STATEMENT Introduction of the Honourable Patti LaBoucane-Benson, the Honourable Paula Simons, the Honourable Peter Boehm, the Honourable Josée Forest-Niesing, and the Honourable Brian Francis

Honourable Senators, I am once again pleased to rise to offer a few words of welcome, this time to our five new colleagues who were named to this place earlier this month. They have been called upon by Her Excellency the Governor General, on the advice of Prime Minister Trudeau, to serve their fellow citizens here in the Senate of Canada. On behalf of all Conservative Senators, and indeed all Honourable Senators, I extend sincere congratulations to each of them.

The province of Alberta gains two new representatives in this place today. Senator Patti Laboucane-Benson has enjoyed a long career helping Aboriginal individuals and families through her work with the Native Counselling Services of Alberta. Senator Paula Simons is well-known to her fellow Albertans for her work as a journalist, most notably as columnist with the Edmonton Journal.

Ontario has two new Senators as well. After providing advice on matters of foreign affairs to politicians of varying party stripes over the course of many years, today Senator Peter Boehm steps into that role himself. Senator Josée Forest-Niesing is a lawyer, and is also no stranger to the Senate, having appeared previously as a witness before committees.

Finally, Senator Brian Francis has led one of the two First Nations in Prince Edward Island for the last dozen years, and today he becomes that province’s newest representative here.

It is a tremendous honour to serve here in the Senate of Canada, and one that I trust none of us takes lightly. I am certain that our new colleagues claiming their seats today will quickly learn our rules and functions, and understand the courtesy and respect which we extend to each other as Honourable Senators. After all, each one of us is here to do what we believe is right for the country we collectively cherish.

On behalf of the Official Opposition in the Senate, I wish all the best to each of our new colleagues and their respective families as they embark on this next chapter of their lives. Welcome.