Harper names Claude Carignan Senate leader to replace LeBreton
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named Claude Carignan government leader in the Senate, replacing Marjory LeBreton.
Carignan, a Quebec lawyer who has been deputy government leader since 2011, was named to the Senate by Harper in 2009 after nine years as mayor of Saint-Eustache, Que.
"I am confident that Senator Carignan has the experience, dedication and respect required to increase transparency and accountability in the Senate," Harper said in a release Friday.
In his own statement issued Friday, Carignan emphasized his support for the government's Senate reform agenda.
"Canadians expect an effective and accountable Senate and that is what I will endeavour to provide in my new role as leader of the government in the Senate," he said.
The federal government has referred questions on changes to the Senate to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is expected to consider the matter this fall.
Several provinces have stated their intention to intervene in the reference, arguing Ottawa can't act alone, especially when it comes to any idea of abolishing the upper chamber.
LeBreton announced on July 4 she was stepping down as the Conservative leader in the Senate.
LeBreton's decision came after months of being the main spokesperson for the government on the expenses scandal surrounding senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin. All three were named to the Senate by Harper.
Former Liberal Senator Mac Harb has also faced allegations of wrongdoing over his expenses. He paid back more than $230,000 in expense claims this week and announced his retirement.
LeBreton was a member of Harper's cabinet since her appointment as Senate leader in 2006, but Harper dropped that position from his cabinet in a shuffle last month. LeBreton is due to retire from the Senate in two years.