Question Period: Senate Vacancies

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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East and West block of Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: My question is for the representative of the government in the Senate.

Senator Gold, a few weeks ago, my colleagues and I asked Minister LeBlanc about the many vacancies in the Senate for senators representing the Atlantic region. The minister reassured us that we will be pleasantly surprised with the coming news, and indeed we were. I welcome our new Atlantic colleagues: Senator Petten, who is here in the chamber today, representing Newfoundland and Labrador; and Senator MacAdam, representing P.E.I., who will be with us shortly.

I would like to follow up about Nova Scotia appointments, since we have the longest vacancy for these seats in the Senate since April 9, 2020. What is happening with the three vacant seats for Nova Scotia?

What is happening with the other vacant seats for the Atlantic region: two in Newfoundland, one more in P.E.I. and three in New Brunswick?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, senator. I think all of us eagerly await the arrival of new colleagues to join us.

The government continues to work to ensure that appointments to the Senate are made through an open, transparent and merit‑based process. Indeed, this government has appointed to the Senate 68 eminent Canadians of diverse and distinguished backgrounds.

I have been advised, as we all have been, that more appointments are forthcoming. However, I don’t have any more information that I can share at this juncture. We’re all crossing our fingers and looking forward to welcoming new colleagues as soon as possible.

Senator Bernard: Senator Gold, thank you for your response. Please note that I will continue to ask this question until these vacancies are filled.

Following the retirements of Senator Lovelace Nicholas and Senator Christmas, we now have only one Indigenous senator for the entire Atlantic region: Senator Francis, representing Prince Edward Island. How does the government plan to ensure more Indigenous representation for the Atlantic region in the Senate?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. I’m not able to answer that question directly, because there is a process that is in place for recommending to the Prime Minister names from which he will recommend to the Governor General appointments to the Senate. The Prime Minister has, since becoming Prime Minister, appointed a significant number of Indigenous senators to our Senate, which has enriched the work that we do together. I have every confidence that it will continue to be an important element in the decision making that is applied to the appointment of new senators.

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