Appointed to the Senate by the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Senator Michael Kirby represents the province of Nova Scotia and the Senatorial Division of South Shore. He has served in the Senate of Canada since January 13, 1984.
He is Chair of the Senate Standing Committees on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. Over the years, he has been particularly active on the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. His areas of interest and specialization include financial institutions, public service, the Constitution, and issues pertaining to the Atlantic provinces.
Senator Kirby has had a varied career that includes experience in both the public and private sectors. When he became a Senator, he also joined Goldfarb Consultants, an international market research firm based in Toronto, as Senior Vice-President. During the decade he worked with Goldfarb Consultants (1984-94), he developed an extensive practice with a particular focus on the beer industry, the energy utility industry, and the financial services sector. His first full-time job in business began in early 1983, when he joined Canadian National (CN) as the Senior Vice-President responsible for Strategic Planning, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations. It ended little more than a year later, due to his appointment to the Senate. Over the years, Senator Kirby also served as a member of the Board of Directors of some major Canadian companies, including Extendicare, RJR-Macdonald, and Quaker Oats.
In the public sector, Senator Kirby was involved both at the federal and provincial levels. Outside of the Senate, his involvement in the federal political arena began in 1974. Over the years, he was appointed to positions including Chair of the Task Force on Atlantic Fisheries (1982), Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, Secretary to the Cabinet for Federal-Provincial Relations (1980-83), and Assistant Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Trudeau (1974-76). His career in provincial government began in the fall of 1970, when he became Chief of Staff (Principal Secretary) to the newly-elected Premier of Nova Scotia, Gerald Regan, a capacity he served in from 1970-73. During this time he had additional public policy responsibilities. His public career also saw him serve briefly as one of three members of the Nova Scotia Board of Public Utilities, in 1976-77.
Senator Kirby also enjoyed career success in academic life. Over the years, he held various teaching and administrative positions at Dalhousie University, as well as the University of Kent at Canterbury.
Senator Kirby holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Dalhousie University (1961, 1962), and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University (1965). He received a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from Dalhousie in 1997.
Born in Montreal on August 5, 1941, he is a father to three children: Colleen, Bruce, and Sean.