Experts: Inuk leader Mary Simon named Canada's 1st Indigenous governor general


Published: 9Jul2021

Inuk leader Mary Simon has been chosen as the next governor general — the first Indigenous person ever to be appointed as the Queen's representative in Canada. During a news conference at the Canadian Museum of History, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the Queen has accepted his recommendation to appoint Simon — a past president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization — as the 30th governor general. (CBC News)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:

Daniel Béland, James McGill Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada

Mary Simon, the first Indigenous Governor General, is a highly qualified person for the position. This is especially the case because of her experience as an ambassador, which prepares her well for the ceremonial component of her role, and as a constitutional negotiator, which gives her in-depth knowledge of the constitutional order she will soon become a part of.

Daniel Béland is the Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and a James McGill Professor in the Department of Political Science. He specializes in the fields of Canadian and comparative politics, as well as the study of public policy, including social policy.

daniel.beland [at] (English, French)

Chadwick Cowie, Faculty Lecturer, Department of Political Science

The appointment of Mary Simon to the role of Governor General of Canada is a monumental moment in not only Indigenous and Canadian relations, but more specifically Inuit and Canadian relations. Simon, who was born and raised in her territory of Nunavik, speaks both English and Inuktitut and, while in the role of Governor General, most likely will also become the first trilingual speaker of three important and distinct languages within the Canadian state. Simon's appointment makes her the first Inuk to fill such a role, and second Indigenous female in the British Commonwealth – joining New Zealand's incoming Governor General Cindy Kiro, who is Maori.”

Chadwick Cowie is a Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, specializing in Indigenous, Canadian, and comparative politics. He is from the Michi-Saagiig Niishnaabeg community of Pamadashkodayang (Hiawatha First Nation), located near Peterborough Ontario, and is a member of the Atik (Caribou) dodem (clan).

chadwick.cowie [at] (English)

Contact Information

Frédérique Mazerolle
Media Relations, McGill University
frederique.mazerolle [at]
Office Phone: 
(514) 398-6693
Mobile Phone: 
(514) 617-8615
Back to top