Lately, Senator Patrick Brazeau has been loafing around. While this is nothing out of the ordinary for a Canadian Senator, Brazeau’s is a special case. Charged with sexual assault, Brazeau was removed from the Conservative caucus in 2013. On a day Pamela Wallin called “a sad day for democracy”, he was suspended without pay until 2015 for spending too much money during one of the few times in Canadian history when people were paying enough attention to notice. Evidently, Brazeau’s life has been mired in controversy. Plagued by scandals, it is tempting to think that Brazeau might give up, self-destruct, or just fade into the horizon (though this option seems less likely, given how crowded the horizon is for scumbag politicians). It would be tempting, but it would also be wrong. Patrick Brazeau is the man who hung in there for three rounds against Justin Trudeau during the Thrilla on the Hilla, so we know he won’t go down without a fight.
Shortly after his suspension, Brazeau sought work with, well, anybody. His appeal landed him a job at Frank Magazine, a publication known for making fun of Senators. Ok, let’s guess how this ended. Simply put, it ended. Frank’s Editor Andrew Douglas fired Brazeau after just one column, and publicly apologized for exposing people to Brazeau’s “narcissistic ramblings”. He quipped, “Operation Give a Dog a Bone has been terminated”. Was this the end for Patrick?
No, folks, that was just Round One. News emerged late Tuesday evening that Brazeau, the man Stephen Harper appointed to the Senate, was now managing an Ottawa strip club. How did this happen? Point all the fingers you want, but this is ultimately the public’s fault. We wanted transparency from our politicians, so now we’re getting it. Maybe this wasn’t the type of transparency we imagined, but, then again, we weren’t specific. This is a classic case of “be careful what you wish for”. Thankfully, it carries a silver lining.
Ever since the public remembered that Senators exist in 2013, they have not been held in high esteem. As my father would say: “They’re all dirty. A bunch of pathetic losers living it up in the Old Boys Club.” A similar appetite for reform paves the streets, along with an impatience that stems from the belief that the situation in the Upper Chamber is going to become worse before it improves. This fear is understandable, but it is also unfounded. To use a saying that made more sense in a time when the Senate was still a functional, respected house of Parliament, “hold your horses”. Brazeau’s latest venture shows that meaningful reform is not just on the way…it’s already here.
The Old Boys Club is gone. It has been replaced by a newer boys club, one in which Senator Brazeau is the day manager. Inside its walls we can expect men throwing money around, making bad decisions, and talking like brutes– indeed, some Senate traditions will live on. But we can also expect new traditions to form. For once, members of the public will be able to see first-hand exactly what Patrick Brazeau does at work. Young people, previously relegated to the political sidelines, will now be able to interact with the Senator while he is on the job. There will probably be a complaints process, and, unlike in the Senate, the management will probably take it seriously before the public goes berserk. Brazeau could be fired, not just suspended, if he does a bad job.
Punishment aside, we have every reason to believe that Brazeau will do well in this line of work. He is a fighter, and he has experience working with drunks. He has every opportunity to shine. Yet, even while suspended, he holds Conservative values, so we can imagine he’ll be creative with club rules. When one of his formerly Liberal colleagues comes in, which seems inevitable within the next few weeks, Brazeau will have a trick up his sleeve. “If you want to stay you’ll have to buy a lap dance”, he’ll say. “Forget what Justin told you. There’s no sitting as an independent in this joint.”