Progressive Senate Group

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Progressive Senate Group
Groupe progressiste du sénat
Leader Jane Cordy
Deputy Leader Pierre Dalphond
Liaison Wanda Thomas Bernard
Caucus Chair Brian Francis
FoundedNovember 14, 2019
Preceded by Senate Liberal Caucus
Ideology Progressivism [1]
Non-partisan [2]
Technical group
12 / 105

The Progressive Senate Group (French : Groupe progressiste du sénat) is a parliamentary group in the Senate of Canada. [2] [1] It was formed on November 14, 2019, out of the now-defunct Senate Liberal Caucus, which had been expected to lose official party status in January 2020, when Senator Joseph Day was due to leave the Senate due to mandatory retirement. [1] The caucus lost official status on November 18, 2019, when Percy Downe switched to the Canadian Senators Group, [3] but regained it in May 2020 after several senators joined the caucus. [4]



Facing extinction, on November 14, 2019, Senator Joseph Day announced during a press conference that the Senate Liberal Caucus had been officially disbanded, with its current complement of nine members forming a brand new, non-partisan parliamentary group in the Progressive Senate Group, with the hope that the new group would be able to attract additional Senators. Unlike the Independent Senators Group (ISG) and newly formed Canadian Senators Group, which impose either prohibitions or limits, respectively, on outside partisan activities, there was no mention that the new Progressive Senate Group would have similar limits; however, Day confirmed that, like the aforementioned two groups, the PSG would not have whipped votes, and the requirements of membership included supporting or holding "progressive" political values, support of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and supporting a new relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada. [1] With this dissolution, as of November 14, 2019, the Canadian Senate no longer had a Liberal Senator for the first time since Canada's confederation in 1867. [1] Senator Terry Mercer, previously the Senate Liberal Caucus chair, was confirmed as the PSG's deputy leader. [5] Senator Percy Downe was named as interim whip/facilitator of the PSG. [6]

On November 18, Downe left to join the Canadian Senators Group. As Downe's departure dropped the PSG's standings below the minimum 9 members required to be recognized as a caucus, the PSG lost its official status and became ineligible for the privileges associated with being an official parliamentary group, such as $410,000 in annual funding for staff and research as well as its right to be represented on Senate committees and procedural rights on the Senate floor. [3] Despite the loss of official recognition, interim PSG leader Joseph Day said that the group would not disband, and that it hoped to recruit additional members. [3] [7] [8]

With Senator Day's mandatory retirement forthcoming in January 2020, on December 12, 2019, Jane Cordy tweeted that her colleagues in the PSG had selected her as the new leader, ostensibly effective that same date. [9] Additionally, it was announced later that day that Terry Mercer would be moving into the whip/caucus chair role, and that Dennis Dawson would become Deputy Leader. [10] [11]

On May 8, 2020, Patricia Bovey joined the caucus. Bovey, a Trudeau appointee and former member of the ISG, was the first member of the PSG to not be a former Liberal senator. [12] A week later, on May 14, former Representative of the Government in the Senate Peter Harder joined the caucus. Harder, previously non-affiliated, explained that he was concerned about "majoritarianism" in the Senate and believed that, as part of the PSG, he could be "part of a bulwark against that." [13] On May 21, 2020, Pierre Dalphond joined the caucus, bringing their numbers to nine and thus restoring official party status to the group. [4]

On June 11, 2020, Bovey was named the PSG's liaison. [14]


Former leadership positions


Name [19] Province (Division)Mandatory retirement date
Andrew Cardozo Ontario21 March 2031
Jane Cordy Nova Scotia2 July 2025
Pierre Dalphond Quebec (De Lorimier)1 May 2029
Wanda Thomas Bernard Nova Scotia21 August 2028
Peter Harder Ontario (Ottawa)25 August 2027
Marty Klyne Saskatchewan6 March 2032
Brian Francis Prince Edward Island28 September 2032
Margaret Dawn Anderson Northwest Territories14 April 2042
Clément Gignac Quebec (Kennebec)7 May 2030
Amina Gerba Quebec (Rigaud)14 March 2036
Diane Bellemare Quebec (Alma)13 October 2024
Michèle Audette Quebec (De Salaberry)20 July 2046

Former members

NameProvinceLeft caucusReason
Percy Downe Prince Edward Island18 November 2019Joined Canadian Senators Group [3]
Joseph A. Day New Brunswick (Saint John-Kennebecasis)24 January 2020Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Serge Joyal Quebec (Kennebec)1 February 2020Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Lillian Dyck Saskatchewan24 August 2020Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Jim Munson Ontario (Ottawa / Rideau Canal)14 July 2021Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Terry Mercer Nova Scotia (Northend Halifax)6 May 2022Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Sandra Lovelace Nicholas New Brunswick31 January 2023Retired from the Senate [20]
Dennis Dawson Quebec (Lauzon)9 February 2023Retired from the Senate
Patricia Bovey Manitoba15 May 2023Mandatory retirement from the Senate

See also


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