Stéphane Perrault has been nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada’s next chief electoral officer. But New Democrats are demanding to know why the government put forward a different nominee just three weeks ago. Marc Mayrand, the previous chief electoral officer, announced in June 2016 that he intended to resign at the end of that year. Perreault, Mayrand’s deputy, has been serving as the acting chief electoral officer since Mayrand’s departure. “I am pleased to announce the nomination of Stéphane Perrault as Canada’s new Chief Electoral Officer,” Trudeau said in a statement. “His experience leading the agency for the last year and a half and administering many by-elections across the country make Mr. Perrault an excellent choice to head Elections Canada.”
According to biographical notes distributed by the Prime Minister’s Office, Perreault began his civil service career in 1997 when he became a law clerk at the Supreme Court. He subsequently worked for the Department of Justice and the Privy Council Office before beginning at Elections Canada in 2007.
Perreault’s nomination must be approved by the House of Commons and Senate. If approved, Perreault would become the seventh chief electoral officer at the federal level since 1920, when the position was created.
Opposition parties typically are informed of a nominee before the nomination is made public. But NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has written to the prime minister to ask why the government’s choice for chief electoral officer apparently changed last month.