Among the great privileges OLIP interns receive each year is a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and on Friday, March 11, we interns enjoyed a meeting with Her Honour, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
On the morning of our meeting, we were led into the Lieutenant Governor’s office located in the West Wing of the Legislature. Immediately upon entering, the long history of the office of Lieutenant Governor becomes apparent with portraits of Her Honour’s predecessors in the role adorning the walls, all the way back to the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe. The office also features beautiful artwork from Ontario artists along with rotating exhibits of Ontario’s cultural, historical, and artistic heritage with the current exhibit portraying the tragic history of residential schools in Ontario. The role of Lieutenant Governor itself is steeped in tradition, which notably includes the assignment of an aide-de-camp from the Canadian Armed Forces in recognition of the role of Lieutenant Governor being of a military nature in Ontario’s early history and the office’s continuing role as The Queen’s representative in Ontario.
Shortly after arriving, we were seated and formally introduced to Her Honour, who explained to us her experiences in the role and discussed what it is like to hold a non-partisan position in a partisan environment. Appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 2014, Her Honour broke with tradition by not announcing a theme of her tenure as Lieutenant Governor and instead deciding to choose one after speaking with Ontarians to see what priorities they identify as important. Her Honour brings with her an illustrious career in the public realm that included serving as an Assistant Deputy Minister at Environment Canada to Undersecretary-General of the United Nations. Her Honour emphasised the need to face the challenges we face as a province, be they environmental, economic, or social with the ability to innovate and find solutions that are best for Ontarians and others around the world.
Our meeting with Her Honour will be remembered by ourselves as one of the most inspirational and thought provoking meetings we have had thus far in our internship. We would like to thank Her Honour for meeting with us and wish her all the best in her term!