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Memo to Trudeau prods Liberals to look at reviving vice-regal appointments board

Last Updated Jan 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm MST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to members of caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, January 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Senior officials advising Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have pressed him gently to rethink how the Liberals have been making vice-regal appointments.

Under the Conservatives, there had been an advisory committee to offer up names for the governor general and provincial lieutenant-governors.

The list wasn’t binding, but former prime minister Stephen Harper used this process to pick David Johnston to represent the Queen in 2010.

A memo provided to Trudeau shortly after the Liberals won re-election last fall notes the advisory committee hasn’t met since 2015.

The task of coming up with candidates for vice-regal appointments — including Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, who was named in 2017 — has been left with the Prime Minister’s Office and its bureaucratic arm, the Privy Council Office.

The memo, which The Canadian Press obtained through the Access to Information Act, suggests Trudeau consider “re-engaging” the advisory committee to “give greater structure to the identification of potential candidates.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press