Profile of the Zimmers, er … MayRod: ‘May I say, how cute we are :)’

If the Senator and his wife were true celebrities, they might be called be ZimmerBerger


SASKATOON-Their couple photos on Facebook are equal parts normal and jaw dropping.

Arm and arm at the Magic Kingdom, having fun with some big guns at a shooting range, mugging for the camera over a glass of wine — nary an eyebrow would be raised if the husband wasn’t a 69-year-old Canadian senator and the wife wasn’t a 23-year-old beauty from Ontario’s Cottage Country.

If they were celebrities for the usual reasons, they’d be ZimmerBerger or MayRod.

Whether they like it or not, Sen. Rod Zimmer and his wife Maygan Sensenberger have become Canada’s water-cooler couple since police allege Sensenberger lost her cool on a flight to Saskatoon last week and ended up in court.

They met on a blind date, according to Sensenberger’s grandmother, herself one year Zimmer’s junior.

Sensenberger was one of four siblings in a family from Collingwood, Ont. Her father owned a restaurant.

She was a ballet dancer turned aspiring actor and had been taking university classes in Ottawa, Rita Sensenberger said.

Zimmer was born in Saskatchewan, but called Winnipeg home.

He started his political career as an executive assistant to James Richardson, a cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau, said Allen Mills a politics professor at the University of Winnipeg and Zimmer’s former neighbour.

Zimmer has a lengthy private-sector resume as well, including executive positions with the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation and CanWest Capital Corp.

His Senate profile boasts he was a champion swimmer, diver and water skier. He served on several boards including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His personal interests include “ballet, piano, travel, public affairs, politics and all athletic activities.”

Mills remembered Zimmer as a down-to-earth man who lived modestly, with a nice little home in central Winnipeg. Mills said Zimmer convinced him to hire a young, aboriginal boy to mow his lawn to help the boy “get a leg up.”

Zimmer became one of the most important fundraisers for the Liberals in Manitoba and helped mentor a lot of young people within the party, Mills said.

“He was a very important fundraiser in Manitoba for the Liberal party and seemed to be sort of the man in charge as a fundraiser under Chretien.”

In 2005, then prime minister Paul Martin appointed him to the Senate. A Liberal who was in the room when Martin announced the appointment to a partisan crowd in Winnipeg was pleasantly surprised to see the genuine and apparently universal approval the announcement elicited.

“He was hugely admired for all his work in the community,” the Liberal said.

Mills said he noticed Zimmer was ill a few years ago, but he seemed to recover.

In a statement in the Senate in March 2010 to urge prostate cancer awareness, Zimmer revealed that seven years earlier, he had been diagnosed with throat cancer and given only a 20 per cent chance of surviving the next two years.

He offered his personal remedy for beating cancer.

When he was given the bad news, Zimmer said he reacted by saying: “Doctor, the seventh and final stage of death is acceptance. I’m there so flip me over, zap my backside and let’s go.

“A positive attitude generates energy and adrenaline and fights off disease and counters stress. Cancer exists in all of our systems and will attack the most vulnerable parts of your body over 10,000 times in your lifetime.

“So, as much as is possible, honourable senators, take stress out of your life.”

To any of his Senate colleagues fighting cancer, Zimmer offered his support.

“And if you weaken in the last few weeks of your treatment, I will lift you upon my shoulders and carry you the rest of the way because you are my comrades and that is my promise.”

Like many senators, he has been almost invisible to the public, Mills said. There’s never been a hint of controversy about him until now

Sensenberger’s grandmother said the couple had been dating for years prior to their marriage, but waited until Sensenberger was 21 before announcing they were together.

In December 2010, just two weeks before Christmas, Sensenberger created a wedding page on Facebook.

“So these are our official engagement photos,” she posted the following June. “May I just say, how cute are we :)”

They were married on Parliament Hill in August 2011. There are reports Sensenberger is Zimmer’s second wife, but Rita Sensenberger disputed that.

“Rod was never married. Maygan is his first wife. He has never been married before.”

While Rita Sensenberger talked openly about the couple’s relationship and their age difference, it’s less clear how Zimmer’s family felt.

There are online reports that it had cause a rift on his side. The Globe and Mail quoted Zimmer’s brother as saying the first time he met Sensenberger was Monday, when he helped arrange a hotel for her after being released from jail. It was the couple’s first anniversary.

Sensenberger was in court again Tuesday. The case was put over to Wednesday. She is facing charges of uttering threats and causing a disturbance. The most serious charge of endangering an aircraft was withdrawn.

While the couple’s relationship may have people buzzing around the country, Mills said the hoopla is probably overblown.

“It is unusual I suppose for a man who’s 69 to be married to a woman who’s 23, but it happens in Hollywood,” he said. “It happens all over the place … these days, my God, you know people are doing all sorts of strange things. So what? What’s the bother?”

Rita Sensenberger said she wishes people would just let the newlyweds be.

“She’s a very sweet, loving girl,” she said. “She’s my granddaugher. She goes to university, she’s an A student, she loves her husband very much, he loves her. What more is there to say?

“Why can’t they just leave them alone?”

— By Tim Cook and Chris Purdy in Edmonton and Joan Bryden in Ottawa

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Profile of the Zimmers, er … MayRod: ‘May I say, how cute we are :)’

  1. Clearly he was thinking with his small brain

    • At his age….he obviously wasn’t thinking at all…..with his small brain.

  2. Oh sweetheart ,it had been happened so many times in the stone age .you are not the first.

    • Yeah, when the average person died from old age at 25…LoL

      • And since we are not in the stone age and women can take care of themselves … don’t waste your young life on an old, selfish, calculating user – no amount of shoes in your closet will ever make up for missing an equal partnership with a young man your own age. Alcohol and drugs can keep the bile down only so long. In the long run, you’ll be the loser, no matter how he spins it.

  3. Who knows how affection will rear it’s head. At the end of the day only time will tell.
    The only thing about this whole affair that annoys me is the reaction of the “eeeww” folk. The lady is 23, she could have served for 5 years in the military, she certainly has the right to vote and do a load of adult activities including who she chooses to marry.
    I wish then all the best for the future and hope it works out. The two are adults who are consequently allowed to live an adult life, the “inappropriate” crowd are just a bunch of prudish moral zealots who think if they are uncomfortable the rest of us should place weight on that.
    Get over yourself.

    • I’m sure you would say the same thing if the woman was 69 and the hunk was 23. Guess you’re just an incurable romantic.

      • An adult is free to make their own choices at 18 so let them. We don’t question the right of a couple to make a child, when the only qualifications are a functioning sperm and a viable womb and a way to combine the both.
        So given that a bit of time went into this relationship prior to tying the knot I don’t see an issue. People’s “eeewwww” response is not relevant.
        I’m for happiness, we aren’t here long.

        • If they’d been dating for “many years”, as her grandmother stated, she would’ve had to have been “illegal” for him to be with if she was still only 21 when they came out about it. Not an adult…

          • Unless you know that for certain they broke the law, your inference is pure conjecture. If you have something that would be of interest to the police make the call, otherwise you’re spitballing.

        • @harebrain – give it up, you’re delusional. Of course we are free to make choices at 18, but how long before this was he brainwashing her and she didn’t seem to have good advice from family or friends. Trading youth and sex for $ never works out for the young person. Never – they always end up alone, unwanted and addicted. Take my advice Maygan: get what you can from a divorce (he’s stunted you and wasted your formative years – he has to pay for this) then get yourself a good counselor, drug and alcohol treatment if necessary, full-time education and a normal group of young friends (not enabling, using, club girls) and no contact with him. It will take time to get your self esteem back, but as you do and become self-supporting and standing on your own feet donate any remaining money from the divorce to help young girls in a similar situation involving old, worldly users. As for Rod, you’ve scre$ed her over for enough years, she’s obviously revolted by the situation she has found herself in and is acting out in a totally inappropriate way – that’s what happens when you stunt a young person’s growth, they hit back and usually just hurt themselves. You will probably be lucky in that there will not be an investigation into your pervy life – if not illegal, bordering on it.

          • So not illegal, therefore none of your business.
            I didn’t realise you were such a close family friend that you had the inside scoop on their relationship.. Or are you just making it up as you go along?

    • I am sure you will be quick to rush to the defense of a Conservative if he happens to marry a very young lady.
      I do detect a hint of hypocrisy so don`t bother to try and split hairs when you bring up the Toews story.
      I happen to agree with everything you said in this thread. I`m not sure why MacLeans has to import the article from CP.
      What would you call a MacLeans blogger who write dozens of stories about the Toews affair and can`t bring himself to write about this Liberal Senator ?

      • A married man cheating on his wife with the baby sitter isn’t quite the same as this is it? He at least broke his vow to his wife. He also claimed that marriage was a sacred institution later. I haven’t seen any of these so far in this case.
        If Vic had married a young lady of legal age, but many years his junior there would have been no issue, but he claimed one thing then acted in an opposite manner.
        If that’s hair splitting, you have a different way of interpreting the phrase than me.

    • Shut up, ya annoying know it all. Its called a disgusting sham marriage, cry me a river if you don’t like it. You get over your arrogant opinions.

  4. I think the focus should also turn to him. When did he start grooming, I mean dating her? Her grandmother (who is younger than her husband) thinks he’s very fine because he waited until she was 21 to go public. So, was she 16, 14, 17? Also, have they checked his computer for you know what?

  5. Major ewwwwwwwww.

  6. I should be that lucky…
    So what about the age difference? That’s up to THEM, not us! Instead, why aren’t people kibitzing about the apparent stupidity of the Air Canada flight staff and this apparently stupid trumped-up charge?

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