Keith Penner, a former Member of Parliament who represented ridings in Northern Ontario, was honoured on Monday, June 7, 2010 with the Distinguished Service Award in recognition for his years of parliamentary service, for his contribution to and respect for the institution of Parliament and for his continued interest and activity in the promotion of education, aboriginal rights and parliamentary democracy in Canada and abroad. The award was presented by the Hon. Noël Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate of Canada, and the Hon. Peter Milliken, M.P., Speaker of the House of Commons.
Keith Penner was a Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay District and Cochrane-Superior for 20 years. At the time of his election to the House of Commons, he was a high school history teacher and town councilor. He brought this passion for Canadian history and community to Parliament Hill, where he was at various times Chairman of the Regional Development Committee, Assistant Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Technology, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and Chairman of the Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. He chaired the Special Committee that tabled the Report on Indian Self-Government in Canada. This report was one of the base documents for the constitutional talks on Aboriginal Rights.
After his time in Parliament, Mr. Penner became a Member of the National Transportation Agency and was later reappointed to the Canadian Transportation Agency. He left the Agency in 2003 to establish his own commercial dispute resolution firm. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and its past chairman.
He has been very active in the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians and a frequent presenter at the Canada School of Public Service. For four years, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Beyond the Hill, which he helped evolve into the sterling magazine it is today.