Dallaire, Eggleton among 9 new senators

Romeo Dallaire, Art Eggleton among 9 new senators named Thursday by the prime minister.

Romeo Dallaire, the 58-year-old retired Canadian general who headed the United Nations peacekeeping mission during the Rwandan genocide, is among nine new senators named by the prime minister Thursday.

Another of Paul Martin's choices was Art Eggleton, 61, who served as the mayor of Toronto from 1980 to 1991 and later held several cabinet positions in the federal Liberal government.

Eggleton had to resign from his post as defence minister in 2002 over conflict of interest allegations, and did not run for re-election in 2004.

The other new senators are:

  • Jim Cowan, 63, of Nova Scotia.
  • Nancy Ruth, 63, of Ontario.
  • Lillian Dyck, 59, of Saskatchewan.
  • Robert Peterson, 67, of Saskatchewan.
  • Grant Mitchell, 53, of Alberta.
  • Elaine McCoy, 59, of Alberta.
  • Claudette Tardif, 57, of Alberta.

"What we've done is to nominate outstanding Canadians," Martin said Thursday, just after announcing the appointments.

Of the nine appointees, Martin's office said six will sit in the Senate as Liberals, including Dallaire and Eggleton; Ruth and McCoy will sit as Progressive Conservative senators (the old federal party designation still exists in the Senate, along with the newer Conservative Party of Canada designation); and Dyck is supposed to represent the New Democratic Party.

But the NDP immediately said it won't recognize Dyck because official party policy calls for the abolition of the Senate. She is not a member of the NDP, and the party will encourage her to sit as an independent, spokesperson Karl Belanger told the Canadian Press.

Martin, who delayed making the appointments for more than a year after becoming prime minister in December 2003, has said he agrees the Senate could be overhauled to become more democratic.

Despite vowing to address the issue of Western alienation, none of the new members are those who had been unofficially elected by Alberta voters, who embrace the idea of an elected Senate.

Seven more Senate vacancies remain for Martin to fill; he said there will be more announcements next week.

Members of Canada's Senate hold their positions until they are 75 years of age, unless they die or choose to retire earlier.