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Lt.-Gov. shakes hands throughout the region

By Emily Wessel - Merritt Herald
Published: February 04, 2013 4:00 PM
Updated: February 04, 2013 4:28 PM

Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon (left) shook hands with people at the Gillis House last Tuesday. Merritt Mayor Susan Roline (right) accompanied her as she made her rounds through the community.           Emily Wessel/HeraldLieutenant Governor Judith Guichon (left) shook hands with people at the Gillis House last Tuesday. Merritt Mayor Susan Roline (right) accompanied her as she made her rounds through the community. ~Emily Wessel/Herald“It’s always good to come home,” Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon said at an appearance at Coquihalla Gillis House last Tuesday.

And it was a coming home in more ways than one for the Nicola Valley-area rancher.

“I was on the board for the hospital foundation when we built Gillis House, actually,” Guichon said. “I’ve had a long connection with the health care in Merritt.”

Guichon spent just under an hour at the seniors’ home where she spoke to and greeted residents, had tea and cake, and toured the facility. During her address, Guichon talked about her first three months as lieutenant governor.

“One of my goals is to travel to every part of this province and meet with people, particularly folks who work in the resource industries — agriculture and logging and mining,” she said. “I want to share that with city folks and remind them how important it is for rural communities to be healthy, strong communities.”

She also presented Gillis House residents with a book of pictures of Government House gardens.

“We’re very fortunate in British Columbia to have this heritage,” she said. “It sits on 36 acres [15 hectares] and we have 400 volunteers who help look after the gardens — I wish I had those kind of volunteers to come to ranch and help look after the gardens.”

Guichon was then introduced to each of about 30 residents in attendance and reminisced with some. Residents appeared glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Queen’s representative. Guichon said she is looking forward to the new opportunities she gets in her job.

“New things come up all the time,” she said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the Queen in February and before I go, I will be in the legislature for the reading of the speech from the throne, so there’s lots of firsts still. It’s very exciting.”

It was the ninth of 11 stops for the lieutenant governor, in the second round of a two-and-a-half day tour through Gold Country, Merritt and Kamloops. While in Merritt, Guichon also toured the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and visited the local Royal Canadian Legion. On Wednesday morning, she addressed the students at Merritt Central Elementary School at a school assembly.