David Johnston The Governor General

The Governor General

Julie Payette

Julie Payette brought her experience as an astronaut-scientist and in business, her abilities as a polyglot, together with a special concern for the environment and a passion for music to Rideau Hall when she was sworn The Queen’s representative in Canada on October 2, 2017.

As the 29th Governor General, she has urged Canadians to work together on issues such as climate change, migration and poverty, remarking in her Installation address that “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...”

During the course of her first year at Government House, Her Excellency has sworn in a new Chief Justice; travelled across Canada as well as abroad to countries ranging from Ukraine and Latvia to S Korea and the USA; held a cross-country ski event on Parliament Hill; and welcomed dignitaries including the King & Queen of the Belgians and the Prime Minister of Portugal.

The Governor General Meets The Queen

Governor General David Johnston meets some young monarchists when Their Excellencies joined the League’s celebration of The Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.

Two former Governors-General

David Johnston

In 2010, Canadians welcomed David Johnston, former president of the University of Waterloo, on his Installation as the Governor General of Canada. Those who had followed His Excellency’s career knew his abundant "people skills"—an affable personality—and deep knowledge of Canada’s constitution and diverse social history. These qualities, combined with a truly global perspective and seasoned political experience at the federal level, were excellent indications that he would faithfully serve The Queen and all Canadians as Governor General. Indeed he did so, bringing a lively and loyal atmosphere to Rideau Hall, encouraging pride in Canada by two books he wrote in office (to add to some 20 others he had previously authored) and accepting the Prime Minister’s request that he spend two additional years, above the customary five years in post, so that this popular and respected GG could lead the celebrations of Canada 150 in 2017 - at no small cost in terms of resuming his cherished family life and a degree of privacy.

A graduate of Harvard University in the United States (where he was an All-American hockey player), Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, and Queen’s University, Mr Johnston combined his background of corporate and communications law with a career in education and administration. After teaching law at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, he served as Dean of Law at the University of Western Ontario. From 1979 to 1994 he was as Principal of McGill University, after which he was appointed Principal of the University of Waterloo in 1999.

Mr Johnston was uniquely suited to represent The Queen - and, mentioning his role on most public occasions, was clearly proud to do so - and so to manifest that primary role of the Governor General, ill understood or cloaked by some of his predecessors. His and Mrs Johnston’s friendliness, genuineness and sheer character endeared them to Canadians. Not alone are monarchists in considering him the greatest Governor General in many decades, and every ounce on a par with his perhaps most famous and beloved predecessor, Georges-Etienne Vanier.

Mme Jean With Former PM Stephen Harper

Michaëlle Jean

As Canadians welcomed a new Governor General, David Johnston, in 2010, they also bid farewell to Michaëlle Jean, who departed Rideau Hall at the end of the the traditional five-year period of service for The Queen's representative in Canada. It was a period that twice brought controversial requests for Prorogation of Parliament. Controversy certainly ensued, but the Governor General's discreet handling of the situation meant that any criticism resulting was appropriately directed at the political players and not the vice-regal office.

One significant accomplishment of Mme Jean's time was the role she played in rousing Canadians to concern about the difficult situation in Haiti, her birthplace, to the point that the prime minister invited the GG to the operational briefing on the crisis. This was an unusual way for acknowledging the Crown's right to be informed, to be sure – but one that showed the ceremonial and political sides of the executive in complete harmony. The press briefing Mme Jean gave later the same day that brought her to tears with an intensity of feeling which, many watching the evening news to consider digging a little deeper into their pockets towards the relief of innocent sufferers abroad.

Mme Jean showed support for the Canadian Forces, and visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. She supported Canadian culture, especially in terms of its Francophone and youthful faces. Similar respect for Aboriginal cultures has been appreciated, as well, especially when she deliberately chose to eat seal at an Inuit banquet during one of her visits to Canada's North. And she was been a visible and enthusiastic attender at arts events throughout Canada.

Once out of office, the former Governor General continued her public service as a Special Canadian Envoy to the UN Mission to Haiti. In November 2014, she was elected Secretary-General of La Francophonie.


  domsec (@) monarchist.ca
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  The Monarchist League of Canada
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