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THE SENATE — Clerk of the Senate

Appointment of Shaila Anwar

May 7, 2024


The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that a Commission under the Great Seal has been issued to Shaila Anwar, appointing her Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments.

(The said commission was then read by a Clerk at the Table.)

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Honourable senators, on behalf of myself and my colleagues in the Government Representative Office, I would like to welcome Shaila Anwar as our newest Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments.

Ms. Anwar is no stranger to the Red Chamber. For over 15 years, she held positions ranging from procedural clerk to principal clerk. She is also a highly respected parliamentary expert.

Those in this chamber who have been here much longer than I have and who sat on committees of which she was the committee clerk tell me that they always knew they were in good hands. Shaila was always well prepared and familiarized herself with the witnesses and the needs of all committee members. Those who worked with her, from committee attendants to interpreters, admired her professionalism and her genuine concern for the well-being of those working with her and for her.

Ms. Anwar’s appointment as Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments is the culmination of her increasingly senior roles since joining the Senate in 2007. Her experience in procedures and practices, her command of both official languages, her professionalism and her patience will serve us well.

As Clerk of the Senate, she will manage the Senate’s day‑to‑day operations and support all aspects of the legislative process, from the swearing-in of new senators to advising Her Honour on parliamentary procedure and the interpretation of the Rules of the Senate.

We are fortunate to welcome someone who is so well suited to this position for many reasons, not the least of which is her knowledge of and obvious genuine affection for the Red Chamber.

Welcome, Shaila. We all look forward to working with you.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)

Honourable senators, my Conservative colleagues and I would also like to formally welcome and congratulate Shaila Anwar as the seventeenth Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments.

Although this may be her first Senate sitting day in this new role, Shaila — as has already been mentioned — is no stranger to this institution, nor is she a stranger to anyone here. For starters, she joined the Senate family as a procedural clerk 17 years ago — that’s before almost all of us except maybe four senators. Her work ethic and dedication were quickly recognized, and step by step — perhaps I would be better off saying hour after hour of hard work — she has made her way up to the role she now holds.

Shaila will often say that her career training course and work ethic began while working in her family’s restaurant. It has forced her to be innovative. It has set the tone to not be worried about long hours. It has provided her the opportunity from an early age to be able to multi-task and intuitively recognize priorities. Her parents have a lot to be proud of, and I am, indeed, pleased to see they are present here today. We owe you, Shaila’s parents, a lot of gratitude for raising such a wonderful daughter.

Second, Shaila is no stranger to anyone in this chamber because she has made a tremendous effort to build strong relationships with many of us. As a matter of fact, many of us probably consider her a very close friend. Shaila is someone to whom senators, staff and the Senate Administration have been able to go for guidance and advice on how to get things done in this chamber. This, colleagues, speaks volumes of the individual who will now be at the helm of the Senate Administration.

Shaila, I am happy that your reputation, dedication and hard work over the years have truly been recognized.

Last week, some of us made a conscious decision that the outgoing Clerk should be here at least until past midnight. Today, I am promising you, Shaila, that some of us will make every effort to see that you are also here until the late hours of the night or early morning.

Shaila, on behalf of myself and the official opposition, I wish you well in your new role. You will do well.

Thank you.

Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain [ + ]

I’m privileged to congratulate Ms. Anwar on her appointment to our institution’s highest administrative position, the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments.

Ms. Anwar richly deserves this appointment. She began her career at the Senate in 2007 as a procedural clerk, and has risen in the ranks ever since. In 2016, she was promoted to Deputy Principal Clerk of the Senate Committees, and, in 2021, she was promoted to Procedural Clerk of the Senate Committees Directorate.

Throughout her career, she has demonstrated her knowledge of rules and procedure, her intimate understanding of this institution and her grasp of both its culture and its operation.

Now that she’s in charge around here, in an institution that is working hard to adapt to a contemporary context, she’ll be our only clerk. Her depth of knowledge and expertise will serve her well as she continues to advise us on procedural matters and oversee all the administrative demands of our institution.

I also want to point out that her impartiality, which is not the least of her traits, is why she deserves this position. Impartiality plays an extremely important role in securing the trust that we all need to have in our Clerk. It demands an acute awareness of the nuances of our institution. I know that she’ll strike the right balance between her impartiality toward the Senate of Canada and its senators, and her acceptable bias for the Ottawa Senators. She has not missed a single playoff game since 2020. When it comes to understanding nuance, I trust her.

All members of the Independent Senators Group, or ISG, join me in sharing the pride of her family — her father, Feroze; her mother, Masuda; and her brother, Tariq — at this more‑than‑well-earned and well-deserved nomination.

Congratulations, Shaila!

Hon. Scott Tannas [ + ]

Honourable senators, like a breath of fresh air, we finally and warmly welcome a full-term Clerk of the Senate. For many years, the Senate has had a series of interim holders of this position — until now. While these past individuals have been very capable and have done an excellent job, it is indeed a positive step for senators and the Senate Administration to have permanence with our head administrator.

We in the Canadian Senators Group, or CSG, welcome Shaila Anwar as our seventeenth Clerk. As she has had an interest in parliamentary affairs since a young age, it is not hard to believe she was destined to work in this place. Her arrival here was a hasty affair. When contacted to become a procedural clerk, she was asked to start the next week because the Senate needed someone to clerk an immediate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee meeting — a relative baptism by fire in Senate terms. Shaila was up to the task and has moved up the ladder in the Senate Administration, navigating some challenging times.

If you needed to know what was going on or you needed something, you called Shaila. The Senate is a unique work environment, and it is important that we attract great talent. It is equally — maybe more — important that we nurture and foster this talent from within.

Some may say that Shaila has reached the pinnacle of her career as our Clerk, but those who know her like I do firmly believe this is just a stepping stone to her other ambition, which is to manage the other Senators in Ottawa at some point in the future.

Congratulations, Shaila, on behalf of me and my colleagues in the CSG. Good luck.

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond [ + ]

Honourable senators, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, it is a pleasure to join the other leaders to congratulate Ms. Shaila Anwar on her appointment as the new Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments.

She’ll hold a very important office within our new structure — our administration’s most important office, in fact.

I don’t think it will take us long to adjust to the change at the table, and I am pleased that we will continue to be well served when it comes to seeking advice about the three Ps: procedure, practice and politics.

You’ll hold the highest office in our administration. Over the years, you’ve shown considerable skill along with great knowledge and availability.

I remember speaking to you about an administrative matter one Thursday evening, long after 10 p.m., when I thought that I was the last person left in the building. You were still there, near the reading room, and you said, “Senator Dalphond, such-and-such a point wasn’t discussed at the Internal Economy Committee recently.” I admit that your devotion to your work amazes me.

I can only hope that we don’t disappoint you as much as the other Senators have done. Perhaps we could look at adding a penalty box in the chamber. After all, there is a lot of skating down here, too, and often zero games.

In all seriousness, you have established yourself as an expert on all things Senate, and I am delighted that we will continue to benefit from your wisdom in this new important role.

On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, congratulations once again. We are delighted to continue working with you. Thank you.

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