Since Canada is a consitutional monarchy, the Sovereign (King or Queen) is our Head of State. But since the Sovereign is also the Head of State of 15 other countries*, it is impossible for him or her to be a part of everyday government functions. The Governor General, then, is the Sovereign's representative in Canada but is the ultimate authority in government for the nation. Ever since the Letters Patent of 1947, the Governor General has assumed all of the powers of the Sovereign. Even the presence of the Sovereign in the country does not superceed the authority of the Governor General and therefore the Governor General is 1st on the Canadian Order of Precedence.|
Roles and Responsibilities
The Governor General is selected by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the Sovereign to act as her representative in Canada. The appointment is usually for five years but has sometimes been extended to seven.
Bills passed in the House of Commons and Senate do not become law until the Governor General has given them royal assent. The Governor General executes all orders-in-council and other state documents, appoints all superior court judges (on the advice of Cabinet) and summons, prorogues, and dissolves Parliament (on the advice of the prime minister). Also, the Governor General invites the leader of the political party with the most support in the House of Commons to form a government. The Governor General also delivers the Speech from the Throne at the beginning of each parliamentary session.
The Governor General has two official residences. Rideau Hall (also known as the Government House) at 1 Sussex Drive in Ottawa across the road from 24 Sussex - the official residence of the prime minister. The other is La Citadelle on the grounds of the Canadian Forces Base in Quebec City. Both are pictured below.
* The Sovereign of Canada is also the Head of State of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.
|Rideau Hall||La Citadelle|
Her Excellency The Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Governor General of Canada
Throughout her distinguished career, Ms. May Simon has been a tireless advocate for Inuit rights and culture, and the rights of all Indigenous peoples. Over four decades, she has held various senior leadership positions, including President of Makivik Corporation, where she helped to protect and promote Inuit rights through the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. She also served two terms as President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, now known as the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and as President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
As the first Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, Ms. May Simon played a leading role in strengthening the ties between the people of the Arctic regions nationally and internationally, including through the creation of the Arctic Council. She is also the founder of the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, and has served as the Ambassador of Canada to Denmark.
|The Right Honourable|
Mary May Simon
The Governor General's Personal Flag
SOURCE: Government of Canada, The National Post.
Former Governors General of Canada
Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada's Official Website