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N.L. installs newest lieutenant-governor, Joan Marie Aylward, in swearing-in ceremony

A woman in a purple shirt smiles as she claps her hands. An older man wearing a suit is standing to her left.
Joan Marie Aylward, left, was installed as Newfoundland and Labrador’s 15th lieutenant-governor. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Joan Marie Aylward has been sworn in as Newfoundland and Labrador’s 15th lieutenant-governor, making her the second woman to take on the role.

Speaking to the House of Assembly during her swearing-in ceremony Tuesday morning, Aylward thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for suggesting her for the role and all the officials who helped prepare for the ceremony. In addition, she gave a nod to Government House staff who have been helping move her and her husband into their new ceremonial residence. 

She also thanked those who performed in the ceremony — including the Strong Harbour Strings Collective, the Holy Heart Chamber Choir and singer and drummer Susan Hill — as well as elder Emma Reelis for the lighting of the kullik, a seal oil lamp, and Monsignor Patrick J. Kennedy for his ecumenical blessing. 

“The oaths of office I have just swore place me on your behalf as the direct representative of His Majesty in this province,” Aylward said.

“While many aspects of this position are ceremonial, its endurance maintains the commitment of our province and our Canada to a constitutional democracy steeped in the history of struggle, loss and error.”

A woman in a purple coat stands in front of an oil lamp on a table.
During the ceremony elder Emma Reelis lit a Kullik lamp. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Premier Andrew Furey also touted Aylward’s qualifications, including her career as a nurse, past role as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Registered Nurses’ Union, and her time in politics as minister of health and finance, as well as her community leadership.

“I am truly honoured to be a part of this special moment with you, your family and your friends. Your honour, the people of this province believe in you.,” said Furey.

“There is no doubt in the minds of everyone here today, anyone who has ever worked with you, that you will take on this role with all the vigor and passion that has defined your career and defined your very spirit.”

A woman wearing a purple shirt sits in a green-covered chair.
Joan Aylward was first elected in 1996 and served as minister of finance and president of the Treasury Board. (House of Assembly)

Second woman in role

Aylward, named as the incoming lieutenant-governor last month, replaces Judy Foote, who was the first woman to hold the post in N.L. Foote was sworn in as lieutenant-governor in May 2018. The appointment is for a minimum of five years.

Aylward was first elected in 1996 and served as minister of finance and president of the Treasury Board, minister of human resources and employment, and minister of health and community services.

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