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Stephen Harper's Senate class of 2009

A look back at the 27 Conservative senators who took their seats in January and September 2009

Last Updated: Nov. 5, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to power in 2006 vowing to send only elected nominees to the Senate. He mostly followed that course in his first minority government, naming only a Montreal senator to round out his cabinet and an elected senator-in-waiting from Alberta, the only province willing to hold Senate elections.

But in late 2008, faced with a second minority government, a hostile Liberal majority in the upper chamber and the prospect of parliamentary defeat by a Liberal-NDP coalition that could then stack the Senate for another generation, Harper named 18 new Senators — a new one-day record.

His move to counter the coalition by proroguing Parliament meant those 18 didn't take their seats until January. By late August, Harper had named 9 more, bringing to 27 the number of Conservative senators to take their seat in the red chamber that year.

Mouse over the images below to learn more about the Senate's Class of 2009.

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Patrick Brazeau

Patrick Brazeau

Conservative credentials: As National Vice-Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, he endorsed the Conservatives in the 2006 election. After election he became National Chief of CAP.

Achievements: Is the third-youngest person ever named to the Senate.

Memorable quote: "I was essentially offered a backroom deal."

Claude Carignan

Claude Carignan

Conservative credentials: Ran for the Conservatives in the 2008 election and lost.

Achievements: Leader of the Government in the Senate, taking over from Senator Marjory Lebreton. Was mayor of Saint-Eusache, Que. for 9 years.

Pet peeve: Having offers made "out of friendship" that are "misinterpreted" as "backroom deals."

Memorable quote: "I spoke to him out of friendship, saying 'Senator Brazeau, please suggest something, apologize, perhaps a lighter sanction - something that we can come up with to try and find the right balance'....I did that in confidence and frankly, I did so in an attempt to help him. And I regret that he perceived that as an attack."

Jacques Demers

Jacques Demers

Conservative credentials: None that are apparent, although Stephen Harper is a huge hockey fan.

Achievements: Coached the Montreal Canadiens to Stanley Cup victory in 1993. Author of book, En Toutes Lettres, in which he revealed he is functionally illiterate.

Memorable quote: "There are many Quebecers who are having difficulty making ends meet every day, to feed their children . . . without senators spending money and saying, 'We didn't know.' "

Fred Dickson

Fred Dickson (1937-2012)

Conservative credentials: Former senior advisor to Nova Scotia Premier John Buchanan.

Achievements: Negotiated two key offshore deals for Nova Scotia. Also played a central role advising the federal government on the building of the Confederation Bridge, which links New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Mike Duffy

Mike Duffy

Conservative credentials: During the 2008 election, he aired part of a CTV interview with then Liberal leader Stephane Dion that showed Dion's three false starts in answering a question. Dion had been promised the retakes would not be broadcast. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council found Duffy was "not fair, balanced, or even-handed" in that particular episode of Mike Duffy Live.

Achievements: ACTRA Award for live television reporting in 1986. Inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1994.

Pet peeve: The now defunct Frank Magazine, which regularly skewered him and which he has said is the reason he lost out on being nominated for the Order of Canada.

Memorable quote: "One cheque from Nigel Wright? No ladies and gentlemen, there were two cheques. At least two cheques."

Nicole Eaton

Nicole Eaton

Conservative credentials: Fundraiser for the Conservative Party.

Memorable quote: Called the beaver, Canada's national symbol, a "dentally defective rat."

Pet peeve: Environmental charities, whom she accused of "influence peddling" and "political manipulation."

Probably would like to forget: She once "succumbed to Trudeaumania," according to the Globe and Mail.

Doug Finley

Doug Finley (1946-2013)

Conservative credentials: Campaign Director for the Conservative Party in 2006 and 2008. Director of political operations for the Canadian Alliance Party in 2003. Husband to Conservative Cabinet Minister Diane Finley.

Pet peeve: Elections Canada. Charged along with Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein for allegedly breaking election laws during the 2006 federal election, in what became known as the "in-and-out" scheme. Charges were dropped as part of a plea deal when the Conservative Party paid a $52,000 fine.

Memorable quote: "Let's dance." (Threatening a fall election after Liberal senators stripped contentious provisions from the Harper government's omnibus budget bill in 2010.)

Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis

Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis

Conservative credentials: MP in Brian Mulroney's PC government. She worked for the Conservatives in Quebec during the 2008 election.

Memorable quote: Called Europe "the home of bullfighting, foie gras, boar hunts and Brigitte Bardot" when defending the seal hunt.

Linda Frum

Linda Frum

Conservative credentials: Conservative Party fundraiser. At university, started The McGill Magazine, a conservative answer to the university's more left-leaning McGill Daily magazine. Sister to David Frum, former speechwriter to U.S. president George W. Bush.

Achievements: Author of three books, former writer for Maclean's magazine. Recieved the Golda Meir Leadership Award from the State of Israel Bonds.

Memorable quote: "Well, you know, shoot me if I'm still here in 2038." (In 2038 she will be 75, the mandatory retirement age for Senators).

Irving Gerstein

Irving Gerstein

Conservative credentials: Longtime chair of the Conservative Fund Canada.

Achievements: Order of Canada and Order of Ontario.

Pet peeve: Elections Canada. In 2011 he and Senator Doug Finley were charged in the so-called "in-and-out" scheme. He faced potential prison time and a fine but the Conservative party agreed to pay a fine and the charges were dropped.

Would probably like to forget: That he is named in an RCMP affidavit as one of "the few" people who knew about the Wright-Duffy deal.

Stephen Greene

Stephen Greene

Conservative credentials: Two-time defeated Reform Party candidate. Former chief of staff to Preston Manning.

Big idea: Also in favour of the merger of the three Maritime provinces.

Pet peeve: Fleet Separation. The fisheries policy stops large companies from buying up family fishing licences. Greene said the policy causes "the fostering of generations of dependency on EI benefits."

Nancy Greene Raine

Nancy Greene Raine

Conservative credentials: Conservative Party supporter; also supported The Reform Party.

Nickname: Tiger.

Achievements: Olympic medallist. Voted Canadian female athlete of the 20th century by the Canadian Press and Broadcast News.

Would probably like to forget: Doing a Conservative fundraiser video with Mike Duffy during the Vancouver Olympics.

Pet peeve: Maple syrup knock-offs. She introduced a motion calling for tougher maple syrup labelling.

Leo Housakos

Leo Housakos

Conservative credentials: Joined Progressive Conservatives' youth wing at 16. Ministerial staffer in the Mulroney government in 1992. Ran for the Canadian Alliance in 2000 and lost. Fundraiser for the Conservative Party in Quebec.

Notable: Senate watchdog found he did not break any ethics rules while working for an engineering firm that won a federal stimulus contract.

Pet peeve: Quebec's Charbonneau Inquiry, where questions have been raised about his fundraising for the now-defunct Action Démocratique du Québec.

Daniel Lang

Daniel Lang

Conservative credentials: PC member of the Yukon legislature for 18 years.

Achievement: First senator from the Northern territories to be chair of the influential Senate defence committee, after Senator Pamela Wallin resigned from the post.

Memorable quote: Told CBC he's never had trouble figuring out where he lives.

Michael MacDonald

Michael MacDonald

Conservative credentials: Researcher for the Progressive Conservatives in the late 1970s. Executive assistant to Nova Scotia Premier John Buchanan. Former vice-president of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Notable: In 2012 he was Nova Scotia's most frugal senator, according to a Chronicle Herald article, which listed his total expenses that year as $178,118.

When he's not busy in the Senate: President and owner of Fortress Inn Louisbourg, a restaurant and motel in Cape Breton.

Fabian Manning

Fabian Manning

Conservative credentials: Former Progressive Conservative MLA in Newfoundland, three-time federal candidate. Won in 2006. Defeated in 2008. Appointed to Senate. Resigned from Senate to run again in 2011. Lost. Re-appointed to Senate.

Achievement: Dared to go on This Hour Has 22 Minutes in February 2013 when the Senate scandal broke.

Pet peeve: Moose. He was hospitalized after hitting one while driving in Newfoundland, not long after the 2011 election.

Yonah Martin

Yonah Martin

Conservative credentials: A teacher, she ran for the Conservatives in 2008 election and lost.

Achievements: First Canadian of Korean descent to serve in the Senate. Deputy leader of the Government in the Senate. 2012 Recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Memorable quote: "That, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules or usual practice, motions No. 2, 3 and 4 under "Other Business" be disposed of as follows: at 3 p.m. on the first sitting day following the adoption of this motion, the Speaker shall interrupt any proceedings then before the Senate and proceed to put forthwith and successively, without further debate, amendment, or adjournment, any and all questions necessary to dispose of the three motions...." (This was the beginning of government's invoking of closure on the suspension without pay motions on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013)

Percy Mockler

Percy Mockler

Conservative credentials: Longtime Progressive Conservative MLA in the New Brunswick legislature.

Achievements: Has a scholarship named after him at the University of Moncton.

Memorable quote: Described environmental groups and charitable foundations, such as the David Suzuki Foundation, as "bad" and "ugly" during debate over foreign funding of Canadian charities.

Richard Neufeld

Richard Neufeld

Conservative credentials: Served as an MLA in British Columbia's legislature and as a provincial cabinet minister in the right-leaning Liberal government of Gordon Campbell. Started in B.C.'s Social Credit party before switching to the B.C. Reform Party before switching to the provincial Liberals.

Most likely to: Surprise. Despite being a Harper appointee, said he was having second thoughts about the idea of an elected Senate. Also voted to substantially change (some say "gut") Conservative government's Union Disclosure Bill.

Achievements: The oil and gas proponent is chair of the Senate's energy, environment and natural resources committee.

Memorable quote: "I wasn't appointed just to rubber-stamp everything."

Kelvin Ogilvie

Kelvin Ogilvie

Conservative credentials: None that are apparent.

Achievements: Award-winning scientist. Notable inventions include life-saving antiviral drug. Former president and vice-chancellor of Acadia university. Order of Canada. Inducted into Canada's science and engineering hall of fame.

Memorable quote: "We can't go anywhere these days without being Duffy-ized and Wallin-ized. When criticism is of the Senate, it means the criticism is of all of us and that has been a very, very negative experience."

Dennis Patterson

Dennis Patterson

Conservative credentials: Longtime member of the Progressive Conservative and Conservative parties.

Achievements: Former Premier of NWT. Headed the campaign to create Nunavut as a separate territory in 1999.

Memorable quote: "I have a place in Iqaluit. I have identified it. I have my personal belongings there. I have hunting equipment and a personal cabin I go to when I am in Iqaluit. I have children and grandchildren in Iqaluit and I've been there since 1975," Patterson told Nunatsiaq News when his residency was questioned.

Don Plett

Don Plett

Conservative credentials: Former long-time Conservative PartypPresident.

Pet peeve: Voting against the government.

Notable: The former owner of a plumbing and heating firm has said no one in the Senate has ever asked him for advice on a plumbing problem.

Memorable quote: "This past week, honourable Senators, has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I am actually considering voting against a motion from my leader for the first time in my political career."

Michel Rivard

Michel Rivard

Conservative credentials: Defeated Canadian Alliance candidate.

Notable omission: The parliamentary website says he was elected as MNA in the Quebec riding of Limoilou in 1994. What it doesn't say is he was part of the separatist Parti Quebecois government and campaigned for Quebec sovereignty in the 1995 referendum.

Judith Seidman

Judith Seidman

Conservative credentials: Quebec co-chair of Stephen Harper's 2004 leadership campaign.

Achievements: The medical researcher was a National Health Research Doctoral Fellow (NHRDP) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Notable vote: One of a small group of Conservative senators to vote to substantially change a government union disclosure bill.

Carolyn Stewart Olsen

Carolyn Stewart Olsen

Conservative credentials: Former press secretary and director of strategic communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Worked for Preston Manning when he was leader of the Reform Party.

Pet peeve: The "hectic schedule" that forced her to step down from the Senate's internal economy subcommittee.

Most likely to: Block cameras from filming Harper at a Conservative caucus meeting.

Memorable quote: "I can't remember specific instances, but I'm sure if somebody said anything to me, I would say, 'yeah, it's not really much fun to sit in judgment of the people you work with.' "

John D. Wallace

John D. Wallace

Conservative credentials: Defeated federal candidate in 2006 election.

Achievements: Voted male newsmaker of the year in 2002 by the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.

Big idea: Supported, along with Mike Duffy, proposal to merge New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. into one big Maritime province. Former corporate counsel for Irving Oil Ltd.

Most likely to: Have a good attendance record. According to The Canadian Press, he was one of a few senators who did not use any of their 21 free leave days in 2012.

Pamela Wallin

Pamela Wallin

Conservative credentials: Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien appointed her Canada's Consul General in New York in 2002, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper named her to the special Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan in 2007.

Achievements: Former Ottawa Bureau Chief for CTV, cameo appearance on Corner Gas, has a street named after her in her hometown of Wadena, Sask. Order of Canada.

Would probably like to forget: Hosting the Canadian edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Memorable quote: "She (Carolyn Stewart Olsen) and Senator LeBreton could not abide the fact that I was outspoken in caucus, or critical from time to time of their leadership, or that my level of activity brought me into the public eye and once garnered the praise of the Prime Minister. They resented that - they resented me being an activist senator."


 
 

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