Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Am I starting to feel sorry for Senator Brazeau?

I don't know if I'm quite feeling sorry for him, but this is starting to border on ridiculous.

Here's the latest on Conservative star Senator Patrick Brazeau:

Three times in the past five years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's most controversial new Senate appointee fell behind in support payments for a son he has not spoken to in eight years – payments that totalled less than $100 per month.

Patrick Brazeau, the 34-year-old former aboriginal leader who was appointed to the Senate in December, missed one payment as recently as 11 months ago at a time when he was earning a six-figure income.

In an interview yesterday, he said he did not want to air any personal "dirty laundry," but he acknowledged he had been late on some payments and said he would consider larger monthly payments for the well-being of his 14-year-old son now that he was earning more than $130,000 as a senator.
A number of legitimate concerns have been raised about Brazeau's suitability for public office, particularly his actions and conduct as head of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. These issues are perfectly germane, and certainly leave me of the view this guy isn't Senator material, and his appointment was a major foul-up by Stephen Harper.

But the story last week about how he drives a Porsche SUV...why should I care what car he drives? I assume he bought and paid for the car himself, and if that's how he wants to spend his salary, who cares?

Now the "investigative media" are turning their attention to his relationship with his son. Do I think it's dickish of Brazeau to, while he makes a six-figure income and drives a Porsche, be only paying $100 in child support? And that he fell behind on that pitiful amount? I do. But this is none of my business. It doesn't relate to his position as a Senator. The figure is low, but that's a matter between him, his ex and the courts, an avenue of redress I'd encourage her to consider. And is it really our business that he is estranged from his son?

As I've said, there's plenty of fault to find with Brazeau in the professional sphere without descending into the trivial (his vehicle) or the personal (his family). I wish the media would keep this in mind, and I hope the opposition parties don't stoop to personal attacks here.

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7 comments:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Yeah, he seems like just the right type of feller to be dispensing wisdom and sober second thought. At least we're only payin' him a fat salary for the the next 30 or 40 years, no questions asked, no elections contested.

Canada's biggest black eye in the international view is our despicable treatment of First Nations. The biggest single sore point is child poverty among native kids. I reckon Senator Brazeau's record in the child support department might indicate a little bit about how he feels about this important issue.

Pullin' out the "it's personal" card don't work so well for public figures. When they put themselves in the limelight, they open the door to examination of their lifestyles. The child support thing is a court-ordered deal, the public is involved. The law courts made the order and the guy supposed to be payin' is gettin' all his buckets of cash from the public purse.

If we're going to maintain the ridiculous unelected Senate, let's at least have character in the list of non-negotiable criteria.

JB
Never missed a support payment. Kids count.

900 ft Jesus said...

the same question crossed my mind - is this relevant to his appointment as Senator?

After some thought, I think it is because he chooses to use the prod dad thing as a prop when defining who he is in the context of his role as Senator or aboriginal leader paid through public funds -

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090203.wPOLafn0203/BNStory/politics/home

"Questions are also being raised this week about the description of Mr. Brazeau as a family man. Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton introduced the new Senator last week in the Senate as “the proud father of three young children and I am happy to note that a fourth is expected this spring.”

That description is being disputed by Dene Buckshot, the mother of Mr. Brazeau's 14 year-old son. Ms. Buckshot told CTV News this week that Mr. Brazeau has not spoken to his son in eight years and that the public mention of his children is meant “to advance his career or give the impression of something, that to me, he's not.”

Another public statement -

http://www.abo-peoples.org/about/bio_chief.html

"Perhaps most importantly, National Chief Brazeau believes in a strong sense of personal responsibility for one’s own future."

If he opens the door to his character on certain issues in a bid to present himself in his public function as being a certain way, he opens that same door to scrutiny, which means his statements about who he is can - and in my opinion, should be challenged. Reminds me of that dingbat who ran for vice president in the US - dangling her family in from of the news, going on and on about family values, and then whining when people actually criticized her for presenting a false picture.

The porshe was no one's business, though, unless it was paid for - even partially with public funds, or unless it's a huge gas-guzzler and we pay for the gas. In that, he's guilty of really bad optics, but that's it.

Gayle said...

First - there is no reason for this man to only be paying $100/month child support for a 14 year old boy. When he cannot manage to even pay that trifling amount he is breaking the law.

That said, while I have no problem dragging him through it, I have a huge problem with the fact everyone seems to be ignoring the 14 year old son. The boy has done nothing to deserve this kind of media attention - even if he is not named or being shown in the media.

ktr said...

Gotta disagree with you on this one Jeff. I mean, Paul Martin was accused of not having good character by not paying taxes on his business in Canada, not that that or supporting child porn would affect his leadership, even if the child porn thing were true. regardless the cons went after him. chretien talked funny and that was worthy of them going after him.
And the thing about brazzeau in the porsche...well he is driving that while everyone he represents is beyond poor. And the guy buys the porsche, and then after being questioned about it and the child payments says 'sure i would consider paying more' i mean, common, if you are making enough to drive that, and only making some of the payments for your child support, what kind of family values does that show by the party that supports family values supposedly.

lyrical said...

Can you imagine if St├ęphane Dion had done these things? (Nice article about him in this week's Hill Times, by the way.) He would've been kicked even harder by the media!

With some of these Senate appointments (not necessarily this one), I keep seeing a picture of Stephen Harper as that smug kid in school who used to throw stink bombs in the hallway and then run out the door laughing.

Barcs said...

Seems to me that given the reported lifestyle of both him and his ex... that $100 is a pittance to both of them, and largely symbolic of the court to impose it.

Kinda reminds me of my visa last month... they phoned me about an unpaid amount of $28....

So did he fall behind because he can't afford the $100? Or because it wasn't important to either him or his wife whether it got paid on the 31 st of this month or if it got pushed to the next month.

A BCer in Toronto said...

To those who have said they'd make this kind of attack on a Liberal, maybe they would. But that doesn't make it right. If an attack is out of bounds its out of bounds, and it shouldn't matter if its against one of ours or one of theirs. Right is right, and wrong is wrong.

His child support is between him, his child, his ex and the courts. It's not any of my business, and there's plenty of germane issues that make him crappy Senate choice w/o delving into the personal.