Ex-astronaut is Canada’s next Governor General


Space age governor general.


Former astronaut Julie Payette has been named Canada’s next governor general, replacing David Johnston as the Queen’s representative.

Prime Minister Justin  Trudeau announced  on Thursday, after considering both francophone and aboriginal candidates for the largely ceremonial role.



She was the first Canadian on the International Space Station, fluent in English and French  and speaks Spanish, German, Italian and Russian.

A Montreal native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from McGill University and a master of applied science from the University of Toronto

In additional to her career as an astronaut, she has sung with international orchestras, plays the piano and is the mother of two children. She retired from the CSA in 2013.

As the Queen’s representative in Canada, the governor general:

  • is Canada’s official head of state in her absence
  • has the power to give a throne speech and suspend parliament
  • gives royal assent to legislation
  • swears in the prime minister
  • is commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces

Her predecessor, Mr Johnston, was a Harvard alum who spent decades in academia before being appointed in 2010.




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