Madam Speaker, the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge indicated that when he posed the question, he asked whether the next ethics commissioner would be just another Liberal, because it is a Liberal who has been named as the official languages commissioner. Quite frankly, that was a drive-by smear of a distinguished Canadian in the context of attempting to insult the process that is in place for appointments to this place by Parliament. That drive-by smear was not remarked on nor responded to in question period when he asked it and it will not be today.
In February 2016, the Prime Minister announced the introduction of a new approach to Governor in Council appointments, one that is more open, representative of Canadian diversity, and merit-based. The government is proud of this new approach, which makes the process more rigorous.
That speaks to the process that was in place for the Commissioner of Official Languages and that is in place for all Governor in Council appointments, including the Ethics Commissioner.
This question also allows me the opportunity to defend an outstanding Canadian in Madame Meilleur, the new official languages commissioner. She was appointed following a rigorous and merit-based process. Madame Meilleur clearly emerged as the strongest candidate for this position after this process. This is a process that is a marked departure from the appointments process under the previous government, which brought us Mike Duffy and put Vic Toews on the bench. Remember “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers”? Yes, I mean that Vic Toews.
This rigorous process for Madame Meilleur also included consultation with the critics and the leaders of both opposition parties. As the Minister of Canadian Heritage stated in the House today, at no point have her qualifications come into question throughout the process. For those qualifications to be insulted in the preamble leading up to the eventual question with respect to the appointments of the Ethics Commissioner, is unbecoming of this place.
During her 13 years as minister responsible for francophone affairs, Madame Meilleur worked to create the position of french language services commissioner and ensure that the position be independent of the legislature. She was the driving force that ensured that Ontario's French-language television station, TFO, was able to operate independently from TVO, its English-language counterpart. In addition, she has fought for increased francophone immigration in Ontario and for a bilingualism policy for the City of Ottawa during her time as a city councillor there.
The government is highly confident that Ms. Meilleur will fulfill the duties of Commissioner of Official Languages with vigour and resolve. The role of the official languages commissioner is of utmost importance, as it ensures compliance with the spirit of the Official Languages Act in our society. We are equally proud of the open, transparent, and merit-based process that is now in place for all of these appointments.