Question Period: Senate Appointments

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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Chateau Laurier, Ottawa

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, in the history of the Senate of Canada, only three Black Canadian men have served as senators. Two of them served very honourably. The Honourable Calvin Ruck served for two years, and many in this chamber will remember the Honourable Donald Oliver, who served for 23 years. Given that there are currently 10 vacancies in the Senate, we can safely assume that there may be some new Senate appointments during the summer months, and we know that representation matters.

Senator Gold, when can we expect to see another Black man appointed to this place?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I am not in a position to know who has applied in any of the provinces, nor how the committee’s analysis of the applications has proceeded nor who may already be on a recommended list to the Prime Minister.

What I can say — and I say it with pride, which I hope we all share — is that this government, through its appointment process, has helped create the most diverse Senate in our country’s history by any measure or metric, whether it’s a diversity of competencies, national origin or the like. I have every confidence the government will continue to treat the importance of proper representative —

Senator Bernard: Thank you, Senator Gold. I would certainly agree with you that this is probably the most diverse the Senate has ever been. However, I’m running out of answers for my grandson who continually asks me, “Nanny, can a Black man be a senator?”

Senator Gold: It’s a great question, and we want for the generations that follow us to be able to look not only at us, frankly, but at all those who have risen to positions of responsibility and prominence, and see themselves there.

In that regard, I share your hope and wish for your grandson. I hope he has an encouraging answer, but I just don’t know when that will be.

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