Astronaut Julie Payette is Canada’s next Governor General

Former astronaut Julie Payette is Canada’s next Governor General.

Montreal-born Payette will become the 29th person to hold the position, and the fourth female to be the monarch’s representative in Canada. Two of the former female governor generals included immigrants Adrienne Clarkson (born in Hong Kong) and Michaëlle Jean (born in Haiti).

“This is a very great honour for me and for my family, for my friends and my colleagues here around the country, on the planet and even a few outside the planet,” she said after her appointment was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Payette is an astronaut, engineer, scientific broadcaster and corporate director. She was the first Canadian female to board the International Space Station in 1999 and went on a second space flight in 2009.

She will officially become the governor general, taking over from David Johnston, after her installation ceremony in the fall.

What does the governor general of Canada do?
The governor general is the monarch’s representative and the commander-in-chief of Canada. The governor general represents Canada during State visits abroad and receives Royal visitors, heads of State and foreign ambassadors at Rideau Hall and at the Citadelle of Québec.

The governor general presents honours and awards to recognize excellence, valour, bravery and exceptional achievements. The governor general is also the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

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