02/06/2013 08:02 EST | Updated 04/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Harper missed opportunity with N.L. LG appointment: NDP

Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democratic leader says Prime Minister Stephen Harper should have made a bolder choice on the gender front for the province's lieutenant-governor.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said Frank Fagan, a retired Bell Aliant chief operating officer who has been active with numerous charitable organizations, is eminently qualified for the job, but she still would have liked to have seen a woman put in the vice-regal post.

"I want to congratulate him," Michael told CBC News.

"But I also think it's a missed opportunity for putting a woman in that position for the first time, so from that perspective, I'm rather disappointed," she said.

Fagan will succeed current Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie, who agreed to an extension in his appointment while the search for his replacement ran its course. Crosbie, who turned 82 last week, is expected to stay in the position until mid-March.

'Will serve extremely well'

Premier Kathy Dunderdale welcomed Fagan's appointment as the province's 13th lieutenant-governor.

“As a life-long volunteer and well-respected business leader, I am confident Mr. Fagan will serve this province extremely well," Dunderdale said in a statement.

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball also hailed the appointment.

"Mr. Fagan is certainly qualified to do the job," Ball said in an interview.

Ball disagreed with Michael's view.

"I really don't see it as a missed opportunity. We will have other opportunities to make sure that we can put women not only to be L-Gs, but to serve in many different capacities."

Ball added that he hopes that Crosbie — who broke with tradition on several occasions as lieutenant-governor to comment on current affairs — will add a new chapter to his 1997 memoir, No Holds Barred.