Governor General honours B.C. sheriffs

Governor General David Johnston began his first official visit to B.C. Monday, carrying on an 800-year tradition by presenting a new coat of arms and flag to the B.C. Sheriff Service.

Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon greet veterans at the B.C. legislature Monday.

VICTORIA – Governor General David Johnston began his first official visit to B.C. Monday, carrying on an 800-year tradition by presenting a new coat of arms and flag to the B.C. Sheriff Service.

Johnston and his wife Sharon braved wind and rain to inspect an honour guard at the B.C. legislature, then headed inside with Premier Christy Clark to unveil the new coat of arms.

Attorney General Shirley Bond said the sheriff service was created by B.C. legislation in 1860. It now consists of 480 full-time and auxiliary staff who provide security and inmate transfer to 45 courthouses and 44 circuit courts in B.C.

Johnston, a law professor and former president of the University of Waterloo, was appointed Governor General last fall. He urged B.C. residents to look ahead to 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday, and send him their suggestions “to inspire Canada to become an even smarter, more caring nation.”

The three-day visit continued Monday with a visit to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, and a dinner hosted by B.C. Lieutenant Governor Steven Point.

Tuesday’s schedule includes a meeting with representatives of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation at Tofino and the Huu-ay-aht First Nation in Bamfield, two of the Vancouver Island communities who signed a treaty with the federal and provincial governments in 2009.

Wednesday, Sharon Johnston visits the Aboriginal Mother Care Society in Vancouver, and the Governor General addresses the Canadian Club of Vancouver.