Montreal Gazette

New lieutenant governor accepts monarchy

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Mi'kmaq administra­tor and former leader Manon Jeannotte acknowledg­ed head-on the criticisms of the colonialis­t job of lieutenant-governor as she was sworn in to the role on Thursday, but said she disagrees with the National Assembly's call for it to be abolished.

When appointing her as Quebec's 30th lieutenant-governor on Dec. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked her for having “dedicated her career to increasing the well-being of Indigenous Peoples.”

The next day, the National Assembly unanimousl­y approved a motion tabled by Québec solidaire MNA Sol Zanetti calling for the position to be abolished, saying it had “no democratic legitimacy.”

The motion highlighte­d the “weak attachment” of Quebecers to monarchica­l institutio­ns and said the position's “origins remind us of a colonial period in our history that no longer has any anchor in modern Quebec.”

In her speech on Thursday during a ceremony she had asked be subdued, Jeannotte said she understood the motion, but without sharing its conclusion­s.

“The Crown represents one of the colonizers of the First Peoples of this continent. As an Aboriginal person, I should be the very first to want its abolition. However, this is not the case,” she said.

“Like the majority of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, I agreed to work with the system in place, namely the system of constituti­onal monarchy, of which Quebec is an integral part.

“This process of acceptance is precisely part of reconcilia­tion,” she added.

The motion sent a “clear message” that it is not to be taken “in any way personally.”

“I respect difference­s of opinion,” she said. “I will always act with respect for the different parties sitting in the National Assembly and I expect in return the same welcome ... and the same respect.”

Jeannotte is the second woman and the first Indigenous person to hold the position.

Until recently she was director of the École des dirigeants des Premières Nations (school of First Nations leaders) at HEC Montréal, of which she was co-founder.

Trained in administra­tion, she was also part of the Nation Micmac de Gespeg, near Gaspé, for several years, including as chief.

Jeannotte replaces J. Michel Doyon, who held the position since 2015.

“The pride of many Indigenous people in my appointmen­t to this position is very palpable, as is the pride of many Quebecers. I received hundreds of positive messages,” she said.

“By assuming this role, I am committed to being a representa­tive voice for all Quebecers by promoting mutual understand­ing and working for the well-being of our society,” she added.

The lieutenant-governor is the representa­tive of King Charles III in Quebec.

It is she who is called upon to dissolve Parliament, at the request of the government, to trigger elections, and to sign bills into law.

 ?? JACQUES BOISSINOT/THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? Quebec Lt. Gov. Manon Jeannotte was sworn in Thursday.
JACQUES BOISSINOT/THE CANADIAN PRESS Quebec Lt. Gov. Manon Jeannotte was sworn in Thursday.

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