Friday July 15, 2016
Someone must be held accountable for spending accusations: Brazeau
Spending in the upper chamber still needs to be cleaned up, Sen. Patrick Brazeau said Thursday as he promised to push for more changes when he makes his triumphant return to the Senate in the fall.
Brazeau said someone has to be held accountable for the fact that he has spent the last three years of his life under what he describes as false allegations of misspending and wrongdoing.
Brazeau summoned the media to his Ottawa office Thursday and spoke out publicly at a news conference for the first time since his long, difficult legal saga began more than three years ago.
Brazeau has long insisted he did nothing wrong when he filed housing claims for a secondary home near Parliament Hill, noting he met the test the Senate now uses for verifying a primary residence.
Independent auditors from Deloitte couldn’t conclude he broke any rules because the rules themselves were so vague, he added. But the Senate rejected that finding and ordered Brazeau to repay about $49,000 in housing claims.
Months later, in November 2013, Brazeau was suspended without pay in an emotional vote in the upper chamber. Some Conservative senators abstained, believing it unfair to treat Brazeau the same as fellow members Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy.
Brazeau said he wants the whole thing to be “water under the bridge,” but knows that may be impossible.
“What happened in the Senate with me in particular … was unjust and somebody needs to be held accountable,” he said.
“And I’m going to work darn hard to make sure that place gets cleaned up, because each time you hear senators saying, ‘Oh, well, we changed these rules and we changed those rules’ — well, they haven’t done enough and I’m going to start working on that right away.”
The rule changes, a key pressure point in the Senate, are at the heart of a dispute between one senator and the Senate committee that oversees spending. The committee has threatened to cut off Sen. John Wallace’s expense privileges if he doesn’t sign a declaration saying he is in compliance with Senate rules.(Source: Metro)