Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wouldn’t say Friday if he regrets having named Julie Payette as Canada’s governor general after her extraordinary resignation from the viceregal post amid allegations of a toxic workplace at Rideau Hall.
At a press briefing outside his Ottawa residence, Trudeau told reporters in French that Payette brought “enormous positives” to the job with her emphasis on science and service, but said all Canadians deserve a “safe and healthy workplace.”
He said his government will consider making changes to the vetting process for high-level appointments in the wake of the controversy, but offered little by way of details.
Watch: Payette’s controversial tenure as governor general
Payette stepped down as the Queen’s representative in Canada Thursday, days after the government received a reportedly scathing report from an independent investigation into allegations of workplace harassment at Rideau Hall during her tenure.
The prime minister told reporters he spoke with Queen Elizabeth II by phone earlier that morning to inform her Chief Justice Richard Wagner would be fulfilling the governor general’s duties on a “temporary basis,” with a permanent replacement to be named in due time.
Despite leading a minority government that could fall at any time — a scenario that would put pressure on a governor general to decide whether to agree to an election or let Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole attempt to meet the confidence of the House of Commons — Trudeau said Canadians “need not be concerned about political or constitutional concerns.”
Trudeau ducked several opportunities to take some personal responsibility for having named Payette to the post in 2017, despite her having faced similar accusations of humiliating and bullying subordinates during stints at the Montreal Science Centre and the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Trudeau did not use a non-partisan advisory committee on viceregal appointments set up by his predecessor,