‘Dream­ing big’

As­tro­naut Julie Payette to be Canada’s 29th Gover­nor Gen­eral

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA / OBITUARIES - BY JOR­DAN PRESS

Former as­tro­naut Julie Payette will be Canada’s next Gover­nor Gen­eral, be­com­ing the fourth fe­male to be the monarch’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Canada when she is sworn in later this year.

Payette’s ap­point­ment was for­mally an­nounced Thurs­day by Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, and the 53-year-old from Mon­treal was emo­tional as she re­flected on what’s ahead.

“This is a very great hon­our for me and for my fam­ily, for my friends and my col­leagues here around the coun­try, on the planet and even a few out­side the planet,” she said from the Se­nate foyer min­utes after her ap­point­ment was an­nounced.

She will be tak­ing over from Gov. Gen. David John­ston, whose term ex­pires in Septem­ber.

“Ms. Payette’s life has been one ded­i­cated to dis­cov­ery, to dream­ing big and to al­ways stay­ing fo­cused on the things that mat­ter most,” Trudeau said.

“These truly Cana­dian traits, along with her years of pub­lic ser­vice, make her un­ques­tion­ably qual­i­fied for this high of­fice.”

Payette was the first Cana­dian fe­male to board the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion in 1999. She went on a sec­ond space flight in 2009.

She is flu­ently bilin­gual, and she also learned Rus­sian after be­ing named an as­tro­naut.

She has cor­po­rate and board ex­pe­ri­ence through her time at the Cana­dian Space Agency and as a vice-pres­i­dent at the Canada Lands Co., which over­sees the sales of un­needed fed­eral prop­er­ties.

And she has mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ence: Payette qual­i­fied as a mil­i­tary jet cap­tain in 1996 after log­ging hun­dreds of hours of flight time on the CT-114 Tu­tor jets, the same ones flown by the Snow­bird team.

The Gover­nor Gen­eral is the mil­i­tary’s com­man­der-in-chief, but acts on the ad­vice of the gov­ern­ment.

Payette’s se­lec­tion caps a re­mark­able story.

As a girl grow­ing up in Mon­treal, she dreamed of go­ing into space but never thought it was pos­si­ble be­cause she was fe­male, Cana­dian and didn’t speak a word of English.

In­stead, her fam­ily en­cour­aged her in­ter­ests and on her first space flight she helped as­sem­ble the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, which fel­low Cana­dian Chris Had­field would later com­mand.

She will be in­stalled as Gover­nor Gen­eral dur­ing a cer­e­mony this fall.

But first, she will go through weeks of brief­ings and prepa­ra­tions to take over from John­ston, as well as have a meet­ing with the Queen.


Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau shares a laugh with former as­tro­naut, and Gover­nor Gen­eral des­ig­nate, Julie Payette on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa Thurs­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.