Skip to main content

The future of the Canadian Senate remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Will it evolve into a chaos of independent, self-directing senators? Some observers have said that soon the independent senators appointed under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have a plurality in the Senate. But in what sense can they be considered – or consider themselves – as a party, unless all these single senators fuse, and consequently cease to be independents?

There is of course one common factor: Mr. Trudeau, who made the final choices, after an independent advisory board, itself chosen by the government. The new senators are praised as non-partisan, but they do seem to be the kind of people that the Prime Minister would like, i.e., small-l liberals. Who can blame him for preferring people he prefers?

One of Mr. Trudeau's choices is very likely to make a valuable contribution in Ottawa: Yuen Pau Woo, the former CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Woo is ethnically Chinese but was born in Malaysia. He grew up in Singapore, a country with a mostly ethnically Chinese population. Singapore has been an influence on China's development, ever since the days of Deng Xiaoping. Mr. Woo is a notably shrewd, clear-headed observer of China, neither an apologist nor an antagonist.

Another particularly interesting (or unexpected) choice for the Senate is Patricia Bovey, an art historian who has written on Canadian artists who have worked in several different media, not only painting and sculpture, but also textiles and ceramics; she specializes in Western Canadian art. One almost regrets that her future senatorial duties might delay a book of hers in progress: Impacts and Turning Points: The Western Voice in Canadian Art. She has also been involved in the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, but that hardly sounds like ordinary political patronage – even if her late husband was a Liberal MP.

Mr. Trudeau has gone through a number of phases on the Senate over quite a short period, starting with his bizarre expulsion of the Liberal senators from his own caucus, for no particular offence; they soon reconstituted themselves as the "Senate Liberals."

Let's hope this will result in the last version, at least in this Parliament, of liberal and Liberal groupings. Enough is enough.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter