Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Senator Patrick Brazeau Canada's answer to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich?

Brazeau hires past colleagues amid drinking-at-work allegations

From Monday's Globe and Mail
February 2, 2009 at 4:31 AM EST

OTTAWA — The two most senior officials at the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, both of whom were accused of drinking at work, have resigned from the organization and have now been hired as aides by Senator Patrick Brazeau.

Mr. Brazeau resigned from the congress after his Senate appointment in December amid criticism that he would be drawing two six-figure salaries at taxpayers' expense if he stayed on.

As national chief of the Congress, Mr. Brazeau, his chief of staff, Lorraine Foreman, and his director of public affairs, Al Fleming, regularly returned to the office after lunch outings smelling of alcohol, several former congress staffers have told The Globe and Mail. Drinking would also take place in Mr. Brazeau's second-floor office, according to former staff, where there was Scotch on hand and a small fridge stocked with beer.

Ms. Foreman - who also goes by the name Lorraine Rochon - and Mr. Fleming are now listed on the Senate website as the only employees of Mr. Brazeau's office.

One former Congress employee, Jade Harper, specifically mentioned the two senior employees, now Conservative staffers, in a written grievance she submitted to Mr. Brazeau last March. It describes an exchange on Dec. 4, 2007.

"I was seriously taken a back as the alcohol on [Ms. Foreman's] breath was overwhelming. I took my invoice back, made the suggested changes and as I was leaving for the day I took my invoice up to Ms. Foreman who was in your office at that time having a beer with Mr. Flemming [sic]. The use of alcohol during business hours has been an ongoing concern to me because of the affects that it has had on our people," the grievance states.

Several former Congress employees, who do not want to be identified, have told the Globe that Ms. Harper's description is accurate. Mr. Brazeau did not respond to phone calls or an e-mail regarding this story.

Last month, Mr. Brazeau told The Canadian Press that Ms. Harper was offered mediation after she submitted her written complaint, but that she left the Congress before the process finished.

Mr. Brazeau has said an independent investigation cleared him of a sexual-harassment allegation filed against him by another female employee. That woman, whose name is not public, has taken her complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Ms. Harper sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper dated Jan. 26, 2009, asking him to postpone Mr. Brazeau's appointment to the Senate until all allegations against him are fully investigated.

"I have been contacted by several young women since my own story was repeated in the media and their stories are similar to mine in their encounters and the resulting emotional and mental stress that they continue to experience," wrote Ms. Harper, offering to brief the Prime Minister further in confidence.

"There are many of us willing to step forward to attest to the track record of Mr. Brazeau as an employer and community leader. To date, there have been no investigations into these claims. Instead, we look on in amazement as Mr. Brazeau is appointed to the Senate."

Board members of the Congress - a group that advocates for off-reserve aboriginals - met behind closed doors for most of last week in Ottawa.

The new interim national chief, Ken Daniels, said he will release a statement on the future of the Congress tomorrow.


Dr Mike said...

Another quality judgement call by the "right now" boss.

If this is the best he can do , he better resign.

I personally know dozens of native folks who were patients of mine & who would be fine addition to the senate.

The unfortunate thing is that they are just regular people who live by common sense & good values.

Certainly the wrong type in Harper`s world.

Dr Mike Popovich.

Anonymous said...

Fr Mike:

Yes, but those people are of no value to Harper. Harper wants someone who can deliver the native vote to him.

Not surprising that a person who is capable of delivering the native vote, or any vote for that matter, also indulges in other questionable activities, like Blagojevich er sorry, Brazeau.

Dman said...

Holy Mackerel Brent … this is so incredibly, flipping funny I fell right off my chair I was laughing so hysterically & uncontrollably … a most appropriate comparison !!!

Shimmy said...

Well, as far as I know, Patrick Brazeau didn't deploy a Salt Satyagraha, as Rod Blagojevich did when he marched 248 miles from downtown Chicago to make his own salt on the shore of Lake Michigan. That seems to be the major difference between the two, as far as I can tell.