Jeanne Sauvé sworn in as Canada’s first female governor general

On today’s date in 1984, Jeanne Sauvé was sworn in as Canada’s first female governor general.

In 1994, Canada Post issued a 43-cent multi-coloured stamp (CSN Scott # 1509) commemorating Sauvé. Designed by Jean Morin and Tom Yakobina and based on photograph by Yousuf Karsh, André Le Coz, Greg Lorfing and Mike Pinder, the stamp shows the famous portrait of Sauvé seated on a chair and features three smaller black and white portraits depicting various aspects of her distinguished career. The Canadian Bank Note Company printed 15,000,000 copies of the stamp, each with tagging along its side, on Peterborough Paper Converters paper.

Throughout her life, Sauvé worked both as a journalist and politician, serving as governor general of Canada – the 23rd since Confederation – between 1984 and 1990. She was born in Saskatchewan and educated in Ottawa and Paris before joining the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a journalist. In 1972, she was elected to the House of Commons and served as a minister of the crown until 1980, when she became the speaker of the House.

In 1984, she was appointed governor general by Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. She occupied the post until she was succeeded by Ray Hnatyshyn in 1990. She was the first woman to serve as Canada’s governor general and, while being initially welcomed, eventually caused controversy because of her anti-monarchist attitude. Before her death in 1993, she founded and worked with the Sauvé Foundation.

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