Former astronaut Julie Payette sworn in as Canada’s 29th Governor General

Mother, an athlete, a pilot, a scientist and someone who “went where very few others had dared to go’

Former astronaut Julie Payette took the formal oaths of office Monday as she became the country’s 29th Governor General in a traditional ceremony on Parliament Hill.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin administered the oaths to the 53-year-old in the Senate chamber under the watchful eyes of hundreds of high-powered Canadian audience members, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his cabinet, Indigenous leaders and other dignitaries.

Payette swore the oaths of allegiance of the Governor General and commander-in-chief of Canada, and of the Keeper of the Great Seal of Canada.

After the oaths, cannons outside the Parliament Building crashed out a 21-gun salute, which could be heard inside.

The audience included justices of the Supreme Court, former governors general, several provincial premiers and Payette’s friends and family.

Payette was also formally presented with the ceremonial collars marking her as chancellor of the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit and the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, as well as head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

While much of the ceremony is dictated by protocol, Payette herself chose the music, which included a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung by Joannie Benoit and Melissa Bedard.

The Juno Award-winning Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir, of which Payette was a member, performed also performed.

Trudeau spoke of Payette’s flights into space as inspiring moments, calling her a two-time extraterrestrial Canadian.

He praised her as a mother, an athlete, a pilot, a scientist and someone who “went where very few others had dared to go.”

“Your journey through space and through life may be unique, but the qualities which underpin every one of your successes are not,” he said.

The prime minister also took time to thank Payette’s predecessor, David Johnston.

“You have made Canada a stronger and a better country.”

One of the first things Payette plans to do as the Queen’s representative in Canada is to open an Instagram account. Johnston Her predecessor, never had one, but officials from Heritage Canada say Payette will add to the Governor General’s social media arsenal.

She will also take over her predecessor’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Payette’s embrace of social media appears to be in step with Buckingham Palace, which posted a job advertisement for a social media manager earlier this year as the number of people following the Queen on Twitter was heading toward the three million mark. It has since surpassed that.

Payette, a Montreal-born astronaut, engineer and businesswoman, was accompanied by her 14-year-old son, Laurier Payette Flynn. Her parents and sister and brother were among the invited guests who felt the rumble of a 21-gun salute after Payette signed the oath book and took her seat on the Senate throne.

Following the ceremony, Payette, her son and other dignitaries were scheduled to visit the National War Memorial where the new Governor General would lay flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Payette had her first audience with the Queen less than two weeks ago, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she received several honours, including the Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada.

In his parting statement, issued Friday, Johnston thanked Canadians for the privilege of serving them.

“It has been a great honour to serve as Canada’s 28th Governor General, to represent Her Majesty The Queen in this important role within our constitutional monarchy and to give back to this country I love so much,” the former academic said.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Third period Blackfalds Wrangler slump leads to 6-3 Morinville win

Blackfalds to take on AA Generals on Dec. 21 in Lacombe

1 dead, 2 in Lacombe Police custody after report of gunshot wound

Incident was deemed suspicious, subsequently the LPS entered into an investigation

City of Lacombe installs new skating rink at LMC

Lacombe residents can now skate among the LMC Christmas lights

Cops, Pops and Pizza in Lacombe raises $1,700 for Special Olympics Alberta

Annual event part of national Law Enforcement Torch Run campaign

Blackfalds RCMP officer’s firearm discharged in struggle

Red Deer and Sylvan Lake RCMP assist after police vehicle stolen

WATCH: CP Holiday Train supports Lacombe Food Bank

Madeline Merlo and JUNO Award nominee Scott Helman both performed

Rebels win two straight heading into Christmas break

Two third period goals give Red Deer 3-1 win over Swift Current

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

AHS: Albertans reminded to be food safe this holiday season

Important to wash your hands often and prepare foods properly to reduce risk of food-borne illness

Two adults, two youths from Maskwacis charged in ATV, gun theft

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Break, Enter & Theft and Weapons Offences - Arrests

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

‘He was good for the West:’ Sadness, surprise in Saskatchewan over Scheer

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and his predecessor, Brad Wall, both thanked Andrew Scheer

Johnson claims Brexit mandate with new conservative majority

Conservative Party wins 365 seats in the House of Commons

Most Read