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Governor General of Canada / Gouverneur général du Canadaa
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Annual Report 2003-2004

Message from the Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

I am pleased to post on the Governor General’s Web site, the first annual report by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG).

The Office of the Governor General reflects Canada’s evolution as an independent nation. In fulfilling her role as Canada’s effective Head of State, the Governor General constantly reminds Canadians of our history, our shared values and the possibilities of our future together.

Since the beginning of responsible government in Canada, the role of the Governor General has always involved a range of constitutional duties on the one hand, and on the other hand, an active program aimed at highlighting the evolving nature of Canadian society and the contributions and achievements of our fellow citizens.

Since 1967, the Governor General has been responsible for the administration of the Canadian Honours System.

In 2003-04, the Office (OSGG) supported the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, in the carrying out of her constitutional and traditional roles and in the administration of the Canadian Honours System.

During this year, the Governor General executed her constitutional responsibilities with commitment and with her customary efficiency and grace. The primary constitutional duty of the Governor General is to ensure that Canada always has a prime minister and on December 12, 2003, the Governor General swore in a new prime minister, the Right Honourable Paul Martin and his cabinet.

As Commander-In-Chief, Her Excellency inspired and nurtured the Canadian Forces. Since the beginning of her mandate, the Governor General, along with His Excellency, John Ralston Saul, has made a point of visiting the troops in the field annually. This year, they visited Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan, for four days over New Years.

In 2003-04, The Governor General carried out her program in some of the following ways:

  • She honoured over 10,000 Canadians through the Order of Canada, Bravery Decorations, the Meritorious Service Decoration, the Order of Military Merit and other honours that constitute areas of our Canadian Honours System
  • She helped bring Canadians together where they live and work through visits to communities across Canada; as part of a six-city program, and in partnership with municipal authorities and local volunteer groups, Their Excellencies carried out ground breaking urban visits to Saint John, Quebec City and Saskatoon
  • Together and separately Their Excellencies participated in hundreds of events around the country. They received over
    1 500 invitations from organizations and individual Canadians.
  • The Governor General officially honoured Canadians through the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards and the Governor General’s Media and Visual Arts Awards. She recognized excellence in the teaching of Canadian history, in architecture, in public service journalism through the Michener Awards, and in volunteerism through the Caring Canadian Award.
  • Together, Their Excellencies ardently promoted Canadian food and wine when receiving Canadian citizens and foreign dignitaries at the official residences, Rideau Hall in Ottawa and La Citadelle in Quebec City.
  • At the request of the Prime Minister, the Governor General advanced Canadian foreign policy objectives as expressed in the Northern Dimension of Canada’s Foreign Policy, through highly successful State visits to Russia, Finland and Iceland,.
  • To foster a broader understanding of the role of the Governor General in our history and democratic system, the Visitor Services Program was enriched and strengthened. Guided tours of both official residences, specialized art, garden and school tours, a lively and accessible Web site and educational materials distributed to teachers across the country, served to increase awareness and understanding of the Office and brought some 200,000 visitors to Rideau Hall and opened the doors of La Citadelle on a regular basis for the first time. The Governor General’s website also attracted 2,923,473 page views on the Governor General’s web site.

The OSGG annual report outlines how the Governor General serves Canadians. It does this by describing key activities and their cost. It details the Governor General’s salary and the administrative costs of the Office.

The OSGG is grateful to those government departments and agencies which support the Governor General through the carrying out of their legislated mandates, such as: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who provide protective services to Their Excellencies; the National Capital Commission, which maintains the residence and grounds of Rideau Hall; the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada, which supports the Governor General’s international activities; and the Department of National Defence, which supports the Governor General as Commander-in-Chief.

During the year there was a continuing focus on improving the business practices of the Office. In partnership with the National Capital Commission, improvements were made so that the inadequate working conditions of employees would meet Occupational Health and Safety codes.

In the years ahead, the Office will continue to support the Governor General in the Canadianization of the office and in raising awareness and understanding of the role of the Governor General as the effective Head of State in our democratic system of government.

I thank the Office’s staff for their professionalism, dedication and commitment to excellence.

I look forward to comments and suggestions on how to better report on the Office in the years ahead.

Barbara Uteck

Updated: 2018-03-26
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