about the role of the Quebec Lieutenant, which is a unique aspect of Canadian governance.
It is a politician, from Quebec, usually a francophone and most often a Member of Parliament who is selected by a senior politician such as the Prime Minister or the leader of a national federal party, as his or her main advisor and/or spokesperson on issues specific to Quebec.
This is particularly the case when the leader is an anglophone, though several francophone leaders have also had Quebec lieutenants. All francophone leaders of Martin Cauchon’s own Liberal Party have had Quebec lieutenants.
Education and the important role of women in society
Other matters discussed ranged from the challenges of bi-lingual and multi-lingual education, the application of ‘soft power’ in diplomacy, the importance of dialogue in avoiding violent confrontation, the value of democratic institutions and the important role of women in society.
Having studied Law at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and the University of Exeter (UK) Mr. Cauchon proved himself to be an adept and powerful speaker and his passionate views on the defence of personal freedoms and policies which empower and engage the average citizen, resonated strongly. His down to earth matter and adroit use of humour, matched in spades by the Secretary-General, led to the whole exchange being useful, informative and entertaining.
The two statesmen, both family men, agreed to meet again and issued reciprocal invites to visit each other in the future with their respective families.