Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the appointments of nine distinguished Canadians to serve in Canada’s Senate.

“Our government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate,” said the Prime Minister. “If Senate vacancies are to be filled, they should be filled with individuals who support the legislative agenda of our democratically-elected government, including Senate reform and real action against gang- and drug-related crime.”

The new Senators will all support the urgently-needed anti-crime legislation currently being held up in the Senate. They have all pledged to support the Government in its efforts for Senate reform, including the legislation to limit Senate terms to eight years which was introduced in May 2009.

The new Senators fill three vacancies in Quebec and two vacancies in Ontario. Single vacancies are being filled in each of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Nunavut.

“While I look forward to welcoming elected Senators to the Upper Chamber in the future, vacancies that arise in the interim must be filled in order for the Senate to carry out legitimate Government business,” said the Prime Minister. “It is utterly unacceptable that some Senators have actively blocked our government’s anti-crime agenda. By rebalancing the Senate, we are acting to ensure that our government is able to fulfill its mandate and keep Canadians safe. It is my hope that all Senators, both current and incoming, will use the next sitting of Parliament to ensure swift and effective passage of the legislation currently before it, including our government’s anti-crime and democratic reform bills.”

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Backgrounder: List of new Senators

27 August 2009 Ottawa, Ontario

Claude Carignan (Quebec) was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1988 and, as a lawyer, he specialized in labour and public law. He was a law teacher at the Université du Québec à Montréal and at the Université de Montréal. Mr. Carignan has always been actively involved in his community. He has been Mayor of Saint-Eustache since November 2000 and held other positions at the regional and national levels. He is a member of the Board of the Union des municipalités du Québec and has been Vice-President of the Union since May 2008. During his career at the municipal level, he organized many fundraising campaigns and created the Fondation Élite Saint-Eustache, which helps the young people of the region. Claude Carignan is married to Brigitte Binette. They have three children.

Jacques Demers (Quebec) is the former head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, taking the team to a Stanley Cup victory in 1993. In addition to the Canadiens, Mr. Demers was head coach of numerous other hockey franchises including the former Quebec Nordiques during the 1978-80 hockey seasons. Mr. Demers is a well respected figure in the hockey world, winning the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1988, the only person to do so in consecutive years. In 2007, he was named one of the 100 most influential personalities in hockey by The Hockey News magazine. Mr. Demers is active in the community, including his strong support for literacy. In 2006, he served as Honorary President of fundraising campaign of the Fondation de l’alphabétisation, and made numerous presentations on the subject throughout Quebec. He also supports other causes including la Fondation québ écoise pour les enfants malades du cœur. He is married to Deborah Anderson. Mr. Demers currently works as a commentator for the sports network RDS.

Doug Finley (Ontario) has had a successful career in various industries including aviation, agriculture and energy. Mr. Finley began his professional career at Rolls Royce Canada, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become Director of Production, Strategic Planning and New Business Development. He moved on to serve as President of Standard Aero and Senior Vice President of AvCorp Industries. Later in his career he worked as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Fernlea Flowers in Southwestern Ontario. Mr. Finley also maintained an active presence in Canadian politics, including his service as Director of Political Operations for the Conservative Party of Canada. In the 2006 and 2008 general elections Mr. Finley served as National Campaign Director. Born in the United Kingdom, Mr. Finley and his wife Diane reside in Simcoe, Ontario.

Linda Frum Sokolowski (Ontario) is a Canadian journalist and bestselling author. From 1998 to 2007 she worked as a feature columnist for the National Post newspaper. She is also a past contributing editor to Maclean’s Magazine. Ms. Frum Sokolowski is an active member of the Toronto community. A current board member of Upper Canada College, the Bishop Strachan School, the Canadian Club and Canada’s Walk of Fame, she is also a past board member of the Ontario Arts Council, Soulpepper Theatre, the Art Gallery of Ontario Foundation and the Canada-Israel Committee. In 2006 she was chair of the United Jewish Appeal’s annual Women’s Campaign. Ms. Frum Sokolowski and her husband, Howard Sokolowski, have three children. Together with her husband she is a past recipient of The Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.

Kelvin K. Ogilvie (Nova Scotia) is past president of Acadia University in Wolfville. An award-winning international expert in biotechnology, bioorganic chemistry and genetic engineering, Dr. Ogilvie’s scientific accomplishments include the development of the “Gene Machine,” an automated process for the manufacture of DNA, and the invention of the drug Ganciclovir, which is used worldwide to fight infections that occur when one’s immune system is weakened. During his ten years of service as President and Vice Chancellor at Acadia, Dr. Ogilvie proved to be an equally innovative administrator, introducing the groundbreaking “Acadia Advantage” program that has been internationally recognized. Dr. Ogilvie has served on numerous national and international organizations including the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Board for Science and Technology. He recently comp leted a three-year term as chair of the Nova Scotia Premier’s Council for Innovation and currently serves as Senior Fellow for Postsecondary Education at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Dr. Ogilvie is a member of the Board of Genome Canada and chairs both the Advisory Board of National Research Council’s Institute of Marine Bioscience and the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Innovation Fund. For his numerous contributions to science, technology and higher education in Canada, Dr. Ogilvie was named to the Order of Canada in 1991. Dr. Ogilvie is married and has two children and three grandchildren.

Dennis Patterson (Nunavut) is a former Premier of the Northwest Territories who has dedicated his career to bettering the lives of people throughout Canada’s North. In his distinguished 16-year career as a member of the Legislative Assembly in the Northwest Territories Mr. Patterson served in many capacities including Minister of Education, Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister of Justice, culminating in his service as Premier between 1987 and 1991. During his time in public office Mr. Patterson played a key role in the settlement of the Inuvialuit final agreement and the Nunavut final land claim agreement. Mr. Patterson also served as the leader of the more than twenty-year campaign which led to the establishment of Nunavut as Canada’s newest territory in 1999. Prior to entering politics, Mr. Patterson practised law and was appointed founding Executive Director of the Legal Services Centre, Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Society, in Iqaluit. After serving as Premier, Mr. Patterson established a private consulting firm, was admitted to the Law Society of Nunavut in 2001 and since 2003 has been a Trustee and Chair of the Investment Committee of the Northern Property Real Estate Investment Trust. Mr. Patterson is married and has four children and two grandchildren.

Don Plett (Manitoba) has dedicated much of his life to community service in his home province of Manitoba. As a Red River College alumnus, Mr. Plett served on the Board of Governors of the College. An active sports enthusiast, he has coached and played hockey, basketball, and golf and was President of the Landmark Minor Hockey Association. Mr. Plett also served as President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Village Council, and Chair of the local Utilities Board. Throughout the years, he has maintained an active interest in politics, including serving as President of the Conservative Party of Canada. Mr. Plett and his wife Betty have four sons and six grandchildren.

Judith Seidman (Quebec) is an educator, researcher and advisor to universities, government and not-for-profit agencies in the fields of health and social services. Trained as an epidemiologist and social worker, Ms. Seidman has been a consultant in Applied Research in the Health Field and was Senior Researcher at the University Institute of Social Gerontology of Quebec. Ms. Seidman served as project coordinator for the Canadian Study of Health and Aging at the University of Ottawa and was Research Associate/Fellow at the Montreal Neurological Hospital/Institute’s Department of Social Work. Ms. Seidman has also been active in community service, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Allan Memorial Institute Advancement Fund, member of the McGill Society of Montreal, Chair of the 75th Anniversary Fundraising Committee for the McGill School of Social Work and co-Chair of the Whi teside Taylor Preschool Co-operative in Baie D’Urfe. Ms. Seidman is married and has one daughter and one grandchild.

Carolyn Stewart Olsen (New Brunswick) has extensive experience in health care and politics. A Registered Nurse, Ms. Stewart Olsen spent over a decade as an emergency staff nurse at hospitals throughout New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. In 1986, Ms. Stewart Olsen was named Head Nurse for the Ambulatory Care Department at Ottawa’s Grace Hospital and later Nursing Manager for the Emergency, Recovery Room, Ambulatory Care, and CSR departments at Carleton Place Hospital. After a twenty-year career in nursing, Ms. Stewart Olsen turned her attention to political life where she served as communications assistant and Press Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition. Most recently, she served as Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Communication in the Office of the Prime Minister. Ms. Stewart Olsen is married to Terry Olsen.