Saskatchewan’s newest lieutenant governor has been sworn in following a ceremony on Thursday morning at Government House.
Russell B. Mirasty is the province’s 23rd lieutenant governor, taking over for W. Thomas Molloy who recently passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Mirasty is the former commander of the RCMP’s ‘F’ Division, joined the RCMP in 1976 and became the first Indigenous person to command a division. He retired from the RCMP in 2013.
Thursday’s ceremony held lots of historic value as Mirasty became the province’s first Indigenous lieutenant governor.
Born and raised in La Ronge, Mirasty speaks Cree fluently and he’s a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. He talked about how his experiences of growing up and being a part of northern Saskatchewan will help guide him in his new role.
“It certainly gives me an added perspective in terms of the province itself and the communities that are a part of this great province,” he told media following the ceremony. “It will be of great benefit.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Chief of Justice Robert G. Richards took part in the swearing in ceremony on Thursday.
Moe was very enthusiastic of Mirasty being chosen as Saskatchewan’s next lieutenant governor, adding that his appointment is well deserved.
“Check out his resume, check out the engagement that Mr. Mirasty has performed over so many years,” said Premier Moe. “This is a historic day for our nation and certainly the province of Saskatchewan.”
Moe mentioned how it’s “honourable” how Mirasty has decided to continue living in La Ronge while commuting back and forth between his hometown and Regina.
He believes it’s an important decision from the lieutenant governor since his experience can endure in his community.
“Maybe we’ll have the opportunity to do some fishing together in some of Saskatchewan’s great northern lakes.”
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale was present at the ceremony, a few days after attending former lieutenant governor W. Thomas Molloy’s funeral on Saturday in Saskatoon.
Goodale said how he and the Government of Canada are delighted about the appointment.
When asked what he thinks the late Thomas Molloy’s reaction would have been to this announcement, he believes Molloy would have been very pleased.
“For the next five years, this role will be filled by an individual of great distinction and great accomplishment, but also an individual who is an Indigenous person,” said Goodale.
“He arrives in his role at a very critical time when the Truth and Reconciliation process is beginning.”
Goodale did not comment on the consultation process for Mirasty’s recommendation, saying the process is confidential and how he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had many conversations regarding their selection.
As the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Mirasty will serve as the representative of Queen Elizabeth II to Saskatchewan.