Julie Payette to be our 29th Governor General


The announcement last week that Julie Payette will become our next Governor General is being widely lauded as an excellent choice.  Ms. Payette may be best known as a former astronaut, but she is accomplished in many fields and she embodies some of the very best qualities of Canada.

Many of her accomplishments are well known.  She was the first Canadian female to board the International Space Station and has been to space twice.  She is also an accomplished engineer, has provided leadership at the Montreal Science Centre, and recently worked with the National Bank in Quebec. Ms. Payette has excelled in competitive industries and succeeded to great heights in traditionally male-dominated fields.

In addition to this incredible professional resume, Ms. Payette is a great lover of the arts and is even a concert pianist.  She is also an avid sports enthusiast. In his statement welcoming Ms. Payette to her new position, Tom Mulcair spoke about a chance encounter he had with her on the hills of Mont-Tremblant where she volunteers as a member of the ski patrol.

Julie Payette will be sworn in as Canada’s 29th Government General, but she will only be the 4th woman to hold the position.   Jean Sauve was the first and served as our 23rd Governor General. When she was named in 1984 there had only been one other female Governor General across the entire Commonwealth.  Since then, the Canadian position has been filled by Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean, and now Ms. Payette, proving that the doors of Rideau Hall are no longer a barrier for women.  That said there remain groups, most notably Indigenous Canadians, who have yet to have one of their own called on to serve as Governor General.

It is true that some Canadians are disappointed we are not celebrating the appointment of Canada’s first Governor General from First Nation, Inuit, or Metis descent.  The sentiment is understandable and many Canadians from all walks of life sympathize with this idea. That’s why it is important that the notion continue to receive support so that we can look forward to the near future when, as a step on our path to reconciliation, Canada will be honored with an Indigenous Governor General.

In the meantime we congratulate Ms. Payette and wish her nothing but the very best in her next role as Her Excellency, the Queen’s Official Representative and Governor General of Canada.  She is nothing short of remarkable and will make a great role model for young Canadians. We are fortunate to count her as one of our own and to have her fill this important role.

We can also take a moment to congratulate His Excellency, David Johnston for his great service to Canada and thank him and his wife Sharon for their generosity and obvious love for our country.  Here in Northern Ontario we have been especially proud of his time in office and count him as one of our great contributors to the Canadian fabric.

Julie Payette sera notre 29e gouverneure générale
On a fait grand cas de l’annonce, la semaine dernière, que Julie Payette deviendrait notre gouverneure générale, car on la considère comme un excellent choix. Mme Payette est peut-être davantage connue comme ancienne astronaute. Cependant, elle s’est accomplie dans de nombreux domaines, et les qualités qu’elle incarne comptent parmi les meilleures du Canada.

Bon nombre de ses réalisations sont bien connues. Elle fut la première femme canadienne à embarquer dans la Station spatiale internationale et elle a voyagé dans l’espace à deux reprises. Ingénieure accomplie, elle a dirigé le Centre des sciences de Montréal et a récemment travaillé auprès de la Banque Nationale au Québec. Mme Payette est passée maître du domaine des industries compétitives et a atteint l’excellence dans des secteurs d’activité à prédominance masculine.
En plus de son parcours professionnel impressionnant, Mme Payette adore les arts et est pianiste de concert. C’est également une fervente adepte de sport. Dans la déclaration dans laquelle il l’accueillait dans ses nouvelles fonctions, Tom Mulcair a parlé de sa rencontre fortuite avec elle sur les collines de Mont-Tremblant, où elle est membre bénévole de la patrouille de ski.

Julie Payette prêtera serment comme 29e gouverneure générale du Canada. Cependant, ce ne sera que la quatrième fois qu’une femme occupera ce poste. Jeanne Sauvé, notre 23e gouverneure générale, a été la première à le faire. Lorsqu’elle a été nommée, en 1984, il n’y avait eu qu’une seule autre gouverneure générale dans tout le Commonwealth. Depuis, au Canada,

Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean et maintenant Mme Payette ont occupé ce poste, ce qui prouve que les portes de Rideau Hall ne sont plus fermées aux femmes. Cela dit, il subsiste des groupes, notamment les Autochtones, qui n’ont pas encore vu un de leurs membres accéder au poste de gouverneur général.
Il est vrai que certains Canadiens sont déçus que nous ne célébrions pas la nomination du premier gouverneur général du Canada issu des Premières Nations ou d’origine inuite ou métisse. Leur sentiment est compréhensible. Sachant que de nombreux Canadiens de tous horizons sont d’accord avec une telle idée, il est donc essentiel de continuer à la soutenir, afin que, dans un proche avenir, pour faire un pas sur le chemin vers la réconciliation, le Canada se dote d’un gouverneur général autochtone.

Entre-temps, nous félicitons Mme Payette et lui souhaitons beaucoup de succès dans son prochain rôle en tant que Son Excellence, la représentante officielle de la Reine et gouverneure générale du Canada. Elle est tout à fait remarquable et elle constituera un exemple à suivre pour les jeunes Canadiens. Nous avons de la chance de pouvoir la considérer comme l’une des nôtres et de la voir occuper ce poste important.

Nous pouvons également féliciter Son Excellence David Johnston d’avoir été au service du Canada et le remercier, de même que son épouse, Sharon, de leur générosité et de leur loyauté évidente à l’égard de notre pays. Ici, dans le Nord de l’Ontario, nous sommes particulièrement fiers de son mandat, au cours duquel il a apporté de grandes contributions au tissu social canadien.

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Carol is a three-term MP who has worked hard for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing since being elected in 2008. In addition to her role as MP, Carol serves as Assistant Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole in Canada’s 42nd Parliament. A tireless advocate for the communities she serves, Carol was a leading figure in the fight to preserve ten federal constituencies for Northern Ontario. She has been a prominent spokesperson for passenger rail service, preserving postal service outlets, and good jobs in the region. Carol has worked with First Nations on local and national issues and served as the New Democrat critic for First Nations Health prior to assuming the responsibilities of Assistant Deputy Speaker. With decades of labour experience, Carol understands the priorities of hardworking families. She has introduced legislation to expand access to Employment Insurance benefits and to require mandatory reporting of workplace accidents and occupational diseases. She has also worked with veterans on legislation that will create a Defence of Canada Medal to honour those who served domestically to protect Canada during the Cold War. Committed to serving all her constituents, Carol maintains full constituency offices in both Kapuskasing and Elliot Lake. She also holds regular clinics in communities throughout the riding. Before entering politics, Carol was a regional representative for the Canadian Labour Congress. Earlier, she worked for Probation and Parole Services in Elliot Lake and Youth Justice Services in Sudbury. A long-time community volunteer and activist, Carol lived in Elliot Lake for nearly three decades with her husband Kieth. And as a proud mother and grandmother, Carol is committed to building a better Canada for future generations.


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