Installing the 29th Governor General

Installing the 29th Governor General

UPDATED October 2, 2017 2:09pmET

Julie Payette has formally replace David Johnston as Governor General, with a ceremony in the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill:

The ceremony included:

  • the commission of office, read by Stephen Wallace, secretary to the Governor General;
  • the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin;
  • military honours, including a 21-gun salute;
  • presentation of the Canadian Honours of the Governor General and the Great Seal of Canada;
  • a speech by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau;
  • a speech by the new Governor General to lay out her mandate and vision as the Queen’s new representative

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Payette’s selection in July. She had an audience with the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Sept. 20:

More on the role of the Governor General:

  • The Governor General represents Queen Elizabeth in Canada, performing duties and responsibilities on behalf of the head of state. These include the Speech from the Throne and giving Royal Assent to bills.
  • The Governor General is commander-in-chief of Canada’s armed forces.
  • The office of the Governor General is the highest and oldest public position in Canada, with a lineage dating back in various forms to Samuel de Champlain in the 1630s.
  • Though largely a social and ceremonial role, one of the Governor General’s most important responsibilities is ensuring that Canada always has a prime minister and a government holding the confidence of the House of Commons. A basic rule of Westminster democracy dictates that no government can continue in office once they lose the support of a majority of elected MPs.
  • Most of the time a Governor General takes the prime minister’s advice, as Michaelle Jean did amidst the political turmoil of late 2008, granting Stephen Harper’s prorogation request. But in a time of a great political deadlock, the vice-regal representative can act independently. The 1926 King-Byng affair provided the most memorable example.
  • The Governor General is not elected. He or she is appointed by the Queen, on the personal recommendation of the Canadian prime minister.
  • In 1947 virtually all the roles and responsibilities of the Crown were transferred from the monarch to the Governor General – without having to refer matters to London.
  • Former prime minister Stephen Harper created the Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments in 2012 to provide him with recommendations when selecting a Governor General, provincial Lieutenant Governor, or Territorial Commissioner.

CPAC’s Danielle Young outlined more on the Governor General’s function in 2010:

-Andrew Thomson

TOP PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: The Senate chamber seats reserved for the Queen or Governor General (left) and their consort (right). CPAC/Sangeeta Patel