Official Languages Commissioner 20170515

The new proposed official languages commissioner says she wasn't expecting the storm of controversy surrounding her nomination.

Proposed official languages commissioner surprised by controversy

The new proposed official languages commissioner says she wasn’t expecting the storm of controversy surrounding her nomination.

Madeleine Meilleur says she believes she has the requisite qualifications for the job.

She spoke to reporters in Ottawa today ahead of her appearance before the Commons official languages committee.

Opposition parties are trying to block Meilleur’s nomination, with the Conservatives and New Democrats accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of picking her without consulting them.

When NDP Leader Tom Mulcair grilled her today about her proximity to the federal Liberals, Meilleur replied she cannot erase what she described as 13 years of partisan political life.

But Meilleur, who was a Liberal member of the Ontario legislature between 2003 and 2016, defended her impartiality and said she would be non-partisan.

On Wednesday, the opposition parties asked the Speaker in the Commons to review the process by which the Liberal party chose Meilleur to replace Graham Fraser.

NDP House Leader Murray Rankin said his party’s opposition to Meilleur isn’t “personal.”

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, meanwhile, has defended Meilleur’s nomination, saying she is the “most qualified” for the job.

Joly said the nomination process was “open and based on merit” and she dismissed accusations of partisanship.

Meilleur is a longtime francophone rights advocate who represented the riding of Ottawa-Vanier. Her various portfolios over the years included responsibility for francophone affairs.

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