Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The prime minister has appointed seven new senators to fill vacancies in Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario.
However, Justin Trudeau did not name a replacement for retired P.E.I. senator Catherine Callbeck.
The roster includes Justice Murray Sinclair, who led the Truth and Reconciliation commission, Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc and the long-time civil servant who headed Justin Trudeau's transition team when the Liberals took power last November.
That man, Peter Harder, will also become the government's representative in the Senate.
The names were recommended by an advisory board set up by the government in January.
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.
Callbeck retired from the senate in July 2014. Mike Duffy, a second P.E.I. senator, has not been sitting in the senate. Duffy is facing charges of fraud, breach of trust, bribery, frauds on the government related to inappropriate Senate expenses.
That leaves two P.E.I. senators representing the province, Libbe Hubley and Percy Downe.
“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," said Trudeau.
“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," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Born in Manitoba, Ms. Gagné has worked in the field of education for over 35 years. Notably, she was President of Université Saint-Boniface (USB) from 2003-2014. During this time, she directed the efforts to change the institution’s status from college to university. She also spearheaded an $18 million fundraising campaign -- the largest in the institution’s history – for the construction of a new health sciences building, to expand research capacity and increase the scholarship and bursary program.
Prior to her tenure as President, she served as Director of New Programs, Director of the Community College and of the Continuing Education Division of USB, as well as Professor in Business Administration.
Prior to her arrival at USB, she worked as a high school teacher, a principal, and as a consultant in regional and industrial expansion in New Brunswick. She is a member of the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba, and a recipient of the Prix Riel.
She contributes to numerous organizations and boards within Manitoba and across the country. She served as President of the Association des universités de la francophonie canadienne from 2005-2009, was a member of the Advisory Committee on Official Languages for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada from 2007-2009, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium national de formation en santé, which she co-chaired from 2009-2014.
As President of USB, Ms. Gagné was a member of the Council of Presidents of Universities of Manitoba and was elected Chair in 2012. She was also a member of the Senate of the University of Manitoba.
Justice Murray Sinclair
Justice Sinclair has served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba, and only the second in Canada.
He has served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada that culminated in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015. He also oversaw an active multi-million dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events.
Justice Sinclair has been invited to speak throughout Canada, the United States, and internationally, including the Cambridge Lectures in England (for members of the judiciary of various Commonwealth courts).
He has served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Manitoba. He is also very active within his profession and his community, and has won numerous awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality Award (2001), and its Distinguished Service Award (2016). Justice Sinclair has received Honorary Doctorates from eight Canadian universities.
V. Peter Harder
Mr. Harder spent 29 years in the federal public service, including an impressive 16 years as Deputy Minister, which included heading the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Solicitor General, Public Security, and the Treasury Board Secretariat. As Deputy Minister, he oversaw the legislative process of countless bills and has appeared before standing committees of the House of Commons and the Senate.
From 2003-2007, he served as Personal Representative of the Prime Minister (Sherpa) to three G8 Summits. He is an expert on Canada-China relations and was elected President of the China-Canada Business Council in 2008.
He is active in his community and is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Public Service Outstanding Achievement Award and the United Way Community Builder Award.
He chaired the United Church of Canada Foundation and the Commonwealth Games Foundation. He has provided his time to several organizations and is currently involved with the National Arts Centre, the Glenn Gould Foundation, the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, and the Advisory Committee on the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter. He was also the Royal Bank visiting Chair on Women and Work at Carleton University.
Ms. Lankin spent more than 10 years as the CEO of United Way Toronto. She also served as a provincial Minister and Legislator within the Government of Ontario for 11 years (1990-2001).
Furthermore, she has contributed to a number of diverse government bodies and initiatives, including the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Federal Grants and Contributions, and is Co-Commissioner of the Commission for the Reform of Social Assistance in Ontario.
She is currently Chair of the National NewsMedia Council, Board Director for Hydro One, and Board Director and Chair of the Social Responsibility Committee for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, and has extensive previous experience as a former volunteer on several boards.
She is a Member of the Order of Canada and has received Honorary Doctorates from Queen’s University, Ryerson University, and Nipissing University.
Ms. Omidvar has a long history of service since her arrival in Canada from Iran. She is experienced in issues that surround immigration, multiculturalism, diversity, citizenship, integration, and minority rights.
Currently, she is the founding Executive Director and Adjunct Professor of the Global Diversity and Migration Exchange at the Ted Rogers School of Management, at Ryerson University. She was Executive Director and President of Maytree from 1998 to 2014. During that time, she founded the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and DiverseCity on Board, both of which have been replicated nationally and internationally to deal with the integration and inclusion of immigrants into the workforce and the community.
Ms. Omidvar is currently Chair of Lifeline Syria. She is also a Director of the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), The Environics Institute, and Samara.
She is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, and is one of the few Canadians to have received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.
She was recognized in 2010 by the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s top nation-builders of the decade, and has an Honorary Doctorate from York University. She was named to the inaugural Global Diversity List sponsored by The Economist magazine in 2015 as one of the Top 10 Diversity Champions worldwide.
Ms. Petitclerc is both an internationally famous athlete and a caring woman. At age 13, she lost the use of her legs in an accident. She managed to overcome adversity and numerous obstacles to become an undisputed leader in the sports world.
Her gold medals from the Paralympic, Olympic, and Commonwealth games, the numerous awards and recognition she has received, and her appointment as Chef de Mission for the Canadian team at the Rio Paralympic Games all bear witness to this triumph.
Her many achievements and her personal journey have shaped her into a leading speaker who is recognized nation-wide. She has been Défi sportif AlterGo’s spokesperson for 17 years, and is the Ambassador for the international organization Right to Play.
Through her unflagging message highlighting the contribution of disabled persons to our society, she is playing a definitive role in furthering the development of a more inclusive society. Through her involvement, she is motivating those with limitations to overcome and achieve their full potential.
Through her various experiences, Chantal has also gained a good knowledge of the unique characteristics of the various communities, as well as of decision-making processes at the national level. Moreover, having a functional limitation herself, she has an excellent understanding of the needs of various minorities, and desires to get involved to make their concerns heard.
Ms. Petitclerc is a Companion of the Order of Canada and Knight of the Ordre du Québec. She was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year, and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. She also has four Honorary Doctorates. In addition, Chantal offers a dynamic contribution and unique expertise from her membership on a number of committees and boards.
Mr. Pratte’s career in journalism has spanned 37 years, 14 of which he spent as editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper La Presse.
Throughout his career, he has been required to demonstrate independence and impartiality. As an editor, he expressed opinions based on facts, principles, and reasoning rather than prejudice, partisanship, or interests. He became very well known in Quebec and the rest of Canada for his strong positions, which clearly conferred on him a role as a leader and public influencer.
He holds a political science degree and has covered Canadian politics for most of his career, including three years on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Having headed the politics desks of La Presse, he has an excellent knowledge of the Canadian Constitution and the legislative process. Further, through his work, he has gained knowledge in a number of fields, including the practice of federalism in Canada and around the world, public finance, energy, the environment, health systems management, Canadian foreign policy, human rights, and the situation of Canada’s cultural and religious minorities.