Alumnus appointed to Senate

January 8, 2012
Northumberland View
Office of the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the appointments of JoAnne Buth, Norman Doyle, Ghislain Maltais, Dr. Asha Seth, Betty Unger and Vernon White to the Senate. This marks the first time a female elected Senator - Betty Unger - has been appointed to the Senate, as well as the first time two elected Senators will be sitting at once - Mrs. Unger and Bert Brown. The Prime Minister also announced the intention to appoint Jean-Guy Dagenais.

"I am pleased to announce the addition of seven remarkable Canadians to the Senate of Canada," said Prime Minister Harper. "All appointees have distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavour and in their service to fellow citizens." 

JoAnne Buth fills a vacancy in Manitoba, Norman Doyle a vacancy in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ghislain Maltais a vacancy in Quebec, Dr. Asha Seth a vacancy in Ontario, Betty Unger a vacancy in Alberta, and Vernon White a vacancy in Ontario. Jean-Guy Dagenais will fill a vacancy in Quebec.

All new appointees have pledged to support the Government in its efforts to make the Senate more democratic and accountable, including legislation to limit the term lengths of senators and encouraging the provinces and territories to hold elections for Senate nominees. The new appointees also look forward to working towards a strong economic recovery and safer communities across the country.

"I look forward to working with these talented individuals in Parliament," added the Prime Minister.  "Their skills and experience will be of great value as our Government works on making this country as prosperous, safe and strong as it can be."



JoAnne L. Buth

JoAnne L. Buth is the President of the Canola Council of Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Winnipeg and a Master of Science in Entomology from the University of Manitoba.

Before being named President of the Canola Council of Canada in 2007, Ms. Buth served as Vice President of the Council. Prior to that, she was a manager and a weed management specialist at the Soils and Crops Branch of Manitoba Agriculture. Ms. Buth was also a research and development manager at DowElanco Canada Inc. and an information officer for the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Winnipeg.

In 1999, Ms. Buth was a recipient of the Manitoba Agriculture "Motivator of the Year" award.

Ms. Buth resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Ms. Buth's Senate appointment is effective immediately.

Norman Doyle

Norman Doyle is a former Canadian businessman and politician in Newfoundland and Labrador.

After careers in broadcasting, business and construction, Mr. Doyle entered into a twenty-six year career in both provincial and federal politics.

Mr. Doyle was elected to the House of Assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1979 to 1993 and served as a Cabinet Minister in several portfolios.

Mr. Doyle entered federal politics in 1997 as the Member of Parliament for St. John's East. During his twelve years in federal politics, Mr. Doyle served as the Progressive Conservative party whip, Progressive Conservative national caucus chair and national caucus chair for the Conservative Party of Canada. He was also chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration from 2006 until leaving federal politics in 2008.

Mr. Doyle completed his high school education in his home town of Avondale, Conception Bay and then went on to attend broadcasting school in Toronto.

Mr. Doyle resides in St. John's, Newfoundland. He is married to Isabelle (nee Hannifan). They have two sons, Deon and Randy.

Mr. Doyle's Senate appointment is effective immediately.

Ghislain Maltais

Ghislain Maltais studied business studies at Collège de Forestville and public administration at the Université du Québec à Rimouski, and has taken courses by the Association des Courtiers d'assurance du Québec and the Insurance Institute of Canada.

He was the owner of the Maltais Courtiers d'Assurances insurance brokers firm from 1968 to 1981. He was the President of the North Shore School Board Association in 1980, and Vice-President of the Quebec Federation of Catholic School Boards in 1981.

Mr. Maltais was the Member of the National Assembly for Saguenay from 1983 to 1994. He was also a member of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Commission from 1982 to 1985.

From 1985 to 1989, Mr. Maltais was the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Forestry, and was responsible for the design and implementation of Quebec's New Forestry Regime. From 1989 to 1994, he was the assistant to the Minister of the Environment, and was responsible for new environmental policies and legislation.

Mr. Maltais was a strategy and organization consultant from 1994 to 2007, worked as a contractor for the Conservative Party of Canada from 2006 to 2007, and has been the director of the Conservative Party in Quebec since 2009.

Mr. Maltais' Senate appointment is effective immediately.

Asha Seth

Dr. Asha Seth is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Family Practice, Toronto, Ontario.

Recognized as a pioneer and patient advocate in the medical field, Dr. Seth received the prestigious Council Award from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2010.

An active philanthropist, Dr. Seth is involved in a number of charities serving local and international communities. She founded the NIMDAC Foundation, which raised funds for organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for the Physically Disabled Persons, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She is also National Board Director of CNIB.  Dr. Seth was also actively involved with St. Joseph's Health Centre Foundation, assisting with initiatives to help raise funds for the Health Centre's new patient care wing.

Dr. Seth completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at The King Georges Medical College in India and completed her resident training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the U.K. Upon moving to Canada, she continued her training at St. Joseph's Health Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Dr. Asha Seth resides in Toronto, Ontario with her husband Dr. Arun Seth.  She has two loving daughters, Dr. Anila Seth Sharma, an Endocrinologist and Angie Seth, an award winning Journalist and News Anchor, OMNI Television, and four loving grandchildren.

Dr. Seth's Senate appointment is effective immediately.

Betty Unger

Betty Unger (nee Ciezki) was born and educated in Sexsmith, Alberta, and has called Edmonton home since moving there to study at the Misericordia School of Nursing.

Mrs. Unger worked as a Registered Nurse until founding Medico Mobile Ltd. an Alberta nursing services company, which she operated for twenty-five years. The company employed over one hundred nurses across Alberta, providing medical testing for national life insurance companies and occupational health services to industry. After selling the business Betty became actively involved in politics in several areas, with a strong focus on Senate reform since 1998.

In November 2005, she was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for service to the Province of Alberta and to Albertans.

Mrs. Unger is currently appointed to the AEDARSA Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of the Greater Edmonton Foundation (GEF) and the Alberta Senior Citizens Housing Association (ASCHA). She is a Board Member and past Chair of the Western Catholic Reporter, a member of the Finance and Administration Committee and the Human Resources Committee of St. Joseph's Basilica. She is a volunteer canvasser for the Heart and Stroke Foundations and Canadian Diabetes Association.

Mrs. Unger has two grown children: daughter Marilyn, married to George - they have two sons - Alexander and Mitchell and son Darin and wife Stephanie.  Mrs. Unger was married to Jim (dec.).

Mrs. Unger's Senate appointment is effective immediately.

Vernon Darryl White

Vernon Darryl White was sworn in as Chief of Police of the Ottawa Police Service in May 2007. Prior to this, he led the Regional Police Service in Durham, Ontario, and spent over 20 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, leaving as an Assistant Commissioner.

Mr. White holds a Diploma in Business Administration from the College of Cape Breton, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Psychology from Acadia University, and a Masters Degree from Royal Roads University in British Columbia in Conflict Analysis and Management. He is currently a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Police Leadership at the Australian Graduate School of Policing.

Mr. White has been honoured with a number of awards and commendations over the years, including a Commissioners Commendation, a Queen's Jubilee Medal, and a United Way Community Builder of the Year Award.

Mr. White resides in Ottawa, Ontario, with his wife Sari.

Mr. White's Senate appointment is effective February 20, 2012.

Jean-Guy Dagenais

Influenced by his father, who served 30 years on the Montreal police force, Jean-Guy Dagenais worked as a peace officer from 1972 to 1996 at the Sûreté du Québec. He held various positions, including patrolman, investigator, team leader, and education relations officer with schools. He also worked in the communications division and the VIP Security service.

His involvement with the Association des policières et policiers provinciaux du Québec started in 1984. He served successively as delegate, regional director and finance vice-president. He was elected president in 2004.

Mr. Dagenais has been a guest speaker at the congress of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités and has participated in many public security committees. He has also been a board member of both the École nationale de police and the Canadian Police Association. He was made Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, which rewards citizens who have marked the evolution of Quebec or enabled its influence in diverse fields.

Mr. Dagenais ran as the Conservative candidate in the electoral district of Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot in the 2011 general election.

He has been married to Danielle Comeau for more than 35 years.