Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named five new senators Friday, including victim's rights activist Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

With the appointments, the Conservatives have the greatest number of seats in the Red Chamber, just two shy of a straight majority.

The nominations give the Tories more control over the passage of legislation and help clear the way for Harper's plans to reform the Senate itself.


Boisvenu is perhaps the most prominent Quebec advocate for victims of crime and families of missing people.

He founded the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association after his daughter Julie went missing and was later found dead in 2002.


Also appointed to the Senate Friday are Ontario Tory MPP Bob Runciman, Vim Kochhar from Ontario, Elizabeth Marshall from Newfoundland and Labrador and Rose-May Poirier from New Brunswick.

New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer, one of the most energetic critics of the Senate, says the appointments fly in the face of what Harper said he wanted to do with the Senate.

He says taxpayers could save $90 million a year by abolishing the upper chamber.