Senator Patrick Brazeau (C) leaves the courthouse in Gatineau, Quebec February 8, 2013.
Credits: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE
OTTAWA -- Embattled Sen. Patrick Brazeau is on a forced paid leave of absence from the Upper Chamber.
The Senate passed a motion Tuesday to temporarily remove Brazeau, 38, from his duties.
He's currently out on bail facing assault and sexual assault charges.
The motion was tabled by Government Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton."
In order to protect the dignity and reputation of the Senate and public trust and confidence in Parliament, the Senate ordered a leave of absence for Honourable Senator Brazeau to last until the order is rescinded," the motion states.
While Brazeau can still collect his $132,000 annual salary, the motion could limit his access to Senate resources such as travel and telecommunications expenses.
The decision on what Brazeau has access to will be made by the Senate internal economy committee.Senators voted 103-1 to remove him from his duties. Brazeau, sitting as an independent, was the only one to oppose the motion.
He made a surprise appearance in the Red Chamber Tuesday, telling reporters he was "happy just to be back at work."
Brazeau could be allowed return to his duties if found innocent of the charges. But if he's convicted, he could be removed from the Senate. If he chooses to resign, he would be allowed to keep his pension.
Liberal Sen. James Cowan, who seconded LeBreton's motion, said he didn't want to "presuppose" what will happen with Brazeau's court case."
Depending on what the outcome of the proceedings are, then the Senate will make another order," he said.
The controversial senator was turfed from the Conservative caucus Thursday after police were called to his home in Gatineau, Que.
On Friday, Brazeau was charged with assault and sexual assault following an alleged altercation at his residence.
The Crown is proceeding by way of summary offence, which comes with a lesser penalty than an indictable offence.
If convicted, Brazeau faces a maximum penalty of six months for the assault charge and 18 months for the sexual assault charge.
His next court appearance is March 22.
Brazeau, along with Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy and Liberal Sen. Mac Harb also faces questions about his taxpayer-funded housing allowance.
The three are under fire for claiming living allowance costs for a "second residence" in the Ottawa region when it appears they don't actually live in the houses they claim as their primary residence.