The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, appointed the following individuals as independent senators to fill vacancies in the Senate:
- Paul Prosper, for Nova Scotia
- Judy White, for Newfoundland and Labrador
Paul Prosper is a Mi’kmaq lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in Indigenous legal issues. He has been a lifelong advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including in his roles as Chief of the Paqtnkek (Afton) Mi’kmaw Nation and Assembly of First Nations’ (AFN) Regional Chief for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
A Mi’kmaq from Flat Bay Band in Newfoundland and Labrador, Judy White is a King’s Counsel lawyer with an extensive career in human rights, Indigenous governance, and legislative matters. She most recently served as Director General within Indigenous Services Canada.
These new senators were recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments and chosen using a merit-based process open to all Canadians. Introduced in 2016, 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.
“Paul Prosper and Judy White have dedicated their careers to advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and I know they will be important voices for their communities, their regions, and all Canadians in the Senate. I am pleased to welcome them as Parliament’s newest independent senators and look forward to continue working with all senators as we build a better future for everyone.”
- The Senate is the Upper House in Canada’s parliamentary democracy. It unites a diverse group of accomplished Canadians in service of their country. Created to counterbalance representation by population in the House of Commons, the Senate not only defends regional interests, it also creates a space for the voices of historically underrepresented groups like Indigenous Peoples, racialized communities, and women.
- With today’s announcement, there have been 70 independent appointments to the Senate made on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Under the Canadian Constitution, the Governor General appoints individuals to the Senate. By convention, senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- In 2016, the selection process for senators was opened to all Canadians. Candidate submissions are reviewed by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, which provides recommendations to the Prime Minister. The Board is guided by public, transparent, non-partisan, and merit-based criteria to identify highly qualified candidates.
- Once appointed by the Governor General, new senators join their peers to examine and revise legislation, investigate national issues, and represent regional, provincial and territorial, and minority interests – important functions in a modern democracy.