Brazeau Knocked Out

Whoever could have guessed this fine young man would find himself at the centre of so much controversy

Whoever could have guessed this fine young man would find himself at the centre of so much controversy

Soon to be former Senator Patrick Brazeau has been booted from the Tory caucus after being charged for sexual assault.

Or maybe he was kicked out because he was caught making fun of Theresa Spence at a fundraiser. Or maybe it was because he listed his father’s house as his primary residence, to gain a housing allowance…and then his ex father-in-law’s house to gain an aboriginal tax exemption. Or maybe it was because he had the worst attendance record in the Senate. Or maybe it was because of various Twitter indiscretions. Or maybe it was because of controversy around the organization he headed before being appointed to the Senate. Or because of his desire to keep two salaries when he first got the job.

Or maybe it was because he played no small part in launching Trudeaumania 2.

As Tim Harper recounts, there are no shortage of reasons to boot Brazeau – as a rule of thumb, when you reach the point where the “controversy” section takes up over 2/3 of your Wikipedia page, political parties usually aren’t willing to stand by you.

While Patrick Brazeau will no doubt become the poster boy for those arguing to abolish or elect the Senate, the real take-away here is that the Conservative Party did an abysmal job vetting Brazeau for this appointment. The threshold on being a Senator is considerably lower than being, say, Vice President, and I don’t think anyone pretends there’s a long list of qualifications and skills required for the job. But at the very least, for pure self-interest alone, it’s a good idea to make sure the person you’re appointing isn’t going to humiliate your party on a weekly basis.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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13 Responses to Brazeau Knocked Out

  1. Nuna D. Above

    The debate about senators using false addresses for financial gain sets the stage for a debate about Canadians using foreign addresses for tax reasons. In the US, citizens pay tax on their global income. In Canada, they only pay tax on their domestic income. So people like former PM Paul Martin base their business elsewhere. Perhaps the NDP will make an issue of this.
    As for Brazeau, he is in the same place the adopted son of former Liberal PM Chretien was, facing sex assualt charges. I think the judge was lenient because Chretiens son had an aboriginal background. We know progressives say aboriginals need lighter sentences, we’ll see what happens with Brazeau.

    • CalgaryGrit

      I seem to remember the NDP making a big deal about CSL and Martin’s finances when he first took over as PM. Then they got distracted by Adscam.

    • tdott

      [This is totally off topic, but whatever ....]

      I believe you’re mixing up citizen and corporate taxation. And the difference between citizenship based taxation and residence based taxation.

      AFAIK Canadian residents are taxed on their worldwide income. Tax treaties probably alleviate double taxation, but they will pay Peter or pay Paul. If you leave Canada and break relevant ties (close down Canadian bank accounts, etc), then you are considered a non-resident for tax purposes and pay no Canadian income taxes.

      OTOH American citizens are taxed on their worldwide income regardless of residence. So, for example, an American living in Canada (even with dual Canadian citizenship) for the last 30 years will still need to file US tax returns and will potentially pay US income tax. The only way to legally not file US income tax returns is to renounce US citizenship (and potentially pay an exit tax). BTW, the US is one of only 2 countries in the world (the other being Eritrea (did you say Eri-what?)) that have citizenship based taxation.

      Corporate taxation is a totally different thing and AFAIK US corporations are only taxed on foreign income if that income is repatriated. The result of that is many multinational US companies are sitting on boatloads of money in foreign juridictions because bringing it into the US will trigger tax.

      Now, if you’re actually still reading this and have too much time on your hands, google “Canada FATCA” and consider the coming shitstorm. For brownie points, add “FBAR” for a 2nd search.

      BTW, the Green Party has a position on FATCA. The LPC would be wise to have one too. The LPC could differentiate itself from the CPC by waving the Canadian flag and coming out strongly against FATCA and for a soveriegn Canada.

  2. Barack McBush

    Wow! “Nuna D. Above” , You’ve tried to distract from this Conservative failing by slandering the Liberal party, what garbage from you!

  3. Luke

    The timing of Brazeau’s latest fiasco is actually, in my view, convenient for the Conservatives. They were getting what I would argue is much worse press surrounding the Saskatchewan gerrymandering and associated brainwashing of the electorate, but now this alternative scandal is distracting the media from that. With this Brazeau scandal the Conservatives get to posture themselves as the tough disciplinarians, giving Brazeau the boot.

    Of course the most important issues here aren’t political. If the sexual assault charges are well founded, someone was hurt or violated, which is sad. Also, Brazeau is getting treated by the media and his party as though he is already convicted, which isn’t how we are supposed to do things.

    • Jim R

      “Also, Brazeau is getting treated by the media and his party as though he is already convicted, which isn’t how we are supposed to do things.”

      I thought that was weird as well. If he is found guilty of assault (sexual or non-sexual) against a female, by all means throw the proverbial book at him. Until then he is legally innocent until proven guilty (which doesn’t mean that he can’t be removed from caucus).

    • Vancouverois

      In all honesty, I don’t think you can blame the party on this one. He’s already caused them enough embarrassments, and the charges in this case are particularly odious – and if there’s enough evidence for him to be charged, that’s enough for any political party to cut him loose. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion, as the saying goes.

      • Luke

        That’s true — I didn’t actually mean to single out the CPC for this particular action. I imagine any party would have done the same. I just mentioned it because it fits with the ‘assumed guilty’ kind of view we’re getting of all this.

      • CalgaryGrit

        The interesting thing will be if Brazeau is cleared. Traditionally you think they’d let him back into caucus, but I suspect in this instance, they’d be glad to be gone with him.

        Sort of like the Guergis affair, though it’s more obvious in this situation why they want to be rid of him.

        • Vancouverois

          Perhaps. On the other hand, it may serve their interests to have a young aboriginal leader onside, especially with the attention that Idle No More managed to gather – I don’t think Guergis had any similar factor in her favour.

          I guess we’ll see!

  4. Paul O

    Whether Brazeau is innocent of the criminal charges against him will be determined in due course by the courts.

    And whether he has broken any rules of the Senate regarding his residence will be known in time as well.

    But it certainly does not help that the media (aided by the Opposition Parties) are basically lying to Canadians about what those rules are, and what is required of Senators and MPs.

    Ask Wayne Easter how he’s present in PEI for 183 consecutive days every year when he’s required to be in Ottawa serving his constituents? And if he admits otherwise then ask him how he complains about others doing no different than he does?

    • Marc from soccer

      The media isn’t lying about the rules.

      It’s about primary vs. secondary residence.

      Wayne Easter’s primary residence before getting elected was in PEI.

      Mac Harb and Mike Duffy’s primary residences before getting appointed were in Ottawa. Post-appointment, they have continued to have a primary residence in Ottawa.

      But that’s not what they’ve been telling the Senate – claiming primary residence in PEI and Pemrboke – and have subsequently received a housing allowance for a residence that is neither primary nor newly acquired for Senate duty.

      That’s breaking the rules.

  5. Paul O

    Where do you get your interpretation on what THE SENATE considers to be the residence in question?

    I don’t care that Easter’s primary residence before getting elected was in PEI. I care that his income is earned in Ontario, he spends more than half the year in Ontario, and while residence for Canadian Income Tax is (primarily) determined by where you spend the night on Dec 31, Easter is no less an Ontarian than Duffy.

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