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The Honourable Raymonde Gagné, Speaker of the Senate, Rules Breach of Privilege

The Honourable Raymonde Gagné, Speaker of the Senate, Rules Breach of Privilege

On behalf of the offices of ISG Facilitator Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain and ISG Deputy Facilitator Senator Bernadette Clement.

OTTAWA, DECEMBER 5, 2023 — In a ruling delivered this Tuesday, the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Honourable Raymonde Gagné, found that senators’ privileges were breached on the basis of intimidation. The Speaker has asked senators to consider a remedy and that the matter be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators, as proposed by the Honourable Raymonde Saint-Germain, Facilitator of the Independent Senators Group (ISG).

Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain brought forward a question of privilege on November 21 after she and Senator Clement experienced bullying and intimidation in the Senate Chamber on November 9 following a routine adjournment motion. In the days that followed, they and other ISG senators were harassed and threatened online.

“Senators should not have to fear for their safety or about any retribution for the simple act of moving a motion or voting. It is very possible that, if such behaviour is not stopped, a senator could soon say to themselves, ‘Perhaps I will sit out this vote, or this debate, or this meeting; I can’t keep on being yelled at and threatened.’” said Speaker Gagné in her ruling, “When people are treated in a demeaning way, it can have lasting effects in ways that may not always be anticipated by others.”

The ISG Facilitation Team welcomes this decision as it could help achieve better decorum during Senate proceedings.

“Our group is committed to its vision of a modern Senate. This credo also applies to conduct in the Senate Chamber. We greatly respect the Speaker’s considerate approach to this issue and we will continue advocating for rational and respectful exchanges,” said Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain, Facilitator of the ISG.

“We must do better, and this ruling reflects a Senate that Canadians expect and deserve,” said Senator Bernadette Clement, Deputy Facilitator of the ISG. “I regularly mentor diverse young women who are interested in politics—I took a stand against bullying with them in mind. My hope is that we are paving the way for more respect and more civility in political discourse.”

There has been an outpouring of support for Senator Saint-Germain and Senator Clement over the past few weeks. Members of the ISG, the Progressive Senate Group and the Canadian Senators Group, non-affiliated senators, members of Parliament, and members of the public, spoke out. Many Canadian press outlets also took note.

This ruling reflected the public discourse on how Canadians feel about this timely and relevant conversation: they expect legislators to treat each other with respect and dignity online and in our public institutions.


Dedicated to serving Canadians and democracy, the Independent Senators Group (ISG) provides informed and non-partisan sober second thought to legislation and contemporary issues our country is facing. Founded in 2016, the ISG has led the reform transition to a more independent and less partisan Senate, reflecting the needs and views of a diverse and modern Canada.

For more information please contact:

Amanda McLaren

Chief of Staff

Independent Senators Group (ISG


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