Thursday, July 13, 2017

Astronaut Julie Payette is Canada's Next Governor-General

         By Chuck Black

Retired Canadian astronaut Julie Payette will become Canada's next Governor-General, but don't get too excited. 

After all. it's mostly a symbolic role, so Payette won't be able to pester the Liberal government about the delayed report from the Space Advisory Board (SAB) pondering Canada's future in space or push for action on the review of Federal science funding, announced by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan back in June 2016, but mostly abandoned since the public report was released in April 2017. 

Trudeau and Payette at a press conference on Parliament Hill on Thursday. As outlined in the July 13th, 2017 CBC News post, 'Unquestionably qualified': Ex-astronaut Julie Payette formally introduced as Canada's next GG," Payette, who is also an accomplished athlete, pianist and choral singer, will succeed outgoing Gov. Gen. David Johnston. Photo c/o Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press.

But then, as an ex-government employee focused on supporting government policy, she wasn't really in a position to do that before, either. At least, she won't have to wear the blue Canadian Space Agency (CSA) jumpsuit to formal events. 

The announcement of the appointment was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference on Parliament Hill on Thursday, although government leaks insured that most major news outlets were aware of her new role the day before. 

As outlined in the July 13th, 2017 CBC News post, "As an astronaut, an engineer and a woman, Julie Payette will make her mark as governor general," the symbolism of her appointment, "will not be what some imagined it might be." However, the country "will soon be officially represented by an accomplished female astronaut and scientist. And that has a symbolic quality all its own."

Virtue signaling? Probably. And it would certainly be a bad thing for the person and her new position to overshadow and eventually supersede the development of appropriate policy.

But for now, the 53-year-old Montrealer, who speaks six languages, will become Canada's 29th governor general. She will be the fourth woman appointed to the role and is expected to take over from current Governor General David Johnston in the fall.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page