Politics
Brazeau turfed from Tory caucus, reportedly arrested

Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau (L) watches as Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves the Senate chamber following a royal assent ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 14, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE

DAVID AKIN | PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU CHIEF

OTTAWA - Controversial aboriginal Sen. Patrick Brazeau has been turfed from the Conservative caucus after his arrest Thursday morning in a domestic violence investigation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was said to be "saddened and appalled" when he was informed of the news "and took immediate action", a source close to Harper said.

QMI Agency learned that Brazeau was arrested after police were called to his in Gatineau, Que., home at about 9:10 a.m Thursday morning. He is still in custody.

Police said no charges had been laid and that the investigation was continuing.

A police car was parked outside his Gatineau home, which was surrounded by police tape Thursday.

Sen. Marjory LeBreton, the leader of the government in the Senate, issued a terse two-line statement, saying: "In light of the serious nature of the events reported today, Sen. Brazeau has been removed from the Conservative caucus. As this is a legal matter, I cannot comment further."

LeBreton declined to answer questions from reporters on her way into the Senate chamber Thursday afternoon.

Brazeau is the third individual to be removed from the Conservative caucus since Harper came to power in 2006. MP Garth Turner was kicked out of caucus after repeatedly violating caucus confidentiality and, perhaps most famously, MP Helena Guergis was tossed from caucus after Harper learned of allegations, which were never subsequently proven, that Guergis or her husband Rahim Jaffer may have had some involvement with shady individuals involved in trying to secure government contracts.

Brazeau's parliamentary office would only confirm that the 38-year-old senator is no longer part of the Conservative caucus and will sit as an independent senator.

Brazeau, the youngest of all 105 senators, is a former national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. He attracted controversy recently for challenging First Nations leaders associated with the Idle No More movement.

He is also under scrutiny for a taxpayer-funded housing allowance he is receiving. Brazeau billed taxpayers for more than $20,000 for his national capital housing allowance by claiming his primary residence is in Maniwaki, Que.

Senators can claim a national capital housing allowance if their primary residence is more than 100 kms from Parliament. Maniwaki is 130 kms away.

Brazeau has claimed his father's residence in Maniwaki as his primary residence and says he rents his home in Gatineau.

Brazeau has often sparred publicly with members of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery, sometimes in derogatory terms.

And, perhaps most famously, he literally sparred with - and lost - to Liberal MP Justin Trudeau in a charity boxing match last year.

 

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