The indigenous governor is a symbol – not an empty symbol

The indigenous governor is a symbol – not an empty symbol


Mary Simon will go to Rideau Hall in difficult times—whether for her upcoming position or for the country itself. There is a risk of too much burden on her shoulders.

The fact that she was appointed the first indigenous governor may not solve any problems. But she will have the opportunity to strengthen the position she holds and the country she serves in large and small ways.

In hindsight, Simon should be Justin Trudeau’s 2017 candidate.

It is not difficult to see what Trudeau saw in Julie Payette. Anything involving astronauts is exciting. If she is ready or personally suitable for the job, this might be a good date.

But Trudeau and his advisers somehow didn’t know what situation they put themselves and Rideau Hall into. This is not well reflected in the government. More importantly, the reputation of the governor’s office left by Payette was damaged-at this time, the future of the Canadian royal family was completely insecure.

The direct responsibility of the 30th Governor of Canada has always been to repair the Rideau Hall workplace and restore the public image of the institution. Payette’s successor always has little room for error or dispute.

Simon’s background as a leader, manager, negotiator and ambassador shows that she is well suited to meet these challenges.

Office watershed

She does not speak fluent French-this can be traced back to her education in a federal day school. Maybe this is one of the reasons why she was not selected before. But her other skills and attributes — and the nature of this moment in the history of this country — may now be more important than her language skills.

At least this time the candidate review seems to be more thorough. Her appointment has far-reaching symbolic significance—as a sign of progress, it can be placed alongside the appointment of the first Canadian-born Governor, Vincent Massey, in 1952.

“Mary Simon is a very talented, gifted, and knowledgeable indigenous leader with a wealth of experience. She is also an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and even has a deep understanding of the day school system in the north,” said Ray Moran, Former director of the National Truth and Reconciliation Center, and currently a librarian at the University of Victoria Reconciliation University.

“And I think that the events happening all over the country now pay more and more attention to the importance of reconciliation and the importance of telling the truth. I think Mary Simon is the real asset of this country and continues to remind us to shoulder our responsibilities together and continue Encourage all Canadians to listen to the call for reconciliation and help all Canadians continue to plan their way forward.”

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, protesters marched to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to hold the “Cancel Canada Day” protest in response to the discovery of unmarked Aboriginal graves at the boarding school. (Patrick Doyle/Canada Press)

Representation is very important. The Governor is not just a representative of the Queen-the Governor represents the country. Whether the office must be apolitical or ceremonial, the governor has the right to talk about shared values. Although the role of the Governor is bound to be limited, there are still opportunities to contribute.

Simon said that her growth as the daughter of an Inuit mother and a white father made her “a bridge between the different life realities that make up the Canadian tapestry.” She talked about the importance of understanding, knowledge and respect.

Watch: Mary Simon discusses her childhood in the North

Trudeau appointed Mary Simon as the 30th Governor of Canada. She is the first Inyuk to represent Canada as the ambassador to Denmark. Simon is also the host of CBC North. 2:41

“During my tenure as Governor, I will work every day to promote the recovery and health of the entire Canadian society,” she said.

She extended this message beyond reconciliation projects and “our collective past atrocities,” applying it to protect the natural world and address the needs of young people.

She said: “I firmly believe that if we embrace our common humanity and share responsibilities for each other, Canada’s brightest day has not yet come.”

The burden of history

The idea of ??aboriginal governor has been around for many years-Simon himself is Discussed as a candidate in 2010But this concept raises questions about the nature of the governor’s role itself.

The first aboriginal governor will always be expected to carry Heavy historical burdenSome people believe that the appointment of an aboriginal governor will force people to reconsider the Queen’s representative in Canada. Must remain silent on controversial or political issues. Some people suggested that such an appointment would be Empty symbol.

Simon’s appointment does not forgive or make up for any failure of the Trudeau government or Canada itself. The Prime Minister always bears the ultimate responsibility of the Canadian government for reconciliation actions. Simon may encounter tensions or expectations that her predecessor did not face.

Jane Kigutaq, a kindergarten teacher from Arctic Bay, who now lives in Ottawa, protested on Capitol Hill to “cancel Canada Day” in response to the discovery of unmarked indigenous graves at the boarding school on Thursday, July 1, 2021. (Patrick Doyle/Canada Press)

But even if Simon came to Rideau Hall not to change everything, it still meant something.

“For the first time in history, a leader will be [Rideau Hall], In the people’s house,” Moran said. “We can think back to an era in this country. Not long ago, it was impossible. Those languages ??would be blocked and banned. Really—that aborigines would be Closed at the door.

“So although it is symbolic, it symbolizes some changes that are taking place. I think we can hope that this is just the beginning of a series of changes, and as we see more, these changes will continue to happen. More and more indigenous people, more and more people, are taking up senior leadership positions in this country.”

If this appointment makes up for what happened in his first attempt, Trudeau should be very grateful.But if Simon’s time in Rideau Hall is sufficient to strengthen the institution and help the country move forward, it will be real victory.

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