(Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton said embattled Algonquin Senator Patrick Brazeau was “an experiment gone wrong.”)
By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton needs to clarify what she meant when she said embattled Algonquin Senator Patrick Brazeau was “an experiment gone wrong” given recent revelations the Canadian government experimented on First Nation people during the Indian residential school era, according to a Liberal First Nation Senator.
In an interview with Global News last week, LeBreton said Brazeau was “just a human tragedy,” that he “could have done great work for his people,” and that he was “an experiment gone wrong.”
Senator Lillian Dyck said LeBreton’s choice of words was troubling.
“Given the recent media attention about unethical experiments done on First Nation children and adults in residential schools and TB sanatoriums, it was a poor choice of words,” said Dyck. “Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue revealing what she was really thinking, that the Harper government’s experiment in using Brazeau to divide and conquer Aboriginals went wrong.”
The Canadian government conducted nutritional experiments on First Nations adults and children and experimented with a controversial tuberculosis vaccine on First Nations infants in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, historical documents show.
Brazeau, who was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was banished from the Conservative caucus after he was charged with assault and sexual assault against a woman who shared his residence. His next court date is scheduled for October.
Brazeau was also been caught in the housing allowance and expense scandal that has engulfed Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, who were both also appointed by Harper. Mac Harb, who was appointed by former prime minister Jean Chretien, recently resigned his Senate seat after paying back about $231,000 in living and traveling expenses.
The RCMP is currently investigating Duffy, Brazeau, Harb over their expense claims and is reviewing Wallin’s file.
Brazeau’s office said he would not be responding to LeBreton’s statements.
LeBreton’s office said she was in the midst of moving locations and would not be available speak to APTN National News about the issue. Instead, a staffer in LeBreton’s office said the Senator already admitted she used the wrong words in an interview last week with CTV. Her office staffer, however, refused to issue a similar statement to APTN National News.
LeBreton told CTV that her referral to Brazeau as “an experiment” was an “unfortunate choice of words” and that his appointment by Harper was the result of “good intentions gone awry.”
LeBreton is moving offices because she stepped down as Senate majority leader this past summer. She also gave up her seat at the federal cabinet table. She played a key role as government defender when the Senate scandal exploded with the revelation Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright cut a $90,000 cheque to cover Duffy’s expenses.
The RCMP is also probing that matter.
Dyck said Harper chose Brazeau to push through his government’s agenda on First Nation people and attack the existing First Nation leadership.
“Harper’s experiment of appointing Brazeau to attack leaders of Aboriginal organizations…went wrong, because Brazeau did not have a strong base of supporters and little or no credibility on the Aboriginal file,” she said.