Mary Simon, thirty-seven years, The first Indigenous person to become Governor General, By Jean Save, the first woman to hold this position.
During this brief period, Canada has changed a lot.
Appointed by Pierre-Elliott Trudeau when the “French power” was in power in Ottawa, Jean Save was fluent in French and English. Appointed by Trudeau Jr., Mary Simon is fluent in English and Inuktitut. Jean was enthusiastically set up in the Senate, which was filled with members of parliament, judges and guests. There were only 44 guests in the Provisional Senate chamber for the installation of Mary Simon.
Very close to Jean Save, I was in Ottawa on May 14, 1984. The day was luxurious and the evening was in Ridow Hall. In the dazzling outfits of Montreal designers Serge and Real, Jean, her beautiful white hair heavily covered and gone, went from one guest to another, shaking hands, giving smiles and kisses to the most intimate friends.
Very Monacular Ceremony
I was in front of a Radio-Canada screen yesterday to watch a ceremony of almost monastic silence, in which the Arctic people’s lamp, the pastel candle, burned like a coolie. Her hair was more salt than a pepper cut in the square, Mary Simon, shy and dressed in a black dress embroidered with some patterns, must have been inuit, followed the whole ceremony with her small eyes. His gaze wandered from guest to guest, not particularly focused on anyone.
In her motivational speech, Mary Simon said all the right things. Some, very briefly, in Studios French, amused her with her awkward accent. Unlike all the Governors General who came before her, she was impeccably impeccable! His English too. It was in this “colonial” language that Mary Simon warned Justin Trudeau that her real name “Ningikudluk” means “bossy old lady”, which means in Quebec French: “little old worker”!
By the end of the ceremony, I couldn’t help but wonder how much Canada had changed from Jean Save. When he was sworn in, it was not something that would happen to anyone, for example, the idea of seriously mentioning that Ottawa was in Algonquin territory. At that time, there were still residential schools. Indigenous peoples do not have the right to vote at the federal level and Trudeau is juggling the idea of abolishing senior reservations so that their inhabitants can mingle with whites.
The graves of hundreds of children who were forcibly attending residential schools were always quiet. Today, they loudly and clearly declare around the world that “the most beautiful country in the world” has so many skeletons in its room. Same situation to say.
In 1984, during a visit to Montreal by Pope John Paul II, he spoke in favor of Canadian unity, but no one spoke of aborigines. Millions of voices were heard today for Pope Francis to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for the abuse of children in residential schools.
The governor-general, neither male nor female, has so far been responsible for the drastic changes that have marked the country since Jean Save. Some of the women who served as governor general also had the distraction of being able to do without the country. Mary Simon, under the “rule” of “The Bossy Little Old Lady”, isn’t it? It would be a good surprise.