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Canadian History for Kids: Jeanne Sauvé

May 14, 1984 – Jeanne Sauvé sworn in as Canada’s first female Governor General after recovery from a battle with cancer.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at the life of Canada’s first female Governor General, Jean Sauvé.

Jeanne Sauvé, a Canadian journalist and politician began her term as the first woman Governor General of Canada on May 14, 1984. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at the amazing career of Jeanne Sauvé.

Jean left Saskatchewan at a young age and was sent to finish her education at the Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire Convent in Ottawa. She then studied at the University of Ottawa. After that she took part in many youth movements. From 1942 to 1948, she travelled in North America and served as a bilingual spokeswoman for the Mouvement de l’action sociale. In 1948, she married Maurice Sauvé and the couple decided to move to London, and then to Paris. She worked as an assistant to the Youth Secretariat of UNESCO and obtained a diplome d’études in French civilization from the University of Paris.

Jeanne Sauvé returned to Canada in 1952, where she began a career as a freelance journalist for CBC Radio-Canada, CTV and a number of American networks. She wrote editorials in major Canadian papers and she was very active in many organizations, including the Union des artistes, the YMCA, Bushnell Communications and the Canadian Institute on Public Affairs.

In 1982, Jeanne Sauvé decided to enter federal politics. Once she was elected, she accepted the position of Minister for Science and Technology, becoming the first woman from Quebec to enter the federal Cabinet. Later, she was appointed Minister of the Environment and Minister of Communications.

Jean was renowned for her excellent leadership skills. On April 14, 1980 when she was elected Speaker of the House of Commons, becoming Parliament’s first woman Speaker. Her term as Speaker ended on November 30, 1983, after a long and chaotic parliamentary session of three and one-half years.

December 23, 1983 when she was selected the first woman Governor General of Canada. She stated that it was an important break-through for all the women of Canada. Her term began on May 14, 1984. In addition to her official duties, she debated for peace, national unity and youth.

She travelled the country to promote national unity and to make the Governor General’s role better known.

She withdrew from public life and used her time to create a $10-million fund for youth. During her respected career, Jeanne Sauvé was named Companion of the Order of Canada and Commander of the Order of Military Merit in 1984, member of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jérusalem and she was the winner of the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967 and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1977.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!

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