Nunavik’s Mary Simon named as next Governor General

‘When I was asked to take on this very important role, I was very excited,’ new vice-regal representative says

Mary Simon speaks at a news conference in Gatineau, Que., where her new appointment as Governor General was announced. (Screenshot courtesy of CBC News)

By Sarah Rogers

Prominent Inuk leader Mary Simon has been named Canada’s 30th Governor General, the first Indigenous person to take on the role.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Simon’s appointment at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on Tuesday morning. Trudeau said she was selected and vetted from a list of nearly 100 potential candidates.

Simon, 74, is originally from Kangiqsualujjuaq in Nunavik, and has called Kuujjuaq home for much of her life.

“When I was asked to take on this very important role, I was very excited,” Simon told reporters at Tuesday news conference. “I felt that this position would help Canadians together with Indigenous people, working together … bringing people together to understand our unique history, our unique cultures and way of life.

“And I think if people understand each other in this way and respect one another, then this is what we call reconciliation.”

Simon takes on a position that had been vacant since January, when former governor general Julie Payette resigned from the office following a workplace harassment investigation.

Simon’s appointment has been approved by Queen Elizabeth, on the Prime Minister’s recommendation, though she has yet to be officially installed in the role.

The Governor General is the Queen’s representative in Canada and acts as head of state.

Simon brings an extensive career in northern broadcasting and leadership to her new position.

She started her career in the North as a producer for CBC Radio.

Simon went on to serve as president of Makivik Corp. and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. She served two terms as president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and was named as the first Canadian ambassador for circumpolar affairs.

ITK offered its congratulations to its former president in a Tuesday post on Twitter.

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq also greeted the appointment, saying on Twitter that “the accomplishments of Inuit are often overlooked in Canada. It’s nice to see an Inuk leader being recognized with this position.”

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq offered his congratulations to Simon as well. “So well deserved!” he wrote on Twitter.

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(18) Comments:

  1. Posted by articrick on

    Wow,great news other than the big drug bust in Rankin.

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  2. Posted by Dòchas a’ Onnust on

    Congratulations.

    🙂

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  3. Posted by Give it a rest on

    Mumilaaq just can’t help but fuse her endless sense of grievance into the story…

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  4. Posted by Put the flag back up on

    Harvey took down his large canadian flag that proudly flew over kuujjuaq and replace d it with a makivik flag.
    this is a good sign that the canadian flag should go back up on the hill

    congratulations mary – make us proud and lets move ahead with reconciliation

  5. Posted by Too Proud! on

    I AM WAY TOO PROUD FOR HER. I’m so proud of her because she’s from Nunavik. Oh My Goodness, Congratulations, Mrs. Simon. Goose bumping . . . LOL

    What else can i say ?

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  6. Posted by Franca on

    I couldn’t be more proud
    It is the best choice 💜 that ever could have been!
    You have all my respect!

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  7. Posted by M Center on

    Congratulations! Happy for all Inuit. Happy for Canada.

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  8. Posted by Doug Brunet on

    For me, this is not good news. IT’S ABSOLUTELY GREAT NEWS! And the timing of this appointment could not have been better, The appointment itself could not be more appropriate.
    Canada is not a nation. It is a country of many nations. We can’t erase history. But, by all that is dearest to us all, we can choose the path to knowledge that overcomes ignorance. We can act to stem fear and make way for our minds to come together. Our need for this is desperate, imminent.
    We can write on the blank pages of our future stories worthy of all our nations, and their respective cultures. I believe in it. With all my heart, I believe.

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  9. Posted by Wonderful on

    Congratulations! What a great choice, she has so much experience and she will have no issues representing all Canadians in her role as Governor General. So proud of her! 👏👏👏

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  10. Posted by Congratulation Mary!. on

    Mialioqatiapiik Oopeegivageet. I was doing presentation on a word, (respect) and tell stories of how we survive up north in the past on Aboriginal Day celebration in Grande Prairie, AB. A first man who walked in, he prayed for the Aboriginal and Inuit. His name is Gerard Pettipas, he was telling me he says hello to you. That was on the June 24th. My mother used to call me ningiuk because I have my grandmother’s namesake. You have made my day very proud. You will be well prayed for more than ever from our elders and a lot of people. You are much more than we would say anything about you Mary. Opegusuupoguut Eliniik. Mialeemiik.

  11. Posted by Colin on

    Everyone wishes her well.

    Although GG’s can largely arrange their own workload, it’s tough job to do well. It should be a real and heavy job done on behalf of all Canadians. It shouldn’t be an overpaid sinecure like what the useless GG Payette made of it.

    One template for the job is Princess Anne and Mary should arrange to meet with her when she visits the Queen. Princess Anne does up to three functions almost every day of the year all over the country and also around the world. She’s also really active with numerous charities.

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  12. Posted by Kivalliqmiut on

    I cried when i heard an Inuk woman was chosen for this role, i cried with so much pride for Mary Simon and so much happiness. I am very happy about this, amazing.
    Uppigivagi!

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  13. Posted by Awesome Choice on

    This has to be one of the best moves Trudeau has ever made. Mary Simon is a great natural leader who will bring integrity back to the GG’s position. There must have been a list of great Indigenous leaders to choose from and worthy of the title. Mary will do a great job, she is a great person.
    The outgoing MP said it was time that Mary was recognized. This little girl attitude has ended your political career as your lack of education and maturity certainly shines through.
    Mary Simon has always been a great advocate for Indigenous people and was always recognized for the great accomplishments in her lifetime. The MP should not take something so positive and put a negative shot in. This is why you are outgoing MP.

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  14. Posted by Philip Greene on

    Does anyone know where her name ‘Simon’ is from? Was that from her ‘real’ father’s surname?

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  15. Posted by I smell an election on

    Ah Trudeau, clever move.

  16. Posted by Confused on

    This is good news. Great news even. So, what’s Mumilaaq’s problem?

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  17. Posted by Alianait Inuktitut tusaaksauniqsaulaarmat :) on

    It is so wonderful that Mary Simon was selected and that she spoke Inuktitut in her first address. I look forward to hearing her speeches in the future also.

    The increased visibility of Inuktitut on the Canadian stage comes at a very interesting time. The government has introduced a bill (Bill C-32) which will unilaterally declare French the official language of Quebec, without amending the Constitution. Since the government takes the position that it can now declare a language official without amending the Constitution (in the past, it took the opposite position), this means that the government would also have the power to declare Inuktitut an official language of Nunavut from a federal perspective. Food for thought. 🙂

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  18. Posted by Thomas Aggark on

    the level of work load in each northern communities should be top priorities. places with bigger population, such as mining, work load, employment, and those without any mining activity, that makes them open to government such as health care, local govt. are only what these smaller community look into. anyway, fix the govt, reconciliation, families, and all of these should be top priorities.

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