The official languages commissioner is an officer of Parliament whose job it is to ensure both official languages have equal status in federal institutions, legislation and in Parliament itself.Â
The reported appointment comes after the previous nominee,Â MadeleineÂ Meilleur, withdrew her candidacy after it emerged that the former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister had donated to the federal Liberal Party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he was campaigning to head up the party.Â
Before being officially appointed, a nominee must appear before a House of Commons committee, a process that could take a few weeks.
When the Trudeau government first chose Meilleur as commissioner, Francophone groups and opposition parties sharply criticized her nomination, arguing the commissioner must be independent of any political influence.
The process for nominating Meilleur was also criticized. The NDPÂ argued the Liberals violated the Official Languages â€‹â€‹Act by not consulting opposition parties before making the nomination. Meilleur eventually withdrew her name from contention.
On Thursday Trudeau told reporters in Prince Edward Island that his party made a commitment to find the right person and is consulting with the opposition parties, but has no announcement to make yet.Â
New Democrat Nathan Cullen said his party has received letters from the prime minister’s office informing them of two proposed appointments â€”Â one for the official languages commissioner’s job, and the second for the next federal lobbying commissioner.
However, Cullen said Trudeau’s office is once again informing the opposition parties rather than consulting with them as required.
“This is the exact same thing that they did when they appointed a language commissioner â€” or tried to â€” months ago and the whole thing blew up in their face.”
“I’m surprised, actually, because I thought they would have learned that respecting the law and respecting Parliament was important to Mr. Trudeau. That is apparently not so much the case.”
However, the government is running out of time to fill the two positions. Interim Official Languages Commissioner Ghislaine Saikaley’s mandate is scheduled to end on Dec. 16 while outgoing Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd’s mandate, which has been renewed in the past, ends on Dec. 29.
Once the government officially announces the candidates, they will have to testify before a parliamentary committee and be approved by a vote in Parliament. However, Parliament already has a busy agenda and it is only scheduled to sit for three more weeks before it rises for its six-week Christmas break.
This story was published on CBC News. For the rest of the story please read the story right here http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/raymond-theberge-languages-watchdog-1.4417129?cmp=rss.