Former Yukon MLA named to Senate seat

Whitehorse realtor and former Conservative MLA Dan Lang has been appointed to fill the Yukon's only Senate seat.

Whitehorse realtor and former Conservative MLA Dan Lang has been appointed to fill the Yukon's only Senate seat.

Lang was named to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday, along with 17 other Canadians, including former broadcasters Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy.

The 60-year-old Lang, who served as a territorial MLA for 18 years before resigning in 1992, succeeds Liberal Ione Christensen, who retired two years ago. 

Before accepting the appointment, Lang said he had to promise the prime minister he'd limit his term to eight years and that he would work to reform the Senate during his time there. Harper had originally vowed to only appoint senators who had been elected in their jurisdictions.

Although his years of political experience will help, Lang said he has lots to learn to prepare for his new job.

"I think my priority, obviously, is to come up to speed with all the issues between the federal government and the government of Yukon, and the First Nations," he said.

Senate appointees will receive an annual salary of $134,000 until they retire or reach age 75, followed by a comfortable pension. Both are indexed to inflation.

The Yukon was first granted its own Senate seat in 1975 and former Whitehorse mayor Paul Lucier was appointed to the post by the Liberals. He held the position until he died of cancer in 2000 and was succeeded by Christensen.