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Today’s news: Senate expenses scandals are utterly sad

Patrick Brazeau’s late-night speech in the Senate concludes with an appeal to his kids


 

Fred Chartrand/CP

“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.

 

What’s above the fold

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Ottawa Citizen The feds have spent very little on a refit to a new DND headquarters.
CBC News Toronto Mayor Rob Ford could win reelection in 2014.
CTV News Natural gas producer Encana will cut 20 per cent of its workforce.
National Newswatch The RCMP is looking for evidence to corroborate Sen. Mike Duffy‘s claims.

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Today’s news: Senate expenses scandals are utterly sad

  1. The only thing that’s ‘sad’ about it, is the way it’s being handled.

    We don’t know that there are any ‘improperly claimed pennies’………. and the senators are accused….not disgraced.

    The RCMP is investigating….meanwhile our chamber of ‘sober second thought’ has turned into a mob. My question is ….why the hurry? Is anyone in danger? Is this a matter of life and death?

    Justice should never be political.

    • The fact that four senators have either paid back, or been ordered to pay back, “improperly claimed pennies” is a clear sign that the issue involves more than just accusations. After all, audits have been performed on the expenses of the four in question.
      As to whether or not they are “disgraced”, we’ll only know that after the rest of the Senate is finally audited. After all its entirely possible (as Sens Brazeau & Wallin have noted) that their activities were just business as usual.

    • Oh yes, those poor poor senators and their padded expenses. Of course defrauding taxpayers is a minor offence among Liberals, so the senate should take their sweet time getting these fat cats off the public pay roll. I mean, it’s only taxpayers money here, it’s not like that’s important at all.

      “improperly claimed pennies” is a very good way of describing several hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money. Very clever.

      • Hey, they’re your people, don’t blame me for them. LOL

        I just believe in due process…..something a ‘law and order’ crowd should appreciate.

        “improperly claimed pennies” is a quote from the article Rick….the one you didn’t read.

      • How do you explain the email from Wright to Duffy assuring him that his expenses were in order? Or the PM declaring Wallin’s expenses as in line with others?

    • Our supreme court is appointed. Justice is always political.

      The seators were appointed by the Harper government for one very open and public reason: to campaign for the Conservative Party at the public’s expense. It’s a wealthy party, but they didn’t want to pay for something if they can get the people of Canada to pay for it instead.

      So before all the scandals started, Harper’s government knowingly broke the Senate’s rules and ripped off Canadians to the tune of the 100s of thousands of dollars or more. We paid Duffy and Walin to fly around and give speeches with Harper, pretending to be on “Senate business”, openly the flagrantly breaking the rules. Our corporatized and compromised media didn’t care at the time, when it mattered, during an election.

      That is the heart of this scandal. The facts are already there. Harper needs to be held accountable. The tories need to repay the funds they stole. Why not lay charges and start the process today? That is the question we should be asking the disgraced mounties.

      • Our Supreme Court is appointed….from a short list from the Law Society of Canada….not a political party or the govt. That is done so it’s NOT political.

        Harp tried to bring in a political appointee system…..so we’d have the same mess as the US. Judges voting by ideology, not law.

        Harper did indeed appoint partisan senators…..I was very surprised when I first heard them out campaigning. Senators are supposed to be thinking of the whole country….not the fortunes of one political party.

        We have very little in the way of written laws about any of this stuff though…it’s always been determined by tradition, precedent and gentlemen’s agreements….it’s just that now we have few gentlemen in the govt….just yahoos.

        • Completely agree, though I’m surprised at your surprise. Harper and his Bay Street friends know that a castrated and corporatized news media environment they’ve helped to create can be trusted to ignore their scandals. Well, until a point when the greed just becomes to callous to ignore. Then it might be time to replace the figurehead, without really shifting policy. A Trudeau son, for example.

          • We’ve never had as blatant a partisan promoter as Duffy….and nobody toned him down….that was surprising.

            Basically Harp hired a programed megaphone and it brought the Senate into disrepute…..no one could pretend it worked on behalf of the whole country after Duffy.

        • Supreme Court appointments are not political? Ho ho ho ho… They are intensely political with lots of behind closed doors lobbying to get names on the short list. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/judging-gender-and-political-optics/article745321/
          BTW, there is no such being as a Law Society of Canada. There is the Cdn Bar Association (CBA) but its hardly an official body. It has no authority (re: discipline) over lawyers as they are not required to join. It even offers discounts to attract members.

  2. So Mr. Brazeau says he is not a thief a scammer ,drunken indian or a failed experiment or a human tragedy.Methinks thou pretest’s too much.Once again l say scrap that useless institution called “SOBER SECOND THOUGHT” New Zealand got rid of their Senate in the 90’s and they survived very well without it !!!!!

    • They also have MMP, and a land mass that’s half the size of Newfoundland and Labrador, with the homogeneity of resources, industries, and concerns that come along with that.

  3. The senators were campaigning for a political party at the public’s expense. That is a clear violation of the Senate’s rules, commited knowingly by the Harper government. It was done openly and purposefully.

    Harper broke the rules because he thinks they don’t apply to him. He needs to apologise to Canadians and the Conservative Party needs to repay the money.

    Then we can move on to the additional fraudulant expense claims filed by individual senators.

    Then we can move on to the possible reimbursement crimes committed by the PMO.

    Then we can move on to the possible criminal cover-up committed by the PMO.

    As Canada has one of the world’s slowest justice systems, this fill probably take a decade, the furor will die down, and then one day a judge will make it all go away so he can become GG.

    Rinse and repeat. Life in a corrupt, post-democracy.

  4. Are we supposed to feel sorry for these millionaires who are so greedy that they have to steal from the taxpayers who bust their asses 50 weeks a year in order to prop up this bloated system? It’s sickening. These are supposed to be the “cream of the crop” and they have to steal from us?

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