Mary Simon installed as Canada's 30th Governor General

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Mary Simon is now officially the Governor General of Canada, after being installed in a pared-down but historic and culturally-rich ceremony.

A prominent Inuk leader and former ambassador, Simon is now the Queen’s representative in Canada after spending her life playing several key roles in advancing Inuit rights and culture as an advocate and negotiator.

Simon is the 30th governor general Canada has had, and is the first Indigenous person to take on that role.

The pared-down, pandemic-cautious ceremony is taking place in the Senate of Canada building in the parliamentary precinct. While typically the event would be attended by several hundred people, fewer than 50 dignitaries and guests are in attendance in-person and masked, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Arriving at the ceremony, Simon was met with claps and cheers from a crowd of onlookers standing across Wellington Street in front of the Chateau Laurier.

In addition to the necessary pomp and official oaths and signatures overseen by senior federal officials, the event has included several cultural performances.

Among the notable guests are Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, the speakers of the House of Commons and Senate, Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations RoseAnn Archibald, and President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and member of the advisory group who helped craft the shortlist of candidates for the role, Natan Obed.

While Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is present, neither Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole or NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are in attendance, sending MPs on their behalf.

Trudeau tapped Simon for the role on July 6, and last week as governor general-designate she had her first audience with the Queen. It was held virtually but during the meeting the Queen invested Simon as an extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, an extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, and a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

As governor general, Simon will play a crucial role in constitutional matters and within minority governments when it comes to questions of confidence and calling elections.

- with files from CTV News -