What’s next for Senator Patrick Brazeau, the Senate and Stephen Harper?

The prime minister says he feels "let down" after Senator Patrick Brazeau was charged today with assault and sexual assault. Stephen Harper is quick to note, however, that most senators are very hardworking.

Senator Patrick Brazeau made a brief appearance at a Gatineau court on Friday morning.

As explained by CTV News, he has been officially charged with sexual assault and assault related to an incident at his home on Thursday.

The controversial 38-year-old senator wore a long black coat during his brief appearance and had his hands crossed.

Pierre Lanthier, of the Gatineau Police, confirmed Friday morning that Brazeau spent the night at the station after being arrested at his Gatineau home on Thursday.

He said Brazeau was questioned by police for about two hours on Thursday night and was co-operative.

The court released Brazeau on bail for $1,000.

In addition to the bond, the senator must stay 150 metres away from the alleged victim, must turn in all firearms and notify authorities of any change in address from his home in Maniwaki.

His next court appearance will be in March.

What's next for Brazeau?

In addition to his legal battles, Brazeau will face some challenging days ahead at the Senate.

Just hours after the news of the incident broke on Thursday morning, Brazeau was kicked out of the Tory caucus.

[ Related: Senator Patrick Brazeau arrested and kicked out of the Tory caucus ]

On Thursday evening, the assistant to Government leader in the Senate, Marjory LeBreton sent reporters an email with regard to their internal rules and procedures.

The email stated that the Senate's internal economy committee has the ability to suspend senators who have been charged with a crime. While the senator would still get paid his salary, he could be stripped of travel pay, housing allowances and other parliamentary resources.

Further actions could be taken after a trial.

"If a senator is convicted of an indictable offence, he is suspended from the Senate as of the time of the sentence," noted the email.

"The suspension continues until a finding of guilt is overturned, the sentence is discharged on appeal or, the Senate declares the senator’s seat vacant."

According to British Columbia's Justice Institute, an indictable offence in Canada includes theft of over $5,000, break and enter, aggravated sexual assault and murder.

Brazeau is also facing a Senate audit with regard to his residency claims.

In a report published on Friday, the National Post notes that a Senate committee has asked Deloitte to confirm that Brazeau and at least one other senator maintain primary residences outside the Ottawa region. The audit firm will look at their claims and their related travel expenses.

What's next for the Senate?

Brazeau's arrest is the latest 'black-eye' for Canada's upper-Chamber.

If you read the comments on the on-line message boards, you'll see that most Canadians believe that Brazeau is emblematic of the problems with the Senate.

[ Related: The likes of Senators Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy tarnish the Senate’s good work ]

A lot of Canadians would like to see the Senate abolished; At the very least, they want it more accountable.

Veteran Liberal MP Ralph Goodale told the Toronto Star that it's a bad week of headlines.

"The Senate is going to have to work very diligently to deal with a range of issues here that are obviously accumulating," he said.

"I think it’s fair to say there’s been a very rough patch for the Senate . . . it’s going to be very important for the Senate to reflect that concern and demonstrate their proactivity, their willingness to — to fix the problem," Goodale said.

What's next for Stephen Harper?

Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau watches as Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper …It remains to be seen whether or not there will be any political backlash against Stephen Harper and the Conservatives over Brazeau's arrest.

While the Tories did swiftly remove him from caucus, on Thursday, the fact remains that Stephen Harper appointed Brazeau to the Senate in 2009.

Even in 2009, some questioned the appointment because there were allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of public funds during his time as leader of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

"I think it's fair to say that there's an accumulation of doubt as to whether Mr. Brazeau meets the criteria for a Senate appointment," then Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said in 2009, according to PostMedia News.

Why was Brazeau — the youngest senator ever appointed — chosen? Did the PMO do their research on him?

Why wasn't he disciplined, by the party for his recent Twitter fights and public comments about Chief Theresa Spence.

[ Related: Senator Patrick Brazeau mocks Chief Theresa Spence at Tory fundraiser ]

Those are questions that the prime minister has yet to answer.

(Photos courtesy of The Canadian Press)

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