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Minimalist swearing-in for Quebec’s first Indigenous lieutenant-governor

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “My motto is to think outside the wigwam, or the box,” said Manon Jeannotte during her swearing-in. Former director of the School of First Nations Leaders, the Montrealer of origin led the Mi'kmaq nation of Gespeg in Gaspésie between 2015 and 2019.

Dave Christmas in Quebec

January 25, 2024

  • Quebec

The former Mi'kmaq leader, Manon Jeannotte, was elevated to the dignity of lieutenant governor of Quebec this Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister François Legault.

Ms. Jeannotte was director of the School of First Nations Leaders at HEC Montréal at the time of her appointment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last December. “My motto is to think outside the wigwam, or from the box,” said the native Montrealer who led the Mi’kmaq nation of Gespeg in Gaspésie between 2015 and 2019.    

The vice-queen faced criticism by recognizing the colonial origins of her new role. “As a native, I should be the very first to want its abolition, but this is not the case,” she declared after taking the oath of office to King Charles III. Like the majority of Indigenous peoples in Canada, I agreed to work with the system in place. »

The 30th holder of the position since 1867 took advantage of her speech to emphasize that the ceremony took place on unceded indigenous territory. The elected representatives of the National Assembly were not invited to this minimalist swearing-in held in the offices of the Lieutenant Governor, on the ground floor of the André-Laurendeau building. Among the twenty guests was Diane Lebouthillier, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast Guard.

Minimalist swearing-in for Quebec’s first Indigenous lieutenant-governor

Photo: Dave Noël Le Devoir The swearing-in of Quebec Lieutenant-Governor Manon Jeannotte (to the left of Prime Minister François Legault) took place to the rhythm of a traditional Micmac song.

The swearing-in of the representative of the British monarchy in Quebec usually takes place in the heart of the Parliament Building, in the Legislative Council room. However, the “Red Room” has been closed since the start of the year due to work to accommodate the deputies of the Blue Room, which will be subject to a major overhaul starting in the fall.

The splendor of the swearing-in ritual has continued to fade since the time when the Quebec viceroy presented himself to Parliament in a landau or in a cart pulled by a team of black horses. Preceded by his aides-de-camp, the representative of the monarch wearing a cocked hat then entered the Red Room between two hedges of soldiers while a brass band sang the God Save the King, all interrupted by cannon fire from the citadel.


François Legault was not consulted by his federal counterpart when choosing the representative of Charles III in Quebec. He did not suggest any candidates to succeed J. Michel Doyon, confirms Ewan Sauves, Mr. Legault’s press secretary.

The choice of lieutenant governor is a federal prerogative. Ottawa can, however, consult Quebec as a courtesy. In 1978, prime ministers Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque briefly discussed the candidacies of writer Anne Hébert and independence singer Pauline Julien, before settling on the much more discreet candidacy of former federal MP Jean-Pierre. Side.

Jean Chrétien did not show this sensitivity towards Lucien Bouchard during the controversial appointment of actor Jean-Louis Roux in 1996 and his successor Lise Thibault the following year. The PQ government took advantage of ongoing budget cuts to dispose of the Dunn House, the official residence of the lieutenant governor since the fire of the Bois de Coulonge mansion in 1966.

In 2007, Stephen Harper returned to tradition by consulting Jean Charest before crowning the Secretary General of the National Assembly, Pierre Duchesne. The Conservative Prime Minister, however, ignored Philippe Couillard in 2015 during the appointment of J. Michel Doyon. The leader of the Quebec government, Jean-Marc Fournier, then denounced a breach of the “open and respectful relationship” between Ottawa and Quebec. The induction ceremony was boycotted by elected officials from the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire.

To (re)read

  • Unanimous vote in the National Assembly to abolish the office of lieutenant governor
  • Lieutenant governors are not pariahs, maintains Michel Doyon


The abolition of the office of lieutenant governor was the subject of a unanimous motion by the National Assembly in December, the day after the announcement of the appointment of Manon Jeannotte. The motion presented by solidarity deputy Sol Zanetti referred to the lack of “democratic legitimacy” of a position which recalls “a colonial period in our history”.

In 1966, the leader of the National Union and future Prime Minister Daniel Johnson expressed the wish that Lieutenant Governor Hugues Lapointe would be the last representative of the British monarchy in Quebec. Lapointe, however, remained in office for twelve years, setting a record for longevity. The outgoing lieutenant governor, J. Michel Doyon, is fifth in this royal list, with a reign of eight years.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116