NDP unveils process to ensure independence of commissioners

The NDP is seeking to change how Officers of Parliament are confirmed in order to better ensure that they can be independent of any political party. The announcement comes less than a week after the nomination of Madeleine Meilleur for Official Languages Commissioner was withdrawn amid criticisms of her links to the Liberal Party.

“Officers of Parliament work for Canadians, not the government. It’s time we have an appointment system that is truly independent. If the current process was working we would have never seen the fiasco surrounding Meilleur’s partisan nomination.”

The NDP’s proposal, which will be debated on Tuesday and voted on soon after, would create a committee composed of one member per party that would review the nominations before they are confirmed by the House of Commons. This process is used in other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world.

“If the Liberals don’t solve this problem, all of their upcoming appointments of independent commissioners will carry the stench of this recent scandal. Having a committee where no party has the majority to approve nominations ensures that appointments are non-partisan and truly independent.”

In the coming months, the Liberal government will be required to nominate several Officers of Parliament, including the Chief Electoral Officer, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, the Lobbying Commissioner, the Information Commissioner and the Parliamentary Budget Officer. If adopted, the NDP’s changes would come into effect immediately.