Former astronaut, Julie Payette, has been chosen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada’s next Governor General.
“I am incredibly happy that she has shown herself willing to step up and serve the country once again, and I know she’ll do an extraordinary job,” said Trudeau during a media conference on July 13.
Payette’s more than twenty-year career as an astronaut included flying on two space missions, serving many years as Capsule Communicator at NASA’s Mission Control Centre in Houston, TX, and being named the Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.
From 2011 to 2013, she worked as a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and was appointed scientific authority for Quebec in the United States.
Payette has served her community in many other capacities as well, including as a scientific broadcaster and serving on the board of many educational institutions and foundations.
She was also recently appointed to the International Olympic Committee Women in Sports Commission.
Her storied career has led her to win many distinctions. She has 27 honorary doctorates, Knight of the Ordre national du Québec and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
“As a 12th generation Canadian, I’m exactly just that: a Canadian. I am here to serve all Canadians, of all backgrounds, of all walks of life, either new or not so new. So, it will be my pleasure, and I will be very open to what I think are our core values in this country tolerance, openness, and working together,” said Payette to reporters during the announcement of her appointment.
In her new role, Payette will also act as the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces. As Commander-in-Chief, she will be responsible for appointing the Chief of the Defence Staff on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, awarding military honours, presenting colours to Canadian Armed Forces regiments, approving new military badges and insignia and signing commission scrolls.
Once she officially steps into the role, Payette will receive the Canadian Forces Decoration and becomes a Colonel of the Governor General’s Foot Guards, the Governor General’s Horse Guards, and the Canadian Grenadier Guards, as well as Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit.
Payette also has personal ties to the military community. She is a former military spouse, once married to Royal Canadian Air Force member LCol. Billie Flynn.
Her Majesty The Queen has approved Trudeau’s choice.
Payette will come into her new role this fall.