March 18, 2016 8:16 am
Updated: March 18, 2016 7:32 pm

Trudeau appointing 7 new senators

WATCH: Justin Trudeau is appointing seven new faces to the chamber of second sober thought. The new senators will sit as “independents,” but critics aren’t convinced the move will rid the senate of partisanship. Vassy Kapelos reports.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday the names of new senators the Liberal government will appoint to Senate.

The prime minister will recommend the seven new Senators fill two vacancies in Manitoba, three in Ontario and two in Quebec.

The new senators include:

  • Raymonde Gagné (Manitoba)
  • Justice Murray Sinclair (Manitoba)
  • Peter Harder (Ontario)
  • Frances Lankin (Ontario)
  • Ratna Omidvar (Ontario)
  • Chantal Petitclerc (Quebec)
  • André Pratte (Quebec)

“The Government is today taking further concrete steps to follow through on its commitment to reform the Senate, restore public trust, and bring an end to partisanship in the appointments process,” Trudeau said in a statement.

The prime minister intends to appoint Harder to be the Liberal government’s leader in the Senate.

Harder spent nearly 30 years in federal public service, including 16 years as a deputy minister.

“The Senate appointments I have announced today will help advance the important objective to transform the Senate into a less partisan and more independent institution that can perform its fundamental roles in the legislative process more effectively–including the representation of regional and minority interests–by removing the element of partisanship, and ensuring that the interests of Canadians are placed before political allegiances,” the prime minister said.

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Sinclair served in Manitoba’s justice system for more than 25 years and has served as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“I believe that the higher calling of public service is a sacred honour and it is with great humility that I accept this recommendation to be appointed,” Sinclair said in a statement. “I approach this appointment with hope for the future, and remain committed to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, something I believe in my heart is possible.”

Petitclerc is a Paralympic gold medallist and is currently the Chef de Mission for the Canadian team for the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio.

The seven appointments bring the number of vacancies in the Senate down to 17 and the government has said they will all be filled this year.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper hadn’t appointed a new senator since 2013, the year the upper chamber found itself mired in a spending scandal.

with a file from The Canadian Press

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