Trudeau names Mary Simon as next Governor-General

Governor-General Designate Mary Simon (Photo screen shot of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement on Twitter)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named Mary Simon, an Inuk leader and former Canadian diplomat, as Canada’s next Governor-General.

Simon is the first Indigenous person to serve in the role and the 30th Governor-General of Canada.

“Simon has dedicated her life to advancing social, economic, and human rights issues for Canadian Inuit and Indigenous Peoples, and I am confident that she will serve Canadians and promote our shared values with dedication and integrity. Through this appointment, we are ensuring that Canada is represented by someone who exemplifies the very best of our country,” said Trudeau.

Simon indicated she sees her appointment as an important step toward reconciliation.

“This is a moment that I hope all Canadians feel a part of, because my appointment reflects our collective progress towards building a more inclusive, just, and equitable society,” said Simon.

The position of Governor-General, who represents the Queen in Canada, has been vacant since Julie Payette resigned.

“I will work every day towards promoting healing and wellness across Canadian society,” said Simon.

Simon is bilingual, although she does not speak French, one of the two official languages of Canada. She speaks English and Inuktitut, one of many Indigenous languages spoken in Canada. She has made a commitment to learning French during her time as Governor-General of Canada.

Simon began her career as a radio broadcaster with the CBC Northern Service (now CBC North) in the 1970s. Since then, she has served in many leadership roles to advocate for Inuit rights and culture, and the rights of all Indigenous Peoples.

“I spent my adult life fighting for Indigenous and human rights, pushing for increased access to healthcare and access to mental health services, and working hard to build better educational outcomes for our children,” said Simon.

Simon was selected by Trudeau after the Advisory Group on the Selection of the Next Governor General provided him with a shortlist of possible candidates. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the appointment.