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The Globe and Mail

Surgeon, diplomat, native leader and Mulroney veteran strengthen Tory bench

Conservative supporters cheer as Stephen Harper takes the stage after winning a majority goverment in Calgary on May 2, 2011.


The bench strength of the governing Conservative caucus deepened with the May 2 election that delivered Stephen Harper a majority government.

New faces include a surgeon, a former Canadian diplomat and aboriginal leader as well as veteran cabinet minister from the Mulroney era and a former executive director of Ontario's securities trading regulator.

The Tories added 22 extra seats to their ranks in the Commons but their number of new MPs exceeds that because while they gained more than 30 new members they lost seven mostly to the NDP surge in Quebec and British Columbia.

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Here's a few of the new additions:

Peter Penashue (Labrador): He's the only Conservative elected in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will make it tempting for Mr. Harper to give him a cabinet post. This aboriginal leader is a former grand chief and one-time president of the Innu Nation.

Bernard Valcourt (Madawaska-Restigouche): Eighteen years after he was defeated along with the Mulroney government, Mr. Valcourt is returning to Ottawa where he once served as minister for various departments including Fisheries and Oceans, Employment and Immigration and Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

Joe Oliver (Eglinton-Lawrence): A former investment banker at Merrill he later served as executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission and president of the Investment Dealers Association.

Chris Alexander (Ajax-Pickering): He's a former career diplomat for the Canadian government who in 2005 served as Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan. From late 2005 to mid-2009 he served as the deputy special representative of the United Nation's assistance mission to Afghanistan.

Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey): She's an orthopedic pediatric surgeon with an MBA. She's advised the Harper government in the past, having served as chair of the expert panel that helped set up the children's fitness tax credit

Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): Born in francophone Alberta, this bilingual Toronto consultant with IBM Global Business Services specializes in helping companies grow more competitive.

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Mark Adler (York Centre): A former trade representative for Ontario's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology in Boston, he went on to found the Economic Club of Canada, a public affairs and speakers' forum that's attracted luminaries such as U.S. Senator John McCain and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to its podiums.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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