UPDATE: Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff weighs in on the controversy during his post-caucus scrum- very, very carefully and likely mindful of the fact that parliamentary privilege does not extend to the Hall of Honour:
“Serious questions have been raised by Mr. Brazeau. Every person in Canada is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty, particularly in relation to sexual harassment allegations, which I understand have been dealt with by a tribunal. So I don’t want to make any presumptions of guilt in respect of Mr. Brazeau. But I think it’s fair to say that there’s an accumulation of doubt as to whether Mr. Brazeau meets the criteria for a senate appointment. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
From a post to then-national chief Patrick Brazeau’s blog “No Reservations” (May 20, 2o08):
In the midst of the increasing amount of stories pertaining to accountability or lack thereof and CAP’s call for greater accountability, I’ve decided to post stories that justifies the need to deal with this issue for the benefit of grassroots Aboriginal people all across Canada.
If you have stories you would like to share, which could include governance, accountability, discrimination, election procedures/issues, mismanagement, fearmongering, intimidation and bullying, please forward these stories so they could be shared to highlight the day-to-day activities that many people are faced with each day.
Please forward any news or information links regarding the subject matter.
From today’s Globe and Mail:
Health Canada is demanding the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples return up to $260,000 in ineligible expenses after an audit found directors of the native advocacy group divvied up thousands of dollars in federal cash with insufficient evidence of where the money went.
The federal department has suspended all funding to the organization, led until recently by new Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, until the group comes up with a plan to pay back the money and respond to the government’s concerns. […]
Mr. Brazeau, 34, was vice-chief of the organization in 2005 and rose to president and national chief in February of 2006. During his nearly three years in charge of the advocacy group for off-reserve aboriginals, he attracted attention with his blunt calls for native leaders to be more transparent and accountable with taxpayers’ money.
The draft Health Canada audit disputes $16,050 in payments to the congress president and vice-president, but the organization said the salaries of those two office-holders are usually adjusted based on the number of programs in which they participate.
Auditors took issue with a practice whereby thousands of dollars in cash would be handed out at board meetings.
“The audit found that large amounts of money (varying between $11,000 and $18,000 – exceptionally $65,000 for the Annual General Assembly) were sometimes disbursed to the Finance Officer to enable the distribution of cash allocation to the CAP Directors when they attended meetings. It was also noted that the accounting records only showed ‘Miscellaneous’ instead of showing the payees’ names on some of the cheques issued.” […]