The Honourable Michael L. MacDonald is a Nova Scotia businessman and long-time Conservative activist. He was appointed to the Senate on January 2, 2009, on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Born on May 4, 1955, in historic Louisburg (now Louisbourg), Cape Breton, he is the youngest of 10 children in a family with ancestral roots to some of Cape Breton’s earliest settlers.
Senator MacDonald attended King’s College at Dalhousie University in Halifax, graduating in 1977 with an Honours degree in political science. He first came to Ottawa in 1978, working as a researcher in the Progressive Conservative Research Office until 1980. Returning to Nova Scotia, he worked in the office of the Hon. Gerald Sheehy (1980-82), and later served as Executive Assistant to Premier John Buchanan (1982-84). Thereafter, returning to Parliament Hill, he served as Executive Assistant to the Hon. Tom McMillan (1984-85), and later to the Hon. Stewart McInnes (1985-87).
Since 1988, he has been the President and owner of the Fortress Inn Louisbourg, a motel and restaurant complex near his family home in Cape Breton.
He ran twice for federal office, first in 1988, in the riding of Cape Breton-East Richmond, and again in 2004, running in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. He also ran twice provincially for the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party in 1993 and 1998.
Until his appointment to the Upper House, Senator MacDonald served as Vice-President of the Conservative Party of Canada, and the party’s National Councillor for Nova Scotia.
He currently sits on the Standing Senate Committees on Fisheries and Oceans, as well as Transport and Communications.
In addition to his parliamentary duties, Senator MacDonald serves as Treasurer to the Canada-Korea Inter Parliamentary Friendship Group, as well as Vice-Chair to both the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, and the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas. He is also an active member with: the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association; the Canadian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; the Canada-China Legislative Association; and, the Canada-Japan Inter Parliamentary Group.
He has also maintained an active role in the Nova Scotia community – coaching minor hockey and baseball, raising funds for cystic fibrosis research, as well as supporting various organizations to promote and preserve Nova Scotia heritage and the Gaelic language.
Senator MacDonald currently resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with his wife Marilyn, and their two sons, Lauchlan and Liam.