A Riot of Governors General


Convivium, 6 October 2017

This week Fr. Raymond de Souza reflects on Julie Payette's transition to Canada 29th governor general – in particular, the choice of her coat of arms and motto.

The Governor General of Canada customarily is granted a personal coat-of-arms upon assuming office, and it was the case this week when Julie Payette was installed as Canada 29th governor general.

Julie Payette is the fourth female governor general and the first astronaut. Even more remarkable, she is the first female governor general not to have been a journalist at the CBC, which fancies itself, more than Rideau Hall, as the repository of our national heritage.

(En passant, we need a better word than “installed,” which I assume is some updated form of “enthroned.” One installs an air conditioner, or a software update.)

Precious few seem to pay any attention to Canada’s vice-regal office anymore, especially not when the grandson of the Sovereign that the governor general represents is on Canadian soil holding hands with his Hollywood girlfriend. Even fewer likely attend to the governor general’s arms but, fortunately for Convivium readers, I do.

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