DISCUSSIONS: 1 – (May 5) The time of the Canadian Senate is long past

Senate is an archaic political reward system for party cronies. Its time has passed and it should be abolished.

___________A rogues gallery of Canadian Senators.

Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau, and now Senator Don Meredith who may be worse than first seen.

Office staff claim that Meredith harassed and sexually abused office staff members for years.

A script from Hollywood
Details are emerging that Meredith would interact with female staff members behind two sets of doors. The outer door could be locked and not be opened from the outside. Once inside with Meredith, staff members would be ‘trapped.” If this is true, Meredith should be punished under the criminal code for harassment.

Don Meredith is a Toronto minister appointed to the Senate in 2010 by Stephen Harper. Meredith used his position as pastor to pray with fellow works, prayer which involved touching the person next to you. In Meredith’s case, a hand on the shoulder turned into a hand on a breast or a staff member’s bottom.

Meredith used the title “The Honourable Dr. Don Meredith” but this honorary doctorate was not from any real university. Nor was his master’s degree.

Meredith is being probed by the Senate Ethics Office for multiple reports of sexual harassment and workplace bullying. Over the last three years, allegations have been made about incidents both inside and outside his office.

A male staff member assessed Meredith’s office persona as being “Narcissistic, dishonest, deceitful, selfish, narrow-minded, self-centred. I know that some are redundant, but just an all-around horrible, horrible person.”

To deter staff from reporting the abuse, Meredith suggested employees consider his influence as a senator. He sometimes went as far as to threaten to ruin their careers in and outside of government, the former employees all claim.

For some female staff with years of political experience under their belts, there was a harsh reality check. Once they realized they were victims of workplace sexual abuse, there were emotional repercussions to contemplate, and career and financial risks to consider.

“I was just so scared,” said the former employee who claims Meredith groped her. She said she felt powerless against the institution.

Several ex-employees claim they were tasked to help Meredith — a Pentecostal pastor — draft speeches he would deliver from church pulpits.

“If you go and take a look and did a forensic analysis of the hard drive, you’ll see those products were requested and delivered on Government of Canada time,” said the former male aide.

Finally, the Senate Ethics Office found that Meredith has a sexual relationship with a 16 year old.

The wording is clear about repercussions faced by Senate employees (“up to and including termination of employment”) if harassment is confirmed. But the institution lacks equivalent rules to discipline senators who behave inappropriately toward employees.

After being appointed by a sitting prime minister, senators have the privilege of serving the institution until they reach the age of 75. After their term expires, they qualify for a comfortable taxpayer-funded pension to buoy their finances for the rest of their lives. Meredith is 52.

The Senate is an archaic system of rewarding political party cronies. The Senate should be abolished.

Senator remunerations:

Every senator is entitled to an annual salary of $142,400 with some senators earning more depending on their positions.

They hold the position until mandatory retirement at 75, [Meredith is 52], after which they receive a pension.

What is your view regarding the Canadian Senate or the Senators?

May 3, 2017

The Senate ethics committee is recommending that disgraced Sen. Don Meredith be expelled for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl — the first such recommendation in the history of the upper chamber.

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

“He 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.”

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 an explosive report from Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard earlier this year.

She concluded that Meredith, a 52-year-old, married, Pentecostal minister, had begun a relationship with a 16-year-old girl that later became sexual; she also found that Meredith had abused his position as a senator to take advantage of the teen.

Meredith has called the affair a “moral failing” but insists he did not have intercourse with the girl until after she turned 18 and has rejected fellow senators’ near-universal demand that he resign.

The Senate has never expelled a senator. But the general feeling in the Senate — from senators to a number of female staffers — has long been that Meredith is no longer welcome.

Prior to Tuesday’s report, experts said Sec. 18 of the Constitution says both the Senate and the House of Commons have the same powers as the British House of Commons, which can expel a member and declare their seat vacant.

Meredith has publicly apologized to his family, his fellow senators, the woman in question — known only as Ms. M — and to all Canadians, hoping the contrition would be enough for him to hold on to his Senate seat.

“This is a moral failing on my part,” Meredith said in March in an interview with The Canadian Press, with his lawyer in attendance. “As a human being, I made a grave error in judgment, in my interactions. For that, I am deeply sorry.”

The Senate ethics report found Meredith, 52, had sex with the woman once before she turned 18 and twice afterwards, and also engaged her in explicit online chats.

Ricard ruled that Meredith used his position as senator improperly and that he failed to uphold the “highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator” in violating the Senate’s ethics code.

Source: The Canadian Press, May 2, 2017

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