Sauvé, Jeanne-Mathilde

 Jeanne-Mathilde Sauvé, née Benoît, journalist, politician, governor general of Canada (b at Prud'homme, Sask 26 Apr 1922; d at Montréal 26 Jan 1993). Sauvé studied at Collège Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire in Ottawa, U d'Ottawa and U de Paris. She was national president of the Young Catholic Students Group 1942-47. She married Maurice SAUVÉ in 1948 and began a brilliant career as a free-lance journalist in print, radio and television. Her participation in discussions of political and social issues, her role in the improvement in the status of women and her commitment in a variety of domains all contributed to the development of ideas and the evolution of Canadian society.

Elected as an MP from Montréal in 1972, Sauvé was re-elected in 1974, 1979 and 1980. She was the first female French-Canadian Cabinet member, minister of state for science and technology, minister of the environment and of communications; it was largely because of initiatives taken during her tenure that Canada joined the world leaders in advanced technologies. As the first female Speaker of the House of Commons (14 Apr 1980), she won respect through a combination of proficiency and authority. In less than 3 years, she completely reformed the administration of the House.

As the first female governor general of Canada (14 May 1984), she proceeded to put in place a management system suitable to modern needs. Thanks to her prestige and leadership, she commanded respect for her attitude, opinions and pronouncements on major domestic and foreign issues of the day. As head of state, she was a rallying point for her compatriots, a dignified representative of Canada abroad and a symbol of Canadian unity.