Chantal Petitclerc, André Pratte among those named to Senate

Chantal Petitclerc, a world-record-holding wheelchair racer from Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, Que., and André Pratte, former editor-in-chief of La Presse, were among those named to the Senate today.

2 Quebecers join total of 7 people named to Red Chamber

Chantal Petitclerc is a 14-time Paralympic gold medallist. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Chantal Petitclerc, a world-record-holding wheelchair racer from Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, Que., and André Pratte, former editor-in-chief of La Presse, are among those named to the Senate.

Petitclerc, a 14-time Paralympic gold medallist, was Canada's chef de mission at the 2014 Commonwealth Games — the first time a Paralympic athlete has held the post. 

She is also Canada's chef de mission for the Rio Paralympics in September 2016.

This morning she tweeted, "There we go: feeling humbled."

The choice was welcomed by fellow athletes and fans.

Pratte's career in journalism has spanned 37 years, 14 of which he spent as editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper La Presse.

He's also a prominent public intellectual in Quebec, known for his pro-federalist stance.

André Pratte of La Presse is known for taking a pro-federalist stance. (La Presse)
"He became very well known in Quebec and the rest of Canada for his strong positions, which clearly conferred on him a role as a leader and public influencer," said a release from the Prime Minister's Office.

Others named to the senate include:

  • Murray Sinclair,  jurist who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Peter Harder, a former bureaucrat who led Justin Trudeau's transition team.
  • Raymonde Gagné, former president of Manitoba's Université de Saint-Boniface.
  • Frances Lankin, a former Ontario NDP cabinet minister and a national security expert.
  • Ratna Omidvar, executive director at Ryerson University's Global Diversity Exchange.

Trudeau aims to 'restore public trust'

According to the Senate's website, Ontario had eight vacancies before today's appointments, Quebec had six and Manitoba had four. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both had two vacancies, while British Columbia and Prince Edward Island had one each.

A news release from the Prime Minister's Office described the senators as "independent."

"The government is today taking further concrete steps to follow through on its commitment to reform the Senate, restore public trust, and bring an end to partisanship in the appointments process," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

He added that today's appointments will "help advance the important objective to transform the Senate into a less partisan and more independent institution that can perform its fundamental roles in the legislative process more effectively."