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
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.