Senator Brazeau facing increased public scrutiny
Published Tuesday, February 3, 2009 6:42AM EST
One of Stephen Harper's recent Senate picks, the former chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, is facing intense public scrutiny amid allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of public funds at his old job.
In December, Patrick Brazeau gave up his position on the congress after he was criticized for wanting to hold two simultaneous jobs. Both his congress job and Senate seat paid six-figure salaries funded by taxpayers.
But controversy has continued to swirl around Brazeau, who is now facing scrutiny over his choice of transportation: a new Porsche SUV.
In a city not known for ostentatious displays of wealth, the vehicle has raised the ire of fellow parliamentarians.
"Senator Brazeau has been running around like he won the lottery," said NDP MP Pat Martin.
"He doesn't have to be Gandhi wearing a hair shirt, but for God's sake, think about the people you're put there to represent."
Brazeau's Senate appointment has also raised controversy because Health Canada is investigating the congress' use of $260,000 in taxpayer's funds.
And a former congress employee has formally lodged a sexual harassment complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, naming Brazeau and other staff members.
Brazeau has denied those allegations.
The 34-year-old Brazeau, who is among Canada's youngest-ever senators, is a father of three who has been publicized as a family man.
But his former partner and the mother of his 14-year-old son told CTV News that Brazeau hasn't spoken to the teen for eight years.
Dena Buckshot said that the family man image is meant "to advance his career or give this impression of something, that to me, he's not."
Allegations of alcohol use at work
Another former employee has complained that Brazeau allowed an environment of heavy alcohol use while leading the congress.
Recently, Brazeau hired Lorraine Foreman and Al Fleming, two former congress staffers who often drank at work, according to staffers interviewed by The Globe and Mail.
The former co-workers also complained that Foreman and Fleming would often drink with Brazeau in his office, according the Globe.
Brazeau was unavailable to speak to CTV News on Monday because of a busy schedule, according to his office.
When he was appointed to the Senate, he told CTV News that: "Being an aboriginal person, a proud Quebecer, and a proud Canadian, I'm also a big supporter of stronger federalism."
"I think the time has come where a debate and a discussion is needed to unite Canadians towards a stronger federal state rather than having these talks about separation all the time, especially in Quebec."
With a report from CTV's Graham Richardson