Patrick Brazeau not credible, says Manitoba grand chief

The head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says he has no sympathy for Senator Patrick Brazeau, who has been put on a leave of absence from the Senate after being charged with assault and sexual assault.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak says his organization does not consider Brazeau a leader or role model in the aboriginal community.

"I can say, I think, with a lot of confidence that nobody would recognize him as a leader in the aboriginal community," Nepinak said Thursday.

"I'm satisfied that he doesn't have any credibility in our community."

Brazeau has weathered several controversies since he was appointed to the Senate in 2009, but on Thursday he was arrested at his home in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa.

Brazeau was removed from the Conservative caucus shortly after the arrest and will sit as an Independent.

On Friday, he was charged with assault and sexual assault. Following a court appearance that morning, Brazeau was released on $1,000 bail until his next appearance on March 22.

Senators charged with a serious crime keep their seats, but they are placed on a leave of absence until the charges are withdrawn, the court proceedings are stayed, or the charges result in dismissal, conviction or acquittal.

Before he was appointed to the Senate, Brazeau was head of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the national organization that represents off-reserve aboriginals.

Recently, Brazeau was a vocal critic of the Idle No More movement, and he made disparaging remarks about Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's recent hunger strike.

"We know that he has a questionable history when it comes to some of his past activities amongst our people," Nepinak said.

"In terms of any sympathy, you're not going to find it from us."

Nepinak called Brazeau's past conduct hypocritical and opportunistic.

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