Gov. Gen. greeted by pomp on first official visit to Victoria

David Johnston starts his B.C. tour in provincial capital

Governor General of Canada

Julias Hocking was thrilled just being inside the legislature, but he was over the moon when Gov. Gen David Johnston strode into the first-floor rotunda Monday where Hocking was waiting with his classmates.

“He’s the Governor General of Canada. The Governor General is the Queen’s representative in Canada,” said the 10-year-old Grade 5 Sir James Douglas elementary student. “It’s really cool to be here.”

Monday marked Johnston’s first visit to B.C. since being appointed to his post last October, and it proved to be a historical moment for B.C.’s sheriffs, who guard courthouses across the province.

Standing before a group of school children, municipal and provincial politicians, as well as naval leaders and military veterans, Johnston and Premier Christy Clark unveiled the sheriff service’s new flag, coat of arms and crest.

“This is a great step forward for the sheriffs in a long (two-year) process,” said Chief Sheriff Dave Maedel, who oversees 480 sheriffs in B.C.

It’s the first time the service has had its own official insignia, signifying that it has been formally recognized as a provincial body, said Maedel, adding that until now sheriffs had been wearing B.C.’s coat of arms on their uniforms.

“It’s an important day in the establishment of the identity of the B.C. Sheriff Service to get the crest and flag granted,” Maedel said.

Johnston and his wife Sharon spent the first leg of their three-day trip visiting with Premier Christy Clark, B.C. Lt.-Gov. Steven Point, Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and community groups. They attended a First Nations event at the University of Victoria and sailed on HMCS Regina.

During his speech at the legislature, Johnston asked Canadians to help realize his dream of helping Canada evolve into a nation that supports families and children, reinforces learning and innovation, and encourages philanthropy and volunteerism.

“I’m asking Canadians to dream about the kind of country they desire, and (I) challenge Canadians to do what they can today to make those dreams a reality tomorrow,” he said.

Johnston’s visit was expected to wrap up today (Wednesday) following his speech at the Canadian Club of Vancouver.

emccracken@vicnews.com

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