Mary Simon, an Inuk leader and former diplomat, described her appointment as Canada's next governor general — the first Indigenous person to serve in the role — as a “step forward on the long path to reconciliation.”
With a growing sentiment that Julie Payette's abrupt departure from Rideau Hall provides an opportunity for Canada to have its first Indigenous governor general, Perry Bellegarde laughs when asked if he's been taking French lessons.
Members of Parliament return to the House of Commons on Monday, January 24, 2021, following a month-long break that was anything but restful to again face the ramification of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the threat of a possible election.
Payette joins a very short list of governors general who have left the post early, but is the first to do so mired in controversy. Her decision to leave will have both political and practical consequences for the minority Liberal government.
Canada's hardest-hit regions are further tightening COVID-19 lockdown measures with public health officials blaming holiday gatherings for surging infections and experts suggesting Quebec's clampdown may inspire more restrictions.
Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised an “ambitious green agenda” last month, the speech delivered by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette on Wednesday focused more on how the government will manage the pandemic and the economic hardship it has caused.