Queen Elizabeth is Canada's constitutional Head of State. When she is absent from our country (which is virtually always, since she lives in the UK), her largely ceremonial duties are delegated to her vice-regal representative, the Governor-General of Canada. At one time, our GGs were all Brits but since the 1960s they have all been distinguished and accomplished Canadians from such fields as the arts, academia, politics and the military. GGs are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
It's almost time again for a new Governor-General to be appointed. There are many worthy potential candidates, but I am getting on the bandwagon right here and now to advocate that our next GG should be Justice Murray Sinclair of Manitoba!
[photo by Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press Files]
A lawyer in Winnipeg, Murray Sinclair was appointed to the Provincial Court of Manitoba in 1988 and later elevated to the Court of Queen's Bench in 2001. He was the first aboriginal judge in the province. Much of his judicial service has been spent leading lengthy public inquiries. In Manitoba he led the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquiry and then co-chaired the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in 2000. In 2009, he moved onto the national stage as chair of the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigating Canada's shameful legacy of Indian residential schools.
There is no greater or more eloquent spokesperson for the dignity and respect owed our First Nations than Justice Sinclair. He is a man of deep understanding, compassion and integrity. His destiny has been to become the wise Elder that all of Canada needs. What better way to recognize this than by making him Governor-General?
Last year, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Canada's first gender-balanced cabinet "because it's 2015." In the same way, the time is long overdue to appoint a First Nations Governor-General.
An online petition has just been posted to urge Justice Sinclair's nomination. Canadian readers, if you'd like to show your support, it's found here.