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Liberals in Senate abandon party name and create new group

The new Progressive Senate Group will remain broadly left-wing, but the group hopes that the non-partisan identity will garner a wider base of support.

The Liberal Senate caucus abolished itself on Thursday, with its membership moving to create a new caucus separate from the Liberal brand.

The Independent Liberal Senate (ILS) caucus announced it is disbanding to pave way for a new body calling themselves the “Progressive Senate Group.”

The exit of the remaining nine Liberal Senators marks the first time since confederation there will be no one in the Senate that identifies with the Liberal Party.

The interim leader of the group, Sen. Joseph Day, hopes that the new brand will attract more support from the rest of the Senate.

“Can we attract new senators or existing senators to this new group? I hope so. We’ll make sure all senators understand our vision, where we hope to go and how we can contribute and complement other groups within the Senate,” Day told CBC News.

Day also said the new caucus will have no connection at all to the Liberal Party.

“It’s not a name change. In fact, we’re creating a new group. The Liberal Party in the Senate is no longer.”

The new Progressive Senate Group will remain broadly left-wing, but the group hopes that the non-partisan identity will garner a wider base of support.

“The reason we’re going to ‘progressive’ is because it’s a broader umbrella … You heard during the election campaign talk of progressive legislation — the NDP, the Bloc and the Greens and the Liberals always talked about ‘progressive’ legislation and we wanted to reflect that changing dynamic in politics,” Day said.

Since taking power in 2015, most Liberal Senators or Trudeau government appointees to the Senate have joined the Independent Senators Group (ISG).

Despite claiming to be independent, ISG Senators have been found to support the Trudeau government more than those in the Liberal Caucus itself.

This is the second new caucus to form in recent weeks, with the Canadian Senators Group (CSG) also forming.

Consisting of former Conservative and ISG members, the CSG is devoted to protecting regional interests. The CGS has eleven Senators from eight provinces.

“Members of the CSG want to see this founding principle maintained and respected so that the will of the majority does not always trump regional interests,” the group said.

The CSG sprung up shortly after the governing Liberals failed to win a seat in most of Western Canada in the recent federal election.

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