Mary Simon’s appointment comes after discovery over a thousand anonymous graves of children near former residential schools in recent weeks.
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Ottawa appointed Tuesday July 6 Mary simon Governor General of Canada. She is the first Indigenous woman to serve as Queen Elizabeth II’s representative, a strong symbol at a time when Canada faces dark pages of its past.
Mary Simon, born in 1947, was the first Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and also represented Canada in Denmark as Ambassador. She becomes the 30th representative of the British monarch, Canada’s reigning head of state, judged that her appointment marked a “historic moment” and “an important step in the long road to reconciliation”, which she intends to work on.
“Our country is taking an important step”
His appointment comes as the recent discovery of more than a thousand anonymous graves of children near former residential schools has painfully reminded Canada of the heavy legacy of these settlements. Tens of thousands of Native American, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly conscripted into these residential schools from the late 19th century to the 1990s, estranged from their families and their culture and often subjected to mistreatment, a policy characterized as “cultural genocide” by an official commission.
“Today, after 154 years, our country is taking an important step”, welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Governor General’s duties are largely formal, but she also has an important symbolic role as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and it is she who formally promulgates laws and convenes or dissolves Parliament.