Mary Simon will be sworn in as Canada’s new Governor-General – the first Indigenous person to hold the office – on July 26.
The Department of Canadian Heritage confirmed the date on Tuesday, a week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Ms. Simon would succeed Julie Payette as the Queen’s representative in Canada.
The department said the ceremony will mark Ms. Simon’s installation as Canada’s 30th Governor-General, but provided no other immediate details.
A roster of frequently asked questions posted on Tuesday by the department said the ceremony will adhere to public-health protocols, including physical distancing and sanitizing measures, and a limit on the number of participants and guests.
Ms. Simon is a former president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a non-profit organization representing more than 65,000 Inuit in Canada, as well as a former Canadian ambassador for circumpolar affairs, and ambassador to Denmark.
She arrives amid the expectation that Mr. Trudeau will soon seek her approval to dissolve Parliament to precipitate an election.
When Ms. Simon’s appointment was revealed on July 6, she and Mr. Trudeau said they had not discussed the issue of elections.
Political scientist Daniel Béland of McGill University said it’s helpful to have a full-time Governor-General on the job even without talk of an election.
After Ms. Payette’s departure in January over allegations of workplace conflict, Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Richard Wagner served as acting Governor-General.
Justice Wagner will hold the job until Ms. Simon, now dubbed the Governor-General Designate, is installed.
“I think it’s long overdue that we have someone in Rideau Hall,” Prof. Béland said, referring to the Governor-General’s residence.
He said he expects the federal Liberal government is considering the fine points of its election plan, including the date voters will go to the polls.
The timing of Ms. Simon’s appointment will be helpful in that process, he said.
“Having the Governor-General in place before August is good because you don’t want to go to Rideau Hall to ask for dissolution two days after you have the new Governor-General. That would be really a bit awkward. You want to have some time between the actual start of her position and a potential meeting about the election,” Prof. Béland said.
Ms. Payette’s installation in October, 2017, was in the Senate Chamber, and included a presentation of Canadian Honours, full military honours, the participation of various artists, and an address by the new Governor-General.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Ms. Payette walked from Parliament Hill to the National War Memorial to lay flowers in honour of Canada’s fallen.
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