Historic moment for Inuit and all Indigenous Peoples in Canada
At 10 am on July 6, 2021, Mary Simon joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a press conference held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. After announcing that the Queen had accepted his recommendation for Canada’s 30th Governor General, Prime Minister Trudeau introduced Governor General Designate Mary Simon.
Simon first addressed Canadians in Inuktitut, marking a huge moment in history for Inuit across Inuit Nunangat, and for Indigenous Peoples across the country. She acknowledged the importance of the announcement. “I can confidently say that my appointment is a historic and inspirational moment for Canada and an important step forward on the long path towards reconciliation. Indeed, my appointment comes at an especially reflective and dynamic time in our shared history.”
Makivik President Pita Aatami was quick to share his congratulations. “In Nunavik, we all know our new Governor General as Mary. We are extremely proud of her appointment as Canada’s 30th Governor General,” he said. “This is a new chapter in Canada’s relationship with Inuit, First Nations, and Métis. Having an Indigenous person as the Crown’s Representative in Canada sends a strong message to the nation, and to the international community. This comes at an important time in our history as we collectively work towards reconciliation.”
Until her appointment as Governor General Designate, Mary Simon was the Senior Negotiator in the Nunavik political process of Self-Determination with the Government of Canada. She is also a previous Makivik Corporation President, former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), and past President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). She was instrumental in the creation of the Arctic Council 25 years ago. Our Governor General Designate was also Canada’s first Ambassador to the Arctic, and Canada’s Ambassador to Denmark. She holds five Honorary University Degrees, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the National Order of Quebec.
As Governor General, Simon will take on a number of responsibilities. She will act on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen to uphold Canada’s government, act as Commander-in-Chief of the country’s military, represent Canada at home and beyond on behalf of the Queen, encourage excellence through the presentation of honours and awards, as well as working to foster unity by bringing Canadians together.
Once she is sworn in, she will be referred to as, Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Mary Simon.