OTTAWA – Mary Simon, an Inuk leader and former Canadian diplomat, has been named as Canada’s next governor general _ the first Indigenous person to serve in the role.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., today and says Queen Elizabeth II approved the appointment.

Simon, who was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, is the former president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, an national advocacy organization for Inuit.

A longtime advocate for Inuit culture and rights, she also served as Canada’s ambassador to Denmark and the Canadian ambassador for circumpolar affairs.

The position of governor general, who represents the Queen in Canada, has been vacant since Julie Payette resigned in January following a scathing independent report on the toxic work environment that had developed at Rideau Hall during her tenure.

Chief Justice Richard Wagner had been fulfilling the governor general’s duties as administrator, but the need to appoint a replacement has become more pronounced in recent weeks as signs increasingly point to the Liberals desiring an election this summer or fall.

Simon says she can hardly wait to roll up her sleeves and saysshe will work every day towards promoting healing and wellnessacross Canadian society.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2021.

(The Canadian Press)

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