Trudeau consults Queen on process for picking a new governor general

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consulted with Queen Elizabeth today about the process for selecting the next governor general of Canada, months after Julie Payette's resignation.

PM had a virtual audience with the Queen on Friday during the G7 summit in the U.K.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consulted Queen Elizabeth on the process for appointing a new governor general. (Steve Parsons/The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consulted with Queen Elizabeth today about the process for selecting the next governor general of Canada, months after Julie Payette's resignation.

Payette resigned after a report found she had presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall that dozens described as hostile or negative.

High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom Ralph Goodale told reporters at the G7 summit in the U.K. that Trudeau spoke to the Queen during a virtual audience today about the "urgency" of appointing a new governor general.

"The prime minister wanted to have a conversation with Her Majesty to bring her up to date on exactly where the process stands, and get her advice as he moves into the final stages of that decision making," Goodale said today.

Canada has been without a Queen's representative in Canada since Jan. 21. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Richard Wagner has been filling in on top of his other work.

Queen Elizabeth speaks with U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden during a reception with G7 leaders at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England, June 11, 2021, during the G7 summit. (Jack Hill/The Associated Press)

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc told MPs yesterday that Trudeau would be receiving a shortlist of candidates in the "next few days."

"I think we've arrived at an interesting list," LeBlanc told the House of Commons' procedure and House affairs committee on Thursday. "The prime minister had not made a decision yet. But I think that should be coming in the not so distant future." 

Julie Payette resigned as governor general following reports that she presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Payette and her second-in-command, Assunta Di Lorenzo, stepped down in the wake of an outside report that described episodes of "yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations" at Rideau Hall. 

The third-party review was triggered by a CBC News story quoting a dozen confidential sources who claimed Payette and Di Lorenzo mistreated staff. Payette has maintained from the beginning that she takes issues of workplace harassment very seriously and that everyone has the right to a healthy and safe work environment.

Trudeau has been accused of failing to thoroughly vet Payette for the vice-regal role before she took office in 2017. CBC News reported that checks that might have raised red flags were not conducted with Payette's two previous workplaces.

Conservative MP John Nater asked LeBlanc to assure the Commons that the prime minister would not ask to dissolve Parliament without a vote of non-confidence.

LeBlanc did not offer that assurance. He said he's hoping a new governor general will be appointed within weeks.


Ashley Burke

Senior reporter

Ashley Burke is a senior reporter with the CBC's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa who focuses on enterprise journalism for television, radio and digital platforms. She was recognized with the Charles Lynch Award and was a finalist for the Michener Award for her exclusive reporting on the toxic workplace at Rideau Hall. She has also uncovered rampant allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian military involving senior leaders. You can reach her confidentially by email: ashley.burke@cbc.ca or https://www.cbc.ca/securedrop/

With files from Murray Brewster

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