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

Abbotsford man charged with two child porn offences

Investigation against Jeremy Allen Willms, 42, began in April

Andy Sidhu appointed new chancellor at UFV

Third person to take on university role, first established in 2008

VIDEO: JRfm’s Holiday Fun Day sets up shop again at Langley Events Centre

Great music accompanies family fun as JRfm raises diapers and donations for Basics for Babies.

Abbotsford lawyer suing The Bay claims he was assaulted by security guard

Greg Lanning says incident started when he asked to have label removed from pants

Large drug bust yields fentanyl and carfentanil

Abbotsford Police launch investigation after spike in overdose deaths

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Quarter of students were away sick at Maple Ridge elementary school

Students and teachers at Maple Ridge school away with colds, flu.

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

Frustrated federal workers rally against Phoenix payroll system at B.C. MP’s office

Some employees out tens of thousands of dollars with ‘no end in sight’

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Maple Ridge becomes the mysterious haunt of the X-Files

Stars of sci-fi series show up in Memorial Peace Park

Most Read