OTTAWA – Sen. Patrick Brazeau left political observers scratching their heads Monday night when he suggested on his Twitter account that he plans to resign, only to reveal the announcement as a late April Fool’s prank.
“Happy April’s Fool’s Day!” the controversial senator tweeted just after 11 p.m. Monday night, after suggesting earlier in the evening that he was stepping down from his Senate seat.
Brazeau wasn’t alone in making April Fool’s jokes on Twitter. Earlier in the day, for instance, Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae had quipped that he would run for Liberal leader after all.
However, Brazeau, 38, is facing assault and sexual assault charges stemming from a Feb. 7 incident at his Gatineau home. He has pleaded not guilty and is next due in court in June.
At 6:47 p.m. Monday evening, Brazeau tweeted: “I will step down from my position.” Many people dismissed it as an April Fool’s joke.
An hour after that, Brazeau sent a follow-up: “Official annoucement (sic) at 10am.”
The more serious-sounding tweet launched the Twitterverse into confusion, with some journalists maintaining the tweets were a hoax, others sounding less sure.
Most Twitter users who replied to Brazeau were not amused. Some noted that April Fool’s day, for many people, ends at midday, making the tweet an ill-timed attempt at humour.
While on leave, Brazeau continues to collect his $132,000 salary, though he must seek approval from a Senate committee for additional expenses. He is not yet eligible for a Senate pension.
His Twitter account, which he has deactivated then re-activated, has been a source of controversy in the past.