This week, Mary Simon was sworn in as Canada’s 30th Governor General.
Canada’s Governor General represents the Queen—Canada’s Head of State—giving Royal assent for bills to become law and serving as honourary Commander in Chief of our armed forces.
Mrs. Simon replaces disgraced former Governor General Julie Payette. It is my sincere hope that in Mary Simon the Prime Minister has done his homework (this time) and recommended a Governor General whose focus will be on serving Canadians and not her own private agenda.
Whatever one thinks of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Mrs. Simon brings an impressive resume to the job and her appointment is historic.
She is Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General: An Inuit from Kuujjuaq in northeastern Quebec.
Mary Simon was one of the Inuit representatives during the negotiations that led to the patriation of the Constitution in 1982.
In 1986 she was chosen to lead the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and in 1994 she was appointed by former Prime Minster Jean Chretien as Canada’s first Ambassador of Circumpolar Affairs. These roles allowed her to help negotiate the creation of the Arctic Council: the group of eight countries—Canada, the United States, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Russia—with sovereignty over lands and seas within the Arctic Circle. Later, she was appointed as Canada’s Ambassador to Denmark.
She has also worked as a TV producer and served two terms as President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami—a non-profit organization that represents the interests of Canada’s Inuit peoples.
Now, as Governor General, her job will be to represent all Canadians.
Mary Simon took her first official steps as Governor General last Thursday when she spoke with the Queen.
Following her investiture ceremony, as honourary head of Canada’s armed forces, Mrs. Simon inspected an honour guard and laid flowers to honour Canada’s war dead.
I am cautiously optimistic about Mary Simon.
Mrs. Simon and her husband have already moved into Rideau Hall—something her predecessor refused to do. She also appears to have a better temperament for the job than her predecessor.
She joked during her investiture speech:
“My Inuk name is Nigiukudluk, and Prime Minister, it means “bossy little old lady”.
Hopefully, in Mary Simon, it would appear Justin Trudeau has chosen a wise servant over another ego and ideology driven mirror-image of himself.
Time will tell.
In the meantime, I wish Mrs. Simon and her family all the best, and will pray for wisdom, as she fulfills this important function in our democracy.