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Meet Canada's nine newest senators: Five women and four men, all non-partisans who applied for entry

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named nine new, non-partisan senators, bringing him within reach of his goal to transform the discredited Senate into a more reputable, independent chamber of sober second thought.

The five women and four men hail from a wide variety of backgrounds, from an art historian to a renowned human rights lawyer to a conservationist, The Canadian Press has learned.

They are the first senators to be chosen under an arm’s length process that saw more than 2,700 Canadians apply to fill the 21 vacancies in the 105-seat upper house.

Trudeau is poised to announce two more batches of appointments within days, filling the remaining 12 empty seats — six from Quebec, six from Ontario — and, for the first time, putting senators with no partisan affiliation in the driver’s seat.

When he’s done, independent senators will hold a plurality of 44 seats, outnumbering the Conservatives’ 40 and the independent Liberals’ 21.