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'Living side by side': Governor General Mary Simon makes first official visit to Saskatchewan

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Canada’s Governor General made her first official visit to Saskatchewan Monday.

Despite a rainy day, an RCMP honour guard, government officials including Premier Scott Moe, as well as a group of school children met her Excellency at the legislative grounds.

Appointed to the role in 2021, the Governor General has been to Saskatchewan before. Visiting James Smith Cree Nation following the mass stabbing in September 2022.

This was her first officially scheduled visit and focused on issues like climate change, mental health, education and reconciliation.

“There are continuing challenges wherever we go,” she told CTV News. “It’s really about getting to know one another, giving space to our cultures and our languages and being able to live side by side.”

At the Legislative Building, the Governor General had a meeting with Premier Scott Moe.

“Talking about important issues we are all facing as a country and to be able to hear back from all Canadians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” Simon said.

Moe said the two talked about Saskatchewan’s work with their recovery-based addictions plan, among other issues.

“We had a good discussion on how we need to work together on topics in an environment today that is very different than three to five years ago,” he said. “And it will probably be even more changing in the coming years.”

Her Excellency then made stops at Government House and the First Nations University of Canada

While at Government House, she was greeted by Caitlin Kaytor with a bouquet of flowers.

“She looked so beautiful,” Kaytor said.

The visit was also unique as Simon – Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General – met with Saskatchewan’s first Indigenous Lieutenant Governor, Russ Mirasty.

“The mere fact we’re both the first in our positions adds to the uniqueness,” Mirasty said. “It’s special to meet on a personal level.”

“We’re getting more of a balance,” Simon said. “When you look at the history of Canada, Indigenous people are not always there. So we are building a more inclusive society.”

Saskatchewan Monarchist League member Monique Goffinet Miller believes the Governor General’s visit is important to the province.

“It is a massive statement,” she said. “With the meetings that will be happening with Indigenous and community leaders, I am excited to learn more and be educated from those conversations that happen with her Excellency.”

The Governor General’s visit continues Tuesday in Saskatoon.

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