Sinclair says he will continue work of reconciliation in Senate

Murray Sinclair one of seven people appointed to Senate by PM Justin Trudeau Friday

Truth and Reconciliation Chair Murray Sinclair speaks during ceremony unveiling commission's final report.

Murray Sinclair, the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says he plans use his appointment to the Senate to continue the work of repairing the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday he had appointed Sinclair, a retired judge from Manitoba, to the Senate, along with six other individuals.

Sinclair on a list of names passed on to Trudeau for possible Senate appointments by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.

Trudeau will now forward Sinclair’s name to Gov. Gen. David Johnston for the official appointment.

“I approach this appointment with hope for the future and remain committed to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, something I believe in my heart is possible,” said Sinclair, in a statement released Friday. “In the time following the release of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation commission and in the wake of the TRC’s calls to action, it is my belief that we are entering a new era of relations with Indigenous people in Canada.”

Sinclair came to embody the quest for reconciliation following his six-year stint as the head of the TRC, which delved into the darkest chapter of Canadian history: The over century-long existence of Indian residential schools.

The TRC was created as part of the multi-billion dollar settlement agreement between Indian residential school survivors, Ottawa and the churches.

The other six Senators who will be named to the Senate include include Peter Harder, who led the Liberal transition team after the last federal election, André Pratte, an editorial writer with Montreal newspaper La Presse, Ratna Omidvar, Ryerson University’s executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange, Frances Lankin, a former Ontario NDP minister, Raymondé Gagne, a former president of Manitoba’s Universite de Saint-Boniface and Chantal Petitclerc, a Paralympic wheelchair racing champion.

Harder was appointed as Government Leader in the Senate.

Sinclair, and the other five soon-to-be appointed Senators, will sit as an independent.

“I believe that the higher calling of public service is a sacred honour and it is with great humility that I accept this recommendation to be appointed,” said Sinclair, in the statement. “Having served Canada’s justice system for over 25 years and in my duties as Chair of the (TRC) I have spent my life in the service of Canadians and intend to continue to serve them in this new role.”

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