Former soldier Sen. Romeo Dallaire says he’s resigning from Senate

The Canadian Press
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Sen. Romeo Dallaire, here with Sen. Percy Downe outside Veterans Affairs Canada in this Guardian file photo, is leaving the Senate

OTTAWA — Liberal Sen. Romeo Dallaire, best known in Canada as the former commander of the UN’s ill-fated peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, says he is resigning from the upper chamber next month.

Dallaire tells a news conference in Ottawa that will leave the Senate on June 17 in order to focus more attention on his growing portfolio of international humanitarian work.

He says his decision has nothing to do with the shadow of scandal that has loomed over the Senate for more than a year, or with the post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from his Rwanda experience.

Dallaire, a former lieutenant-general who retired from the Canadian Forces in 2000, was appointed to the Senate in 2005 by Paul Martin, then prime minister.

He made headlines in December when he fell asleep at the wheel of his car and crashed into a traffic barrier on Parliament Hill — an accident he attributed to the stress of the upcoming Rwandan anniversary.

Indeed, Rwanda left a permanent mark on Dallaire, who still bears the mental and emotional scars of bearing witness to the bloody genocide that erupted there in the spring of 1994.

As the world marked the tragedy’s 20th anniversary last month, Dallaire complained bitterly about lessons he says have gone unheeded — including his sense that the Conservative government wants little to do with the UN.

Dallaire has long used his role as senator to champion the needs of military veterans.

He also recently pressed the Conservatives to build a replica of the Vimy Ridge monument known as Mother Canada in Gatineau, Que., across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill.

Organizations: UN, Canadian Forces, Conservatives

Geographic location: Rwanda, OTTAWA, Vimy Ridge Gatineau Ottawa River

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  • matt kenny
    May 28, 2014 - 20:26

    I always thought the senate was a muzzle on such an important voice in world history. Truly one of the greatest Canadians. A man who can stand up to war profiteers and tell them what they are selling.

  • red
    May 28, 2014 - 16:44

    that would be the day that Percy would earn a living, - but don't begrudge, Islanders made him what he is, - don't think Dallarie is going to starve, these 'do good organization' pay extremely well, --- so as the old saying goes, some people do very well, by doing good

  • sammy
    May 28, 2014 - 14:34

    This is what will happen. The good people will move on and leave the greedy bottom feeders to try and suck the senate dry like Duff and the rest.

  • They all should go
    May 28, 2014 - 14:22

    He probably knows where he will do more good and can see that young Mr TRUDEAU is not the Liberal saviour they say he is.Take PERCY with you,see if he can geta real job....on his own merits.........not political ones.Thank you for your service and showing that PTSD can be a gamechanger in the lives of the Military and the RCMP.