Russ Mirasty was born and raised in La Ronge, Saskatchewan and is a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. His first language is Woodland Cree. His grandparents led a traditional life, fishing, hunting and trapping. His mother modelled a strong work ethic, and from her and his grandparents, he learned to value a connection to the land, and the importance of hospitality and community service.
Mr. Mirasty joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1976, and was one of only two Indigenous cadets in his troop. He served in various roles across the country, including as Director General of National Aboriginal Policing Services and as Commanding Officer of “F” Division (Saskatchewan).
Over his 36-year career, Mr. Mirasty was posted to seven provinces, performed duties in every province and territory, and participated in an exchange with the Northern Territory Police Service in Australia. He retired from the RCMP as Assistant Commissioner in 2013.
Following his retirement, Mr. Mirasty continued to devote himself to the residents of Saskatchewan by helping lead the Student First Engagement process. The valuable perspectives shared during the process informed the development of a province-wide education strategy.
Mr. Mirasty served as a member of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents, and as a board member on the Community Safety Knowledge Alliance. He was appointed to Saskatchewan’s Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction, and served on the board of the McDowell Foundation, which supports research, inquiry, and sharing of information for the K to 12 education system.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Mr. Mirasty received both the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee Medals, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal.
His Honour leads a very active lifestyle and regularly participates in running and cross-country skiing marathon events. He and his wife, Donna Mirasty, have a home in La Ronge, and they have two children and two grandchildren.
SINCE JOINING CONFEDERATION 1905
- The Honourable Amede Forget * 1898-1910
- The Honourable George W. Brown * 1910-1915
- The Honourable Sir Richard S. Lake * 1915-1921
- The Honourable Henry W. Newlands * 1921-1931
- The Honourable Hugh E. Munroe * 1931-1936
- The Honourable Archibald P. McNab * 1936-1945
- The Honourable Thomas Miller * February to April 1945
- The Honourable Reginald J.M. Parker * 1945-1948
- The Honourable John M. Uhrich * 1948-1951
- The Honourable William J. Patterson * 1951-1958
- The Honourable Frank L. Bastedo * 1958-1963
- The Honourable Robert L. Hanbidge * 1963-1970
- The Honourable Stephen Worobetz * 1970-1976
- The Honourable George Porteous * 1976-1977
- The Honourable C. Irwin McIntosh * 1978-1983
- The Honourable Frederick W. Johnson * 1983-1988
- The Honourable Dr. Sylvia O. Fedoruk * 1988-1994
- The Honourable John E.N. Wiebe * 1994-2000
- The Honourable Dr. Lynda M. Haverstock * 2000-2006
- The Honourable Dr. Gordon Barnhart * 2006-2012
- The Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield * 2012-2018
- The Honourable W. Thomas Molloy * 2018-2019
- The Honourable Russ Mirasty * 2019-Present
**Prior to 1905, the Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories governed, from Regina, much of present day Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut and Northwest Territories.
OFFICIAL PORTRAITS OF FORMER SASKATCHEWAN LIEUTENANT GOVERNORS
The Qu'Appelle Gallery, located in the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, is a display of portraits of former Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governors.
Sadly, the Legislative Building has eliminated this gallery from their tour, nor can this magnificent display of artwork be viewed any longer online.
"The role of the Lieutenant Governor is to ensure that the government works - that it exists and works for the benefit of the people"
-- John E.N. Wiebe, former Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor
THE VICE-REGAL STANDARD OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF SASKATCHEWAN
Since 1980, a series of new personal standards has been approved by the Governor General which bears the shield of arms of the Province, circled with ten gold maple leaves representing the ten provinces and surmounted by a royal crown, on a field of blue. This design had been agreed upon at a lieutenant governors' conference and each Province requested in turn that the design be authorized by the Governor General. Quebec and Nova Scotia have not adopted the new design.
The standard is flown from the Legislative Building when the Lieutenant Governor is present for the opening of the Legislature, the granting of royal assent, and the prorogation of the session; the standard also flies at Government House in Regina where the office of the Lieutenant Governor is located when he/she is in the office and on the vehicle that transports the Lieutenant Governor on official engagements.
The standard is never lowered to half-mast. On the death of a lieutenant governor, the standard is taken down, until a successor is sworn in.
The standard of the Lieutenant Governor has precedence over any other flags, including the national flag of Canada. The Queen's Personal Canadian flag has precedence over the Lieutenant Governor's standard; the Lieutenant Governor's personal standard will have precedence over the Governor General's personal standard when the Governor General is a guest of the Province. The Lieutenant Governor being The Queen's representative at the head of the Province, the Lieutenant Governor's standard has precedence over the standard of any member of the Royal Family, other than The Queen.
"Above all the political strife and turmoil, there is the Crown. It works."
-- Fredrick W. Johnson, former Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor
(Photo courtesy of Mark Greschner from Artec Photographic Design)
This elegant mansion served as the residence and office of the Lieutenant Governors of the Northwest Territories, a vast 2.5 million square mile territory given to the newly formed country of Canada in 1869. Government House was designed by Dominion architect Thomas Fuller and built between 1889 and 1891. Nine Lieutenant Governors lived in the house until it was closed in 1945. Government House then became a veteran's hospital, then later a school. After exstensive renovations, the Lieutenant Governor's office was moved back to the historic landmark of Government House from Hotel Saskatchewan in 1984. In May 2005, the Queen Elizabeth II wing was opened (left in the image above) by HM the Queen. The old section (right in the photo above and below) was renamed the Queen Victoria wing.
**The Lieutenant Governor's office is at the far right.
THE VICE-REGAL SALUTE
The Vice-Regal Salute, the Salute to the Lieutenant Governor, is a musical greeting and a mark of respect. It is performed officially in Canada in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor.
It is played at the opening of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, military march-pasts and other events attended by the Lieutenant Governor. Because it is a salute, the audience does not sing either of the abbreviated anthems when the Vice-Regal Salute is played. It is played when the Vice Regal Party reaches the dias in the case of ceremonial functions and when they reach thier seat in the case of other events.
The Vice-Regal Salute is composed of the first six bars of the Royal Anthem, "God Save The Queen", followed by a short version (the first four and the last four bars) of the National Anthem, "O Canada".
The Vice-Regal Salute was approved by Her Majesty The Queen in 1968.
Click here to listen to the Vice Regal Salute on canada.ca
THE VICE-REGAL POST IN SASKATCHEWAN
What is the Lieutenant Governor?
The Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan holds the highest office in the province, representing The Queen, our Head of State. It is clearly a different role from that of the Premier, who is the Head of Government and the leader of the party with the most support in the Legislative Assembly.
The Crown is above party politics, and it gives citizens a non-partisan focus for their loyalty to Saskatchewan. As The Queen's representative, the Lieutenant Governor acts of behalf of Saskatchewan as a whole in the Vice-Regal role, rather than those who voted for the party in power at any given point in time. The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of the Crown in the Province and exercises Her Majesty's powers and authorities with respect to Saskatchewan.
The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of Her Majesty, The Queen of Canada in Saskatchewan, and as such, takes precedence over everyone except the Sovereign. The Lieutenant Governor personifies the Crown, the unifying link in the constitutional and political structure of the province; executive, legislative and judicial. All legislation must receive Royal Assent before it becomes law. It must therefore be signed by the Lieutenant Governor. All Orders-In-Council and official proclamations are also signed by the Lieutenant Governor in the name of The Queen.
Why do we have a Lieutenant Governor?
The British North America Act established the post of Lieutenant Governor in March 1867. This Act united the provinces under a central government, with each province retaining its own legislature to preside over matters not under federal jurisdiction. With the creation of Saskatchewan in 1905, the Office of Lieutenant Governor came into existence by act of the Dominion Parliament of Canada.
Since the Statute of Westminster of 1931, Canada has been a fully sovereign state. However, Canada has chosen to remain a member of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of independent states representing approximately 25% of the world's population. Her Majesty, The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth.
In the early years of confederation, Lieutenant Governors were viewed as agents of the Federal Government and were expected to advise the Provincial Government as to the intent of federal legislation and to ensure that provincial legislation conformed to that of the senior government. Over the years, however, their role has become more independent and the distinctiveness of the Provincial Crown has been confirmed. With the increased recognition of the exclusive powers of provincial governments, the Lieutenant Governor's role as a Federal agent has virtually disappeared and is now focused primarily on responsibilities as the Sovereign's representative and Chief Executive Officer of Saskatchewan.
How does the Lieutenant Governor get the job?
The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, for a period of not less than five years. Because it is not a term appointment, a Lieutenant Governor continues in office until a successor is appointed and installed. Those appointed are generally persons who have served their country and/or province with distinction for many years.
Traditionally, the Lieutenant Governor lived at Government House, the official residence which included the Lieutenant Governor's office. Saskatchewan's Government House ceased to be a vice-regal residence in 1945, and accommodations were made elsewhere. Although the house is no longer a home, but a museum, the office of the Lieutenant Governor has returned to Government House.
The staff of the Lieutenant Governor support Their Honours in undertaking the various responsibilities and activities. Their Honours are also supported by the Honourary Aides-de-Camps appointed by the Lieutenant Governor who assist and accompany them to functions they attend. The Aides represent the three branches of the Armed Services, the police and civilians.
The Lieutant Governor is entitled to a 15-gun Royal Salute on the occasion of the opening of the Legislative Assembly and when making an official visit to a military saluting base within Saskatchewan.
A Guard of Honour is accorded to the Lieutenant Governor on the occasion of the opening of the Legislative Assembly and may also be mounted on other occasions of provincial significance.
From the time of Confederation, the Lieutenant Governors have been granted the courtesy title "His Honour" or "Her Honour" while in office. The courtesy title was extended to the spouses of the vice-regal representatives in 1985.
What does the Lieutenant Governor do?
The Lieutenant Governor is the Queen's representative in Saskatchewan and, consequently, exercises Her Majesty's powers in the Province. If for any reason the Lieutenant Governor cannot perform these functions, the Chief Justice of the province assumes responsibilty in an interim capacity.
As the guardian of responsible government in Saskatchewan, the Lieutenat Governor facilitates the smooth functioning of the Constitution, ensuring that the democratic will of Saskatchewan citizens and their elected representatives is upheld, and that the unwritten constitutional conventions of responsible parliamentary government are respected.
All government actions are taken in the name of the Crown, and the Lieutenant Governor formally holds the executive powers on behalf of the Crown. The Lieutenant Governor acts on the advice of the Ministers, but retains the right to be consulted, to encourage or to warn. The Ministers are responsible to the Assembly and, through it, to the people. That's why we call it responsible government.
One of the Lieutenant Governor's most important responsiblities is to ensure that the Province always has a Premier. By convention, the Lieutenant Governor asks the individual who commands the greatest level of support in the House of Assembly to accept the post. If the Office of the Premier becomes vacant due to resignation or death, it is the duty of the Lieutenant Governor to ensure that the post is filled. If the government resigns following a defeat in the Legislature or in an election, the Lieutenant Governor has the same responsibilities.
The Lieutenant Governor is an important element in both the Legislature and Executive Government of the province. The Lieutenant Governor summons the Assembly to meet, prorogues, and dissolves the Legislature. S/He reads the Speech from the Throne, outlining the government's legislative agenda at the opening of each session, issues the writ for an election and signs the decisions of Cabinet for them to take effect. With the advice of the Premier, the Lieutenant Governor appoints and swears-in members of the Executive Council (or Cabinet) and is guided by their advice, as long as they retain the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.
After an election, the Lieutenant Governor determines which political party enjoys the confidence of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, appoints its leader as Premier and officiates at the swearing-in of Ministers invited to form the government. The Lieutenant Governor also accepts the resignation of an outgoing Premier, and ensures that the unnwritten constitutional conventions of responsible government are respected where a government loses the support of the Assembly or is defeated in an election.
The Lieutenant Governor gives Royal Assent in Her Majesty's name to all measures and bills passed by the Legislative Assembly, except on the rare occasions when "reservation" is considered necessary. The Lieutenant Governor also signs Orders-in-Council, Proclamations, and many other official documents providing them with the force of law.
In addition to the Lieutenant Governor's constitutional role, His or Her Honour and spouse annually undertake hundreds of ceremonial, official and community functions to fulfil their Vice-Regal responsibilities.
Because of the constitutional position as head of the Executive Government of the Province, the Lieutenant Governor is not involved in political activity. This apolitical position permits him or her to represent Saskatchewan on ceremonial and state occasions.
The Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan attends many dinners, cultural events, military and civilian ceremonies, opens buildings and conferences, address gatherings of various kinds, visits schools, community events, and military establishments. Travel is an essential activity of the Lieutenant Governor, and it is by means of visits throughout Saskatchewan, that provides the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of the province, and the people they serve.
Their Honours travel to every part of the province, meeting the people of Saskatchewan where they live, work and go to school. The Lieutenant Governor speaks to audiences of all ages and interests about the strengths and values we share as citizens wherever we live - in the rural area, the vast northern region or the provincial capital.
On occasion, the Lieutenant Governor may be invited to lend patronage to organizations, particularly those of a charitable nature. Usually patronage will not be given unless the organization has been in existence for at least five years, serves a broad section of the population, is provincial in scope, and is in secure financial condition. Patronage is not granted as a matter of routine.
The extension of patronage to a wide variety of activities contributes to the enrichment of the lives of the people of Saskatchewan of all ages, lending the dignity and prestige of the Office to worthwhile causes.
The Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and spouse are hosts to members of the Royal Family, the Governor General, visiting Heads of State, and other dignitaries on official visits to the province. They also extend hospitality to many persons from Saskatchewan, other parts of Canada, and abroad.
Their Honours offer hospitality at Government House to a diverse cross-section of the Saskatchewan people, numerous charitable and community organizations, and visitors to the province. The Lieutenant Governor continues the tradition of hosting the New Year's Day levees for the public, judiciary, military, clergy and consular corps.
Honours & Awards
Each year at ceremonies in Government House, and elsewhere in the province, the Lieutenant Governor presents a number of awards for bravery, for outstanding public service, and for achievement.
His or Her Honour presents Lieutenant Governor's Awards recognizing achievements by Saskatchewan people in a wide range of endeavours, including the Saskatchewan Order of Merit which s/he serves as Chancellor, and presents other honours and awards on behalf of other organizations throughout the province to deserving citizens.
The Constitution and the Lieutenant Governor?
The Offices of the Monarch, Governor General, and Lieutenant Governor are entrenched in the Canadian Constitution, and no changes can be made to the Offices without the unanimous approval of all Provincial Legislative Assemblies, along with the Senate and the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Canada has a parliamentary form of government, with a constitutional monarchy. It's based on the British parliamentary model, but has been adapted to suit our own needs. Canada's Constitution recognizes The Queen as our Head of State, representing the totality of the sovereign powers of the country, which includes both the federal and provincial governments.
The Crown symbolizes the unity of the people and helps maintain our distinctiveness as Canadians. The U.S. has a republican form of government, quite unlike our parliamentary system.