Yes, Canada’s language commissioner does need top-notch English | Lilley

There are many reasons not to confirm Madeleine Meilleur as the next Commissioner of Official Languages but the biggest reason has to be her atrocious skills in English.

As NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has already pointed out, Meilleur is a patronage appointment, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister that donated handsomely to Justin Trudeau’s leadership campaign.

Meilleur used her Liberal connections to vie for the job, contacting Trudeau’s right hand man Gerald Butts directly to ask for the posting. She also told MPs that she took Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff out for coffee to lobby for the appointment.

All of that makes her appointment a bit too cosy for a supposedly “rigorous, open, and merit-based process” as the Liberals keep claiming it to be in the House of Commons.

But all of that matters even less than Ms. Meilleur’s inability to speak English at the highest level.

Now I know the rules of etiquette. Anglos apologize for their poor French and we can never criticize someone else’s English.

But hold on a minute.

Madeleine Meilleur isn’t just your average person applying for any job, she wants to be the top language cop in the country. The office of the commissioner conducts audits of how well federal departments and the civil servants that work for them are able to carry out their duties in both official languages. She wants to grade the ability of others to speak English and French and fails to give basic responses in proper English at a legislative committee?

Once off her written script, Meilleur had to dip into French, not once but several times when faced with basic questions in English. This is someone that has practiced law in Ontario, was a city councillor in…

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