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Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau barred from joining parliamentary press gallery

Suspended Sen. Patrick Brazeau applies for membership to the parliamentary press gallery at the National Press Building in Ottawa on Monday, December 2, 2013.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Sen. Patrick Brazeau's fledgling career in political journalism looks to be in trouble.

The parliamentary press gallery has denied the suspended senator's bid for accreditation as a freelance reporter for Halifax-based Frank Magazine.

Press gallery president and Radio-Canada reporter Daniel Thibeault told The Canadian Press that Brazeau wasn't eligible for membership because he's still a senator.

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"We feel that the fact that Sen. Brazeau is still a senator – he's still listed on the website, he still has access to benefits, he's still entitled to a pension, he hasn't resigned from the Senate, he was suspended and the suspension will be over as soon as there's a new session," Thibeault said.

"So we feel as an executive that it's incompatible. You can't be a senator and a member of the press gallery at the same time."

The Halifax edition of Frank – not to be confused with another publication in Ottawa with the same name – caused a stir this month by announcing Brazeau as its newest contributor.

The satire and gossip magazine said the senator would be a "pain in the arse" to his former Senate colleagues, who voted to suspend Brazeau and fellow former Conservative caucus members Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin over their questionable expense claims.

The suspension from the upper chamber – which lets Brazeau keep his health, dental and life insurance benefits – is to last for the rest of the parliamentary session, which could continue for the next two years.

Freelance journalists must submit letters of assignment from two publications with their press gallery application. Thibeault said Brazeau had letters from Frank and The First Perspective, a publication which focuses on aboriginal news and views.

Word that the press gallery had rejected Brazeau's application apparently caught the senator by surprise.

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"(N)ews does travel fast, I wasn't even aware!" he tweeted.

It's not clear if Brazeau will still write for Frank. A message left with the magazine wasn't immediately returned, and Brazeau didn't respond when asked the question on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Brazeau faces charges of assault and sexual assault stemming from an incident earlier this year. His next court date is in mid-February.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

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