Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Transcript of the Senate fiasco is now online

As a follow-up to the day of anti-reconciliation, here is the portion of the transcript where Senator Patrick Brazeau personally attacks National Chief Phil Fontaine. For the full transcript click here Aslo you can tune into CPACto watch the whole thing.

You know when I reread it, it's just like watching a traffic accident in slow motion. Brazeau has really lost it this time. What was he thinking?

Senator Brazeau: My second question deals with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Obviously, we had some good news announced yesterday with respect to the commission having different individuals named so they can start the important work that needs to be done. However, if we go back a little, we had a credible and capable individual step down, former Chief Justice LaForme, who was applauded by the Aboriginal community. He indicated that one of the reasons he stepped down was political interference by the Assembly of First Nations.Having said that, everyone knows that your former chief of staff was also the executive director who was fired by Justice LaForme. Some have suggested as well that perhaps the interference was by yourself in trying to have family and/or friends hired on to this commission. I ask you this question with all due respect. Can you comment on that, please?

Senator Carstairs: Colleagues, I have known Phil Fontaine in several incarnations, both as the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs...

Senator Brazeau: No answer?

Senator Carstairs: — and also as the Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. I want my colleagues here in the Senate to know that his legacy will be that it was never about Phil. It was always about his people, and particularly the children and his desire to have Aboriginal children have appropriate housing, education, health care and children's services.Meegwech, Phil. I want to ask a question about children's services. The Wendy Report was clear. The amount of money given to Aboriginal people, whether Metis, or off-reserve or on-reserve persons, is far below the amount of money that is afforded to any other people when their children need to be in care. At the same time, there are greater numbers of children in care than in the general community. I would like to hear from Chief Daniels, Chief Fontaine and Mr. Chartier about what we need to do to ensure that your children receive the services they require.

Mr. Fontaine: I am not aware of the rules and procedures of this place and whether one has immunity from making certain accusations about individuals. What I have heard from Senator Brazeau is defamatory, and I need to protect myself.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Moore: Absolutely!

Mr. Fontaine: One would make such arguments when one does not understand the settlement agreement or has never read it. The fact is that there are six parties to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. The Assembly of First Nations is one of those parties, in fact the only party that has a clear and explicit role in terms of an ongoing responsibility for the implementation of the settlement agreement. For example, on the recent appointment of the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and two other commissioners, the Honourable Minister Strahl consulted with me because that is one of the provisions in the settlement act. I consider myself one of the architects of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. When we were fighting for this issue, we were a lonely voice. I never heard Senator Brazeau raise his voice once — not a single time — to talk about the great importance that the fair and just resolution of this matter meant, not just for the survivors but the for entire country. It was only after we had completed the difficult and complicated negotiations that people started complaining. Until then, we met with silence.

I am quite disappointed that Senator Brazeau would make those kinds of allegations. They are completely uncalled for but very consistent with Senator Brazeau. I want you to understand that that is the settlement agreement, and I would urge you to read the provisions of it. Then, you will understand why the Assembly of First Nations had a strong interest in ensuring that the provisions of the settlement agreement are honoured and that everything proceeds in the best interests of not only the survivors but of the country. This is about Canada.

Do we have any regrets about the past? Of course. Will we be stuck in the past? No. We are moving forward with the government on the implementation of the settlement agreement. This very important undertaking will be before us for five years. It represents not only a tremendous opportunity for the country but also a tremendous challenge to get it done right.

The Chair: Witnesses and honourable senators, I am sorry to interrupt but the committee has been sitting for two hours. In conformity with the Order of the Senate of June 9, I am obliged to interrupt proceedings so that the committee can report to the Senate. Honourable senators will join me in thanking most sincerely the witnesses for being with us today.



Anonymous said...

Don't know if you guys are aware but last week's attack on Phil was brought up in the Senate yesterday. Here is what was said"

Honourable Patrick Brazeau
Comments Made During Committee of the Whole
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on June 11, 2008, the Prime Minister of Canada offered a formal apology, "on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians," to the former students of the Indian residential schools.

On that same day, Pierre Poilievre, a member of Prime Minister Harper's caucus, told an Ottawa radio station:

Are we really getting value for all of this money, and is more money really going to solve the problem? My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self-reliance. That's the solution in the long run — more money will not solve it.

The following day, Mr. Poilievre apologized for his remarks, which he described as "hurtful."

Exactly one year later, on June 11, 2009, we again had inappropriate comments from a member of the Conservative caucus, this time when we assembled in Committee of the Whole to commemorate the one-year anniversary of that historic event.

I will not compound the wrong by repeating on the record the outrageous remarks made by Senator Brazeau in this chamber to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine.

Following those remarks, Chief Fontaine said:

What I have heard from Senator Brazeau is defamatory. . . . I am quite disappointed that Senator Brazeau would make those kinds of allegations. They are completely uncalled for but very consistent with Senator Brazeau.

When Chief Fontaine agreed to grace us with his presence last week, I, for one, did not expect that he would be attacked and defamed from behind that special immunity we parliamentarians enjoy in this chamber.

Senator Comeau: That is what you are doing now.

Senator Cowan: A year ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in his place to offer an apology on behalf of the Government of Canada to Aboriginal peoples. Today, as leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Senate, I stand to offer an apology on behalf of my caucus colleagues to Chief Fontaine for the outrageous comments made by the member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's caucus last week. I want to assure him that Senator Brazeau does not speak for members on this side of the chamber.

Funny how Brazeau was there but not a peep came from his mouth. I really don't see where Senator Comeau's comment comes into play and how Senator Cowan's comments are attacking Brazeau.

Ward of the State said...

Hey Anon, I am going to call you "good" anon to distinguish you from the pro-brazeau anon. Thanks for posting. But more bad news. Followign that statement , I found this. Seems like Patrick just can't stop himself. You'll quickly spot the innacuracies and cover-ups in what he says.

Comments During Committee of the Whole

Hon. Patrick Brazeau: Honourable senators, I rise today to respond to a statement made in this chamber yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

In it, my honourable colleague said that I had made what he terms to be “outrageous” remarks surrounding the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, who appeared in this chamber last week.

Honourable senators, I wish to vigorously assert my position in this respect.

I hold this Parliament, and this chamber's esteemed role in it, in the highest possible regard. I approach my role in this chamber with professionalism, dedication and, above all, honesty.

Equally important to assert is the fact that in my questions posed to the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, I levelled no accusations.

As the record shows, honourable senators, I posed questions on the basis of previous public statements made by the former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Justice Harry LaForme. Justice LaForme was publicly quoted in an October 2008 CBC report regarding, and I quote:

. . . interference and influence that is being attempted through Aboriginal organizations like the AFN.

The record again shows that no answer to the question asked was offered. Moreover, neither did the chair of the Committee of the Whole insist upon a response.

Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber should offer an apology for supporting and allowing witnesses to disrespect this institution by refusing to answer a question posed by an honourable senator.

The honourable senator opposite asserts that I do not speak for my honourable colleagues opposite. He is right, I do not. Honourable senators, I speak on behalf of Canada's grassroots Aboriginal peoples; those who either have no voice or whose words have been denied or forgotten by their own leaders. I speak on behalf of Canada's Aboriginal peoples who deserve answers on questions posed in this esteemed place to their representative political leaders.

Honourable senators, we should not be surprised, however, by such Liberal indignation. Analysis of Election Canada's online database shows that in the period covering 2000 to 2006 the Liberal Party of Canada received over $353,000 in contributions from taxpayers’ dollars from First Nation and Aboriginal organizations. Apparently, the Liberal Party has no problem accepting monies that were intended for the support of grassroots Aboriginal peoples as political donations.

Honourable senators, let us be clear. This is not about abuse of parliamentary immunity. This is not about respecting and fulfilling the interests and needs of grassroots Aboriginal peoples. It is about partisan support of faithful contributors to the Liberal Party of Canada, at the expense of the needs of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

Good-Anon said...

Hey Ward,

I saw that this morning. Of course he would think that. The man is delusional, how can he claim to make no accusations about Phil? He blatantly asked Phil if he was trying to get friends and/or family members appointed to the TRC.

I am glad some other person in that useless chamber finally stood up and said something. Below is what Senator Carstairs brought up after Brazeau tried to cover his butt.

Point of Order
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Your Honour, earlier today in Senators' Statements, Senator Brazeau said, ". . . I levelled no accusations." Senator Brazeau stated the following on June 11, 2009, in reference to National Chief Phil Fontaine:

Some have suggested as well that perhaps the interference was by yourself in trying to have family and/or friends hired on to this commission.

Today, Senator Brazeau has accused the Chair of the Committee of the Whole — who achieves that office by virtue of the fact that she is Speaker pro tempore — of failing to take action. He said, "Moreover, neither did the Chair of the Committee of the Whole insist upon a response."

Your Honour, I suggest that Mr. Brazeau is in violation of rule 51 of the Rules of the Senate of Canada which says: "All personal, sharp or taxing speeches are forbidden." When one makes allegations, without proof, of interference and of nepotism, one is indeed making speeches that are sharp and taxing.


Citation 168 of Beauchesne states the following:

Reflections upon the character or actions of the Speaker may be punished as breaches of privilege.

I suggest, Your Honour, that this passage also relates to the Speaker pro tempore.

I have chosen to proceed by way of a point of order as opposed to a question of privilege because I believe action must be taken as soon as possible so that this senator understands the rules of this place and acts accordingly.

Good-Anon said...

and here is the rest cause it was too long for the first post...

The Hon. the Speaker: Do other senators wish to comment on the point of order?

Honourable senators, I concur with the point of order raised by the Honourable Senator Carstairs. I listened carefully because I attended the Committee of the Whole. I wish to sustain the view that the Speaker pro tempore, in my judgment, conducted the Committee of the Whole in a proper manner; and I support the way in which she dealt with the matter.

Honourable senators, we have been asked, in this chair to comment on the purpose of Senators' Statements and how senators make their statements. I simply wish to repeat all that I have said, as your Speaker, about Senators' Statements up to this point in this Parliament and what we had to say in the last Parliament.

It is important for us all to dig a little deeper and understand, as has been recognized by honourable senators themselves, that we address ourselves as honourable senators because we are honourable senators. It is so important, in my judgment, that we be circumspect. Sometimes it is even a virtue to have custody of the tongue. I would invite honourable senators to be mindful of that and to keep Senators' Statements for the intent and the purpose for which it is really designed.

Many honourable senators who have long experience in this house have had the opportunity to share their experience with us when we arrived. I do recall, on one occasion in my first few months in the Senate, leaving the chamber at the end and our very distinguished former colleague Heath Macquarrie came up to me. That day I had had the audacity to make a statement and I think also to ask a question. He said to me, "Now, young man, once a day is quite sufficient."

Honourable senators, I think it is important that we learn from each other. What I would like us always to remember is that this is the Senate. It is the upper house. It is a place where the throne is found. The quality of our debate, the quality of our statements is at a different plateau, both in form and substance — and I underscore both form and substance.

I think Senator Carstairs has made a good point of order. I concur in it, and I would invite all honourable senators to be as prudent and as perspective as we can be.

Wideye said...

A public spanking would’a been more fun. Bend over Pat ( know I think he has that move down ....pat.)
Do you think Brazeau was aware he was scolded? I don't think so - Al probably told Pat "It's all good, don't worry, just do as I say honourable Senator and one day you will be Prime Minister."
Thanks WS and good-anon for the updates. Life has been so hectic it's nice to be able to read everything 'together' when I have a chance.

Good-Anon said...

Does anyone have any info regarding some sort of lobster dinner fund raiser that took place a week after Brazeau acted up in the Senate? There was a story regarding something about that in the Hill Times but I don't have a subscription to it so I couldn't read it. It mentioned something about Phil and Patty.

Also, I see that our friend Patty is now preaching that funds from Aboriginal organizations [intended for grassroots people] was given to the Liberal party, something in the neighbourhood of $350k. Hmmmmm I wonder what the difference of being an advocate for the Conservative Party while supposedly representing Aboriginal people is. It's also pretty evident that he's being paid $134k (base salary) per year as payback for being Harper's pet.

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