| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Canada installs first indigenous governor general, highlights reconciliation

On Monday, Canada’s governor general, the first indigenous woman to hold the position, was installed in an elaborate ceremony that highlighted the country’s efforts to reconcile with its colonial past.

Mary Simon, a former journalist, diplomat, and Inuit community champion, was selected as Queen Elizabeth’s representative in Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month.

Simon is the first Native American to take on the job, which was formed over 400 years ago to represent colonial power on North American continent. The shift occurs as Canada grapples with the consequences of its treatment of indigenous peoples.

“We need people like Ms. Simon because we need people who build bridges and bring us together,” Trudeau said at the ceremony.

“I have heard from Canadians who describe a renewed sense of possibility for our country and hope that I can bring people together,” Simon, 73, said after being installed.

The ceremony, broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp also in Simon’s native Inuktitut language, was scaled back and masks were worn due to COVID-19. A drummer accompanied her entry into the Senate where she took an oath.

The governor general performs functions such as swearing in governments and formally signing legislation, but is also the commander in chief of the military and can summon or dissolve Parliament.

  • Reuters