10 Questions with Senator Murray Sinclair
Senator Murray Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the first Aboriginal judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second. He served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015.
Senator Sinclair was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016. He is currently a member of the Senate Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senator’s Committee as well as Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and Rights of Parliament.
In a sentence or two, describe why career development matters.
A career is a life path. Career development helps us achieve our individual sense of self and it allows us to contribute to society’s collective sense of self. A society and a people are strengthened when its members feel fulfilled in their life’s journeys.
What do you do to relax and how does it help you?
I have learned the importance of relaxing spiritually, mentally and physically through Indigenous traditions and ceremony. I attend sweatlodges, teach youth, dance when I can to the Drum and share stories with other Elders, learning from their wisdom and hopefully contributing some of mine.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t be able to work without? Why?
I would never be able to do what I do without the support and assistance of others such as my friends, my family and especially my staff.
What is the most unusual interview question you’ve ever been asked and how did you respond?
I was asked once if there was one thing in my life that I could change, what would it be. I thought of the many thousands of things that needed changing, including the early loss of my mother and brothers, all of which affected me severely. But having thought it through, I said “Nothing!”, because if I changed one thing in my life I could not change the others and that was an impossible choice. But more importantly, if I changed the most important, life-changing one, I would probably not have become who I am … and I like who I am.
What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
I want to take better care of myself and my wife. With her consent, I put aside her needs over the years, but the time has come to stop doing that. Love is a gift and a responsibility. I dedicate myself each day to getting her to fall in love with me.
Which book are you reading right now and why did you choose it?
I love Stephen King’s books but sometimes he scares me. Right now I’m reading Sleeping Beauties but when it scares me too much I read books about health. I recently started reading Liver Rescue because I have been diagnosed with a liver problem.
What was your first-ever job and what did you learn from it?
I was a delivery boy on a milk truck and it taught me the importance of completing what you started and treating people with kindness and respect.
Who would you like to work with most and why?
I’d sure like to work with my grandchildren so they could achieve more than I ever could.
Which talent or superpower would you like to have and how would you use it?
I wish I had the power of insight to help people see their own goodness and how to use it, and how even running in sand will eventually get you where you want to go.
What do you consider your greatest achievement and why?
My children. They are my most important legacy.