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Canada Space Government Politics

Former Astronaut Julie Payette To Be Canada's Next Governor General (www.cbc.ca) 109

MightyMartian shares a report from CBC.ca: Former astronaut Julie Payette will be the Queen's new representative in Canada, CBC News has confirmed. The 53-year-old Montrealer, who speaks six languages, will be named the 29th governor general, a position that comes with a $290,660 annual salary and an official residence at Rideau Hall. Payette, who is also an accomplished athlete, pianist and choral singer, will succeed outgoing Gov. Gen. David Johnston. A computer engineer with a commercial pilot license, Payette was picked from among 5,330 applicants in 1992 to be one of four new astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). She participated in two space flights to the International Space Station and served as the CSA's chief astronaut between 2000 and 2007.

MightyMartian adds: "I defy anyone else to find a head of state who is an astronaut!"

Former Astronaut Julie Payette To Be Canada's Next Governor General

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That must be nice.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:30PM (#54804841)
    is not "a head of state"
    • You have to understand that the vast majority of British and Commonwealth political issues such as this are more based in tradition than actual ability - while the governor general does "serve at Her Majesty's pleasure", that would never be exercised these days, as the position is largely controlled via "recommendations" given by the countries head of government and not from the Queen herself.

      It would be extremely unusual if the Queen were to simply sack a governor general, and would probably prompt a constitutional crisis - its no different to the fact that the Queen cannot really do anything politically even in the UK. She "chooses" the head of the largest party in Parliament to form a government, but the last time she actually exercised a choice (asking someone other than the head of the largest party), there was significant debate about it and there were a lot of calls for her to be removed altogether as a result.

      In Canada, considering the governor general as "head of state" has been a common aspect of successive governments for decades - so the submitter doesn't actually misspeak...

    • Indeed. Engineer, musician, astronaut...still has to swear personal loyalty and curtsey to someone on the other side of the planet who just happens to have the right blood in her veins.
      • Hey, you don't know what the Queen does in her personal time.
      • by sd4f ( 1891894 )
        As an Australian, us subjects really aren't bothered. It's entirely honorific and completely out of sight from regular life. We are our own country, we just happen to be part of the commonwealth, meaning the queen's head appears on our money. The one time in Australian political history where she was requested to intervene in a political situation was in 1975, and she either couldn't or wouldn't (not sure which exactly). All I can really say on the topic is, it does appear outdated and archaic today, to hav
        • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

          She declined to intervene. Kerr sacked Whitlam, Whitlam got on the phone to Buckingham Palace to "advise" HM to terminate Kerr's commission (i.e. sack him), HM (via her advisors) declined to have anything to do with it. I don't think she even ended up speaking to Whitlam. The generally acknowledged position was that HM felt that it was a matter for Australians, IOW "I'm not going to get dragged into this, sort it out yourselves".

          While there is much to admire in the models of other countries, I prefer to kee

      • Well, in the present-day USA, you're expected to swear personal loyalty and curtsey to someone who just happens to have the right blood in his veins.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:34PM (#54804861)

    i can use maple syrup for lube and no one cares. in fact, when it happens my neighbors bring tim hortons.

  • Julie Payette is a high-quality person and I applaud her transparency. ;)

  • by MarkRose ( 820682 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @07:44PM (#54804943) Homepage

    Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, not her Governor General

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does that count?

  • by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @09:32PM (#54805589)
    The Queens representative in our western most province just made a decision on who should be able to form the government there. There was also the case a few years back where our minister of defense admitted to a war crime* in the in the house of commons and the prime minister asked the Governor General to prorogued parliament so that the senate inquiry into his actions would die (er so we could watch the winter Olympics, I think was the prime ministers excuse). I think the Governor General got that one wrong but at least we have a mechanism to solve parliamentary issues that only takes a single day. Having the government paralyzed for weeks waiting for a decision is worse.

    *Canadian soldiers had handed over prisoners of war to American and Afghan forces without getting guarantees that they would not be miss treated. It' not just that they were subsequently mistreated it's the fact that we didn't take reasonable steps to ensure they were not that is a crime.
    • The 2008 prorogation wasnt the first time a Canadian GG granted such a request. Sir John A MacDonald requested and was granted a prorogation to evade censure over The Pacific Scandal.

  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @10:24PM (#54805885) Journal

    My congratulations to Julie Payette on her appointment to her new post. Bear in mind she isn't the first Canadian astronaut to assume a role as a senior government official, either.

    Since 2015, former astronaut Marc Garneau has served as the federal Minister of Transportation--which seems just a little bit on the nose.

    (That compares rather favorably, incidentally, to the 1995 appointment of Al Palladini - a used-car salesman - to serve as Ontario's Minister of Transportation...)

  • What exceptional talents or skills merit this adoration? They are ballast strapped to a seat in a rocket. If we are celebrating their "bravery" then shouldn't we instead honor the bravery of the first ones to go into space and prove it was safe: the dogs and monkeys with "the right stuff"?

    Obviously the real accomplishment is due to the engineers who made it happen and sweated out every detail in design and test and every second in mission control. These people remain largely unknown. Instead society rewards

    • What exceptional talents or skills merit this adoration?

      She has her own helmet.

  • by waynemcdougall ( 631415 ) <slashdot@codeworks.gen.nz> on Friday July 14, 2017 @03:44AM (#54806719) Homepage

    > Former astronaut Julie Payette will be the Queen's new representative in Canada, CBC News has confirmed.
    Wow. An astronaut

    > The 53-year-old Montrealer, who speaks six languages,

    Six? She has some smarts on top of the astronaut

    > Payette, who is also an accomplished athlete, pianist and choral singer

    What? No. Now this isn't fair. I guess, if I work a bit harder I could...ok, a LOT harder, I could,....

    > A computer engineer with a commercial pilot license,

    No. No no no no no.

    She makes me look like I didn't even try at life.

    • I wonder if she actually speak fluently six languages or if she just sing opera in six languages.
      • by rbrander ( 73222 )

        Did you actually put the word "just" in front of "sing opera in six languages" ??

      • by WallyL ( 4154209 )

        Either way, it's way more than I've ever accomplished, and probably more than you've accomplished, too.

        • Pretty stupid comment. Like speaking different languages is the only way someone may accomplished himself. A fortiori if speaking means learning a subset of already made sentences while singing. BTW, how useful is this today to speak six languages unless you are a translator?
    • A computer engineer with a commercial pilot license,

      No. No no no no no.

      She makes me look like I didn't even try at life.

      It's the outgoing Governor General who is the computer engineer with a commercial pilot license, not the astronaut.

      You may or may not have tried very hard at life, but you sure don't try hard at reading comprehension.

      • It's the outgoing Governor General who is the computer engineer with a commercial pilot license, not the astronaut.

        FTFA: A computer engineer with a commercial pilot licence, Payette was picked from among 5,330 applicants in 1992 to be one of four new astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

        You may or may not have tried very hard at life, but you sure don't try hard at reading comprehension.

      • by x0ra ( 1249540 )
        Computer engineer ? Come on, she held a system engineer position for 2 years 30 years ago...
  • by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Friday July 14, 2017 @07:30AM (#54807291)
    I, for one, welcome our new celestial Overlord^H^H^H^Hlady. Someone that isn't there as a token female, but someone that has actually done something and every Canadian can be proud to call their Governor General. Hopefully that spirit of accomplishment inclusion will remain, the opposite of an 'activist' type person that does what they do for a club they themselves are a member of.
  • It's always funny to read Americans stumbling over a parliamentary system description and thinking it overcomplicated and bizarre (and that QE2 is still, really, in charge).

    There's a reason your system hasn't caught on anywhere in 230 years; a reason nearly everwhere else is some sort of parliament.

    Yours makes your elected Head-of-State an elected King by our lights; Commander-in-Chief and repository of all national glory and honour. I wouldn't use the word "Warlord" but I note that the terrorist-fighting

  • Maybe the US of A could stop electing lawyers and billionaires to high office and look to engineers and scientists instead. Nah, what am I thinking - it'll never work because they typically have principles and core honesty.

"Inquiry is fatal to certainty." -- Will Durant

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