Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments
The Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments was established on 4 November 2012 to assist the government of Canada (the Crown-in-Council) with the appointment of the Governor General of Canada, provincial lieutenant governors, and territorial commissioners. The non-partisan committee consists of its chairperson—the Canadian Secretary to the Queen (presently Kevin MacLeod)—as well as two permanent federal delegates, one Anglophone (presently Robert Watt, citizenship judge and former Chief Herald of Canada) and one Francophone (presently Jacques Monet, constitutional scholar and member of the Canadian Institute of Jesuit Studies); each serves for a time not exceeding six years. For the appointment of a lieutenant governor or commissioner, two additional members drawn from the relevant province or territory will be temporarily added as members; each is a member for no longer than six months. A representative from the Office of the Prime Minister acts as an observer only.
Various other groups and individuals will be consulted before the committee produces a shortlist of candidates; the recommendations are non-binding, as the appointment of the governor general remains the prerogative of the Canadian monarch acting on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, the appointment of the lieutenant governors the prerogative of the governor general acting on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, and the appointment of the commissioners the prerogative of the governor general acting on the advice of the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
The Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments grew out of the ad hoc committee established in 2010 for the selection of a new governor general following the tenure of Michaëlle Jean. For the task, Prime Minister Stephen Harper convened a special search group—the Governor General Consultation Committee—which consisted of Sheila-Marie Cook, secretary to the Governor General (the chairperson); Kevin MacLeod; Christopher Manfredi, dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University; Rainer Knopff, a political scientist at the University of Calgary; Jacques Monet; and Christopher McCreery, historian and private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. The group, which was described as a "tight circle of monarchists," was instructed to submit a list of non-partisan candidates, each of whom would respect the monarchical aspects of the viceregal office. They conducted extensive consultations with more than 200 people across the country, including academics, provincial premiers, current and former political party leaders, former prime ministers, and others, in order to develop a short list of five candidates, from which the prime minister would make the final selection.
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