Former astronaut Julie Payette to be Canada’s next governor general

Ottawa (CBC, July 12,2017): Former astronaut Julie Payette will be the Queen’s new representative in Canada, CBC has confirmed.

The 53-year-old Montrealer, who speaks six languages, will be named the 29th governor general, a position that comes with a $290,66 annual salary and an official residence at Rideau Hall.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make the announcement Thursday.

Payette, who is also an accomplished athlete, pianist and choral singer, will succeed outgoing Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

A computer engineer with a commercial pilot licence, Payette was picked from among 5,330 applicants in 1992 to be one of four new astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency.

She participated in two space flights to the International Space and served as the CSA’s chief astronaut between 2000 and 2007.

The governor general is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister. Trudeau visited Queen Elizabeth during a visit to Scotland last week en route to the G20 summit in Germany.

The governor general’s tenure is “at pleasure,” and a term usually lasts about five years.

Acting as the Queen’s representative in Canada, the governor general also serves as commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces and represents Canada at events, ceremonies and official visits at home and abroad.

One of the governor general’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that Canada always has a prime minister and a stable government in place that has the confidence of a functioning Parliament.

Other duties include:

  • Presiding over the swearing-in of the prime minister, the chief justice of Canada and cabinet ministers.
  • Summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament.
  • Delivering the Speech from the Throne and giving Royal Assent to acts of Parliament.
  • Signing official documents and meeting regularly with the prime minister.
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