Canada’s system of government is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and the Head of State. The Governor General is the representative of the Queen in Canada.
The duties of the governor general have changed over time, as Canada has become an independent nation. In 1947 King George VI changed the role of the governor general. The letters patent “authorize and empower Our Governor General, with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada or any members thereof or individually, as the case requires, to exercise all powers and authorities lawfully belonging to Us in respect of Canada”. Since these letters were signed the governor general has exercised the duties of Head of State. Not only in Canada, but all over the world. The governor general is also the commander-in-chief of Canada.
Some of the duties of the governor general are:
- Repreenting Canada during international State visits.
- Welcomes Royal Visitors, heads of State and foreign ambassadors at Rideau Hall and at the Citadelle of Québec.
- Gives honors and awards for excellence, valor, bravery and achievements.
- Heads of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Chronological List of Governor Generals of Canada
- Charles Stanley Monck; 4th Viscount Monck: 1867 to 1868.
- Sir John Young; Lord Lisgar: 1869 to 1872.
- Frederick Temple Blackwood; Earl of Dufferin: 1872 to 1878.
- John Douglas Sutherland Campbell; Marquess of Lorne: 1878 to 1883.
- Henry Charles Kieth Petty-Fitzmaurice; 5th Marquess of Landsdowne: 1883 to 1888.
- Frederick Arthur Stanley; Baron Stanley of Preston: 1888 to 1893.
- John Campbell Gordon; Earl of Aberdeen: 1893 to 1898.
- Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kymynmound; 4th Earl of Minto: 1898 to 1904.
- Albert Henry George Grey; 4th Earl Grey: 1904 to 1911.
- Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert; Duke of Connaught: 1911 to 1916.
- Victor Christian William Cavendish; 9th Duke of Devonshire: 1916 to 1921.
- Julian Hedworth George Byng; Lord Byng: 1921 to 1926.
- Freeman Freeman-Thomas; Viscount Willingdon: 1926 to 1931.
- Vere Brabazon Ponsonby; 9th Earl of Bessborough: 1931 to 1935.
- Sir John Buchan; Lord Tweedsmuir: 1935 to 1940.
- Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge; Earl of Athlone: 1940 to 1946.
- Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander; Viscount Alexander: 1946 to 1952.
- Vincent Massey: 1952 to 1959. First Canadian-borne GG of Canada.
- Georges Vanier: 1959 to 1967.
- Roland Michener: 1967 to 1974.
- Jules Leger: 1974 to 1979.
- Edward R. Schreyer: 1979 to 1984.
- Jeanne Sauve: 1984 to 1990.
- Ramon John Hnatyshyn: 1990 to 1995.
- Romeo A. LeBlanc: 1995 to 1999.
- Adrienne Clarkson: 1999 to 2005.
- Michaëlle Jean: 2005 to 2010.
- David Johnston – 2010 to current.