“I am not a thief, a scammer, a drunken Indian, a drug addict, a failed experiment or a human tragedy.” —Sen. Patrick Brazeau
Paul Calandra, standing again and again in the House of Commons, talks a lot about victims.
Yesterday, Calandra repeatedly insisted that his boss—that’s the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper—is innocent of any wrongdoing in the Senate expenses scandal. This is becoming old hat for the PM’s parliamentary secretary. His defence runs the gamut: sometimes he tells stories about his ethical parents, or pizza-delivery guys from his youth. Other times, he lashes out at what he thinks are NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s questionable ethics.
Still other times, he bundles the opposition and embattled senators—Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and former senator Mac Harb—into a common front. And that’s when he starts talking about victims.
“Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that it is only the Liberals in the House and in the Senate, and of course, the NDP, who want to make victims out of these three senators,” Calandra said yesterday. The idea is that, even though the opposition called for Conservatives to rein in their free-spending senators for months, those senators are now fighting back against claims they’ve acted inappropriately or even illegally. The opposition can’t help but use the senators’ various defences against the government. For that, the opposition and the struggling senators are apparently in cahoots.
Much later, with the clock ticking towards midnight, Brazeau was down the hall, in the Senate. He made what might be his final speech as a senator—for some time, anyway. And the government will, no doubt, accuse him of again playing the victim. To be sure, Brazeau claimed the moral high ground.
“Some honourable senators will gossip anonymously to the media, casting themselves as saviours out to save a supposedly drunken, drug‑addicted Indian, while at the same time appearing before TV cameras and crowing about how disgusted they are with my behaviour regarding my housing claims,” he said. “This is an interesting way to care for a friend.”
Brazeau concluded by speaking directly to his children.
“You are too young to understand what is going on here. I am much older than you, and I barely understand,” he said. “It is very important that you understand that I am not guilty of what some of these people are accusing me of. It is very important that you know that I am not a thief, a scammer, a drunken Indian, a drug addict, a failed experiment or a human tragedy.”
Perhaps the senator is not a victim. His story may never be properly told. But the whole affair, every improperly claimed penny by every disgraced senator, is utterly sad.
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