Saskatchewan

Russell Mirasty installed as Sask.'s 23rd lieutenant-governor

Russell Mirasty, Saskatchewan’s first Indigenous lieutenant-governor, was installed in a ceremony at the Legislative Building in Regina Thursday.

Mirasty delivered traditional opening and closing remarks from the Queen in Cree

Lt.-Gov. Russell Mirasty was sworn in to his role in July. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Saskatchewan's first Indigenous lieutenant-governor was installed in a ceremony at the Legislative Building in Regina Thursday.

Russell Mirasty was previously sworn in as lieutenant-governor in July. He replaced W. Thomas Molloy, who died from pancreatic cancer on July 2.

After Molloy's death, the government of Saskatchewan needed an expedited appointment of a lieutenant-governor in order for executive orders to be approved. His death prevented the provincial government from getting orders in council passed or from recalling the Legislative Assembly.

Mirasty is a Cree man from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and former commander of RCMP's F Division. Indigenous leaders lauded his appointment as lieutenant-governor as a step toward reconciliation. 

'Each of us can contribute'

At the ceremony, Mirasty reflected on his life journey, from growing up in the La Ronge area and attending residential school to working for the RCMP across the country.  

He said that his experiences made him who he is today and that he believes anyone can make a difference in their province or country regardless of their background.

"Each of us can contribute. You know there's parts of society, segments of society, that just feel isolated but everybody, literally everybody, can contribute to — in some way — making sure that this province is the best place to live in the country."

In his address, he gave a version of the traditional opening and closing remarks from the Queen in Cree, his first language.

"I think it's important in my role to be able to communicate that standard greeting from Her Majesty in my own language," he told media after the ceremony.

The lieutenant-governor is appointed by the Governor General of Canada, on the recommendation of the prime minister, and serves as a representative of the Queen in their respective jurisdictions and gives royal assent to new legislation.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon, CBC Saskatchewan, and CBC North; and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca

With files from Cory Coleman