Expel Senator Meredith, says ethics committee

Senator Don Meredith

Disgraced Jamaica-born Senator Don Meredith  should be expelled from the Red Chamber for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenaged girl.

That’s the recommendation  of the Senate ethics committee announced on Tuesday.

“He (Senator Meredith) has brought disrepute to himself and to the institution,” the committee’s recommendation reads.

“Your committee is of the opinion that Sen. Meredith’s misconduct has demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a senator. His presence in the chamber would in itself discredit the institution.

“No lesser sanction than expulsion would repair the harm he has done to the Senate.”

It’s now up to the full Senate to decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation.

And Meredith must be given five sitting days in which to respond to the committee report, should he wish, so a vote on his fate can’t occur before next Tuesday at the earliest.

The recommendation follows a report from Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard earlier this year.

The  report found that Meredith  did not uphold the highest standard of dignity inherent to his position by having an affair with the young woman described in the  report as ” Ms M.”

“Senator Meredith drew upon his weight, prestige and notability of his office, as well as his relative position of power as a much older adult, to lure or attract Ms M, a teenager who, by virtue of her age, was necessarily vulnerable” Ricard said in her 33-page report.

The report notes that Meredith first met the teenager at a Black History Month event at a church in Ottawa in February 2013 and then proceeded to have a relationship of a sexual nature with her until May 2015.

Meredith had denied many of the allegations made against him by Ms M but when presented  with extensive evidence, including logs showing contact he had with her  on his senate-issued cell phone, he conceded he had sexual intercourse with her on one occasion.

Ricard launched her investigation at the request of Leo Housakos, then Speaker of the Senate,  who believed that the alleged relationship between the senator and the teenager , if true, would constitute ”  conduct unbecoming of a senator” and would require disciplinary sanctions.

Meredith who was appointed to the senate by former  prime minister Stephen Harper in 2010,  was removed from the Conservative caucus after the allegations came to light following an investigation by the Toronto Star newspaper.

After the report  of the senate ethics officer was released, Senator Meredith said  that he believes he has been the victim of racism since the allegations about his affair first surfaced in the summer of  2015.

Where individuals of colour rise, he said, somehow they’re taken down —whether its “self-inflicted or orchestrated.”

“Absolutely, racism has played a role in this,” Meredith said. “This is nothing new to me. There is always a double standard that exists in this country.”

Meredith has begged forgiveness for his ” moral failings ” over his sexual relationship with the teenager. He has apologized to his wife, children, his fellow senators and “all Canadians” for the relationship that took place with the woman known as Ms. M.

The Caribbean Camera  tried several times to contact  Senator Meredith but could not reach him.

Senator Meredith is the fourth person of African descent, and the first Jamaican to serve in the Senate of Canada. A businessman and community advocate, he is an ordained minister and volunteer pastor of Pentecostal Praise Centre Ministries in Vaughan, Ontario