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Governor General of Canada / Gouverneur général du Canadaa


Governor General


State Visits

At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, will conduct State visits to Ukraine, from April 23 to 26, and to the Kingdom of Norway, from April 28 to 30, 2009.

Recent State Visits

Recent Official Visits

For most of the past century and increasingly over the past decades, governors general have played an important role in the regular conduct of Canada’s relations with other countries by travelling abroad on State visits. As the representative of the Crown in Canada, the governor general performs all the functions of the head of State. In this capacity, the governor general hosts numerous foreign heads of State on State visits to Canada every year. As a regular practice of international relations, the governor general receives reciprocal invitations to make State visits to many countries on behalf of all Canadians. By accepting such invitations, the governor general builds on existing international relationships and strengthens ties across a broad range of sectors of Canadian life. A multi-faceted delegation from across the country accompanies the governor general on State visits to convey a sense of Canada to the host countries.

Governors general began to travel internationally and be received as heads of State in 1927 when Lord Willingdon was invited to visit the United States by President Calvin Coolidge. The first full State visit occurred 10 years later in 1937 when John Buchan, the Lord Tweedsmuir, was received at the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, where he addressed the United States Senate. In 1948, Viscount Alexander made the first Canadian State visit to Latin America when he visited Brazil. After visiting a number of Caribbean countries in 1969, Roland Michener further expanded the range of State visits by Canadian governors general by travelling outside the Americas. He was the first to be received on State visits in Europe, visiting the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in 1971. State visits to European countries followed in 1978 with Jules Léger travelling to Spain. Between 1981 and 1983, Edward Schreyer visited Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Romania, Greece and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Governors general have conducted State visits to the following countries over the past two decades:

  • Jeanne Sauvé: China, Thailand, Italy, France, Brazil and Uruguay.
  • Ramon Hnatyshyn: Portugal, Ukraine, Hungary, South Korea and China. He also became the first governor general to make an official visit to Hong Kong, and took part in ceremonies in France commemorating the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1994.
  • Roméo LeBlanc: the Czech Republic, Austria, the Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Mali and Morocco.
  • Adrienne Clarkson: Argentina and Chile, Germany, Russia, Finland and Iceland.

State Visits

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, in her capacity as Head of State, has also made visits to the following countries.

Official Visits

  • Working visit to Haiti from January 15 to 18, 2009 to support the Haitian population as it struggles through a food crisis and tropical storms that ravaged the country as well as to highlight the efforts being made by the Government of Canada in Haiti;
  • France, May 6 to 12, 2008 for an official visit to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Québec, Victory in Europe Day and the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in France;
  • Argentina, December 8 to 12, 2007 to attend the presidential inauguration of the President-elect, Her Excellency Cristina Fernández de Kirchner;
  • Afghanistan, March 8 to 10, 2007, visiting Canadian troops, meeting with Afghan President Karzai and celebrating International Women’s Day;
  • Morocco, December 9 and 10, 2006, to meet with troops stationed in Casablanca;
  • Republic of Chile, March 11, 2006, for the swearing-in ceremony of Chilean Prime Minister Michelle Bachelet;
  • Italy and Holy See, February 24 to 27, 2006, for the closing ceremonies of the Torino Winter Olympics and for meetings with His Excellency Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Italian Republic, and with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI; and
  • France, October 29 and 30, 2005, for an aboriginal spiritual journey.
Updated: 2018-03-26
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