OTTAWA -- The federal heritage minister says Madeleine Meilleur has withdrawn her candidacy for the position of official languages commissioner.

Melanie Joly's announcement today comes after steadfast Opposition criticism of Meilleur's possible appointment because of her ties to the federal Liberals.

Meilleur was a Liberal member of the Ontario legislature between 2003 and 2016.

The federal Liberals insisted Meilleur's selection was based on merit, experience and a track record of defending francophone rights.

But she was heavily criticized after telling the Commons official languages committee in May she had contact before the nomination process with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's two closest advisers to express her interest in the job.

Conservatives and New Democrats accused Trudeau of picking her for the job without consulting them.

Graham Fraser was the previous official languages commissioner.