Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement has resigned after being named to the Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“This is an incredible honour, which feels both thrilling and wistful,” states Clement. “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.”
She has served as mayor since 2018. She was the first woman to be elected as Mayor of Cornwall in its 237-year history and the first Black woman to serve as a mayor in Ontario. Prior to this, she served three terms as city councillor. Her mother, who passed away in 2021, grew up in Manitoba as a francophone and her father, who is a few months shy of 100 years young, grew up in Trinidad. Born in Montreal, she later attended the University of Ottawa. In 1991, after being called to the Bar of Ontario, Clement 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.
Bernadette 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.