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None of this was known to the general public at the time, but given that the Montreal Science Centre is owned by a Crown corporation, the Canada Lands Company (CLC), and considering the COC’s close association with government, it should have been easy to uncover this information if Payette was properly vetted. She obviously was not.
A former CLC board member told the CBC that they were “blown away when she got appointed,” noting that, “This is a Crown corporation owned by the government … you would have thought they’d call to check out her credentials.”
Perhaps the Prime Minister’s Office would have uncovered this information if it were looking for someone who was up to the task of running a large institution like the office of the governor general and performing all the ceremonial, yet critical, duties that come with it. But it seems rather clear that Trudeau, who made much hay about achieving gender parity in cabinet, was simply trying to check the box of appointing a celebrity female STEM advocate to one of the highest offices in the land.
In a brief statement issued after she was sworn in, Trudeau praised Payette for being “an inspiration for all of us,” and for having “already inspired so many to dream big,” while assuring the public that she would “inspire countless Canadians in her new role.” We were inspired all right, just not in the way Trudeau intended.
The problem was not that Trudeau appointed someone who he thought would be a role model, but that he went for form over substance, choosing a token candidate who looked good on paper but did not have the right sensibilities to be the Queen’s representative. It wasn’t long after Payette ascended to the role that it became clear that her particular set of talents were not well suited to the job.