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Former Ontario cabinet minister Madeleine Meilleur has formally been nominated as the country's official languages commissioner.

Both the House of Commons and the Senate will have to approve Meilleur's nomination by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Meilleur is a longtime Ontario Liberal and francophone rights advocate who retired from politics last June after 13 years representing the riding of Ottawa-Vanier.

She is a former attorney general and former minister for francophone affairs.

Meilleur would replace Graham Fraser, whose mandate ended in December.

Opposition parties labelled Meilleur's appointment partisan when her name surfaced in reports last week.

They renewed that attack on Monday, prompting Heritage Minister Melanie Joly to defend the nomination and praise Meilleur's achievements and impartiality.

Trudeau said that Meilleur's quarter-century of advocacy work for francophones in Ontario is in part what made her an outstanding choice for the job.

"With her extensive experience and accomplished track record, I know Ms. Meilleur will be a tenacious advocate for both francophone and anglophone minority communities," Trudeau said in a statement.

The commissioner is appointed to a seven-year term and is charged with promoting the two official languages and protecting language rights.

Deputy commissioner Ghislaine Saikaley is serving in an acting role until June.

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