Ethics of­fi­cer to re­view ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against sen­a­tor

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

The Speaker of the Se­nate says the up­per cham­ber’s ethics of­fi­cer has been asked to look into Sen. Don Mered­ith over the re­sults of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how he treated his of­fice staff.

Leo Housakos pub­licly con­firmed in a short state­ment Thurs­day morn­ing that Mered­ith has been told he will un­dergo an ethics probe.

Housakos says he and other top sen­a­tors on the Se­nate’s in­ter­nal econ­omy com­mit­tee felt it was “im­per­a­tive” the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sults be re­ferred to ethics of­fi­cer Lyse Ri­card.

Depend­ing on the out­come of the latest ethics re­view, Mered­ith could face penal­ties rang­ing from a forced public apol­ogy on the floor of the Se­nate — which is the pun­ish­ment for for­mer Con­ser­va­tive Pierre Hugues Boisvenu when he was found last year to have vi­o­lated the Se­nate’s ethics code — to sus­pen­sion with­out pay.

Sources told The Cana­dian Press Wed­nes­day night that six for­mer staffers who spoke with out­side in­ves­ti­ga­tors made al­le­ga­tions of work­place ha­rass­ment against Mered­ith, say­ing he was a bully, rude and un­pro­fes­sional to­wards his staff.

There are also al­le­ga­tions of psy­cho­log­i­cal ha­rass­ment and some­times mak­ing ir­ra­tional de­mands of his staff.

The al­le­ga­tions in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port re­main un­proven and none of the staffers who took part, nor any whose sto­ries are in­cluded in the re­port, wanted to file a for­mal com­plaint against Mered­ith, sources say.

The Se­nate first or­dered the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mered­ith’s of­fice in Fe­bru­ary af­ter top sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing for­mer Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin, wit­nessed what they felt was a trou­bling turnover of staff in Mered­ith’s of­fice. The Se­nate’s in­ter­nal econ­omy com­mit­tee called in out­side in­ves­ti­ga­tors to speak with for­mer staffers and Se­nate hu­man re­sources of­fi­cials as well as Mered­ith him­self.

CP PHOTO

Don Mered­ith

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