New commander-in-chief takes office

Official Portrait of Julie Payette

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
Photo: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall © OSGG-BSGG, 2017

The Courier

The Right Honourable Julie Payette was installed as the 29th Governor General of Canada on October 2. As Governor General, Payette is also the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.

From 1992 to 2013, Payette worked as an astronaut and flew two missions in space. She also served many years as Capsule Communicator at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, and was Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.

She is known for her work developing policies to promote science and technology. From 2011 to 2013, she worked as a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and was appointed scientific authority for Quebec in the United States.

Between July 2013 and October 2016, she served as Chief Operating Officer of the Montréal Science Centre.

In an official statement Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Jonathan Vance said Payette is not a stranger to the Canadian military. “Her Excellency’s distinguished history as a scientist, an educator, and an astronaut are clear. What is less well known is that this is
not her first experience with the CAF,” he said.

“As part of her astronaut training, Her Excellency conducted pilot training on the CT-114 Tutor at 15 Wing Moose Jaw in February 1996,” Gen Vance said. “She obtained her military instrument rating in 1997, and has logged more than 1,300 hours of flight time. She will be presented her wings by the Commander RCAF, which she looks forward to wearing proudly.”

Payette has received many distinctions, including 27 honorary doctorates, and can converse in six languages. She is an Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Commander of the Order of Merit for Police Forces, head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec.