08/29/2012 10:44 EDT | Updated 08/31/2012 03:38 EDT

Maygan Sensenberger's Grandmother Denying Existence Of Rod Zimmer's First Wife Deborah Lamont (PHOTOS, VIDEO)


Is Maygan Sensenberger's family denying the existence of Senator Rod Zimmer's first wife?

Zimmer, 69, was married to Deborah Lamont but the couple divorced in 2007, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Sensenberger began dating Zimmer soon after the breakup, according to co-workers of the senator quoted in the Globe and Mail.


UPDATE: A judge has loosened the restrictions on Sensenberger, allowing her to speak with Zimmer on the phone or through the Internet. The case will be back in court Sept. 18.

Archives from the Free Press document Lamont's attendance with Zimmer at a party in 1999 attended by then-Manitoba premier-elect Gary Doer (now Canadian ambassador to the United States) and Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard.

iPolitics has also reported that Zimmer had another marriages annulled before wedding Lamont.

With all that evidence you would think Sensenberger's family would have no problem admitting that an older man like Zimmer had a life before meeting his current wife.

Yet Sensenberger's grandmother Rita, who at age 68 is younger than Zimmer, told The Canadian Press there was no first marriage.

"Rod was never married. Maygan is his first wife. He has never been married before."

While the cause of the confusion remains unclear, it's becoming more and more obvious that Sensenberger's family and Zimmer's aren't the closest.

Sensenberger has chosen to stay at a hotel in Saskatoon rather than with Zimmer's brother, Wayne, as was originally planned.

Wayne Zimmer met Sensenberger for the very first time in court, according to the Globe. That's shouldn't come as a surprise since none of Zimmer's family seems to have attended their Parliament Hill wedding in 2011.

"There is no secret that the marriage caused a big tension in the (Zimmer) family. Anybody who was at that wedding, (saw) there were no members of his family present at all," a source close to Zimmer told iPolitics.

The couple kept their marriage secret until Sensenberger turned 21, raising questions about how old she was when the relationship began and how much the pair have told their families.

It's possible Sensenberger, who hasn't been answering questions posed by the press, simply hasn't told her family about Zimmer's first wife. Or perhaps she simply didn't know about her.


There are reports that Zimmer's poor health, which seems to have sparked the airplane disturbance that started the media frenzy, may be affecting him mentally.

In 2010, Zimmer revealed to the Senate that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer seven years earlier and given a 20 per cent chance of survival.

A source told the Free Press that Zimmer's bout with sickness may have affected his judgement.

"He's had a brush with death and I think his judgment is not what it used to be. This is an unfortunate chapter in his life and it's probably not going to end well."

All this comes as the Senate is facing stiff criticism for allowing Senator Joyce Fairbairn to continue voting even after a psychiatrist declared her mentally incompetent. Fairbairn will not be rejoining the Upper Chamber when it resumes meeting in the fall.

Writing in the National Post Tuesday, columnist Jonathan Kay described the Fairbairn's case as an "indictment" of the Canadian Senate.

"Either the Canadian Senate is important and useful, or it is not. And if it is important and useful, then it demands intellectually competent members — which Ms. Fairbarn, sadly, isn’t anymore."

It now seems Zimmer's case may be adding evidence to that indictment. In the Ottawa Citizen Wednesday, columnist Ken Gray argued the affair is just one more good reason to "drop the Senate."

"The spat sure makes Canadian governance look silly and the silly Senate even sillier."

The Conservative government does intend to reform the Senate to make if more democratic. However, Senators have openly opposed the introduction of term limits and making the body elected could cause political headaches for the Tories.

On top of that, Quebec has vowed to block any unilateral changes made to the Senate by the federal government.

While Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long been opposed to the undemocratic nature of the seat of sober second thought, the Tories now hold a majority there. Just one more reason for Harper to maintain the status quo.

And as long as senators are appointed to the plush, and often patronage, position late in life, we can likely expect more antics from the Upper House.


Photo gallery Inside The Life Of Maygan Sensenberger See Gallery