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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appoints six new senators for Ontario

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced six new senators for Ontario, including the former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission. Howard Wetston looks on before delivering a speech to the Economic Club of Canada, in Toronto in a February 23, 2011, file photo.

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Vince Hawkes uses one word to describe what his predecessor Gwen Boniface will bring to the Senate: "integrity."

It might not be the first word many critics of the upper chamber — and perhaps many Canadians — would use in describing a candidate for a Senate seat.

But it is what Boniface brought to the table in her work as Ontario's highest-ranked provincial police officer, said Hawkes, citing the attribute as sorely needed in a place that been under intense public scrutiny in recent years.

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"She's an individual with extreme integrity," Hawkes said in an interview after Boniface and five others were named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as his appointees to represent Ontario in the Senate.

"I think she will be a huge asset for some of the challenges that are faced in our country and some of the challenges that the Senate faces."

Boniface was the first woman appointed to run the OPP and the first female president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. She is also known as a promoter of aboriginal policing as well as for her role in repairing the provincial police force's once-sour relationships with First Nations communities.

Hawkes also commended Boniface for her international experience, particularly in dealing with organized crime and the multi-billion dollar illicit drug trade.

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Boniface has seen it all, "from terrorism to organized crime to cyber investigations," said Hawkes.

"She has a great understanding of all those aspects of our society that has definitely changed over the last number of years."

The six candidates named by Trudeau are in addition to the nine senators appointed last week to fill vacancies in British Columbia, Manitoba and Atlantic Canada. Together, they represent the first selections under a new advisory process the prime minister introduced earlier this year. More than 2,700 people applied through a process that saw an advisory panel recommend five people for each of 21 vacancies.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper had refused to fill the vacancies that accumulated during his last two years in office amid the Senate spending scandal.

Trudeau has yet to name a group of senators to fill a half dozen seats open to representatives from Quebec, although the Prime Minister's Office said more appointments would be announced soon.

It's not clear yet how Trudeau's appointments of new, independent senators will affect his ability to get legislation through the Senate.

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The other five senators named Monday are:

  • Professor and former Ontario cabinet secretary Tony Dean;
  • Sarabjit (Sabi) Marwah, a former vice chairman and chief operating officer at Scotiabank;
  • Lucie Moncion, who heads a network of credit unions serving Francophone communities in Ontario;
  • Human rights expert Kimberly Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies;
  • Lawyer Howard Wetston, a former head of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Here's a brief look at each:

Gwen Boniface

A police officer and lawyer, Boniface was the first woman commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police and the first female head of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. She served three years as deputy chief inspector of Ireland's national police force and worked with the police division of the United Nations developing plans to deal with organized crime in conflict states. She has also been a consultant on policing and justice issues, both internationally and domestically.

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Tony Dean

Dean was a senior civil servant in the Ontario provincial government, serving as a deputy minister before becoming secretary of the cabinet, head of the Ontario public service and clerk of the executive council. Since 2009, he has been a professor at the University of Toronto's school of public policy and governance. He has also been an adviser to the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth governments, and the independent evaluation office of the International Monetary Fund.

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Sarabjit S. Marwah

Marwah recently retired as vice-chairman and CEO of Scotiabank after a 35-year career. He holds a masters degree in economics from the University of Delhi and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has served on the boards of a number of private and non-profit organizations, including the C.D. Howe Institute and the Toronto International Film Festival. He is a founding member of the Sikh Foundation of Canada.

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Lucie Moncion

Moncion has an extensive background in the co-operative sector. She is president and CEO of the Alliance des caisses populaires de l'Ontario, a network of 12 credit unions which serves 23 francophone municipalities in northeastern Ontario. She became president and chair of the board of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada in 2016 and also serves as President of the Co-operative Board of Ontario.

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Kim Pate

Pate is a lawyer and teacher and internationally known human rights expert who is executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. She has worked extensively on behalf of women in prison, especially aboriginals. She is a part-time law professor at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, a member of the advisory board of National Women's Legal Mentoring Program and works with Human Rights International's Canadian advocacy committee and Legal Aid Ontario's Prison advisory committee.

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Howard Wetston

Wetston is a lawyer, law professor and former head of the Ontario Securities Commission, the Ontario Energy Board and the Competition Bureau. He is a former judge of Federal Court judge, served as a Crown counsel with the Department of Justice, and has been counsel for the National Energy Board and the Consumers' Association of Canada. He is a member of the Order of Canada.

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