Stephen Harper’s Man Patrick Brazeau

Plenty of side issues now swirling around Patrick Brazeau, which to my mind are distractions from the real issue as articulated in this wheat from the chaff summation.  This controversy isn't about the validity of the Senate itself, it's about judgement and more specifically the horrendous judgement displayed by this Prime Minister for appointing Brazeau in the first place:

When he was appointed that morning, along with 17 others in a mid-prorogation patronage frenzy, the Conservative government already knew then-Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice had received letters from aboriginal leaders in this country questioning the membership and spending of the organization Brazeau headed.
The prime minister’s office knew this former model and martial arts expert was facing a charge of sexual harassment.
Kory Teneycke, Harper’s spokesperson of the day, said the prime minister was aware of the allegations and said Harper was “proud” to appoint Brazeau since there was no finding of misconduct.
Days later, news emerged of a troubling audit of CAP by Health Canada leading then Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff — 12 days after Brazeau’s swearing-in — to question whether he was “Senate material.’’
Then the Star’s Joanna Smith reported that the new senator, who drove a Porsche SUV, was behind in child support payments. The PMO, by then, was hiding behind its “private matter” shield, but Brazeau was already displaying his penchant for blaming everyone but himself.

In other words, Brazeau was a TAINTED individual when Harper appointed him.  The litany of controversies that have dogged Brazeau since his Senate appointment appear to be nothing more a continuation of bad behaviour.   What kind of vetting process puts the "brash", "controversial" Brazeau in the Senate in the first place, by all accounts someone who garnered little respect within the aboriginal community the appointment apparently spoke to.  The RED FLAGS were everywhere, manifested in various forms, many a human resources manager would have steered clear of this hire.  And yet, Harper plowed ahead with this Senate appointment, in what can be fairly characterized as reckless disregard for troubling facts staring him in the face.

There is no way Harper could have foreseen the latest troubling episode.  That said, the buck stops with the Prime Minister when it comes to his presence on Parliament Hill.  Despite ample evidence that this individual was problematic prior to appointment, Harper decided this was the person best suited to represent the aboriginal community in the Senate.  Further, despite one controversy after another during his tenure in the Senate, Harper declined to sanction Brazeau, which effectively CONDONED his behaviour.  Only when we saw serious criminal charges on the horizon did the PMO launch into damage control and dump Brazeau to avoid any taint.  The decision is more about self preservation than moral imperative, because if that were the true guide many past opportunities to articulate that concern.  In fact, by appointing to the Senate such a "controversial" figure- then ignoring each subsequent transgressions- Harper emboldened Brazeau, he appeared untouchable, free to act in any boorish manner he chose.  

There are plenty of issues swirling around the Brazeau debacle.  What should remain top of mind,  Stephen Harper brought this man to center stage, this is his appointment, warning signs were ignored, later incidents condoned, culminating in this sorry affair.  Brazeau boils down to a question of incredibly poor judgement on the Prime Minister's part and that's the bottom line.

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