Trudeau hires former labor leader and mayor to fill Senate vacancies

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced three new Senate appointments-former national union leader and current mayor of Cornwall, Ontario. And the CEO of Port St. John’s-he is cutting the 15 vacancies that have accumulated in the Red Room over the past two years.

With these new candidates, Trudeau has now appointed 55 senators in the House of Lords—an unusually high number of appointments for a prime minister.

More than half of the current senators are appointed by Trudeau. With the 2013-15 spending scandal raging, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper allowed the place to keep increasing vacancies, which gave Trudeau more opportunities to appoint senators who were friendly to him to promote an independent Senate.

Hassan Yussuff-who was chairman of the Canadian Labour Conference (CLC) until last week-will represent Ontario in the Senate.

Some in the union movement accused the Guyana-born labor leader of being too close to the ruling Liberal Party.

At last week’s conference, the CLC affirmed its long-term support for the New Democracy Party, rather than the opposition of Yussuff and others, who said they favor a more “pragmatic” approach to political alliances.

During his tenure at CLC, Canada’s largest labor organization, Yussuff was appointed by the Liberal government to serve in a number of advisory agencies, including the North American Free Trade Agreement Commission, the Canadian Coal Power Workers and Community Just Transition Working Group, and a net-zero advisory agency.

Before taking over the CLC, Yussuff worked in the now-defunct Canadian Auto Workers Union. Yussuff was the first person of color to hold an executive role at the CLC. He has received numerous leadership awards and honorary doctorates from two universities.

When asked by CBC News last week whether he would accept the Senate appointment, Yusuf did not comment. He said: “I will be open to anything that I think can contribute.” “If I think I can contribute, I will seriously consider it.”

Although Yusuf’s appointment was made shortly after he ended his service at the CLC, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated that the three candidates announced on Tuesday were all “recommended by the Independent Advisory Committee for the Appointment of the Senate”. Use “performance-based” to select an application process that is open to all Canadians.

Yusuf, who joined the Senate, is another leader who has been associated with the Liberal Party in the past. Bernadette Clement, the current Mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, will also represent Ontario.

Clement ran for the Liberal Party in the 2011 and 2015 federal elections in the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry constituency and lost. Clement’s mother is French Manitoba, and his father is from Trinidad. Clement was the first black woman to serve as the mayor of Ontario.

Clement is a professional lawyer and the executive director of the Roy McMurtry Law Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides legal advice, services and agency services to low-income people in Cornwall and surrounding areas.

In November 2020, Bernadette Clement, Mayor of Cornwall, Ontario. (Jonathan Duball/Radio Canada)

James Quinn, the current president and chief executive officer of Port St. John’s, will soon represent the House of Lords in New Brunswick.

Before entering the private sector, Quinn worked in the government for decades. According to the biography provided by the PMO, Quinn held senior positions in the Canadian Coast Guard at sea and on shore and several other federal government departments for 32 years. He served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Quinn is also an honorary lieutenant colonel in the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment (The Loyal Company) of the 5th Division of the Canadian Army.

“Ms. Clement, Mr. Yussuff, and Mr. Quinn are exemplary civil servants and community leaders who have dedicated their careers to changing the lives of others. I look forward to working with them and all the senators. We will continue to work with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Struggle, take measures for our recovery, and rebuild a more resilient and inclusive Canada for everyone,” Trudeau said in a media statement.

According to the Constitution, the Governor-General officially appoints Senators to the Upper House from a list provided by the Prime Minister.

Since the resignation of former Governor Julie Payette in January due to the scandal, the deputy royal position has been vacant for six months. Since that resignation, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner (Richard Wagner) has served as the country’s “chief executive” and is expected to be sworn in among these newly appointed people.

Like the 52 other Trudeau senators appointed before today, the three newly elected senators are expected to serve as independent senators.

The Senate now has five different parties and groups-the Liberal/Conservative duopoly that once defined the House of Representatives has been removed.

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