OTD: Ramon Hnatyshyn named Canada’s 24th Governor General

On today’s date in 1989, Saskatoon-born lawyer Ramon Hnatyshyn was named Canada’s 24th Governor General, replacing the heavily criticized Jeanne Sauvé, who had held the post since 1984.

On Oct. 6, 1989, The Prince George Citizen reported on the announcement of Hnatyshyn’s new role.

“Ramon John Hnatyshyn, a political victim of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s free trade initiative, was rewarded with the ceremonial post of Governor General today,” reads the front-page story. “The appointment takes effect early in 1990. Rising in Parliament to make the announcement, Mulroney said the former cabinet minister of Ukrainian descent is a representative of the cultural strength and diversity of Canada.”

“He is known to all Canadians as a man of great warmth, civility and personal integrity,” said Mulroney.

Hnatyshyn’s coat of arms is depicted on the reverse of the Academic Medal.

GG ACADEMIC MEDAL

Hnatyshyn is depicted on a Governor General’s Academic Medal. With a bronze gilt, the medal’s obverse shows the right-facing conjoined busts of Hnatyshyn and his wife, Gerda. Inscribed is “GOUVERNEUR GÉNÉRAL – CANADA – GOVERNOR GENERAL” above and “RAMON JOHN HNATYSHYN – GERDA HNATYSHYN” below. The reverse illustrates the coat of arms of Hnatyshyn, who served as governor general between January 1990 and February 1995, with reeded edges on both sides.

Hnatyshyn, a Saskatoon native, was the son of a senator and a former Conservative energy and justice minister. He was sworn into office on Jan. 29, 1990. In 1992, he instituted the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

In 1995, he was succeeded by Roméo LeBlanc.

NEW GOVERNOR GENERAL

Earlier this week, former astronaut Julie Payette was installed as the 29th Governor General of Canada, replacing David Johnston, who was appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper

Upon taking her oath, she pressed Canadians to take on “serious and pressing global issues like climate change, migration, nuclear proliferation, poverty and population growth.”

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