Governor General of Canada
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Governor General

Role and Responsibilities of the Governor General

The Office of the Governor General, Canada's oldest continuing institution, is a thread that ties Canadians together. From Samuel de Champlain in 1608 to Viscount Monck in 1867 to Vincent Massey in 1952 to Adrienne Clarkson today, the role of the Governor General dates back nearly 400 years.

Today, we celebrate excellence through the Stanley Cup, the Grey Cup, the Governor General's Literary Awards and the Governor General's Academic Medal. These trophies and awards were created by Governors General and are a part of Canada that everyone celebrates.

What is the Governor General's position in Government?

Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. This means Canadians recognize The Queen as our Head of State. Canada's 26th Governor General, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, carries out Her Majesty's duties in Canada on a daily basis and is Canada's de facto Head of State.

Like many other democracies, Canada has clearly defined the difference between the Head of State and Head of Government.

The Governor General

  • represents The Queen who is the Head of State
  • is appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister

The Prime Minister

  • is the Head of Government
  • is the leader of the party with the most support in Parliament

What does the Governor General do?

The Governor General's role is built on six major themes:


 Governor General

Role and Responsibilities
Representing the Crown in Canada
Promoting Canadian Sovereignty
Celebrating Excellence
Encouraging National Identity, National Unity and Moral Leadership

Important Notices
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