Harper takes blame for naming auditor general who can't speak French
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks before presenting the first Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:17AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2012 8:05AM EST
OTTAWA - Stephen Harper is taking responsibility for naming an auditor general who doesn't speak French.
The prime minister says he believes the auditor general ought to be able to speak both English and French.
Harper told the French broadcaster T-V-A that naming the otherwise qualified Michael Ferguson to the post last year was less than ideal.
He says agents of Parliament should be bilingual because they are in charge of offices that are expected to function in both official languages.
Harper adds that judges, on the other hand, need not be bilingual, except in the case of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
In the past, the government has defended its appointment of two unilingual English judges to the high court, saying that judicial competence should be the overriding factor.