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Topic – The Governor General

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The Governor-General

Rideau Hall is the official residence in Ottawa for the governor-general of Canada

Did you know the governor-general is the personal representative of the king or queen of Britain? The governor-general is not a member of a political party, and is a symbol of Canadian unity. The governor-general receives the title “Right Honourable” for life. While in office, he or she is called “His Excellency” or “Her Excellency.” The governor-general also gets to live in a large mansion in Ottawa, Ontario, called Rideau Hall.

When Canada was first formed, the job of the governor-general was to act on the behalf of the British government. He was chosen by the king or queen to make sure that Canada’s laws matched the laws in Britain. As Canada became more separate and independent from Britain, the job of governor-general has become less powerful and more ceremonial.

Today, the prime minister recommends a candidate for the position of the governor-general. The queen officially appoints the person as her representative. The governor-general carries out their powers only on the advice of the prime minister. The first Canadian to be appointed as governor-general was the Right Honourable Vincent Massey in 1952. The first woman appointed governor-general was the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé in 1984.

Some of the duties of the governor-general of Canada include…

⋅ reading the throne speech at the opening of Parliament

⋅ swearing-in the prime minister and the cabinet ministers

⋅ opening and dissolving Parliament

⋅ signing bills passed by the House of Commons and the Senate

⋅ hosting royal visitors and other important visitors to Canada

⋅ presenting medals for bravery and other awards, as well as lending support to worthy causes

⋅ travelling to other countries to represent Canada


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