Meet Canada’s newest senators 2021
Senator Bernadette Clement
Senator Bernadette Clement represents Ontario in the Upper Chamber following a distinguished, three-decade legal career in the province’s non-profit sector. She began her legal career with the non-profit corporation Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic, where she represented injured workers. Senator Clement is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable members of our society. Before being appointed, she had been serving as the Mayor of Cornwall since 2018, the first woman to do so. She was also the first Black woman to hold that position. Senator Clement is a proud Franco-Ontarian.
Senator Jim Quinn
Senator Jim Quinn hails from New Brunswick. He was appointed President and CEO of Saint John Port Authority in September 2010 after over 30 years of experience in the marine and public sectors to Port Saint John. He began his career on Coast Guard ships, then joined the Privy Council Office’s Machinery of Government Secretariat and Social Development Policy Secretariat as Senior Adviser. He also served as Chief Financial Officer at the Canadian International Development Agency and he is honorary lieutenant-colonel for the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 5th Division, Army.
Senator Hassan Yussuff
Senator Hassan Yussuff represents Ontario and is one of Canada’s most experienced labour leaders. He was the first person of colour to lead the Canadian Labour Congress. He worked as a truck mechanic with General Motors before getting involved in the labour movement. In 1988, he joined the Canadian Auto Workers union and became their first Director of Human Rights before being elected President in 2014. In 2016, Senator Yussuff was voted in for a second term as President of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, an organization uniting 48 national organizations and representing more than 55 million workers in 21 countries.
Senator David Arnot
From Saskatchewan is Senator David Arnot. Senator Arnot became the Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in 2009. Previously, he worked as the federal Treaty Commissioner for the Province of Saskatchewan, as a provincial court judge, a Crown prosecutor and as Director General of Aboriginal Justice in the Department of Justice Canada. As a judge, Senator Arnot worked closely with the Poundmaker First Nation to pioneer the use of sentencing circles and restorative justice measures. Senator Arnot’s work on the Teaching Treaties in the Classroom project was recognized by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism.
Senator Michèle Audette
Senator Michèle Audette is an Indigenous leader from Quebec. At 27, she was elected president of the Quebec Native Women association. In 2004, she was appointed Associate Deputy Minister for Quebec’s Secrétariat à la condition féminine and later served as president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. She also helped create an innovative graduate program in Indigenous public administration for the École nationale d’administration publique. Senator Audette was one of the five commissioners responsible for conducting the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Senator Clément Gignac
From 2012 until his appointment as a senator from Quebec, Senator Clément Gignac held the position of Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist at iA Financial Group. He also worked as an economist in the federal government and strategist including as Vice-President and Chief Economist for National Bank Financial from 2000 to 2008. In 2009, Senator Gignac was elected as a member of the Quebec National Assembly. He was named Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and went on to serve as Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife. He is a long-standing member of the Conference of Business Economists, a group of distinguished global economists based in Washington, D.C.
Senator Amina Gerba
Senator Amina Gerba, who represents Quebec, is an entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience. In 1995, she started her own consulting firm, Afrique Expansion Inc., in order to build bridges between Canada and Africa, and encourage business opportunities. From February 2018 until her appointment, Senator Gerba was chair of the board of directors of Entreprendre Ici, an organization established as part of Quebec’s 2017-2022 entrepreneurship action plan to support entrepreneurs from cultural communities. Senator Gerba has served on several public and private boards and is a mentor for the Réseau des entrepreneurs et professionnels africains.
Senator Karen Sorensen
Senator Karen Sorensen comes to us from Alberta, where she served three terms as the Mayor of Banff. She is an accomplished community leader with experience working with all orders of government and the private sector. She previously served as a municipal councillor for six years and as a school board trustee for four. After a successful 25-year career in the hotel industry in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, she founded Catalyst Enterprises consulting in 2000, providing customer service and sales training in the hospitality industry. She supported her community through the Alberta flood of 2013, the wildfires across the province in 2017 and the global COVID-19 pandemic.