Julie Payette is unscripted and at ease on first day as GG

Julie Payette is unscripted and at ease on first day as GG
From CBC - October 3, 2017

Except for a card she referred to for the customary words of greeting that are required at these sorts of events, Julie Payetteaddressed her installation as the 29thGovernor General of Canada without a prepared text.

Perhaps being strapped to a 45-metre-long rocket and blasted into space changes one's understanding of risk.

But to begin her new life of formal authority, Payetteeschewed the formality of a script. She neither sat on her throne, nor stood behind a lectern. She just stood there and talked.

Over the course of 20 minutes, Payette was light and aspirationaland at ease. There were a few appeals to history including her own ancestry, which she traced back to this landinthe 17th centurybut there was no referencing of scholars or poets.

Samuel deChamplain the exalted former governor of New France, name-dropped by three of the previous four governors general at theirinstallation went completely unmentioned.

On a banner day for space punsthe prime minister responsible for at least a couple in his opening remarksthere were attempts at poetry.

"There's many eminent scientists in this room, and lots of great high-flyers," Payette said, with two fellow astronauts, Roberta Bondarand Marc Garneau, seated nearby, "and they would tell you that we are inextricably bound by the same time-space continuum and ... we are all on board the same planetary space ship. But together we can move mountains."

The International Space Station was presented as a symbol of what can be achieved when people collaborate across cultures and disciplines. And from space, she noted, there are no borders.

A speechwritermight have sharpened and reinforced the points and done something about that mixed metaphor, but Payette will have other opportunities to visit the Senate and read speeches that have been written for her (as the official reader of the speech from the throne, that's a significant part of her job).

With pomp and circumstance and a very regal performance of God Save the Queen, itwas at least a nice change of pace from Parliament's typical fare, not to mention recent world events.

Trudeau's kind of GG

Her installation only reinforced the sense that she's precisely the sort of governor general one should have expected Justin Trudeau to pick.

Quaint business of constitutional monarchy


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