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Governor general takes in CMHR, 17 Wing before ending first visit to Manitoba

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/11/2018 (584 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette vows her first official visit to Manitoba won’t be her last.

Payette’s first stop Tuesday on the second day of her tour of the province began at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights where she explored the different exhibits.

"I like the one where you walk in and it says, 'Every human being is born free and equal.' That’s what we strive for; it’s a fundamental Canadian value," Payette said after touring the Canadian Journeys gallery. "It’s not necessarily a fundamental world value just yet."

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette tours the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Tuesday, the second day of her trip to Manitoba. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette tours the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Tuesday, the second day of her trip to Manitoba. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Payette took a particular interest in the Viola Desmond exhibit, where she was given one of the brand-new Canadian $10 bills featuring the black human-rights pioneer who challenged segregation in a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946.

This is Payette’s first visit to the province since she was appointed Governor General in October 2017. Most previous appointees have scheduled visits to all of the provinces within their first year, leading to some criticism in Manitoba.

Payette spent a busy first day in the city Monday, beginning with a welcoming ceremony at the Manitoba legislature and meeting with Premier Brian Pallister.

The Governor General was then whisked away to tour the Université de Saint-Boniface in celebration of its 200th anniversary.

Later, the former astronaut and scientist joined the Bear Clan Patrol in the North End, where she walked in one of Winnipeg's most troubled neighbourhoods for about a half-hour.

Payette salutes Brig.-Gen. Mario Leblanc before touring Canadian Forces Base 17 Wing.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Payette salutes Brig.-Gen. Mario Leblanc before touring Canadian Forces Base 17 Wing.

Payette said her trip has been inspiring and she fully intends to return to the province.

"We have several years to go and I will be back many times," she said. "But not necessarily in the big urban areas; we are going to go visit people."

After visiting the CMHR Tuesday, Payette and her entourage headed to 17 Wing Winnipeg, where she met with military officials from the Royal Canadian Air Force 402 and 435 Squadron.

Leblanc walks with Payette.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Leblanc walks with Payette.

Payette arrived prepared for the tour, dressed in a dark green military flight suit complete with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) badges she wore on during her two trips to the International Space Station.

"I’m at home here; very much so. I’m part of the military family and very proudly so," she said, sitting in the cockpit of a Hercules CC-130 H, the same model of plane Payette trained on at CFB Moose Jaw.

Payette shook the hand of each member of the military she met, offering a few short words of thanks and encouragement before she was rushed off.

Payette said she is already making plans to return to the base to observe a search and rescue operation.

Payette checks out the cockpit of a Hercules.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Payette checks out the cockpit of a Hercules.

"We are just honoured that (Payette) is here," said 17 Wing commander Col. Eric Charron. "Nothing changes the personal aspect of coming and seeing the people, shaking hands, asking them what gets them excited about their job. It gives them a chance for them to see someone of that importance really paying attention to our day-to-day jobs."

Payette then boarded the private jet reserved for her and the prime minister, promising she'll return soon.

danton.unger@freepress.mb.ca 

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