Harper appoints five new senators from Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and N.L.

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OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen five new senators, including one selected by voters in Alberta during last April's provincial election.

The new faces — which fill two vacancies from Ontario and one each from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador — expand the Conservative majority in the upper chamber, which still has one vacancy.

Doug Black, a senior Calgary lawyer and founding president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, takes the Alberta seat.

Black made headlines last fall when he stepped down as chairman of the University of Calgary's board of governors amid questions about his expense claims.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation criticized expenses Black claimed during his five years on the board, including executive-class flights and $500-a-night hotel rooms

To fill the Ontario seats, Harper named Lynn Beyak, a small-business owner from the province's northwest, and Victor Oh of Mississauga, president of a property development firm.

Denise Batters, a Regina lawyer and a senior figure in the province's Crown Investments Corp., will sit for Saskatchewan.

David Wells, until recently the deputy chief executive of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, takes the final seat.

The new senators are notable figures, Harper said in a news release.

"All appointees are remarkable Canadians who have distinguished themselves in their respective pursuits,"he said.

"I look forward to working with these talented individuals in Parliament. Their collective experience and dedication are most welcome."

The Prime Minister's Office said the new senators are pledged to reforming the upper chamber, and also support term limits and efforts to push provinces and territories to hold Senate elections.

The Conservatives now hold 65 of the 105 available Senate seats. The rest include 36 Liberals, one Progressive Conservative, two independents and one vacancy.

Organizations: Energy Policy Institute of Canada, University of Calgary, Crown Investments Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board Conservatives

Geographic location: Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan OTTAWA Newfoundland and Labrador Calgary Regina

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