Justin Trudeau’s handpicked Governor General has resigned in disgrace.
Julie Payette stepped down, last week, amid what sources describe as a “scathing” report into allegations of bullying and “toxic” workplace behaviour at Rideau Hall.
The Governor General acts, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, as Canada’s ceremonial Head of State: appointing Prime Ministers, dissolving governments and granting Royal assent to bills in Canada’s Parliament. It is an important constitutional role and one that must be above political partisanship.
Our previous Conservative Government created a non-partisan appointment process to nominate Governors General. Justin Trudeau chose to ignore this process and handpicked Payette.
According to those who worked for her, Payette turned Rideau Hall into a “house of horrors”, “exploding” at staffers, berating them, sometimes for hours at a time.
According to one source, “there was a victim in every meeting… it’s bullying and harassment at its worst.”
Payette threw tantrums when her constitutional duties interfered with her personal schedule, and often ignored them, garnering a reputation for being lazy and “diva-ish”.
Her swearing in ceremony alone cost Canadian taxpayers $649,000.
She demanded $250,000 of unprecedented privacy upgrades to Rideau Hall but refused to move into the official residence.
She, publicly, lashed out at people of faith.
Now, she has been forced to resign.
Make no mistake, Payette’s bullying, erratic and diva-ish behavior was well known long before her appointment as Vice-Regent.
Justin Trudeau knew about her 2011 charge for assault and her brief tumultuous tenure at the Montreal Science Museum; one characterized by discord and staff resignations. He knew those she’d worked with in Canada’s Military saw her as arrogant to the point of being dangerous. He knew about her resignation from the Canadian Olympic Committee after not one but two separate investigations into her abuse of staff members.
All of this should have proved to the Prime Minister what anyone who had ever worked with her saw as obvious; Julie Payette was a bully, and temperamentally unsuited to the role of Governor General.
Sadly, Justin Trudeau “knew better”. Julie Payette checked off the symbolic boxes that mattered more to him than suitability or safety, thus his choice to ignore the many red flags in her colourful past.
This unfortunate situation is yet another example of Justin Trudeau’s utter lack of judgment. This failure just one in a long line of bad decisions by the Prime Minster based on ideology rather than qualification. As such, he has stalwartly refused to apologize or take any responsibility for the debacle he, and he alone, is responsible for creating.
As one journalist put it, last week: “it goes to the heart of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s [own] toxic mix of incompetence and arrogance—again.”
Julie Payette has brought shame on one of Canada’s most important institutions. As such, I wholeheartedly agree with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole that she should not receive the customary post-mandate expense account
Canadians deserve a Vice-Regent who possesses the humility, grace and heart of service that the job requires.
Canadians deserve better than Julie Payette and they deserve better than Justin Trudeau, too.