Opening Notes

The politics of praising Celine

TANYA DAVIES April 6 1998
Opening Notes

The politics of praising Celine

TANYA DAVIES April 6 1998

The politics of praising Celine

Opening Notes

TANYA DAVIES

It was either a case of great minds thinking alike or a game of Anything-you-can-do, I-can-do-better. The facts: last week, Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard let slip to reporters that international superstar Celine Dion, 30, will receive the National Order of Quebec, the province’s highest honor. The ceremony will take place in Quebec City on April 30. The day after Bouchard’s announcement, Gov. Gen. Roméo LeBlanc announced that Dion, a native of Charlemagne, Que., who currently resides on Jupiter Island, Fla., with her husband and manager, René Angélil, would be made an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 1, well ahead of the next batch of Canadians to be honored. Usually, the names of new Order of Canada members are announced en masse, twice a year. What’s more, LeBlanc’s office actually claims to have beaten Bouchard to the punch—that the songstress, wildly applauded when she sang at last week’s Oscars in Los Angeles, had been notified privately of the honor on Jan. 6.

Still, questions linger. Was Bouchard simply one-upping the feds with the timing of his apparent slip of the tongue? Did LeBlanc hastily announce the impending special presentation for Dion to steal Quebec’s thunder? The Governor General’s office was straightfaced. ‘We worked on the timing and it happened to coincide with Quebec’s,” says Pamela Miller, spokeswoman for the Governor Gerneral.