Julie Payette sworn in as Governor General of Canada

By: Meaghan Wray

The Queen’s new representative in Canada, Governor General Julie Payette, delivered a powerful speech on climate change, migration and poverty at her official inauguration in Ottawa on Oct 2. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie were on hand to congratulate Julie on becoming the country’s 29th governor general.

Monday’s induction comes a few weeks after Julie travelled to Scotland to have her first audience with Her Majesty at Balmoral Castle.

The 53-year-old holds an impressive résumé as an astronaut, engineer and administrator. During her address in the Senate chamber, she acknowledged the importance of banding together to rid the world of inequalities.

She spoke from the heart and without notes: “I’m a true believer in the strength of teamwork, in the power of dreams and in the absolute necessity of a support structure. Anyone can accomplish anything and rise to the challenge as long as they are willing to work with others, to let go of the personal agenda, to reach a higher goal and to do what is right for the common good. This is exactly what I hope my mandate as the governor general will reflect.”

The Quebec native was surrounded by 400 guests at the swearing in ceremony, including her parents, siblings and her 14-year-old son Laurier. She later shared that she asked her son first before taking on the new role as GG.

The former astronaut also addressed the nation’s Indigenous leaders, honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which aims to establish recognition and respect, and acknowledge the true history of Canada. “It is a good thing that we finally decided again to listen to their wisdom,” she declared.

Julie doesn’t just walk the walk; she talks the talk, too. Her message of inclusivity and teamwork is reflected in her ability to speak six different languages, as well as her well-rounded set of interests: running, skiing, deep-sea diving and flying planes. Justin acknowledged this strong work ethic and passion, “Whether as Canada’s chief astronaut or as an Olympic flag bearer you represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian, to serve Canada with aplomb and integrity.”

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