OTTAWA – Less than a year into his role as a senator, David Adams Richards has removed himself from the group of Independents in the upper chamber.

Richards, who represents New Brunswick, told that he quit the Independent Senators Group in the Senate to maintain his individualism and fully realize what he thinks is the role of an independent senator.

The award-winning author was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in August 2017. He is now listed as a non-affiliated senator that will spend his days in the Senate outside of any recognized caucus.

"I have no idea if it’ll change much of anything, but I just felt that it would be good to sit as an independent, a singular independent, which is what I believed I was called to do when the prime minister phoned me," he said.

The collective of independent senators, referred to as the Independent Senators Group (ISG), was formed in 2016 to promote a “functioning independent, non-partisan Senate,” and has since ballooned to being the largest contingent in the Red Chamber.

Richards said he has nothing against the ISG, though he noted it has become a "pretty large" entity and said he’s preferred working alone his entire career.

"I just feel more comfortable on my own… I've been kind of a singular person most of my life," he said.

He also denied ever feeling pressure to vote a certain way by the ISG, but he said going it alone will make him feel "comfortable to exercise my option to vote the way I want to as an individual independent senator."

“Today is another day in the Senate and I intend to go there and listen to the arguments, and if there’s a vote, vote what I think is right. That’s what I was called to do, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

The current standings in the Senate:

  • Independent Senators Group   43
  • Conservative Party of Canada   33
  • Liberal Party of Canada   11
  • Non-affiliated   6
  • Vacancies   12