Senator Patrick Brazeau, who traded punches with Liberal MP Justin Trudeau last March for charity, has written a song he hopes will raise awareness about missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Brazeau posted a hand-held video recording of himself playing guitar and singing the song, called Please Come Back to Me, on the video-sharing website YouTube on Tuesday. The video shows him sitting and strumming in a living room in front of a fireplace. (Watch the song below.)
Brazeau said he started working on the song more than a year ago.
"I decided to write this song based on discussions and meetings I have had throughout the years with families affected by having had a murdered or missing aboriginal woman," Brazeau said in an emailed response to CBC News.
"I just want to raise greater awareness surrounding the issue in order to have a national inquiry because aboriginal women and families of victims deserve it," Brazeau said in the email.
Calls for public inquiry
An estimated 600 aboriginal women have disappeared or been killed in the last two decades in Canada, in areas such as British Columbia's "Highway of Tears" and in Winnipeg and Edmonton. A National Aboriginal Women's Summit on the issue in Manitoba earlier this month ended without consensus. The Assembly of First Nations and other aboriginal groups have called for a public inquiry.
"We can no longer sweep these issues under the rug. This shouldn't be a partisan issue. This issue affects all Canadians and we cannot treat aboriginal women as less worthy than non-aboriginal women," Brazeau said.
Brazeau, who says he listens to all kinds of music but enjoys hard rock, said it is the first time he has written lyrics for a song. The emotional ballad is directed at an "innocent child" who "left without a trace," asking her to "please come back to me."
Brazeau acknowledges in a note accompanying the video on YouTube that he isn't much of a singer, but says he is making attempts "at having a real singer record this song to continue the push to raise awareness, to have an inquiry and to bring justice to those families affected by having had a missing or loved one murdered."
He said in his email to CBC News he would like to see money raised to go toward victims' families.
Brazeau, who was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009, is the youngest member of the Senate. He has faced controversy in recent months over his attendance record and over questions about his use of the Senate's housing allowance, which is being reviewed by the Senate's board of internal economy. Senators are given a housing allowance if their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres from the capital.
"I am glad the Senate struck a subcommittee on the issue and I look forward to providing the facts that prove my primary residence is in Maniwaki, Que., contrary to what has been reported," Brazeau told CBC News. "I built my reputation on the need for greater accountability and I will continue practising what I preach."