OTTAWA - Ontario's Progressive Conservatives took time out from their convention in Ottawa today to pay tribute to veteran Bob Runciman, who resigned after 29 years to take a seat in the senate.

Former Premier Mike Harris led the tribute to Runciman, who left his Brockville area riding of Leeds-Grenville after he was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harris, who like Runciman was first elected to the legislature in 1981, said his friend and colleague was an obvious choice for solicitor general when the Tories won their majority in 1995.

Harris said anyone who has the guts to tell the government of the day that they had made a deal with the devil is all right in his books.

Runciman had blasted the NDP government for allowing Karla Homolka to strike a deal for a reduced sentence for her role in the slayings of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffey.

Runciman -- whose nickname was Mad Dog -- said it had been a time of mixed emotions, and admitted leaving a job he loves tugged at his heart strings.

The newly-minted senator vowed not to forget his Ontario roots, and promised to help the Tories defeat Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals in next year's election.