Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau won't join parliamentary press corps

OTTAWA – Sen. Patrick Brazeau’s fledgling career in political journalism looks to be in trouble.

The parliamentary press gallery in Ottawa has denied the suspended senator’s bid for accreditation as a freelance reporter for Halifax-based Frank Magazine.

Press gallery president and Radio-Canada reporter Daniel Thibeault told The Canadian Press that Brazeau wasn’t eligible for membership because he’s still a senator.

“Sen. Brazeau is still a senator — he’s still listed on the website, he still has access to benefits, he’s still entitled to a pension, he hasn’t resigned from the Senate, he was suspended and the suspension will be over as soon as there’s a new session,” Thibeault said.

“So we feel as an executive that it’s incompatible. You can’t be a senator and a member of the press gallery at the same time.”

The Halifax edition of Frank — not to be confused with another publication in Ottawa with the same name — caused a stir this month by announcing Brazeau would become its newest contributor.

The satire and gossip magazine said the senator would be a “pain in the arse” to his former Senate colleagues, who voted to suspend Brazeau and fellow ex-Conservative caucus members Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin over their questionable expense claims.

The suspension from the upper chamber — which lets Brazeau keep his health, dental and life insurance benefits — is to last for the rest of the parliamentary session, which could continue for the next two years.

Freelance journalists must submit letters of assignment from two publications with their press gallery application. Thibeault said Brazeau had letters from Frank and The First Perspective, a publication which focuses on aboriginal news and views.

Word that the press gallery had rejected Brazeau’s application apparently caught the senator by surprise.

“News does travel fast, I wasn’t even aware!” he tweeted.

It’s not clear if Brazeau will still write for Frank. Managing editor Andrew Douglas has yet to return a telephone call, and Brazeau did not respond when asked the question on Twitter.

However, the senator later lamented not getting his press credentials.

“I wanted to write about the news. Not make the news to be denied being able to write about it,” Brazeau wrote on Twitter.

He also suggested he might appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, Brazeau faces charges of assault and sexual assault stemming from an incident earlier this year. His next court date is in mid-February.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.