“We are proud to have Ms Simon as the first Indigenous Governor-General,” he said. “Today, 154 years later, our country is taking an important step. At this time I do not see a better person,” Justin Trudeau added. “The country mourns the discovery of more than a thousand anonymous graves near former residential schools.
Born in 1947, the Inuit is a Nunavic (northern Quebec) native who has been described by the tribe as a “defender of their rights and culture.” Says Trudeau. He was also the radio presenter of the English language channel CBC.
Mary Simon, now in her 30th term as governor-general, noted a “historic opportunity” by thanking the head of the Canadian government for making reconciliation with indigenous peoples one of her priorities.
“I can confidently say that my appointment is a historic and inspiring moment for Canada and an important step on the long path to reconciliation,” he added.
“The role of the Governor-General in our parliamentary system is symbolic, but it is a very important role,” he said. Trudeau underlined, in particular, a role that would allow “Canadians to unite.”
The announcement comes after 751 graves in Saskatchewan (west) and several hundred anonymous graves in British Columbia were discovered near former residential schools since the end of May. These findings caused a stir across the country.
The 150,000 Amerindian, Medes and Inuit children who were forcibly recruited into 139 residential schools across the country in the 1990s have been cut off from their families, language and culture.
Mary Simon beats Julie Payet, who resigned in January after being charged with harassment.
The Governor-General is usually appointed for five years, but his term is at the discretion of the Queen of England.