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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia, a family doctor and community leader, as a senator for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ravalia fled apartheid-era Zimbabwe and settled in the province more than 30 years ago.

He is a family physician, as well as a senior medical officer at the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Health Centre and an associate professor of family medicine and the assistant dean of the Rural Medical Education Network at Memorial University.

He was given the Canadian Family Physician of the Year Award in 2004 and is a member of the Order of Canada.

He will sit as an independent senator.

Trudeau says he will be a great addition to the Senate.

“Dr. Ravalia’s vast knowledge and experience have earned him high respect in the medical field, and I am confident that he will be a great ambassador in the Senate — not just for Newfoundland and Labrador, but for all of Canada,” Trudeau said in a statement.

A biography accompanying Friday’s news release says that beyond his professional commitments, Ravalia is also known for reaching out to marginalized peoples and communities.