Outcast senators invited to attend throne speech
Sitting senators Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau eligible to attend - if not entirely welcome
Will the three former Conservative senators at the centre of an expense scandal attend Wednesday's throne speech?
It might be uncomfortable for the governing Conservatives to see their former colleagues — the subject of audits and RCMP inquiries over their expense claims — in the red chamber as the government tries to "reset" the parliamentary agenda.
But all sitting senators, including Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, received an invitation from the Senate Speaker to listen to Gov. Gen. David Johnston outline the government's to-do list on Wednesday.
Even Brazeau, who was placed on a forced leave of absence in the last parliamentary session, is allowed to attend. Last February, the Senate passed a motion suspending Brazeau from the Senate with pay after he was charged with assault and sexual assault. But because Parliament was prorogued, at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request, that suspension is no longer valid.
The Senate will reintroduce the same motion to again suspend Brazeau next week.
Wallin and Duffy were removed from the Conservative caucus following reports on their expense claims by a third-party auditor. Brazeau had been dropped from the party's caucus earlier this year due to an unrelated legal matter. All three now sit as independents.
Brazeau is not expected to take his seat for the throne speech Wednesday due to health issues. He was taken to hospital earlier this month.
Whether Wallin or Duffy will appear on the day the government wants to kick off its new agenda is unknown.