Jeanne Sauve Gravely Ill Before Her Installation as Governor General of Canada

Previously published in Examiner

To learn more about Canadian or Quebec politics, both McGill University and Concordia University in Montreal offer wonderful political science degrees, that you may want to look into.

Montreal’s Concordia University has a wonderful women’s studies program at the Simone do Beauvoir Institute

The duties of a governor general is to represent the ruling British Monarch in Canada. The governor general carries out administrative duties and also celebratory or festive activities. We will now look at the three female governor generals of Canada, two of which were from Montreal.

Governor generalship of Jeanne Sauve

Jeanne Sauve made Canadian and world history when she became Canada’s first female Governor General. She was the second female Governor General appointed within the British Commonwealth. Elmira Minita Gordon was the first female Governor General of Belize (1981-1993).

Prime Minister Trudeau announced to Buckingham Palace in December 1983, that the Prime Minister’s Office was putting forth Jeanne Sauve for the position of Governor General. The Canadian people and Montrealers especially, liked Jeanne Sauve. She was bilingual and elegant and from Montreal. However, some politicians had reservations of her ability to remain non-partisan; a requirement expected of the Governor General.

In January of the following year Jeanne Sauve became ill; therefore, forcing her to resign as house speaker and MP. There were rumours that she had cancer; but the official story was that she had a respiratory virus and was allergic to the antibiotics.

Still, Queen Elizabeth II, ” by commission under the royal sign-manual and Great Seal of Canada,” on” approved Sauve as Governor General of Canada on January 28, 1984.” However, it was touch and go for Jeanne Sauve. She was very ill and remained in the hospital. There was speculation that she would die. The Canadian Press and CBC had even prepared preliminary obituaries, should the unfortunate death occur.

Fortunately, Jeanne Sauve did recover Nevertheless, there were rumours that she developed Hodgkins Disease,but she remained secretive about her condition. Sauve would only respond that her illness was a private matter. Her illness did setback the installation as Governor General by a month. She had just gotten out of the hospital the month she was scheduled to be sworn in.


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