Statement by the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada on the preliminary investigation report regarding the 2021 appointment of the Governor General
For immediate release
Gatineau, Quebec, November 26, 2021
Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge made the following statement today:
“A few months ago, following the announcement of the appointment of Mary Simon as Governor General of Canada, over 1,000 Canadians filed complaints with my office about Ms. Simon’s inability to speak French. We then launched an investigation into the process that led to this appointment.
We are currently conducting this investigation under Part VII of the Official Languages Act, which requires that federal institutions take concrete and intentional positive measures.
At this time, the investigation has established that the Privy Council Office took positive measures during the process to recommend candidates to the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister, who is not a federal institution subject to the Act, has full authority to appoint any person to the position of Governor General and is not bound by any recommendations issued by the Privy Council Office. For all of these reasons, the conclusions in my preliminary investigation report on the process that led to the 2021 appointment of the Governor General are that the complaints are unfounded. These conclusions are not final, however, as the complainants and the federal institution will be given an opportunity to provide their comments on the preliminary investigation report before I finalize my conclusions.
Institutional bilingualism depends in large part on the bilingualism of those occupying positions at the highest levels of the public service. Our leaders must lead by example and must be able to represent all Canadians in both official languages.
I would like to reiterate, however, that we are at a turning point in the history of our country and that the appointment of an Indigenous governor general is a significant step toward reconciliation.”
- The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has received over 1,300 complaints related to the appointment of Governor General Mary Simon.
- Because the investigation is ongoing, the Commissioner will not comment further on the matter and will limit his comments to the information contained in his statement.
- The preliminary investigation report has been sent to the parties (the complainants and the Privy Council Office) for comment. Once the comments have been received and analyzed, the final investigation report will be sent to the parties.
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* The Commissioner will limit his comments to the information contained in this statement and will not comment on the preliminary report itself, as the investigation is still ongoing.