Prime Minister Stephen Harper has two Senate vacancies to fill in Nova Scotia, though it’s doubtful he’ll get to them any time soon.

Senator Donald Oliver turned 75 this month, the mandatory age for retirement.

Senator Gerald Comeau has seven years left before mandatory retirement but announced this week he is stepping down early. His retirement takes effect next Thursday.

Comeau is the only francophone Nova Scotia senator while Oliver is only the second black senator ever appointed in Canada.

This presents Harper with a diversity problem.

All other Nova Scotia senators are white anglophones. Liberal senator Jane Cordy is the only woman. There has never been a female Conservative senator from Nova Scotia.

Trying to represent different segments of the population is likely to be a big factor in Harper’s choice of replacements.

But between the Senate expenses scandal and the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Senate reform and abolition, the prime minister will likely not rush to make any new appointments.

He has two years until the next federal election, and there are many names he could be considering.

At the top of the list is Neil LeBlanc, who was Canada’s consul general to Boston and a former provincial cabinet minister. He has the credentials and the connections, and he’s Acadian.

If LeBlanc doesn’t want the gig, it could be offered to Chris d’Entremont. Still in his 40s, d’Entremont would be young for the job but is Acadian and has been a popular MLA for a decade.

The problem is that either LeBlanc or d’Entremont could be eyeing a House of Commons run in 2015 if West Nova MP Greg Kerr, who has had health difficulties, does not reoffer.

Harper has been unpredictable in his past appointments. He may pick a wild card such as former News 95.7 talk-show host Jordi Morgan. Morgan once ran for the Canadian Alliance, and its crew has done well under Harper (see senators Stephen Greene and Michael MacDonald).

Other surprise picks could include Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who has worked for Harper and on party campaigns. There’s also former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly, though he would be a long shot.

More likely candidates include Progressive Conservative stalwarts like Jim David, Executive Director of the Provincial Party, or Janet Fryday Dorey, the Party President.

Former MLA Murray Scott was rumoured to be a front-runner for previous appointments and could be in the mix. Another former Tory MLA, Keith Bain, would have some support as federal EI changes were seen as a factor in him losing his Cape Breton seat in the October provincial election.

Oliver’s departure leaves only two black senators in the 105-seat chamber.

Former lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis could be a contender, though she is already 67.

Former PC candidate Dwayne Provo could get a look, but he is already making around $100,000 after being appointed to the federal Social Security Tribunal earlier this year.

President Leslie Oliver of the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia is seen as a Conservative party supporter and a contender.

Lesser-known names being murmured about include Gwen Podborski, who has retired to Cape Breton but previously worked as Harper’s Campaign Manager and riding president in Calgary Southwest.

Communications point man Cameron MacKeen is on the national council and has filled many roles for the Tories.

On the Acadian front, former Cabinet Minister Guy LeBlanc and longtime educator Ken Gaudet have both been very involved in the party.

The winner of the next federal election will quickly have three more vacancies to deal with.

Nova Scotia senators James Cowan and Wilfred Moore, both Liberals, and Conservative Kelvin Ogilvie will all reach mandatory retirement age in 2017.