In a surprise move, Prime Minister Jean Chretien has appointed a new Senator. Nova Scotia lawyer Bernie Boudreau joined the cabinet Monday as government leader in the upper house.

Boudreau replaces Senator Al Graham, also from Nova Scotia, who has been leader in the Senate since June 1997.

The new minister was sworn in at a ceremony late this morning at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the governor-general.

Boudreau is a former Liberal finance minister from Nova Scotia. He was elected to the Nova Scotia legislature in 1988 and left provincial politics in 1997.

He announced Monday that he will seek a seat in the House of Commons in a Nova Scotia riding in the next general election.