Departure from the Senate

September 22, 2016

Statement by the Honourable Janis G. Johnson, Senator for Manitoba

Effective September 27, 2016, upon the 26th anniversary of my appointment to the Upper Chamber, I shall resign my seat in the Senate of Canada.

I am returning to private life where I will continue to work on issues relating to arts and culture, the environment and women’s issues in Canada and globally – matters that have informed my entire career. I also look forward to more time with my family and friends.

I am indebted to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for appointing me in 1990 as a Progressive Conservative Senator for the province of Manitoba. Working with him was the highlight of my political career and I am most grateful for the confidence he showed in me and for the courage he demonstrated in a very different era by appointing more women to the Senate. He knew I was a feminist and would fight for what I believed in, especially respecting women’s rights and the environment. He had great foresight and will go down in history as one of our finest Prime Ministers.

Over 26 years, I have worked with five succeeding Prime Ministers and each brought their own brand of politics to the Hill. It has been quite an experience to work with each of these Prime Ministers and their respective governments from my Senate perch! I commend them all for their commitment and service to our country. Further, it is my profound hope that the Trudeau Government will restore the Senate to its rightful place as an independent “Chamber of Sober Second Thought” within our democratic system.

My career has also seen me serve on over a dozen Senate Standing Committees, in various capacities as a member, Chair or Vice Chair. I am proud to have contributed to a number of substantive reports, most notably for the Committees on Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Human Rights; Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources; Aboriginal Peoples; Fisheries and Oceans; and Senate Modernization. It has been an honour to have served with many outstanding Canadians from all parts of our country and what a privilege it has been to get to know them and work together on groundbreaking studies and perform our duty of legislative oversight.

Serving as Senate Co-Chair of the Canada – United States Inter-Parliamentary Group over the past five years has afforded me the tremendous honour of working with my colleagues on both sides of the border. I am heartened to see that the new Government has placed a high priority on Canada’s most important bilateral relationship. The U.S. is our friend, neighbour and largest trading partner. We must continue to work closely together to sustain this bond on the continent we share.

As I open a new chapter in my life, I will continue my community involvement. Manitobans are renowned for their volunteerism. Indeed, it is critical if we wish for our society to flourish. Earlier this year, I was appointed as Chair of the Valuing the Icelandic Presence Committee with the Department of Icelandic Studies at the University of Manitoba. I also serve as founding Chair the Gimli Film Festival which is celebrating its 17th year and I will continue to collaborate with the Winnipeg Art Gallery on the development of the Inuit Art Centre, a groundbreaking institution that will house a world-class collection of pieces, soon to be built in Winnipeg. This also extends to my involvement with Nature Canada, where I had the pleasure of serving over the past three years as the Honourary Chair of their Women for Nature initiative.

To my friends and colleagues in the Red Chamber, I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful debate on so many issues, the support on matters of importance and for the difference we have made.

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For further questions or inquiries, please contact:

Andrew C. Miller

Parliamentary Affairs Advisor

Office of the Honourable Janis G. Johnson

Senator for Manitoba

Office: (613) 996-6071 | Cell: (613) 608-6824

Fax: (613) 992-5029