This week was a case of one step forward and two steps back for Canada's Senate.
On Wednesday, Canada's upper chamber finally got some positive press for the release of a finance committee report on the Canada-U.S. retail price gap.
It was opportunity for Canadians to see that our senators actually do some valuable work.
But them came the 'misbehaving' Senators.
First up was Patrick Brazeau and news of his arrest for domestic violence and his subsequent expulsion from the Conservative caucus.
According to reports, Brazeau was arrested on Thursday morning for a domestic violence incident. According to the Ottawa Citizen, his home was "cordoned off with crime-scene tape."
The incident came just hours after CTV News, that controversial Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau had previously used his father-in-law's Reserve address on four years of income tax returns allegedly to get an income tax exemption.
Brazeau is at least is out of the government caucus.
Too bad we can't say the same thing about Senator Mike Duffy.
Duffy is under fire for allegedly claiming over $33,000 in living allowances to maintain a 'second home' in Ottawa. Media reports, however, suggest that the former CTV journalist has lived in his Ottawa home for many years and even votes in the Ottawa region.
On Thursday, Duffy gave a keynote address at a Maritimes Energy Association conference in Halifax. Instead of taking questions from the media, the taxpayer funded Senator, chose to duck out through a kitchen entrance.
While Mr. Duffy and his Senate colleagues aren't accountable to voters — in that they're not elected — don't they have an obligation to speak to their constituents whether it be through the media or directly?
Don't Canadians have a right to now whether Mr. Duffy is really entitled to the Senate living allowance? At the very least, can he tell us what documents he provided to [Senate Standing Committee Chair] David Tkachuk to prove that he is a resident of Prince Edward Island?
Apparently Mr. Duffy doesn't think so.
In the court of public opinion — whether it's appropriate or not — Canadians have already found both Brazeau and Duffy guilty. And they do it almost gleefully because these are two seemingly arrogant individuals who exude an air of entitlement.
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The vast majority of senators, however, are great people; many have been chosen for their impressive accomplishments in sports, in business and in the arts. Most of them sincerely care about serving their constituents.
Unfortunately, it's the likes of Brazeau and Duffy who garner all the headlines. They really are the Senate's worst enemies.
(Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press)
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