Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable colleagues, on behalf of the independent Liberal Senate caucus, I’m very pleased to join Senators Harder, Smith and Woo in welcoming our five new colleagues to this chamber.
Every one of you is accomplished in your respective field and will bring a wealth of expertise to our deliberations.
Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson of Alberta, a Metis and a lecturer with the University of Alberta, has worked tirelessly to help vulnerable youth and Indigenous families, serving for years with the Native Counselling Services of Alberta.
Senator Paula Simons, also of Alberta, has been a journalist, producer, freelance writer and political columnist for her entire career, bringing clarity on countless issues to Canadians. Her writing has long garnered her many awards, including the 2017 National Newspaper Award for column writing.
Senator Peter Boehm of Ontario is a career diplomat who served in a variety of positions at Foreign Affairs and most recently served as the Deputy Minister for the G7 Summit. Though he retired only last month, his arrival here makes it very clear that he has a desire to continue to serve Canada and Canadians, and we welcome that.
Senator Josée Forest-Niesing also represents the province of Ontario. In addition to practising law for 20 years, she was the founding chair of the Centre canadien de français juridique. She has also sat on numerous boards of directors, including the Carrefour francophone de Sudbury and the Art Gallery of Sudbury.
Senator Brian Francis of Prince Edward Island may be new to the Senate, but he is no stranger to politics. He has ably served as Chief of the Abegweit First Nation for the past 12 years, and his public service has been rewarded with the UPEI Founders Award and one of our very own Senate of Canada sesquicentennial medals.
Senators, there is no doubt that you have joined us at an interesting time. The people in this chamber are all working toward the same goal of renewing and modernizing the Senate to reflect the expectations of our fellow Canadians while fulfilling our traditional role as a chamber of sober second thought. We look forward to your contributions as well in this regard. All Canadians will be served by both your wisdom and your expertise.
Once again, the Independent Senate Liberals welcome you to the Senate of Canada. My colleagues and I look forward to working with you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!