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Alberta's new lieutenant-governor Salma Lakhani heralded for 'leadership'

Edmonton Journal logo Edmonton Journal 2020-06-30 Edmonton Journal
Natascha McElhone taking a selfie: Salma Lakhani, who has been named as next lieutenant-governor of Alberta. NORQUEST COLLEGE/TWITTER Salma Lakhani, who has been named as next lieutenant-governor of Alberta. NORQUEST COLLEGE/TWITTER

The choice of Alberta’s new lieutenant-governor was welcomed with enthusiasm among Edmonton city leaders.

Salma Lakhani was announced Tuesday as the 19th viceregal for Alberta, making her the first Muslim-Canadian to hold the post, and the first person from Edmonton since Lois Hole.

“Alberta will be very lucky to have your leadership, your Honour,” Mayor Don Iveson tweeted after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the appointment.

City councillors Tim Cartmell and Sarah Hamilton both offered congratulations on Twitter to their “friend, Salma Lakhani.”

Meanwhile, NDP MLA for Edmonton Whitemud, Rakhi Pancholi tweeted she was “thrilled & frankly, a little emotional,” over the appointment.

“Congratulations, Salma. Our province will shine brighter because of your appointment to this position,” her tweet read.

Lakhani replaces Lois Mitchell, who was appointed in 2015 by former Governor General David Johnston on the advice of then-prime minister Stephen Harper.

She has lived in Edmonton for more than 40 years, after her family was expelled from her native Uganda in 1972.

An Ismaili Muslim, she has long served as a community advocate focused on issues including education, health care, immigration and human rights, and “dedicated her life to helping people in need and those who face obstacles to success in our society,” according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Ms. Lakhani is devoted to supporting people in her community, from new immigrants and young people, to women and families,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a written statement. “As Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, I know she will serve the people of her province and our country well, and continue to be a source of inspiration for all Canadians.”

In recent decades, she has supported various non-profit and human rights organizations, including the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Kids Kottage, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, and Sorrentino’s Compassion House. She has also served as a board director for the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights for a decade.

Lakhani won the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her work in the community. She also assumed a mentorship role under NorQuest College’s Youth in Transition program, which helps non English-speaking students enter post-secondary studies.

She received an honours degree in clinical biochemistry at the University of Manchester.

— With files from Postmedia Network

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