OTTAWA – Almost 300 Canadians were nominated to become the first senators appointed under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new process aimed at turning the Senate into a less partisan, more independent chamber of sober second thought.
Trudeau named seven new senators last month, all chosen from a short list of 25 recommended by a newly created, arm’s length advisory board.
In its first report on the fledgling process, the board says it received 284 nominations from a host of groups representing a broad cross section of Canada’s diverse population.
The nominees were 49 per cent female, 51 per cent male; 10 per cent identified themselves as indigenous, 16 per cent as visible minorities and four per cent as disabled.
The board’s first batch of recommendations were for vacancies in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.
Overall, 72 per cent of the nominees were anglophones but the vast majority of nominees for the open Quebec slots were francophone.
However, the report suggests interest in the new Senate appointment process was lowest in Quebec: just 39 nominations were to fill vacancies in that province, compared to 51 for Manitoba and 194 for Ontario.