OTTAWA – The prime minister has spoken with Queen Elizabeth II following former Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s resignation over allegations of bullying staff at Rideau Hall, while he considers changes to how potential governors general are vetted.
In the wake of the unprecedented resignation, Justin Trudeau says he has briefed the Queen and explained that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will take over the role of governor general in the interim.
However, questions are being raised regarding Trudeau’s judgement. He wouldn’t say if the federal government was aware that Payette had faced similar allegations of workplace harassment in her previous two jobs.
The prime minister explained Payette went through the same rigorous checks every governor general goes through.
“The vetting process that was in place was followed, but obviously we’re going to look at ways we can strengthen and improve high-level appointments,” he said.
On the Governor General vetting. The Prime Minister says there is always a rigorous vetting process for high level appointments like the GG, but government will look at ways to strengthen that vetting process. #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) January 22, 2021
Trudeau didn’t say how he wants to change the process.
The prime minister didn’t apologize to the workers at Rideau Hall either, but rather thanked them for their work in a difficult situation.
Trudeau says he is open to changes to the annuities for governors generals, which is basically a hefty pension that Payette would be entitled to.
“Obviously we’re always open for having a discussion on changes that need to be made moving forward.”
Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh suggests Trudeau shares some of the blame for bringing Payette into the role.
“[Trudeau] was more interested in a flashy announcement of a governor general rather than doing the work of making sure it was the right selection,” he says.
Trudeau chose Payette, a former astronaut, for the role in 2017.
Payette stepped down from the role Thursday following an investigation into the workplace environment at Rideau Hall.
It isn’t clear when a permanent replacement for the role will be decided.