OTTAWA – Embattled Sen. Patrick Brazeau claims he was offered a “backroom deal” by the Senate’s top Tory.
“The backroom deal was, if I stood in this chamber, apologized to Canadians, and took responsibility for my actions, then my punishment would be lesser than is being proposed by the leader of the government in the Senate’s motion,” he said Friday, speaking on the red chamber floor.
“I’m disturbed at this. I’m saddened. You know what? I am taking responsibility. I’m here defending my name.”
A trio of beleaguered senators – Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin – are waging a public battle against Conservative motions that seek to suspend them from the upper chamber without pay over expense claims the Senate deemed inappropriate. All have been expelled from the Tory caucus.
Claude Carignan, government leader in the Senate, didn’t deny he spoke with Brazeau that morning, but argued he was offering him the chance to amend the suspension motion and make it more lenient.
He conceded he may have been overly anxious to help Brazeau and made a mistake in reaching out to his former caucus colleague.
“I approached Brazeau to have a friendly conversation,” he responded. “I told him: propose something to me — an apology, a lesser penalty — to try and find a fair balance in this matter. I regret it was seen as an attack.”
Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy are at the centre of a Senate spending scandal that has engulfed the entire government.
Senators ended their fourth day Friday of debate over the controversial motions.