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Congratulations on Appointments

Thank you, Your Honour, and welcome new colleagues.

A few months ago when I rose to speak during my own swearing in, I mentioned that I was both delighted and filled with terror at the prospect of participating in this august body. Let me say today that I continue to be delighted.

And given the breadth of accomplishments of the new senators that we are welcoming today, I expect to continue to be in awe.

Our new members' backgrounds and achievements in the public, private, and volunteer sectors give Canadians plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the modernized Senate we are building.

In addition to their many professional accomplishments, our new colleagues are volunteers and make important contributions to their communities.

Starting today, they will put their many talents towards continuing to build our Senate as representative, thoughtful and devoted to service.

Allow me to take a few minutes to review the accomplishments of our chamber's new members.

Our first new senator, Yuen Pau Woo, hails from British Columbia. As many of you know, he is an expert on Canada's relations with Asia and has been a champion for openness in trade, the movement of capital, and people.

He arrived in Canada from Malaysia at the age of 16 on an academic scholarship and has been instrumental in helping many entities — private and public — in understanding the importance of Asia to their business and to our future. As President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation between 2005 and 2014, he led a major expansion of the organization and spearheaded a campaign highlighting the growing importance of Asia in the world and for Canada. Among other roles, he has worked with leaders from First Nations and has served on a number of councils, boards and commissions. Please join me in welcoming Senator Yuen Pau Woo.

Senator Patricia Bovey is from Manitoba and is an accomplished art historian, curator and arts consultant. Senator Bovey is the former director of two major Canadian art galleries, teaches at the university level and has lectured and published extensively. She has participated in federal and provincial cultural policy reviews and has been a member of or chaired several boards and arts organizations such as the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. Her volunteer commitments include presenting workshops for Islamic youth leaders and serving on the St-Boniface Hospital's patient advisory council. Welcome to the Senate.

We also welcome two senators from New Brunswick.

René Cormier is a professional in Canada's arts and culture community and a leader within the international Francophonie. His work is rooted in his own experience and life as a francophone New Brunswicker. He has served as president of the Commission internationale du théâtre francophone, director of the Théâtre populaire d'Acadie, president of the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française, and board member of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. Senator Cormier is recognized for his ability to build bridges between cultural groups that are often quite diverse. Welcome, senator.

Joining Senator Cormier from New Brunswick is Nancy Hartling, one of her province's most dedicated advocates on issues affecting women. Her career has been one focused on families and social issues, and she has advocated locally, provincially and nationally on socio-economic issues facing single parents and their children. She founded and for 34 years led the non-profit organization Support to Single Parents Inc., and also founded St. James Court Inc., an affordable housing complex for single parents. Senator Hartling has played a prominent role in promoting social change in her home province. Welcome, senator.

Gwen Boniface's career has been one of firsts. Recognized the world over for her profound impact on the role of women in policing, Senator Boniface was the first woman inspector of the Ontario Provincial Police, the first woman to have been appointed commissioner of that same force and, for good measure, the first female President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Her expertise extends to other nations as well. For three years she served as the Deputy Chief Inspector of Ireland's Garda Síochána Inspectorate, tasked with transforming the national police service. From there she became the trans-national organized crime expert with the United Nations Police Division, where she developed a plan to fight organized crime in post- conflict nations.

Senator Boniface has also been a key figure in triggering reforms aimed at repairing relationships between police and First Nations communities. She was invested in the Order of Ontario in 2001 in recognition of her service to the province and her work with First Nations communities. Welcome to the Senate.

Kim Pate is an ardent champion for social justice and has been at the forefront of working with and on behalf of women in prison and their reintegration into society. As Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, she has also shed light on the special needs of Aboriginal women, who are over-represented in Canadian prisons, as well as those with mental health issues. As a part-time professor in the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, she has authored many articles and academic journals and acted as a mentor to women and law students. She sits on many boards and advisory groups and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2015. Senator Pate comes to us from Ontario. Please join me in welcoming her.

Honourable colleagues, on behalf of all of you, I look forward to working with all of the new senators today and those who will come in the future days.