Orangeville native, Karen Sorenson appointed to Senate of Canada

September 3, 2021   ·   1 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville native, Karen Sorenson was recently appointed to the Senate of Canada and is looking forward to settling into her new role.

The Governor General signed off on her senate appointment in late July, a few days after Sorenson received a phone call from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying it was his privilege to ask her to sit on the Canadian Senate to represent Alberta, where she currently lives.

“I responded to the Prime Minister that I would be honoured to do so and… of course, it was incredibly exciting, quite overwhelming,” she recalled.

“My whole family is very excited. It’s a new chapter for us. It’ll be quite a lifestyle change, particularly for me, but I’m 62 years old, I’ve had three careers and to have this amazing opportunity at this point in my life is… exhilarating.”

Sorenson told the Citizen she’s honoured to have been chosen as one of six senators from Alberta, having applied for the position two years ago and feeling pleasantly surprised when she got the good news.

With respect to the senate appointment, she said she’s most looking forward to having the opportunity to provide input and approve or reject important pieces of legislation. 

“The intention now with the Senate is to try and bring more and more people in who are grassroots, everyday citizens who can give their perspective on legislation that is before them that will become law in Canada,” she explained.

When looking at Sorenson’s background, she was previously Mayor of Banff, Alberta for three terms, beginning in 2010 and served on Banff Town Council from 2004 to 2010.

Her roots in Orangeville were first set by her father Keith Hunter, whose family has lived here for four generations.

She was born at the Lord Dufferin Hospital, which is now a retirement residence, located a 32 First Street.

“Orangeville was my entire youth and my young adulthood,” Sorenson noted. “I’m proud to have come from Orangeville, and I have nothing but fond memories of that being the place that I had the opportunity to be raised.”

She attended Orangeville District Secondary School and went on to study geography at the University of Guelph.

“Then in the late 70s, early 80s, as many of us did from Ontario and Eastern Canada, I came to the Canadian Rockies to work,” Sorenson explained.

She worked in the hospitality industry, primarily in hotel sales and public relations.

Sorenson was elected as a school board trustee in 2000 and four years later her career in municipal politics began.

Her work as a senator won’t fully begin until later this fall, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently called an election for Sept. 20. Sorenson said with the election ongoing, she’s been given the gift of time to achieve a few initial tasks before sitting in parliament.

Over the next few weeks, she said she’s going to spend some time reviewing other senators’ backgrounds and becoming more familiar with who her colleagues are.

Sorenson also plans on determining which committees she wants to join before parliament resumes.

“When a bill comes forward and the Senate has to review it, the bill goes to the committee that is most appropriate for that topic,” she explained. “So, I really need to spend some time in the next few weeks understanding what the committees are and making a decision as to where my interests lay… with a filter of where I’m most qualified to sit based on my experience.”

Sorenson shared that a couple of her personal interests are on climate change, indigenous relations and reconciliation.

Going forward, Sorenson said she anticipates that a trip to Ottawa in September or early October will be planned so she can meet with her colleagues.

She won’t be moving to Ottawa though, as senators live in the province they represent.

Sorenson said she’s looking forward to representing Alberta when parliament resumes and is thankful for the time she spent growing up in Orangeville.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Shelley Lockhart says:

    Congratulations and best wishes Karen.


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