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Canada's Trudeau to name ex-astronaut Julie Payette as new governor general

15 July 2017

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday announced that on his recommendation, Her Majesty the Queen, had approved the appointment of Julie Payette as the next Governor General of the country.

Payette, 53, will replace David Johnston, who will retire in September after serving in the position since 2010. After a series of conversations, he said it became clear that he should recommend her for the post.

Trudeau defended the selection process, saying Payette won the job on merit.

"Ms. Payette's life has been one dedicated to discovery, to dreaming big and to always staying focused on the things that matter most", Trudeau told reporters.

"These truly Canadian traits, along with her years of public service, make her unquestionably qualified for this high office". Payette is a Montrealer who as part of NASA and the Canadian Space Agency travelled to outer space in 1999 and 2009. From 2000 to 2007 she was the chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.

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She can speak to you in pretty much any language OK, not any language, but she can speak French, English and hold down a conversation in Spanish, Italian, German and Russian, which she learned in preparation for her first space mission.

Mr Johnston is expected to have a private audience with The Queen when he travels to the United Kingdom next week for Canada 150 celebrations.

The installation ceremony for Payette will take place in the fall.

"Anything she sets her mind, she will achieve it", said Kumar of Payette. "I expected a lot of her in the early days, and I expect a lot from her now".

Payette will be the fourth woman to be the governor general. "You get to see a lot of fantastic details", she said.

Canada's Trudeau to name ex-astronaut Julie Payette as new governor general