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Ray Hnatyshyn

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The Right Honourable Ramon John "Ray" Hnatyshyn PC, CC (March 16, 1934 - December 18, 2002) was Canada's twenty-fourth governor general, serving from 1990 to 1995.

Ray Hnatyshyn, Ukrainian Canadian, was born the son of Canadian senator John Hnatyshyn in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He attended the University of Saskatchewan and practised law in that province until being elected to the House of Commons. He served as Conservative Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-area ridings from 1974 to 1988.

He was appointed as the energy minister under the Joe Clark government, and as house leader and justice minister under Brian Mulroney. Hnatyshyn was appointed governor-general on December 14, 1989, succeeding Jeanne Sauvé. He was officially sworn in January 29, 1990.

Hnatyshyn was largely responsible for popularizing the office of the governor general. He opened Rideau Hall, the governor general's official residence, to tourists in 1990, reversing Mme. Sauvé's security policy. He also opened the residence's skating rink to the public and hosted a rock concert to promote education.

He also established the Governor General's Awards for the Performing Arts in 1992.

The Jean Chrétien government named Senator Roméo LeBlanc as his successor, and Mr. Hnatyshyn completed his term on February 6, 1995. During his time as the Queen's representative, he was the well-liked, humorous official host to 26 Heads of State and made at least 1200 speeches.

From April 1989 to January 1990, he practised law at the establishment of Gowling, Strathy & Henderson. In 1990 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Hnatyshyn died shortly before Christmas in 2002. According to tradition, he lay-in-state for several days in Canada's Senate Chamber. Though he was Ukrainian Orthodox, he was commemorated at a multi-faith ceremony held December 23, 2002 at Ottawa's Christ Church Cathedral, which included a eulogy from CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge [1] (http://www.cbc.ca/clips/ram-newsworld/mansbridge_eulogy021223.ram). Even though she did not attend the service, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson paid tribute to one of her predecessors via video [2] (http://www.cbc.ca/clips/ram-newsworld/clarkson_adrienne021223.ram) because she and her husband, John Ralston Saul, were en route to the Persian Gulf to spend Christmas with the Canadian troops there.

On March 16, 2004, the Government of Canada unveiled a $.49 postage stamp with an image of him taken on the day he became Governor General (January 29, 1990), he is dressed in formal wear, standing against a bronze, tone-on-tone background depicting part of the heraldic coat of arms created for him. The picture was taken by Canadian Press photographer Paul Chaisson. The stamp itself was created by Vancouver designer Susan Mavor depicting his humour and thoughtfulness. His wife Gerda was in attendance.


Preceded by:
Jeanne Sauvé
Governor General of Canada
1990–1995
Succeeded by:
Roméo LeBlanc

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