Peter Harder stepping down as government representative in Senate

Sen. Peter Harder is stepping down as the government’s representative in the upper chamber.

As well, Sen. Grant Mitchell will be leaving his role as government liason.

Global News first reported that Harder would be stepping down on Friday morning and the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement shortly after publication saying that both Harder and Mitchell would be leaving their roles.

The move comes amid ongoing reforms to the Senate by the Liberal government and by various groups of independent senators within the chamber.

It is not clear at this time what the reason is for Harder and Mitchell’s decisions.

Both will be staying on as senators.

“Senator Harder and Senator Mitchell led the Senate through a historic period of modernization,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the statement from his office. “They played a vital role examining legislation and advocating for a transparent and accountable Senate that works for all Canadians. I thank them for their outstanding work and service.”

Harder was appointed in 2016 by Trudeau and was the first appointee under the new selection process put in place by the Liberals, through which Canadians can submit applications to be considered for the role of senator.

As government representative, he was tasked mainly with moving government legislation through the Senate.

His role also included putting in place reforms to how the Senate actually operates with the goal of making it less partisan.

Mitchell has been a senator since 2005 but became government liaison in 2016.

In that role, he was effectively the point person for handling outreach about government business in that chamber and liaising with other senators ahead of votes.

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