Senator Larry Smith elected leader of Senate Conservatives
Former CFL executive beat out Tory Senators Linda Frum and Stephen Greene
Senator Larry Smith has been elected the new Leader of the Opposition and the Conservative caucus in the Senate.
Smith defeated Ontario Senator Linda Frum and Nova Scotia Senator Stephen Greene in the Tuesday vote.
Senator David Wells was elected Conservative Senate Caucus Chair.
Smith is the former commissioner of the Canadian Football League and president of the Montreal Allouettes. He was appointed in December 2010 by prime minister Stephen Harper to fill a Senate vacancy in Quebec.
In the federal election later that year, Smith ran for a seat in the House of Commons in a Montreal riding and lost. He sparked some controversy when he lamented the cut in pay he experienced moving from the CFL to the Red Chamber.
Smith takes over the Conservative caucus as it navigates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's reforms to the Senate.
Independent Senators became the plurality in the Red Chamber after the Trudeau government's round of Senate appointments in November 2016. Conservatives still have the second-largest bloc of representatives in the upper chamber.
- Tory senator calls Trudeau's appointment process a 'con job'
- Independent senators get office budgets as reform takes hold
Smith introduced an amendment to the Liberal budget bill last November that would have changed the government's middle class tax plan. The move was ruled out of order; it's rare for the unelected Senate to try to modify a spending bill.
Brad Smith, the senator's son and a television personality who has appeared on the Canadian versions of The Bachelor and Chopped, tweeted a congratulatory message for his dad.
Couldn't be prouder of my Dad, a great man with amazing character..just what the Canadian Senate needs!! <a href="https://t.co/2b1unYPXZC">https://t.co/2b1unYPXZC</a>—@bradcsmith
Smith replaces Senator Claude Carignan, who left the post at the end of February.
Carignan led the Conservative caucus as government leader in the Senate from 2013 to 2015 and shepherded the caucus through the first two years of Liberal government on the opposition benches.
He was critical of Trudeau's plan to reform the Senate, though he did co-operate with Senate Liberals to allow non-aligned senators to take seats on committees.