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Trudeau speaks with Queen about choosing new governor general

Last Updated Jan 22, 2021 at 1:19 pm PST

Governor General Julie Payette and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau look on during a swearing in ceremony following a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has an "excellent" governor general in Julie Payette and that now is not the time to replace the former astronaut. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The prime minister is looking at ways to change how the role of governor general is filled

Justin Trudeau spoke with Queen Elizabeth II in the wake of Julie Payette's resignation

PM says the vetting process was followed for choosing governor general, and didn't explain how it would be changed

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.

RELATED: Governor General’s resignation shows poor vetting from government: expert

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.

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.”

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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.