Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon takes the helm as Governor General
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Canada’s 30th and first Indigenous Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, on July 26, 2021.
Born in Nunavik, in northern Quebec, Simon spent her adolescence living a traditional lifestyle with her parents. Her mom, Nancy, was Inuk, and her father, Bob, who was from the south, managed their local Hudson’s Bay Company post.
“Many months out of the year, we lived on the land, travelling by dog team or boat … hunting, fishing, and gathering food,” Simon explained.
For years, Simon has advocated for Inuit rights and culture, young people, and the environment. She has received countless honours and was the first Inuk to hold a position as a Canadian ambassador.
According to a press release, Simon has shown a to advancing social, economic, and human rights issues over the course of her life. In addition, she has played a significant role in strengthening the ties between the people of the Arctic regions, both nationally and internationally.
“As Canada’s Governor General and steward of our country’s Constitution and institutions, I know that she will contribute her unique experience and perspective to representing Canadians in all their diversity, both here at home and abroad, with dignity and integrity, and in both of Canada’s official languages. I am also confident that, as Canada’s Commander-in-chief, she will work to support the brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces who make tremendous sacrifices for the safety and security of our country and our people,” state Trudeau in a press release.
The statement continued, “I thank Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon for accepting to serve and offer her my most heartfelt congratulations. I invite all Canadians to find hope and inspiration in this important step forward for our country and to join me in wishing her well as she brings her vision for a fairer, more equitable, and more just Canada to our country’s highest and oldest office.”
Simon offered her gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, to put her trust and confidence in her during her installment speech. In addition, Simon said she’s honoured to be taking on the role as Commander-in-chief of Canada.
“Thank you for embodying the meaning of sacrifice, valour and service on behalf of all Canadians. Your conviction and courage is of the highest order and represents the very best of all of us,” she added.
Simon outlined some things that she plans to roll out during her time as Governor General, which include:
Promote and recognize leading examples of community and Indigenous-driven conservation and climate action that are making a real difference and can inspire other Canadians to do the same.
Address mental health and wellness within families, schools, workplaces, and front-line services to build stronger, healthier, and more prosperous communities.
Embody Canada’s commitment to diversity and acceptance.
“As governor general, I am committed to using this moment in our country’s history to build on the work of de-stigmatizing mental health, so it is viewed through the same lens as physical ailments, and receives the same attention, compassion and understanding,” she informed.
Noting Canada’s commitment to diversity and acceptance, Simon explained, “I’ve always believed the Right Honourable Kim Campbell held the country up to the correct standard when she said, ‘one-fifth the homeland of equality, justice and tolerance.’ Recognizing that one fifth of all Canadians were born somewhere else, it is more important than ever to make sure we live up to this commitment.”
Simon is the representative of Her Majesty the Queen in Canada as she fills the role. As the Governor General, Simon will carry out constitutional duties, serving as commander-in-chief, representing Canada at home and abroad, encouraging excellence, and bringing people together.
Commander in Chief
As the Governor General, Simon will carry out constitutional duties, serving as commander-in-chief for the Canadian Armed Forces, representing Canada at home and abroad, encouraging excellence, and bringing people together.
As commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, the governor-general appoints the Chief of the Defence Staff, the royal colonels-in-chief of Canadian regiments, and approves new military badges and insignia, except those bearing St. Edward’s Crown, which the monarch only approves. The governor-general also bestows honours to military personnel and signs commission scrolls.
The selection was informed through the advice of the Advisory Group on the Selection of the Next Governor General.