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.
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-eneral between January 1990 and February 1995, with reeded edges on both sides.
Hnatyshyn, a Saskatoon native, was the son of a senator as well as 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
In 2017, 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.”