Queen's right-hand lady pays visit to Penticton

Uplands Elementary student Jada Turchak presents a painting to B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon during the Queen
Uplands Elementary student Jada Turchak presents a painting to B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon during the Queen's representative's visit Friday to Penticton.
— image credit: Joe Fries/Western News

Burning questions about being B.C.’s lieutenant-governor, including how to correctly pronounce the title and how to get the gig, were answered Friday as the Queen’s representative paid a visit to a Penticton school.

Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon stopped by an assembly at Uplands Elementary, where she also explained her job description, highlighted some of her causes and encouraged volunteerism.

The kids received a crash course on government structure ahead of time to prime them for the visit.

“For awhile they thought the Queen was coming, but we clarified for them it was the Queen’s representative,” said principal Lisa Edwards.

“When we explained that it wasn’t (the Queen), that she doesn’t even come to Canada anymore, that made a little more sense to them.”

Edwards said the school was spruced up a bit before Guichon’s visit, but not too much: “We wanted her to see what an authentic school looks like, but yes, we tidied.”

Guichon, a Merritt-area rancher who served on the boards of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association and the Fraser Basin Council of B.C. prior to being appointed to her new job in Victoria in 2012, gamely faced a wide range of questions from the Penticton kids.

— On how she was chosen for the position:

“I’ve asked myself that a lot. And I said perhaps it’s because if you go to 1,001 meetings, you’re face gets known,” she said, pointing to her experience with groups like the cattlemen.

“I’ve been to Victoria a lot in the last 10 or 15 years, so I guess you sort of get known if you’re out there in the community. That would be my guess.”

— On meeting her boss:

“About a year ago I got to go to London… and I had an appointment with the Queen and it was just wonderful…. She had done her homework and knew that I had cows and asked me questions about the ranch and she is amazing.

“She’s not very big — a little gal — and she works so hard because she had appointments before and appointments after us, and she’s going to be 88…. That was a wonderful adventure.”

— On how to correctly pronounce her job title:

“I’m very impressed to hear you children pronouncing lieutenant correctly. Often people say loo-tenant-governor, but you’re right: it’s lef-tenat-governor.

"Loo-tenant is American.”

Just before the assembly drew to a close with the kids performing songs, Grade 3 student and artist Jada Turchak presented Guichon with a painting she created on behalf of the school.

“I thought she was very nice,” the eight-year-old Turchak said afterwards, adding: “I thought she would probably be a little bit shorter.”

Guichon had a series of events planned in Summerland on Friday afternoon and is scheduled to be in the Okanagan during the early part of next week.



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