Inside Politics

Brazeau to be barred from Chamber but will still collect Senate salary

Shortly after Senator Patrick Brazeau made his first appearance in a Gatineau courtroom, Government House Leader Marjory LeBreton announced that, pending a resolution to his legal situation, the senator will be barred from taking his seat, although he will still be paid his full salary: 

"In essence, now that he has been charged, the Speaker will instruct the Senate that he will be placed on a forced leave of absence.  Obviously, he cannot be removed immediately because of the presumption of innocence and will continue to be paid.   

That said, he cannot take his seat in the Senate (if this drags on, he has to appear only one day each session after providing notice to maintain his status) and any expenditures on his office or on his behalf must be pre-approved by the Internal Economy Committee."

What is not yet clear, however, is what specific procedure has been invoked to trigger this 'forced leave of absence'. in this case. 

 As noted yesterday, the Senate does have an established process for dealing with members facing criminal charges, but the rules seem to make it clear that it applies only to offences that may be proceeded by way of indictment. In Brazeau's case, however, the charges are summary in nature, and, as such, would seem to fall outside the parameters of the section on automatic suspension due to criminal prosecutions. 

In any case, I've asked Senator LeBreton's office to clarify on what grounds her former caucus colleague has been sanctioned by the Red Chamber, and as soon as I hear back, I'll update this post.

UPDATE: And here's the answer, in the form of a statement just released by LeBreton:

The Government Caucus in the Senate intends to bring forward a motion on Tuesday to place Senator Brazeau on a leave of absence. In addition, the motion will ask the Senate Committee on Internal Economy to take the necessary steps to remove the ability of the Senator to access Senate resources.
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