QUEBEC - From rising political star to dozing denizen of parliament's sleepy suburbs — it's been a grueling few months for Daniel Breton.
The star recruit for the Parti Quebecois had been catapulted from green activist into the prestigious role of provincial environment minister last fall.
But he was swiftly demoted to the backbenches after some personal controversies. Now he's being forced to explain his struggles to stay awake in the legislature.
Breton was caught on camera repeatedly dozing off during question period this week. Asked about it, he said Wednesday that he could be suffering from a sleeping disorder.
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"Because I've been having problems sleeping, on Feb. 4 I asked a doctor to conduct some tests for sleep apnea and they will take place on March 7," Breton said.
"It's as simple as that."
Sleep apnea causes breathing interruptions that wake people up overnight.
The longtime environmental activist suffered a series of political headaches after being named to the environment portfolio following the PQ's Sept. 4 election win.
Less than three months later, he was forced to quit.
There was an initial controversy over his alleged interference in the workings of an ostensibly arm's-length environmental review board.
But what ultimately forced him out were media reports that he had been convicted of employment-insurance fraud, was convicted of driving with a suspended licence, and had twice been evicted for not paying his rent.
His question period siesta occurred while a cabinet minister, standing right in front of him, faced intense questioning about a high-profile summit on university tuition.
Also on HuffPost:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/rob-anders-transgender-bill-c270_n_1939007.html?ref=topbar" target="_hplink">Anders faced harsh criticism after posting a petition on his website opposing what he calls the "bathroom bill."</a> The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/rob-anders-transgender-bathroom_n_1941280.html" target="_hplink">legislation in question would would give the transgender people greater protection under human rights law</a>, but Anders' position expressed fears that it will allow transgender men to use women's washrooms, which could put children at risk. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/rob-anders-transgender-washrooms-bathrooms_n_1939364.html" target="_hplink">Twitter users in particular were outraged by Anders' stance</a>.
Mulcair 'Hastened' Layton's Death
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/01/rob-anders-layton-mulcair_n_1928965.html" target="_hplink">Anders was denounced by politicians and pundits after he suggested in an interview that NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair helped to "hasten" Jack Layton's death</a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/01/rob-anders-apology-jack-layton_n_1929537.html" target="_hplink">Anders apologized soon after</a>, but his contrition has not stopped many from calling for his resignation.
War Of 1812 And 'Islamic Terrorism'
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/13/rob-anders-newsletter-1812-terrorism_n_1880913.html?utm_hp_ref=rob-anders" target="_hplink">Anders was denounced by the Canadian Islamic Conference</a> after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/10/rob-anders-newsletter-1812-islamic-terror-war_n_1872170.html?utm_hp_ref=rob-anders" target="_hplink">sending out a newsletter to constituents which compared the War of 182 to the fight against "Islamic terrorism."</a>
Attacks Tony Clement And Own Party
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/13/rob-anders-tony-clement-norman-bethune_n_1671147.html" target="_hplink">Anders lashed out on Sun News at Tony Clement and his own party after the Treasury Board President paid tribute to Norman Bethune</a>, a Canadian doctor who has become a hero in China but who was also a card-carrying communist.
Premier Alison Redford
During the 2003 Calgary West riding nomination, in which he was up against now Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Anders said he had the win in the bag, unless Calgary lawyer Redford, "got some magic support base of people who like feminist lawyers."
Calgary West Riding Association
Rob Anders has been embroiled in at least two party nomination fights, in which his riding association and others running for Anders’ seat have claimed the party has ‘stacked the odds’ in favour of the incumbent, while also refusing to disclose the reasons why other Tories wanting to run for the seat have been unable to do so. In 2010, 24 of the 32-member riding board quit over one of those disputes.
Rob Anders was booted off a veterans committee this spring. Anders called committee members NDP "hacks" who praised Vladimir Putin after they claimed publicly the Calgary MP fell asleep during committee presentations. The members he attacked are Canadian Forces members who volunteer their own time and money to help.
Asleep in the Commons
Nov 17, 2012. Anders is famously caught on TV sleeping and head-bobbing during House of Commons question period. The video goes viral.
Probably his most infamous moment - Rob Anders calls Nelson Mandela a Communist and a terrorist and is the only Parliamentarian to vote against making the South African human rights leader and former president an honourary Canadian in 2001.
'Pull The Trigger'
In 2010, in a card supporting Canadian troops, Anders wrote: "When in doubt, pull the trigger." The Department of National Defence distanced itself from the remarks.
"All I can say on citizenship at birth is that Australia requires at least one parent to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident for the child to qualify. It is something we should consider as well." On preventing children in Canada from having automatic citizenship.
In 2001, then Veterans' Affairs Minister John McCallum famously refers to Anders as being politically "... to the right of Atilla the Hun." in 2001.