The Senate’s ethics committee says Senator Don Meredith should be expelled
A senator who engaged in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl should be expelled from the upper chamber, its ethics committee recommended in a report tabled on Tuesday afternoon.
“This is a moral failing on my part.”
It’s the first recommendation of its kind from the ethics committee, and it now has to be considered by the Senate, which has never expelled a senator in its history. A vote on the matter will likely take place early next week.
Disgraced Senator Don Meredith, who has refused calls from inside the Senate for his resignation, now has five sitting days to respond.
The recommendation comes after a scathing March report by the Senate’s ethics officer Lyse Ricard, who found that the Pentecostal minister-turned senator, initiated a relationship with the young woman, referred to only as Ms. M, knowing that she was 16 years old.
The report found he had sex with the woman three times — once before she turned 18 — and sent her explicit messages online.
“This is a moral failing on my part,” Meredith said in March in an interview with The Canadian Press. “As a human being, I made a grave error in judgment, in my interactions. For that I am deeply sorry.”
Meredith, however, has denied having sex with the young woman before she turned 18.
Meredith used hotel rooms and a cell phone, paid for by the Senate, to further the relationship
The ethics officer’s report also said Meredith “drew upon the weight, prestige and notability of the office of senator, and his relative position of power in his official capacities and as a much older adult to ‘lure or attract’ the teenage girl who was in a vulnerable position by virtue of her age.”
Meredith used hotel rooms and a cell phone, paid for by the Senate, to further the relationship, the Toronto Star reported.
Meredith’s lawyers had asked for a suspension of one to two years without pay, but the committee rejected the proposal, saying “the only appropriate sanctions under the circumstances are those that would restore the dignity, reputation and integrity of the position of senator and the institution of the Senate.”
“The committee is of the opinion that Senator Meredith’s remorse and acceptance of responsibility are at odds with his conduct since the inappropriate relationship became public,” said the report.
Cover: Colin Perkel/CP