HASH(0xbf409c)

Senate ethics committee to finalize report detailing fate of Don Meredith

Senators meet to decide Don Meredith's fate

OTTAWA — Sen. Don Meredith could find out as early as next week what punishment he’ll face for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

The Senate’s ethics committee — which has been pondering a range of sanctions from reprimand to outright expulsion — is hoping to finalize its recommendations and table them in the upper chamber next week.

“We’re coming to the final end of the process,” committee chair Raynell Andreychuk said following a three-hour, closed-door meeting Thursday.

The committee is to meet again Tuesday to go over its draft report and hopefully wrap up its work, Andreychuk said.

The contents of the report will not be made public until it is tabled in the Senate, which must sign off on any sanctions recommended by the committee. Andreychuk said while the objective is to table the final report next week, she acknowledged that may yet prove too ambitious.

“We want to be fair, we want to weigh all of the interests: the institution, the senators, the public and Sen. Meredith. And so, while we have to be prompt, we also have to be correct in following the process and being fair to everyone.”

The committee’s deliberations were sparked by a damning report last month from the Senate’s ethics officer, Lyse Ricard, who concluded that Meredith didn’t uphold the “highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator” and acted in a way that could damage the Senate itself.

According to Ricard, Meredith began a relationship with the girl when she was just 16; it progressed from flirtatious online chats to fondling and sexually explicit live videos and, eventually, to sexual intercourse — once shortly before the teen turned 18 and twice after.

Meredith has acknowledged the relationship but maintains he only had intercourse with the teen after she turned 18.

He has since apologized publicly for what he called a moral failing but has rejected near-universal calls from fellow senators for his resignation.

In terms of sanctions, Andreychuk said the committee has “looked and canvassed everything that we think would be appropriate in Senate setting.”

The Senate has never expelled a senator before and it’s not clear whether it has the constitutional authority to do so when the senator in question has not been convicted of any crime.

However, some senators and experts have pointed out that the Constitution does give the Senate and House of Commons the same powers as the British House of Commons, which can permanently expel a member.

The Senate could also suspend Meredith without pay, as was done with senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau when they were under police investigation for alleged irregularities in their expense claims.

Meredith was investigated by police but never charged.

However, a suspension lasts only until the end of a parliamentary session and must be renewed at the start of every new session.

 

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fernie in last stages of cleanup from damages caused by ammonia leak

Community memorial service in the works for 3 victims of Fernie Memorial Arena ammonia leak

Evacuation order rescinded

Residents of nearby homes able to return after six days

WATCH: Steps being made to extract ammonia, say experts

City workers and family members spoke to media today

Evacuation remains in effect for residents near arena

Community pulling together to help those who have been out of their homes for over three days

UPDATED: Hydro lines down near Moyie

Hydro lines affecting traffic on Highway 3 south of Moyie.

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

B.C. VIEWS: Horgan fumbles salmon farm threat

Lana Popham falls for anti-aquaculture propaganda

Most Read