Sen. Brazeau removed from caucus after police called to home
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:35PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:00PM EST
Sen. Patrick Brazeau has been removed from the Conservative caucus after he was arrested over an alleged domestic violence incident at his home in Gatineau, Que.
Police were called to the senator’s home shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday. Several hours later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Brazeau’s removal from the Conservative caucus.
"I think that it's known that in light of the serious events that have been reported today, I have removed Senator Brazeau from the Conservative caucus," Harper said in the House of Commons during question period.
"I think our understanding that these are matters of a personal nature rather than the Senate business. But they are very serious. And we expect they will be dealt with through the courts," said Harper.
Gatineau police would not say whether the man arrested was indeed Brazeau and they said no charges have yet been laid as part of the ongoing investigation.
But sources have told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that Brazeau may be charged with sexual assault and domestic violence in connection to the incident.
Police were planning to interview Brazeau Thursday. He may spend the night in custody because police will object to his release, Const. Pierre Lanthier told reporters.
If the Crown determines that there is enough evidence to lay charges, Brazeau likely won’t appear before a judge until Friday morning.
Lanthier said it’s likely that police will search the senator’s home as part of their investigation.
Brazeau, who once battled Liberal MP Justin Trudeau in a high-profile charity boxing match -- and lost -- has been under scrutiny recently following a string of controversial revelations.
On Wednesday, CTV News reported Brazeau used his former father-in-law's address in a First Nations community when he claimed an aboriginal income tax exemption from 2004 to 2008.
Brazeau, who has publicly called on aboriginal leaders to be more financially accountable, listed the residence on the Kitigan Zibi First Nation in Quebec as his mailing address for four years, unbeknownst to his ex-wife's father.
CTV News has also learned that Brazeau was delinquent on his child support payments. Revenue Quebec ordered a salary garnishment for Brazeau to pay $800 per month in child support for his oldest son. Sources say a second order required him to pay about $4,000 in arrears.
"I am fully up to date with payments I have been ordered to pay," Brazeau said in an email to CTV News.
More recently, Brazeau faced questions over claiming his father's Maniwaki, Que. home as his primary residence, which allowed him to claim a taxpayer-subsidized housing allowance even though he rents a home in Gatineau, much closer to Parliament Hill.
Canadian senators can charge up to $21,000 in housing and meal expenses annually, if their primary residence is located more than 100 kilometres away from Ottawa.
In light of the allegations against Brazeau, New Democrat MP Charlie Angus called for Brazeau to be removed from the Senate.
"Kicking him out of the caucus isn't good enough," Angus said in the Commons.
"The prime minister appointed him to the Senate for the next 35 years which means taxpayers are on the hook for over $7 million."
But government House Leader Peter Van Loan said action had been taken and Brazeau had been removed from the caucus.