Another bombshell has been dropped in the upper chamber during the ongoing debate about three Conservative party motions to suspend Senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin over allegations about inappropriate expense claims.
On Friday afternoon, Brazeau told his colleagues that Senator Claude Carignan — the government's leader in the Senate — offered him "backroom deal" to go easy on him if he issued a public apology.
"I hate to do this, but I haven't been in this place for a very long time. But I've always been very proud of my record talking about transparency and accountability. Which is probably the reason why I got name to this place. And I always practiced what I preach," Brazeau said on the Senate floor.
"At approximately at 10:20am this morning, I was outside this chamber in the back and...the leader of the government in the Senate took me aside -- and I'll be very careful about my words here.
"But I was essentially offered a backroom deal. And the backroom deal was if I stood in this chamber, apologized to Canadians and took responsibility for my actions that my punishment would be lesser than what is being proposed in the leader of the Government in the Senate's motion.
"I'm very disturbed at this. I'm saddened. Because you know what? I am taking responsibility," he said.
"I'm here defending my name. I'm here asking for an open and public meeting which you guys are denying."
What was even more bizarre than Brazeau's allegations was that Carignan got up and didn't really deny them. On a point of privilege, he admitted to speaking with Brazeau on Friday morning.
"Senator Brazeau...is a man that I like a great deal. I appreciated him as a colleague," Carignan said in French.
"He finds himself in a difficult situation. And I spoke to him through an article I wrote asking 'how can we help you? Propose something. Let us know how we can bring corrections.'
"I spoke to him about of friendship in saying 'Sen. Brazeau please suggest something. Apologize and perhaps a light sanction something we can come up with to try to find the right find balance.'"
Speaking to reporters after his address, Carignan said he didn't offer Brazeau a 'deal' but spoke to him as a friend. He also suggested that he is open to amendments on the suspension motion specifically with regard to the severity of sanctions levied against the senators.
CBC News' Chris Hall says that he found the whole exchange rather odd.
"My own estimation of this is that it's not going very well for Sen. Carignan. The opposition to this effort is stronger than it had been and anticipated," Hall said.
"I don't know what transpired between these two...but what is clear is that Claude Carignan, who is the person behind this effort to remove Brazeau and the other two from the Senate, is now trying to offer a side deal."
Brazeau left the Senate, after his speech, without speaking to reporters.
A vote on the suspension motions is expected next week.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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