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New panel named to advise Trudeau on choosing governor general to succeed Payette


OTTAWA — The Liberal government is re-establishing an advisory panel to help select the next governor general.

Six people are on the panel, which was announced Friday by Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

He'll co-chair the group with Janice Charette, a former high commissioner to the United Kingdom now filling in as clerk of the Privy Council while regular clerk Ian Shugart is treated for cancer.

The approach is much like one used by the previous Conservative government but dropped by the Liberals when it was their turn to pick a governor general. 

Their choice — former astronaut Julie Payette — resigned earlier this year after a damning report about working conditions at Rideau Hall.

The newly struck advisory group is mandated to submit a shortlist of candidates for the prime minister’s consideration. 

In addition to LeBlanc and Charette, the members are:

— Inuit leader Natan Obed

— Université de Montréal rector Daniel Jutras

— Former secretary to the governor general Judith LaRocque

— Interim Canada Post chair Suromitra Sanatani

"Members were selected for the diverse perspectives they bring to the work, as well as their expertise on issues relating to government and the Crown in Canada," LeBlanc's announcement said.

Canada needs a new governor general "on an expedited basis," LeBlanc said, so the panel will work as quickly as it can.

The Liberals are governing in a minority situation and a non-confidence vote or request from the prime minister to dissolve Parliament for an election is possible at any time. Having the office filled by a long-term occupant with the standing to deal with constitutional questions is more important than usual.

With the post of governor general vacant, Chief Justice Richard Wagner is carrying out key functions of the job as the "Administrator of the Government of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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