Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced the name of the new Governor General for Canada. The PM was in the UK last week and he met with the Queen at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh where he discussed with her the possible candidates for the position.
Because Canada is a Kingdom, the Prime Minister must confer with the Sovereign on such matters. The Queen chooses a person and the Prime Minister announces the choice.
Canada will have an accomplished female astronaut and scientist, who speaks 6 languages. Julie Payette will be just the fourth woman to be governor general. And her appointment will keep with the tradition of alternating between a francophone and an anglophone.
But she is also an incredibly accomplished woman involved in science.
Science also happens to be a field P.M. Trudeau has tried to embrace, both as a mark of his government’s own wisdom and as a vision for the future of the country’s economy.
The first Canadian to hold the post was Vincent Massey in 1952. Prior to that date, the position was held by British Aristocrats and prior to 1759 by French Aristocrats.
Jeanne Sauvé became the first woman to occupy the office in 1984. Ray Hnatyshyn, appointed in 1990, was a first-generation Ukrainian-Canadian. His successor, Romeo LeBlanc, was the first Acadian governor general.
Adrienne Clarkson, born in Hong Kong, was the first Asian governor general, the first immigrant to hold the title and the first person to come to the office from somewhere other than politics or the military, she was a broadcaster.
Michaëlle Jean, a black woman, had fled to Canada as a refugee with her family from the Island of Haiti.
Julie Payette OC, CQ (born October 20, 1963) is a Canadian Astronaut, engineer and administrator. Payette has completed two spaceflights, STS-96 and STS-127, logging more than 25 days in space. She served as chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and has served in other roles for both NASA and CSA, such as capsule communicator.
In July 2013, Payette was named chief operating officer for the Montreal Science Centre in the Old Port of Montreal. In April 2014, she was appointed a director of the National Bank of Canada. Payette speaks French, English, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian.
She plays the piano and has sung with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and several others.
She is divorced from Lt-Colonel William Flynn (ret), they had two sons Brett and Laurier from their union.
Julie Payette, 53 yrs old to become Canada’s Governor General and Commander in Chief.
H.E. the right Honourable David Johnston, 76 yrs old, retiring Governor General, in Office from 2010-2017.
The role of the Governor General, he or she presides over the swearing-in of the prime minister, the chief justice of Canada and cabinet ministers. It is the governor general who summons, prorogues and dissolves Parliament, who delivers the Speech from the Throne, and who gives Royal Assent to acts of Parliament.
All executive authority is understood to derive from the Sovereign, who is Canada’s formal head of state. The state is embodied in the Sovereign; therefore every one of Canada’s Members of Parliament is required to swear allegiance to the Queen. This is also why the state, in Canada, is often referred to simply as “the Crown”.
Canada is, however, a constitutional monarchy, founded on the rule of law and respect for rights and freedoms. Therefore the Sovereign actually has very few powers and prerogatives. The authority of the Crown is delegated to the various branches of government according to the provisions of the Constitution.
Elections are called and laws are enacted in the name of the Crown. No bill may become law without Royal Assent. Formally, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are the Crown’s council of advisers. They govern in the name and with the consent of the Crown. The Sovereign is represented in Canada by the Governor General.
Although officially the Sovereign is the head of state, almost all of the Sovereign’s powers over Canada have been assigned to the Governor General. As the Sovereign’s representative, the Governor General is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.