CORNWALL — The mayor of Cornwall is headed to Parliament Hill.
Bernadette Clement has been selected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to serve in the Senate, where she will represent the province of Ontario. Mayor Clement has given her notice of resignation effective immediately.
“This is an incredible honour, which feels both thrilling and wistful” said Clement after the June 22 announcement of her appointment “It’s a tremendous opportunity, which I cannot wait to start. However, I am very sad to resign from my role as the mayor of Cornwall. It’s quite remarkable that you can feel such opposing emotions intensely and at the same time.”
A three-time city councillor, Clement was elected mayor in 2018, first woman to hold the position in Cornwall’s 237-year history. She was also the first black woman to become a mayor in Ontario.
Her mother, who passed away in 2021, grew up in Manitoba as a francophone and her father, who is a few months shy of his 100th birthday, grew up in Trinidad.
Born in Montreal, Clement later attended the University of Ottawa. In 1991, after being called to the Bar of Ontario, she moved to Cornwall to start her legal career as a legal aid lawyer at the Clinique juridique Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic. She continues to practice law there, focused on representing injured workers and has been an ardent advocate for those less privileged in society.
Clement will be the seventh black person appointed to the Senate of Canada since the first, Senator Anne Cools was appointed in 1984, and the fourth black woman. She’s among a trio of new faces appointed to the upper chamber yesterday by Trudeau.
“Ms. Clement, Mr. Yussuff, and Mr. Quinn are exemplary public servants and community leaders who have dedicated their careers to making a difference in the lives of others,” said the Prime Minister. “I look forward to working with them, and all Senators, as we continue to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic, take steps toward our recovery, and build back a more resilient and inclusive Canada for everyone.”
Clement ran as a Liberal in the 2011 and 2015 federal elections in the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding.
“While her resume and record of accomplishments in municipal government and in the legal community is certainly commendable, it is important to respectfully note that this appointment breaks the prime minister’s promise of appointing non-partisan Senators,” observed local MP Eric Duncan in a statement in which he also congratulates Clement.
“I look forward to welcoming Bernadette to Parliament Hill and commit to working with her and all colleagues in Ottawa for the betterment of Eastern Ontario,” Duncan said.
Local MPP Jim McDonell also offered congratulations on her ascension to the Red Chamber.