Progressive Senate Group
Groupe progressiste du sénat
LeaderJane Cordy
Deputy LeaderDennis Dawson
Whip/Caucus ChairTerry Mercer
FoundedNovember 14, 2019
Preceded bySenate Liberal Caucus
Technical group
Seats in the Senate
11 / 105

The Progressive Senate Group (French: Groupe progressiste du sénat) is a parliamentary group in the Senate of Canada.[1][2] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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, she subsequently 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]

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.[11] 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."[12] 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.[13]


Former leadership positions


Name[14] Province (Division) Mandatory retirement date
Patricia Bovey Manitoba 15 May 2023
Jane Cordy Nova Scotia 2 July 2025
Pierre Dalphond Quebec (De Lorimier) 1 May 2029
Dennis Dawson Quebec (Lauzon) 28 September 2024
Wanda Thomas Bernard Nova Scotia 21 August 2028
Peter Harder Ontario (Ottawa) 25 August 2027
Terry Mercer Nova Scotia (Northend Halifax) 6 May 2022
Sandra Lovelace Nicholas New Brunswick 15 April 2023
Marty Klyne Saskatchewan 6 March 2032
Brian Francis Prince Edward Island 28 September 2032
Margaret Dawn Anderson Northwest Territories 14 April 2042

Former members

Name Province Left caucus Reason
Percy Downe Prince Edward Island 18 November 2019 Joined Canadian Senators Group[3]
Joseph A. Day New Brunswick (Saint John-Kennebecasis) 24 January 2020 Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Serge Joyal Quebec (Kennebec) 1 February 2020 Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Lillian Dyck Saskatchewan 24 August 2020 Mandatory retirement from the Senate
Jim Munson Ontario (Ottawa / Rideau Canal) 14 July 2021 Mandatory retirement from the Senate

See also



  1. ^ a b "One-time Liberal senators rename themselves as Progressive Senate Group". CTV News. The Canadian Press. November 14, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Tasker, John Paul (November 14, 2019). "There's another new faction in the Senate: the Progressive Senate Group". CBC News. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Tasker, John Paul (November 18, 2019). "Two more senators defect to upstart group, one citing Scheer's leadership". CBC News. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Tasker, John Paul. "Progressive Senate Group back from the dead as another Independent defects". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  5. ^ "One-time Liberal senators rename themselves the Progressive Senate Group". National Post. The Canadian Press. November 14, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  6. ^ "Senators List". Senate of Canada. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  7. ^ "Shuffle in Senate as Dagenais quits Tories, Downe exits new Liberal group". Times Colonist. The Canadian Press. November 18, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Mazereeuw, Peter (November 29, 2019). "Updated: Progressive Senate Group folds, but leader hopes to claw back to official status". The Hill Times. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Cordy, Jane (December 12, 2019). "Thank you to @SenDayNB for his strong leadership during a time of change in the Senate. I wish him well in retirement. I am honoured that my colleagues in the Progressive Senate Group have elected me to represent them as their leader". Twitter. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Cordy, Jane (December 12, 2019). "I am very pleased to be working with our new Deputy Leader @dennis_dawson and our Whip/Caucus Chair @SenTMM. We look forward to working collaboratively with all senators to promote progressive policies for all Canadians". Twitter. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  11. ^ Tasker, John Paul (May 8, 2020). "Independent senator defects to the Progressives as senators spar over committee seats". CBC News. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  12. ^ Tasker, John Paul (May 14, 2020). "Former government point man Peter Harder joins the Progressive Senate Group". CBC News. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "". Twitter. Retrieved June 19, 2020. External link in |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Meet the Senators". The Progressives. Progressive Senators Group. November 14, 2019. Retrieved May 21, 2020.