Politics

Trudeau names Caroline Maynard as nominee for information commissioner

Caroline Maynard has been nominated by the prime minister to become Canada's next information commissioner. The commissioner is responsible for ensuring federal institutions make information more readily available for the public.

Career lawyer would replace long-serving Suzanne Legault

Caroline Maynard has served as a government lawyer for 20 years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has nominated her to be Canada's next information commissioner. (Government of Canada)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Caroline Maynard as his nominee to be Canada's new information commissioner Wednesday afternoon.

Maynard, a member of the Québec bar, has been a government lawyer for over 20 years. Currently she is the interim chairperson of the military grievances external review committee.

"She has a deep appreciation of the need for an open and transparent government," Trudeau said of Maynard in a news release.

The nomination comes as the Liberals struggle to fill what has been a very large number of vacant appointments.

As reported by CBC News, the government had until recently a record number of vacancies in federally appointed positions.

As of December of last year, 594 such positions were vacant or occupied by a someone whose appointment had passed its expiry date. The federal government has announced dozens of new appointments in recent months.

If Maynard is approved as information commissioner, she will be responsible for ensuring Canada's freedom of information laws are respected.

Liberals' information law overhaul criticized

The Liberal government promised during the 2015 election campaign to overhaul access to information laws.

But the changes put forward by the Liberals fall short of the election promise, since they will not open up the Prime Minister's Office or cabinet ministers' offices to access to information.

Rather, the government is promising to proactively release more information.

The Liberals also have proposed changes that would allow federal agencies to reject an access to information request if the applicant does not specify a date or type of record being sought.

The current information commissioner, Suzanne Legault, criticized these changes, saying they could lead to rejection of worthy requests.

Maynard's appointment still has to be approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate before it's official.

Legault began her seven-year term in June 2010, but was reappointed on an interim basis for a two-month term late last year to give the government more time to find a successor.

With files from Elizabeth Thompson and the Canadian Press

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