Politics

Governor general-designate Mary Simon speaks with the Queen

Governor general-designate Mary Simon spoke with the Queen for the first time Thursday.

Queen told Simon she was taking over a 'very important job'

The Queen speaks with governor general-designate Mary Simon on July 22, 2021. (@theroyalfamily/instagram)

Governor general-designate Mary Simon spoke with the Queen for the first time Thursday.

In a short clip of the online conversation that was posted on The Royal Family's Instagram account, the Queen said it was good to speak with Simon and told her she was "taking over a very important job."

"Yes, I'm very privileged to be able to do this work over the next few years," Simon said. "I think it's vitally important for our country."

Simon, who was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Que., will be Canada's first Indigenous governor general. She will be formally installed in the post on July 26.

Simon will be Canada's 30th governor general and the 13th to be appointed during the Queen's almost 70-year reign.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has said it plans to investigate the process for nominating governors general after receiving 430 complaints from Canadians upset that Simon cannot speak French.

Simon is Inuk and was educated in a federal day school in the Nunavik region of Quebec. She says she was not given the opportunity to learn French as a child.

She has promised to learn the language while serving as governor general. Many francophones have questioned why she did not do so during the nearly 20 years she spent working for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge said he was not surprised by the number of complaints.

"I expected a lot of complaints because, for a great number of Canadians, the question of official languages and linguistic duality is very important," he said. "The complaints keep coming."

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