Trudeau ap­points ac­claimed New Brunswick writer to fill Se­nate va­cancy

Truro Daily News - - CANADA -

Justin Trudeau has named David Adams Richards, an ac­claimed New Brunswick novelist, es­say­ist, screen­writer and poet, to the Se­nate.

“His ded­i­ca­tion to the arts, his love of place and of coun­try will be an ex­tra­or­di­nary as­set to the in­de­pen­dent thinkers in the Se­nate,” the prime min­is­ter said Wed­nes­day dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Moncton.

Trudeau held up Richards as an ex­am­ple of the kind of “topqual­ity peo­ple” named to the Se­nate since he cre­ated last year an arm’s-length ad­vi­sory board to rec­om­mend merit-based nom­i­nees - all part of a bid to turn the up­per house into a less par­ti­san, more in­de­pen­dent cham­ber of sober sec­ond thought.

“The changes we’ve made to have a more in­de­pen­dent ap­point­ment process in the Se­nate, to strengthen Cana­di­ans’ con­fi­dence in the in­sti­tu­tion, to demon­strate that it can be a house of sober sec­ond thought that im­proves the qual­ity of work done by our par­lia­men­tary in­sti­tu­tions is some­thing that is ex­tremely im­por­tant to me,” he said.

“And nam­ing top qual­ity peo­ple who are ded­i­cated to their community and to their re­gion and to their coun­try is, I think, what Cana­di­ans most ex­pect from the Se­nate of Canada.”

Richards, 66, is one of only three writers to have won the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award for both fic­tion

and non-fic­tion works.

He won the cov­eted Giller Prize in 2000 for his novel “Mercy Among the Chil­dren” and, in 2011, the Matt Co­hen Award for his life­time con­tri­bu­tion to Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture. He has also re­ceived two Gem­ini Awards for screen­writ­ing, among other ac­co­lades.

Richards is writer-in-res­i­dence at New Brunswick’s St. Thomas Univer­sity — a post he’s held at sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges across the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to bi­o­graph­i­cal notes is­sued by the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Richards’ “writ­ings, through which he gives voices to the marginal­ized and helps to deepen the reader’s un­der­stand­ing

of the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence, have been trans­lated into 12 lan­guages and are part of the cur­ricu­lum of Cana­dian and U.S. uni­ver­si­ties.”

With Richards’ ap­point­ment, there are now eight re­main­ing va­can­cies in the 105-seat Se­nate. Trudeau is to fill those seats “in the near fu­ture.”

Richards will pre­sum­ably join the in­de­pen­dent sen­a­tors’ group, boost­ing its num­ber to 36 — equal to the num­ber of Con­ser­va­tive sen­a­tors, who re­main the last un­abashedly par­ti­san group in the Se­nate.

There are also 18 in­de­pen­dent Lib­eral sen­a­tors and seven sen­a­tors who are not af­fil­i­ated with any group.


David Adams Richards is shown in a 2003 photo.

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