Inuk leader Mary Simon is Canada's first indigenous Governor General. Congratulations to her. However, while it is good to see this, it is also typical of the Trudeau government in its symbolic approach to governing without providing the resources needed to deal with the related issues. This is similar to Trudeau's declaring a climate change emergency and within a day purchasing the Trans Mountain pipeline to build a pipeline to triple the amount of fossil fuel heading to BC's coast. Of course, this good news also does nothing to resolve the snail's pace of resolving indigenous land claims under the Trudeau and previous federal governments.
There are so many indigenous issues where the Trudeau government has engaged in symbolic gestures without providing the resources to deal with these pressing issues.
Inuk leader Mary Simon will serve as the Queen's new representative in Canada, marking the first time an Indigenous person has held the role.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Queen has accepted his recommendation of Simon, a past president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization, to be the 30th governor general during a news conference at the Canadian Museum of History Tuesday morning. ...
Simon, an Inuk from Kuujjuaq, a small hamlet on the coast of Ungava Bay in northeastern Quebec, worked as an announcer and producer with CBC North before starting a decades-long career advocating for Indigenous rights. She helped negotiate the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975, a landmark deal between the Cree and Inuit in Quebec's north, the provincial government and Hydro-Québec. Widely seen as the country's "first modern treaty," the province acknowledged Cree and Inuit rights in the James Bay region for the first time — such as exclusive hunting, fishing and trapping rights and self-governance in some areas — and offered financial compensation in exchange for the construction of massive new hydroelectric dams to fuel the growing province's demand for new energy sources.
Simon was subsequently elected president of Makivik Corp. in 1982, the organization created to administer the funds that the Inuit received from the development on their lands. The organization now manages tens of millions of dollars worth of investments, including an ownership stake in Canadian North, a major air carrier in the Arctic. In 1986, Simon was tapped to lead the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), a group created in 1977 to represent the Inuit in all the Arctic countries. At the ICC, she championed two priorities for Indigenous Peoples of the north: protecting their way of life from environmental damage and pushing for responsible economic development on their traditional territory.
In 2002, former prime minister Jean Chrétien named her Canada's first Arctic ambassador, a position where Simon worked closely with the eight other circumpolar countries to bolster co-operation in the region.
Simon, who is bilingual in English and Inuktitut, said she was learning French. "I was denied the chance to learn French during my stay in the federal government day schools," she told reporters.
When asked about her unique role as the first Indigenous person representing the Crown, Simon said she doesn't see conflict. "Because as the Queen's representative in Canada, I am very concerned about the circumstances that lead to some of the events that we are seeing today. I do understand as an Indigenous person that there is pain and suffering across our nation," she said.
"When I was asked whether I would take on this important role,I was very excited and I felt that this was a position that would help Canadians together with Indigenous Peoples."