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Harper appoints five new senators; increases majority in upper chamber

OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed five new senators, bolstering his majority in the upper chamber.

The new senators are Diane Bellemare, of Quebec, Tobias C. Enverga Jr., Thanh Hai Ngo, both from Ontario, Thomas Johnson McInnis of Nova Scotia and Paul E. McIntyre of New Brunswick.

Harper said the new senators will add much to the Senate.

"Their broad range of experience and dedication to community will further strengthen the institution and benefit the entire country," he said in a news release.

Bellemare is an economist and author who ran unsuccessfully three times as a candidate for Action Democratique du Quebec.

Enverga is a project manager at the Bank of Montreal and a major player in the Filipino-Canadian community.

Ngo is a Vietnam-born teacher who has also been a citizenship judge and is involved with a number of Vietnamese-Canadian organizations.

McInnis is a Halifax lawyer and businessman who sat in the provincial legislature as a Conservative for 15 years. He ran unsuccessfully for the federal Tories in the 2000 election.

McIntyre is a lawyer and community activist who writes poetry in his spare time.

The prime minister says the new senators are pledged to support his government's efforts to reform the Senate, including term limits.

The appointments give Harper's Tories 62 of the Senate's 105 seats.

The Liberals hold 40 seats, there is one Progressive Conservative senator and two independents.

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