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B.C.'s 29th Lieutenant Governor a 'steward of the land'

Judith Guichon descends the front steps at the B.C. legislature after being sworn in as B.C.
Judith Guichon descends the front steps at the B.C. legislature after being sworn in as B.C.'s 29th Lieutenant Governor Friday.
— image credit: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press (pool photo)

VICTORIA – Merritt-area rancher Judith Guichon was sworn in Friday as B.C.'s 29th Lieutenant Governor.

Guichon and her husband Bruno Mailloux were welcomed to the B.C. legislature with a blessing by Lottie Lindley, elder of the Upper Nicola Band of the Okanagan Nation. Guichon was sworn in by Chief Justice Lance Finch of the B.C. Supreme Court.

Guichon, 65, succeeds Steven Point, who completed his term Thursday. She is the second female Lieutenant Governor in B.C. history, following former MP Iona Campagnolo, who preceded Point.

In her inaugural speech, Guichon said she will carry on the work of both her predecessors, including support for literacy and reconciliation with aboriginal people in B.C. As owner of the historic Gerard Guichon Ranch on the shore of Nicola Lake and a former president of the B.C. Cattlemen's Association, she vowed to continue her work as a "steward of the land.

"Many of the first ranchers, including the Guichon family, came to British Columbia 150 years ago, chasing their dreams of gold," Guichon said. "As I tell the students who visit the ranch, they came for the gold, but they stayed for the grass."

Guichon and her late husband Lawrence Guichon are credited with introducing holistic management to the B.C. cattle industry, emphasizing preservation of natural grassland. She intends to make that approach the theme of her term.

"As generations become further removed from an agrarian lifestyle, and as we lose community, I fear that civil society becomes less civil," Guichon said. "It is at our peril that the great cities of the world forget that civilization relies on the health of the soil upon which it rests."

Guichon was also inducted into the Order of B.C., with the title of chancellor that is given to every Lieutenant Governor.

Lieutenants Governor are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of prime ministers. They serve five-year terms as the Queen's representative in each province, declaring new legislation and performing ceremonial duties around the province.

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