Patrick Brazeau on strip club gig: 'A job is a job'
OTTAWA — Patrick Brazeau stood at the bar of Bare Fax Gentlemen's Club while his boss answered questions from reporters Wednesday morning.
The suspended senator breezed past cameras at the front door around 11:20 a.m. without answering questions and started his second shift as day manager at the York St. peeler bar.
"A job is a job," Brazeau quietly told this reporter at the bar as the lunch crowd slowly started to arrive.
But what do you think of all this attention?
"I'm used to it," he said before politely declining a longer interview on his new gig.
During the lunch buffet of steak, potatoes, salad and tangy dill pickles, patrons concentrated on their drinks and meals, paying more attention to the fleshy entertainment on stage and the Canada-Latvia hockey game on the flat screens than the celebrity strip club manager.
Brazeau cleared some tables with one of the owners but mostly stood by the bar over the lunch hour, occasionally sipping from a coffee mug.
As day manager, he's in charge of 25-30 staff, everything from hiring to firing to scheduling.
One stripper making the rounds of the tables said she heard about the Brazeau story in a cab on her way to work and feared the day ahead.
Management of the family-owned strip club knew there would be interest in Brazeau's new job but they expected it would take a week for the media to catch wind.
One of the owners, Carmelina Bentivoglio, said Brazeau is her uncle's friend.
"He was looking for a job -- and anyone looking for a job we're willing to hire," Bentivoglio said in her second-floor office as Brazeau prepared for his shift.
"I'm sure he's going to have some good ideas for us. He's a smart guy, not a dummy."
Criminal allegations against Brazeau -- fraud and breach of trust for his housing expense claims and assault and sexual assault in a domestic case -- didn't scare the owners, either.
"I get it, but isn't everyone innocent until proven guilty?" Bentivoglio said.
Bentivoglio doesn't think Brazeau's job will be a distraction for the business and she acknowledged it might bring curious customers through the door.
She wouldn't say how much Brazeau is making an hour.
"We haven't even talked to him about it yet," Bentivoglio said.
The club is in Ottawa’s historic Byward Market, and has a beautiful view of the Parliament Buildings from the front door.
The life and times of Patrick Brazeau
Born: Nov. 1974 in Maniwaki, Que.
Education: Diploma in social sciences from CEGEP Heritage College (Gatineau)
Work history: Has worked at HMCS Carleton, a Naval Reserve unit based out of Ottawa
2001: Joined the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
2005: Elected vice-chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Feb. 2006 to Jan. 2009: Held the position of national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Dec. 22, 2008: Appointed to the Senate on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Jan. 8, 2009: Sworn in as a senator
March 31, 2012: Loses a celebrity boxing match against Liberal MP Justin Trudeau
Feb. 7, 2013: Arrested and charged with assault and sexual assault in Gatineau, relating to a domestic incident. Released on bail. The matter remains before the courts.
Feb. 28, 2013: The Senate committee of Internal Economy announces that Brazeau, Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Mac Harb will be subject to a forensic audit to determine appropriateness of their expense claims.
Nov. 5, 2013: Senate votes to suspend Brazeau for the remainder of the session, likely until the next federal election in 2015.
Dec. 2013: Brazeau is hired as a freelance reporter for the Halifax edition of the satirical magazine Frank but is fired after writing just one column.
Jan. 2014: Scotiabank lawyers file papers to repossess Brazeau's Gatineau home in 60 days, saying he and his estranged wife skipped two loan payments.
Feb. 2014: Brazeau lands a job at an Ottawa peeler bar
Do you agree with Patrick Brazeau’s statement, ‘a job is a job’?