Gov. Gen. Julie Payette on what she learned from her controversial comments on science, religion and climate
'I have to adapt to the position,' Julie Payette says on Power & Politics
For a former astronaut, it's a well known and familiar theory — for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. But the vocal public reaction to a speech by Governor General Julie Payette in her first year in office caught even her off guard.
"I learn from lessons, and I think in this particular case, I spoke very much like I have as an astronaut, but I'm no longer an astronaut," Payette told Vassy Kapelos in Power & Politics' inaugural Power Lunch interview.
"I have to adapt to the position and to the ways of saying that."
- Analysis: Julie Payette dares to be interesting
- Payette takes on climate change deniers and horoscopes
The controversial comments from November 2017 criticizing creationism and those who don't believe in climate change acted as a lightning rod for religious leaders and conservative politicians alike, who took issue with Payette's tone as well as choice of words.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to her defence, causing Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to wade into the debate as well.
Nearly one year later, Payette said the experience was a valuable one in her transition from astronaut to representative of the Queen.
"Everything evolves, and I evolve too," she said, adding that the backlash illustrates the importance of debate and critical thinking.
But Payette refuses to walk back the content of her speech — namely, that climate change is real and junk science should be dismissed.
"I learned that you have to be careful about how you say things, but not what you say," she said.
"I'm still convinced that — I'm sorry to say — the body of evidence shows that the planet is warming up. And it's warming up at a certain rate that has never been seen before in the history of the planet. We have to take that seriously."
Watch Power & Politics' full interview with the Governor General — an exclusive sit-down launching the first Power Lunch segment — on Tuesday, Sept. 4.