Don Meredith not fit to serve Senate, Quebec senator says
Published Monday, March 13, 2017 12:12PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Another senator is calling on Don Meredith to resign his Senate seat over allegations Meredith had a sexual relationship with an underage woman.
In an open letter released Sunday, André Pratte pleads with Meredith to leave the Senate as soon as possible.
"If you do not, I am afraid you will do yourself and, most importantly, the institution, unnecessary and lasting harm," he wrote.
"The Senate Ethics Officer’s report about what happened [two to three] years ago is as damning as it is thorough... As a Senator, and as a man, your conduct was unconscionable. Although you have since taken 'remedial steps,' you have not issued an apology, to your victim, to the Senate or to Canadians, which you should have done long ago."
Meredith is a former caucus-mate of Pratte's -- until Friday, Meredith sat as an unaffiliated senator in the Independent Senators Group (ISG) caucus. Meredith was appointed as a Conservative senator in 2010 by then-prime minister Stephen Harper. He left the ISG on Friday.
Sen. Peter Harder, the government's representative in the Senate, and Sen. Elaine McCoy, the head of the ISG, both called last week for Meredith to resign.
Senate Ethics Officer Lyse Ricard last Thursday released her report into allegations Meredith had a sexual relationship with a teenager. She found Meredith and the young woman, identified only as Ms. M in the report, met when he was 48 and she was 16 at a Black History event at an Ottawa church. It details allegations of several sexual encounters over two years and found Meredith used "the weight, prestige and notability of his office" as a senator "to lure or attract Ms. M."
Ricard included in the report a letter from Meredith that details the remedial steps he's taken since the allegations emerged. Those steps include:
- placing himself under the guidance of spiritual advisers
- continuous prayers of repentence
- professional counselling, both individually and with his wife
- reviewing the Senate ethics code.
Pratte says those measures aren't enough, and urged Meredith to "do the right thing."
"If you sincerely admit to your mistakes, persons of good will and of faith will forgive you; I certainly will," he wrote.
"Hopefully, you and your family will be able to rebuild your lives together. But that will not render you fit to serve as a member of the Senate of Canada. In my mind, you have lost that ability forever."