Can the Senate clean up its act now?

Maybe. If not, there isn’t much anyone can do about it.

“I was thrown under the bus but I survived.” Independent senator Patrick Brazeau tweeted out those words shortly after learning that the Crown would be dropping all charges of fraud and breach of trust against him related to the Senate expenses scandal.

Brazeau had a lot of company under that bus: fellow senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and now-retired senator Mac Harb. All faced similar investigations into their spending habits. All have now been cleared of either charges or suspicion. Duffy was acquitted in April, Harb saw his charges dropped in May, and the RCMP announced that same month that Wallin would not be charged.

For those results, Harb, Wallin and Brazeau can thank Duffy — or rather Donald Bayne, Duffy’s lawyer. Bayne soldiered on through a two-month trial that most observers predicted would end with his client convicted of at least one of the 31 charges of fraud and breach of trust filed against him. Instead, it was the government — particularly Stephen Harper’s PMO — that got a black eye for orchestrating Duffy’s demise; the Senate itself suffered grievous image damage for maintaining fuzzy rules about residency and ‘official’ vs. ‘personal’ business.

Brazeau’s freedom won’t put an end to this sad political saga, of course. The senator is now weighing his legal options, which include suing the Senate and/or the RCMP. CTV News quoted Brazeau’s lawyer Christian Deslauriers saying that he and his client plan to “explore all avenues” — and hinting at a conspiracy to smear his client. “If there was any political interference, I cannot prove it. I can believe in it, I can think there was, but I cannot prove it.”

Upon his return to the Senate the day after charges were dropped, Brazeau himself said that what happened to him “was unjust and somebody needs to be held accountable.”

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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