01/25/2013 04:30 EST | Updated 01/25/2013 04:59 EST

Doug Black, Troubled University Chair, Appointed To Senate

Doug Black, a Calgary lawyer elected to the Senate during the last provincial election and who made headlines for the way he spent University of Calgary money, is now officially in the upper chamber.

Black, who is among other things the founding president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, chairman of the board of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and governor-emeritus of the Banff Centre, was named to the senate by Prime Minster Stephen Harper on Friday.

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

"I look forward to working with these talented individuals in Parliament.

"Their collective experience and dedication are most welcome as our government continues to work on addressing the needs and expectations of Canadians from coast to coast to coast."

But it was not the senator-in-waiting's talents or accomplishments that made headlines last fall, but his spending habits when holding the University Of Calgary's purse strings.


Through several Freedom of Information and Privacy Act requests last year, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation found that Black had expensed $28,030.88 to the university from the time he was appointed the school's Chair of the Board of Governors on February 2011 to August 2012.

Among the expenses claimed by Black were $5,399.86 in liquor and executive class flights, $1,261.19 for a two-night stay at the Four Seasons in Houston, and $1,261.71 for a two-night stay at Toronto's Ritz Carleton, the CTF uncovered.

“I’m not sure how Mr. Black can justify billing the University for stays in fancy hotels while traveling on U of C business,” said CTF-Alberta Director Scott Hennig.

“There’s likely more than a few U of C students who are barely able to scrape together $525 per month for rent, let alone for one night in the Toronto Ritz Carlton, like the University paid for Mr. Black’s March 2011 trip.”

Following the CTF's FOIP request, Black reimbursed a portion of the more than $28,000 he'd originally expensed to the university.

He wrote a $5,399.86 cheque to the U of C for liquor and executive flight expenses and quit his post in October 2012.

Black was one of five appointments to the senate announced on Friday.

In Ontario, 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.