SENATE

Brazeau resignation tweet an apparent hoax

The Globe and Mail

Senator Patrick Brazeau is escorted out the Parliament buildings after he was suspended by from duties by the Senate in Ottawa Tuesday February 12, 2013. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Embattled Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau created confusion Monday night when he sent a message from his Twitter account suggesting that he would resign his seat in the Red Chamber.

“I will step down from my position!” Mr. Brazeau wrote from his Twitter account, @TheBrazman, just before 7 p.m. on Monday. He did not respond to a question on Twitter about which position he planned to resign from, but about an hour later he added, “Official annoucement tomorrow at 10am.”

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Several people wrote back to Mr. Brazeau on Twitter, saying they assumed the tweet was an April Fool’s joke.

Indeed, several hours later, he wrote “Happy April Fool’s Day,” which presumably means the messages were a hoax.

Mr. Brazeau, 38, was suspended from the Senate and removed from the Conservative caucus earlier this year after he was charged with assault and sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

Asked about the tweet on Monday night, Conservative Senator David Tkachuk said he did not know if Mr. Brazeau was being serious. Mr. Tkachuk, who chairs the Senate committee on internal economy, budgets and administration, said he was informed of the tweet by the Senate’s communications department, which sent an e-mail to alert him to Mr. Brazeau’s statement.

The criminal charges were laid against Mr. Brazeau after an argument turned violent and he allegedly pushed someone hard enough to break a staircase handrail, according to court records. Mr. Brazeau continued to collect his $132,000 salary after he was suspended from the Senate.

He is also one of three Senators who are facing scrutiny for claiming a housing allowance designed for members who live outside the National Capital Region. All three cases have been referred to an external auditor for review. Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin has also had her travel expenses referred to the auditor.

The controversy in the Senate is contributing to growing calls for reform of the Red Chamber, where members are appointed by the prime minister and allowed to sit until their retirement. The government has referred a series of questions about Senate reform to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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