Trudeau names On­tario lawyer, PEI Mi’kmaq chief to Se­nate

The Expositor (Brantford) - - ONTARIO NEWS -

OT­TAWA — Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has named On­tario lawyer Josee For­est-Niesing and Mi’kmaq leader Brian Fran­cis from Prince Ed­ward Is­land as the new­est mem­bers of the Se­nate.

The two are the lat­est se­na­tors to be ap­pointed through the open nom­i­na­tion process cre­ated by Trudeau, who has now ap­pointed 45 in­de­pen­dent mem­bers to the Red Cham­ber.

For­est-Niesing is from Sud­bury, where she has spe­cial­ized as a trial lawyer deal­ing with fam­ily, civil lit­i­ga­tion and em­ploy­ment cases while also serv­ing as an ac­tive mem­ber and vol­un­teer in the lo­cal fran­co­phone com­mu­nity.

Fran­cis is the high-pro­file chief of the Abeg­weit First Na­tion on PEI’s north­ern coast and has served in a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions, in­clud­ing with the fed­eral fish­eries de­part­ment as a con­tact for lo­cal First Na­tions and as an ad­vo­cate for Indige­nous cul­ture in the prov­ince.

While Trudeau wel­comed “Par­lia­ment’s new­est in­de­pen­dent se­na­tors,” Elec­tions Canada records show For­est-Niesing pre­vi­ously do­nated thou­sands of dol­lars to the Lib­eral Party. She also con­trib­uted to Trudeau’s cam­paign for the Lib­eral lead­er­ship in 2013.

Fran­cis, mean­while, pre­vi­ously served on the gov­ern­men­tap­pointed ad­vi­sory board that is re­spon­si­ble for re­view­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from Cana­di­ans hop­ing to sit in the Se­nate and rec­om­mend­ing nom­i­nees.

“I have no doubt that their vast knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence will greatly ben­e­fit Par­lia­ment and all of Canada,” Trudeau said in a state­ment about his lat­est ap­pointees.

The In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tors Group cur­rently rep­re­sents the largest bloc in the cham­ber with 47 mem­bers; there are also 31 Con­ser­va­tives, 10 in­de­pen­dent Lib­er­als, 11 who are not af­fil­i­ated with any group and four va­can­cies.

Mi’kmaq leader Brian Fran­cis

On­tario lawyer Josee For­est-Niesing

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