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Senator Carignan to become new Leader of the Government in Senate

Defeated Conservative candidate Claude Carignan arrives to address supporters during federal election night on Nov. 14, 2008 in St-Eustache, Que. Carignan was apponted by Prime Minister Harper to the Canadian Senate on Thursday Aug. 27, 2009.

Marco Campanozzi/The Canadian Press

Senator Claude Carignan will become the new Leader of the Government in the Senate, replacing Senator Marjory LeBreton.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment on Friday afternoon, saying Mr. Carignan supports the government's efforts to reform the Senate through the introduction of term limits and provincial and territorial elections.

"I am confident that Senator Carignan has the experience, dedication and respect required to increase transparency and accountability in the Senate," Mr. Harper said in a written statement.

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Mr. Carignan represents the region of Mille Isles in Quebec, and was appointed to the Senate in August, 2009, by Mr. Harper. He has served as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate since May, 2011.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Carignan will not have a seat at the cabinet table. Mr. Harper said earlier this year that he would end the longstanding practice of making the Senate government leader a cabinet minister.

The Senate has faced intense scrutiny in recent months after allegations of improper spending by some of its members were referred to the RCMP, and Mr. Harper's decision to keep the next Senate leader out of cabinet was viewed by some as an attempt to distance the government from the troubled Red Chamber.

Mr. Carignan ran unsuccessfully for the federal Conservatives in 2008, shortly before his appointment. He has also served as mayor of Saint-Eustache, near Montreal, and taught law at the Université de Montréal and the Université du Québec à Montréal.

He has a law degree and a graduate degree in administrative law, and has worked as a lawyer since 1988, according to a biography on the website for the Senate of Canada.

In an e-mailed statement, Mr. Carignan said he looks forward to working with all Senators to consider legislation carefully, and noted that he supports the government's reform agenda. "Canadians expect an effective and accountable Senate and that is what I will endeavour to provide in my new role as Leader of the Government in the Senate," he said.

Mr. Carignan is a member of the Senate committee on internal economy, which earlier this year conducted controversial audits into Senators' expense claims.

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