Trudeau Announces Appointment of 3 New Senators

Trudeau Announces Appointment of 3 New Senators
The Senate Chamber in the Senate of Canada building is seen in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Peter Wilson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the Governor General’s appointment of three new senators, which were recommended to Trudeau by an independent advisory board that he established in 2016.

The three new appointments, made on the prime minister’s advice, are Dr. Sharon Burey, who was formerly the president of the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario (PAO), Andrew Cardozo, president of the think tank Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy (PCPP), and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Rear-Admiral Rebecca Patterson.

With their appointments, 66 senators have now been selected based on the advice of Trudeau during his time as prime minister since 2015. The three new appointees bring total Senate vacancies down to 12.

The independent advisory board that recommended the new senators has as its mandate to “provide non-binding, merit-based recommendations” to the prime minister for Senate selections. The board consists of “three permanent federal members and two members from each of the provinces or territories where a vacancy is to be filled‍,” according to the government’s website.

Trudeau opened the senator selection process to the public in 2016 along with his creation of the advisory board. All public Senate selection applications are reviewed and vetted by the board, which in turn advises the prime minister, who has the final say on appointments.

The news release announcing the appointments describes Burey as the “first woman of colour” to be president of the PAO. She is also a member of the Ontario Medical Association’s Health Policy Committee.

Cardozo was formerly a commissioner of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which regulates broadcasting across the country. Cardozo has also taught journalism at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

Patterson was one of the CAF’s top soldiers involved in managing the military’s widespread sexual assault allegations. She has been enrolled in the military since 1989 and is currently director general of the CAF’s Culture Change and Chief Professional Conduct and Culture departments.

Independent Advisory Board

Currently, the three permanent federal members on the advisory board are Huguette Labelle, Melissa Blake, and François Rolland.

Labelle, who chairs the board, is a former governor and chancellor of the University of Ottawa. She currently sits on a number of other boards, one of which is the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council (IACC), of which she is the chair.

The IACC, which describes itself as a “forum for bringing together heads of state, civil society, business leaders, and investigative journalists from around the world to end corruption,” hosts global workshops and conferences every year.

The next conference is set for early December in Washington, D.C., and will feature a number of executives from the World Bank Group and other institutes as speakers, along with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Rolland was chief justice of the Superior Court of Quebec from 2004 to 2015 and, in addition to sitting on the Senate board, is currently an ethics commissioner for the Barreau du Québec, the province’s regulating body of legal advocates.

Blake served as mayor of Wood Buffalo, Alberta, from 2004 to 2017 before being appointed to the advisory board upon her retirement.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.