North

New N.W.T. senator wants to be a voice for people of the territory

'I was very humbled and honoured to be selected for the Senate appointment,' says Margaret Dawn Anderson. The prime minister appointed four new senators on Wednesday.

'I was very humbled and honoured to be selected for the Senate appointment,' says Margaret Dawn Anderson

'I was very humbled and honoured to be selected for the Senate appointment,' says Margaret Dawn Anderson. (Prime Minister's Office)

The new senator for the Northwest Territories says she comes prepared for the job and she's ready to be a voice for people in the territory.

"I was very humbled and honoured to be selected for the Senate appointment," said Margaret Dawn Anderson in an interview from Ulukhaktok​ on Thursday.

The prime minister announced the appointment of Anderson and three other new senators on Wednesday, including Yukon Senator Pat Duncan.

Anderson, 51, is Inuvialuit. She's been a long-time public servant with the territorial government, working in justice, and health and social services. She has experience in social work, probation and parole, as well as restorative justice and domestic violence programming

"I believe that experience captures all these aspects, especially the social aspects, that affect the people of the Northwest Territories," she said.

"I'm hoping to be the voice for the Northwest Territories to represent the N.W.T., to speak to issues that are of importance in the Northwest Territories and in the rest of Canada, especially as it pertains to minority groups, Indigenous people, women's [issues], issues around social housing, food security."

Affecting change

Margaret Dawn Anderson was in Ulukhaktok​ at the time of the interview. She was appointed to the Senate on Wednesday. (Submitted by Margaret Dawn Anderson)

Senators examine and revise legislation, investigate national issues, and represent regional, territorial, and minority interests, according to a news release from the Prime Minister's Office.

"I have worked in many positions over the last 25 years," she said. "And I've learned that in order to affect change, change often comes through legislation and through being an active participant in enacting that legislation."

Anderson recently completed a Masters degree in Indigenous governance and worked as a policy intern with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, participating in self-government negotiations.

With these appointments, Justin Trudeau has named nearly half of the 105 sitting senators. Women now represent 47 per cent of the chamber. The number of Indigenous senators has doubled and stands at 12.

Anderson is looking forward to "speaking out" for people of the N.W.T. in the Red Chamber on Parliament Hill.

"Bringing forward their concerns, looking for solutions and working together to make the N.W.T. a stronger, healthier place for everyone."

With files from Emily Blake