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Governor General Mary Simon and German president head to NWT

Governor General Mary Simon in January 2023
Governor General Mary Simon in January 2023. Sgt Mathieu St-Amour/Rideau Hall

Governor General Mary Simon will accompany Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on a tour of Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk this week.

Simon will be welcomed to the territorial capital by Commissioner Margaret Thom on Tuesday before a meeting with Premier Caroline Cochrane and reception at Joint Task Force North.

Steinmeier arrives a day later. He and Simon will receive a briefing from senior JTFN officials before heading to Tuktoyaktuk on Wednesday afternoon, where they will meet Indigenous leaders and visit the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

In a press release, the governor general’s office said the Tuktoyaktuk trip would be a chance to learn about “the unique climate change challenges faced by northern communities.”

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The visit to JTFN is part of a broader tour for German delegates in which Canada has said it hopes “to further advance joint efforts to build the resilience of our democracies, economies, and environment.”

A briefing on the subject of Nato, the military alliance between European and North American nations, is expected at JTFN on Wednesday.

Steinmeier is also visiting Ottawa, Ontario and Vancouver as part of the tour, which includes a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A former foreign minister, Steinmeier has been Germany’s president since 2017. The role of president in Germany is primarily ceremonial – the country’s head of government is its chancellor, currently Olaf Scholz – though the president does hold some political powers and is elected by a combination of Germany’s federal parliament and its state legislatures.

Scholz and Trudeau traded visits to each other’s countries last year.