Trudeau appoints former heads of Canadian Medical Association, federal civil service, to Senate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed a renowned surgeon and former head of Canada’s public service to the Senate.

« I am pleased to welcome Flordeliz Osler and Ian Shugart as the new Independent Senators of Parliament, » Trudeau said in a statement released Monday.

« I am confident that their dedication, unique perspectives and distinguished careers will help them better serve Canadians from all walks of life. »

Osler is an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and past president of the Canadian Medical Association.

Shugart is the former Clerk of the Privy Council. The Clerk is Canada’s highest federal civil servant; the person holding the position heads the federal civil service and serves as both the cabinet secretary and deputy minister to the prime minister.

Osler was born in Winnipeg to parents who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines and India. She works with racialized medical students through the Philippine Association of Manitoba Medical Students and by helping to train surgeons in Africa.

As the first visible minority woman to lead the CMA, she took the opportunity to develop the organization’s first policy on equity and diversity.

Dr. Gigi Osler, former head of the Canadian Medical Association, has been appointed to the Senate. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The announcement was made the same day Trudeau appointed Shugart Privy Councilor.

« For more than 40 years, Ian Shugart’s guidance and leadership in serving Canadians has been invaluable, » said Trudeau.

« I am pleased to name him Canada’s newest Privy Councilor to recognize his contributions and dedication to making Canada a better place for all. »

Shugart, who led the federal public service response to the COVID-19 pandemic, also served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development and Deputy Minister of Environment.

The nomination process

Under the Constitution, the Governor General appoints people to the Senate. By convention, senators are appointed on the advice of the prime minister.

When the Liberal government was first elected in 2015, it promised to rid the Senate of partisanship by ending the decades-old Liberal and Conservative duopoly in the upper chamber.

To that end, the government has appointed an independent advisory committee of distinguished Canadians to help the Prime Minister make his Senate choices.

There is a three-member federal advisory board that oversees the process. Each of the provinces and territories has its own council which compiles lists of possible candidates to send to the federal council and the prime minister.

Trudeau appointed Osler and Shugart after they were recommended to him by the federal government’s Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.

Osler and Shugart’s appointment means Trudeau has now made 62 independent Senate appointments using the advisory board process.

These appointments reduced the number of vacancies in the 105-seat upper house from 17 to 15.


Back to top button