By Gerald V. Paul
Canada’s first ever Jamaican-born senator has hired a lawyer over allegations he had a two-year relationship with a teenage girl, including sexual relations once she turned 18.
Senator Don Meredith, 50, a Pentecostal pastor who was passed over by the Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives as an MPP candidate but went on to run at the federal level, placing fourth, was eventually compensated with a Senate seat by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The married Conservative Senator who is facing allegations he had a romantic relationship with a teenager that began when she was 16 that ended this year, is now sitting as an independent.
Meanwhile, the Jamaican-Canadian community is in a state of shock, which spread to the recent Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Meredith’s wife Michelle took to Twitter to express support for her husband. “The more dirt they throw on you, the stronger your roots grow,” adding in capital letters, “Our family stands strong.”
As a Conservative senator, Meredith led trade missions to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and was instrumental in passage of the initiative to make Jan. 21 Lincoln Alexander Day in honour of the former MP and lieutenant-governor of Ontario.
Meredith, a volunteer pastor at Pentecostal Praise Centre Ministries and cofounder of the GTA Faith Alliance, was already under special review by the Upper Chamber about the level of staff turnover in his office.
Since February, several of Meredith’s staffers have been interviewed about their experiences working for the Ontario senator. Meredith is subject to what the Senate calls a workplace assessment.
The controversy became public when the Toronto Star published a story based on allegations from a woman who said she had a two-year romantic relationship with the Senator which included intercourse twice after she turned 18. She did not work for Meredith.