Labour leader who supported key Liberals, failed Liberal candidate Trudeau's newest senators

Senate patronage is back as Justin Trudeau appoints a labour leader who worked to pry unions away from the NDP, a failed Liberal candidate and a former federal bureaucrat who is a current CEO of a government-appointed port authority.

OTTAWA — In what appears to be a return to senate patronage appointments, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed a high-profile labour leader, a failed Liberal candidate and the CEO of a federal port to the upper chamber.

Hassan Yussuff, who last week stepped down from a seven years as the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, will fill a seat in Ontario. At the CLC's convention last week, Yussuff urged delegates to reject a motion to back the social democratic NDP. However, the pro-NDP motion passed easily.

Yussuff also faced internal criticism for giving his support to Bill Morneau, former Liberal finance minister, in his effort to become the secretary of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and for later lending his support to current Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland when she fell under attack from NDP MPs for allowing bailout money to be used to pay for executive bonuses and dividend payouts.

Trudeau has also appointed Bernadette Clement, the current mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, to the upper chamber. Clement was the Liberals' candidate for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry in 2011 and again in 2015.

In both elections, Clement lost to Conservative candidate Guy Lauzon, who last year announced he would not run in the next election. Clement's appointment to the senate removes her as a possible nomination candidate hoping to contest the open seat and clears the way for a new candidate to stand for the Liberals in heavily rumored early elections.

Also appointed is Jim Quinn, chief executive of the Saint John Port Authority, who will fill a seat in New Brunswick. Quinn was a former senior advisor to the Privy Council Office, the prime minister's bureaucratic arm, and the chief financial officer of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Quinn was named CEO of the Saint John Port Authority in 2010. The Authority's board is jointly appointed by the federal and New Brunswick government and includes Jack Keir, a former minster of energy under Liberal premier Shawn Graham who was later the director of issues management for Liberal Premier Brian Gallant.

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