Prime minister announces appointment of five new senators


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the appointment of five new members of the Senate.

The Senate chamber in Ottawa pictured here on Sept. 23, 2020. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the appointment of five new members of the Senate.

Michèle Audette, Amina Gerba and Clément Gignac will represent Quebec in the Red Chamber. David Arnot will represent Saskatchewan and Karen Sorensen will represent Alberta.

The Governor General appoints senators on the advice of the prime minister. All five senators will sit as independents, according to a news release from the Prime Minister's Office.

"All new Senators were recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, and chosen using the merit-based process open to all Canadians," the release says. "This process ensures Senators are independent, reflect Canada's diversity, and are able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country."

There are 105 seats in the Senate. These five appointments lower the number of vacant seats to 10.

New faces in the Red Chamber

Audette, who is from the Innu community of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam in Quebec, was president of the Native Women's Association of Canada from 2012-15. She was also one of five commissioners on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Gignac was a Liberal member of Quebec's National Assembly from 2009-12 and served in the provincial cabinet as minister of economic development, innovation and export trade, as well as minister of natural resources and wildlife. An economist, Gignac also worked in the federal Department of Finance as a special adviser to the deputy minister during the 2008-09 recession.

Gerba, an entrepreneur born in Cameroon, has worked to establish business and economic links between Canada and Africa. She has founded a number of businesses and is a member of the Canadian Council on Africa and the African Business Roundtable. Her companies selling personal care products employ thousands of women in Africa.

Arnot is the chief commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, a position he's held since 2009. He's also worked as a senior Crown prosecutor in Saskatchewan and as a judge on the provincial court. He's worked in the federal Department of Justice in a number of roles, including special adviser to the deputy minister of justice.

Sorensen is the mayor of Banff, Alta. and has had a long career in local politics. She's been a municipal councillor and school board trustee, and has worked in the hotel industry.

"I am humbled and incredibly honoured to be appointed to the Canadian Senate. After 17 years being privileged to serve the people of Banff, I am exhilarated to have this amazing opportunity in service to Canada," Sorensen said in a news release.

She resigned from her position as mayor following the appointment, according to the release.

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