Sources say astro­naut Julie Payette will suc­ceed David John­ston in the role

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Astro­naut Julie Payette is ex­pected to be named the next gover­nor gen­eral of Canada.

She will be an­nounced Thurs­day by Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau as the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s selec­tion to re­place David John­ston, who held the post for seven years, at a cer­e­mony out­side the doors of the Sen­ate.

Sources have con­firmed Payette to The Cana­dian Press and other me­dia out­lets. Payette will be the 29th gover­nor gen­eral since Con­fed­er­a­tion in 1867.

The Par­lia­ment Hill cer­e­mony will be rem­i­nis­cent of the day in 2010 when John­ston was named to the vicere­gal job, stand­ing along­side Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper.

John­ston’s term is set to ex­pire in Septem­ber, af­ter Harper ex­tended it by two years ahead of the 2015 fed­eral elec­tion.

Payette, the mother of two, was born in Mon­treal in 1963. She has a de­gree in en­gi­neer­ing from McGill Univer­sity and a de­gree in com­puter en­gi­neer­ing in the Univer­sity of Toronto. She was named an astro­naut by the Cana­dian Space Agency in 1992 and pi­loted the shut­tle Dis­cov­ery in 1999 to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, be­com­ing the first Cana­dian to set foot on the sta­tion. She trav­elled to the sta­tion again in 2009 aboard the shut­tle En­deav­our.

She is flu­ent is French and English and can con­verse in Rus­sian, Ger­man, Span­ish and Ital­ian. She is a li­censed pi­lot who plays the piano and en­joys ski­ing, run­ning, rac­quet sports and scuba div­ing.

Payette re­ceived honorary science de­grees from McMaster Univer­sity in 2004 and the Univer­sity of Water­loo in 2010. She also has 16 honorary de­grees from other uni­ver­si­ties across Canada.

Dur­ing her visit to McMaster, she spoke of what peo­ple need to be­come an astro­naut — they needed to be a jack of all trades.

“They are looking for well­rounded peo­ple,” Payette said. “You’re a photographer, movie di­rec­tor ... a con­struc­tion worker ... You’re the cook.”

Tra­di­tion­ally, the vicere­gal job ro­tates be­tween an­glo­phones and fran­co­phones, with all in­di­ca­tions point­ing to a fran­co­phone fill­ing the port­fo­lio be­gin­ning this fall.

John­ston, who had a long ca­reer in academia, and was pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Water­loo, was cho­sen for the po­si­tion off a short list pre­sented to Harper by an ad hoc com­mit­tee of ex­perts struck with the ex­press task of se­lect­ing a non-par­ti­san per­son with con­sti­tu­tional knowl­edge. When asked late last year how he’d pick the next gover­nor gen­eral, Trudeau was non­com­mit­tal about what process he would use. “I’m not go­ing to change things just to rein­vent the wheel,” Trudeau said in a year-end in­ter­view with The Cana­dian Press.

John­ston is cur­rently on a visit to China, and is ex­pected to have an au­di­ence with the Queen next week when he trav­els to the U.K. for Canada 150 events. likely mark­ing the last time he will sit with the monarch.


Astro­naut Julie Payette stands with Gover­nor Gen­eral David John­ston af­ter she was in­vested into the Order of Canada in 2011.

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