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New contingent of Independent Senators to be Sworn in today

Canada’s Senate will officially welcome today the first of a new contingent of Independent Senators selected through an arm’s length, merit-based process that preserves their autonomy from party caucuses.   

The  six new senators being sworn in today come from several walks of life and range from a  police chief and a trade expert to a museum curator. They are the first six of a group of 21 Senators who have been selected under a new non-partisan, merit-based process. Another group of eight will be seated tomorrow.

“These   high-quality independent-thinking individuals will help transform the Senate into the Chamber of sober second thought contemplated by Canada’s founders,” said Peter Harder, the Government Representative in the Senate. “They are not only experts in their fields of endeavour, they are also volunteers and leaders in their communities.”

The current government has decided that it will no longer directly appoint Senators to sit in a government caucus and will instead rely on advice from a selection committee made up of prominent Canadians. The new standings in the Senate will now include 44 Independents, 40 Conservatives nominated by previous governments and another 21 members who had previously been members of the Liberal Party Senate caucus.

Senator Harder said the new Senators’ non-partisan status will allow them to more-independently review and amend legislation without fear or favour of a party caucus. Such a system also gives Canadians more confidence that the members of the upper chamber are not being directed by partisan interests in the Senate or from the House of Commons.

The six new Senators being sworn in today are:

Yuen Pau Woo, British Columbia; former president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, champion for open trade and promoter of Chinese art and culture in Canada.

Patricia Bovey, Manitoba; An art historian, guest curator and former director of major Canadian art galleries.

René Cormier, New Brunswick; a leader within the international Francophonie community and professional in Canada’s arts and culture community.

Nancy Hartling, New Brunswick; Founder of St. James Court Inc., an affordable housing complex for single parents and advocate for women’s issues.

Gwen Boniface, Ontario; The first woman appointed as Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Senator Boniface is a lawyer, educator and is the recipient of the United Nations Peacekeeping Medal.

Kim Pate, Ontario; A teacher and lawyer, Senator Pate is Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, holds five honourary degrees and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2015.

For more information, please contact:

Brian Laghi

Director of Communications

Office of the Government Representative in the Senate

613-995-9256 o

613-462-9011 c

Brian.Laghi@sen.parl.gc.ca