Current Problems

Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

Governor General shares abusive comments she received through social media

March 8, 2023

Mary Simon’s office shut down comments on her official social media accounts last month after a wave of abuse

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon released a statement saying she wants to promote more respectful dialogue in light of the abuse she’s received. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press)

WARNING: This story cites racist, sexist and abusive comments directed at the Governor General.

CBC News: Nearly a month after turning off comments on her official social media accounts, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon is sharing some of the hateful remarks that were directed at her. On Wednesday, Simon’s office posted a video on her Instagram that highlighted some of the comments. The video shows a series of racist, sexist and otherwise abusive remarks — some of which are directed at Simon’s Indigenous heritage.

Simon addressed the comments in a statement released to mark International Women’s Day. “Many detractors will say that women should just learn to have a thicker skin, to take a joke. If they can’t take it, stay out of the line of fire. Others will say online abuse is part of the role of a public figure, even though the equivalent spoken words would be condemned,” she said.

“I must respectfully disagree.”

Simon said she wanted to use the occasion to promote respectful discourse. “I am speaking about this for others who cannot, for fear of reprisal or retribution. But my hope is that others will join me. We must continue to speak about the repercussions of harmful discourse, and to push back against those who would denigrate women for their contributions,” she said.

Appointed to the role in 2021, Simon is the first Indigenous person to hold the office of Governor General. “I cannot and will not just brush off or ignore comments, or offer a platform for the spreading of stereotypes and tropes that I have spent a lifetime opposing,” Simon said in her statement.

“These words hurt Indigenous peoples and damage the progress we have made together towards reconciliation.”