Calgary

Alberta Senator Doug Black to retire in October

Senator Doug Black, who practiced law in Calgary before he was elected by Albertans as a senator-in-waiting in 2012, was appointed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Senate of Canada in January 2013.

Senator provided 'an integral voice for Albertans,' Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says

Doug Black, who practiced law in Calgary before he was elected by Albertans as a senator-in-waiting in 2012, was appointed by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Senate of Canada in January 2013. (Ellis Choe/CBC)

Alberta Senator Doug Black announced Wednesday that he will retire on Oct. 31.

Black, who practiced law in Calgary before he was elected by Albertans as a senator-in-waiting in 2012, was appointed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the senate in January 2013.

The senator said in a Wednesday news release that serving the senate has been the highlight of his professional career, and he will continue to contribute to Alberta after retirement while spending time with his family.

"I have always supported term limits for senators' service," Black said.

"After almost a decade of public service, I believe it is timely to make room for a new voice for Alberta."

The province will hold elections for senators-in-waiting in October, but those elections are non-binding. Senate appointments are made by the Prime Minister. 

'An integral voice for Albertans'

Though Black was first elected to the Conservative caucus, he crossed the floor in 2016 to sit as an independent. The move prompted calls for his resignation, but Black said it was in the best interests of his constituents.

"I was elected by Albertans to ensure my voice and actions effectively represent the interests of our province," he said at the time.

"I believe that the best way for me to continue working towards creating a more accountable and effective Senate, while also better representing Albertans, is to sit as an independent senator."

'Senator Black has been an integral voice for Albertans. He helped lead the charge in the Senate against attacks on our shared prosperity by opposing anti-Alberta legislation like Bills C-69 and C-48,' Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

    During his tenure in Ottawa, Black developed projects like Alberta 2.0, a conference that provided recommendations for the government of Alberta, business leaders and the post-secondary sector to build a more resilient provincial economy.

    An advocate for Alberta's oil and gas industry, Black vocally opposed Ottawa's Bill C-69 — or the Impact Assessment Act — which allows the federal government to consider the impacts of new resource projects on issues such as climate change. 

    He also rallied against Bill C-48, legislation to implement the government's planned ban on oil tankers along B.C.'s northern coast, calling it "atrocious" and "discriminatory and prejudicial" to Albertans on Twitter in 2019.

    "Senator Black has been an integral voice for Albertans. He helped lead the charge in the Senate against attacks on our shared prosperity by opposing anti-Alberta legislation like Bills C-69 and C-48," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in the news release.

    "His dedication to our province has been evident during his time as a Senator, and his public service is an example to all in the upper chamber."

    Bringing local issues to Ottawa

    Black also became the first Albertan to chair the standing senate committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce from 2015 to 2019.

    He went on to serve as deputy chair of the standing senate committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

    Brooks Mayor and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association President Barry Morishita said that as a senator, Black has remained actively involved in communities across the province.

    Former Banff Mayor and newly appointed Senator Karen Sorensen echoed the sentiment, saying Black provided a national platform for provincial issues. 

    "Senator Black has served Albertans with honesty and integrity," said Sorensen in the release.

    "He worked hard to bring local issues from every part of Alberta to the Senate of Canada and make a difference. I have big shoes to fill as an incoming Alberta Senator."

    With files from Sarah Rieger and John Paul Tasker

    Comments

    To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

    By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

    Become a CBC Member

    Join the conversation  Create account

    Already have an account?

    now