Statement from the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada regarding complaints received on the appointment of the new Governor General
For immediate release
Gatineau, Quebec, July 19, 2021
Raymond Théberge, Commissioner of Official Languages, issued the following statement today:
“The appointment of a governor general who is not fluent in both official languages has elicited many reactions across the country since her appointment was announced on July 6th.
I understand that we are at a turning point in our country's history and that the appointment of an Indigenous governor general is an important step toward reconciliation. I have no doubt that her perspective and experience will enable her to contribute to the protection of Indigenous and minority official languages across the country, including our official language minority communities.
I have also received a significant number of complaints on this matter—over 400 to date. In my opinion, this demonstrates that linguistic duality continues to be an important value for Canadians. We have analyzed the complaints received to date and have determined that they are admissible. I will therefore be investigating the matter. My investigation will focus on the Privy Council Office in its advisory role on this appointment. We are currently contacting the individuals who filed the complaints to inform them. Given the large volume of complaints we have received, this may take several days.
Throughout my investigation, I will have to limit my comments to the specific issues raised in the complaints. However, I would like to share my views on inclusion and diversity within our institutions. Too often, I see a discourse that puts respect for diversity and inclusion on one hand, and respect for official languages on the other, as if they were mutually exclusive and could not coexist. I would like to remind decision‑makers that it is entirely possible to respect official languages while being inclusive.
Let's aim to make our country a place where we don't have to choose between respect for official languages and inclusion for all.”