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Trudeau says Julie Payette is ‘excellent’ governor general amid workplace review

Click to play video: 'Singh says Trudeau has ‘obligation’ to investigate allegations against Gov. Gen. Julie Payette' Singh says Trudeau has ‘obligation’ to investigate allegations against Gov. Gen. Julie Payette
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responded to questions on Wednesday regarding allegations that Gov. Gen. Julie Payette has created a toxic work environment for staff at Rideau Hall, saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has an 'obligation' to investigate, 'given how serious the complaints are.' – Jul 22, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has no plans to ask the Queen to fire Gov. Gen. Julie Payette over allegations she created a “toxic” workplace, and says he thinks she is doing an “excellent” job.

Trudeau was asked whether he would request that Queen Elizabeth intervene to fire Payette, who serves as the Queen’s representative in Canada, in an interview with Vancouver’s RED FM host Harjinder Thind on Wednesday morning.

“We have an excellent governor general right now and I think on top of the COVID crisis, nobody is looking at any constitutional crises,” Trudeau said in response.

“We have put in place a process to review some of the working conditions at Rideau Hall but that’s not something we’re contemplating right now going further than that.”

Read more: Privy Council Office hires firm for probe into claims of ‘toxic’ Rideau Hall workplace

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The question came on the heels of multiple accusations of workplace harassment levied against Payette by current and former staff who have raised concerns to media.

The allegations prompted the government to commission a third-party review of the professional environment at Rideau Hall, which is expected to result in a final report later this fall.

Click to play video: 'Gov. Gen. Payette ‘welcomes’ probe into harassment claims' Gov. Gen. Payette ‘welcomes’ probe into harassment claims
Gov. Gen. Payette ‘welcomes’ probe into harassment claims – Jul 24, 2020

The Privy Council Office this week formalized details of a third-party probe into the allegations of workplace harassment, which comes after CBC News reported accounts by employees at Rideau Hall that Payette had yelled at and publicly humiliated staff members.

Individuals who subsequently spoke with Global News recounted similar experiences.

Read more: Can a Governor General be forced to resign? Here’s a look at the protocol

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“Right from the beginning, I was appalled at what was going on,” one former employee said.

“At first, I was just like, ‘OK, I have to give myself time to figure this out,’ or, ‘Maybe things are really busy right now and they’re tense, I don’t know.’

“The atmosphere, the vibe, the stress, the constant barrage, it was just … it was unbearable.”

The individual asked to remain anonymous out of fears coming forward could damage their career prospects.

Commentary: Canada needs a new Governor General. Julie Payette needs to resign

Payette, a former astronaut, reportedly also quizzed staff on various aspects of the solar system.

She was appointed in 2017 to the role as the Queen’s representative and cannot easily be removed from the position, given the role is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister.

Payette has said she takes the allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviour “very seriously.”

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