Se­na­tor quits

Don Mered­ith to re­sign Se­nate seat rather than face ex­pul­sion vote

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

Dis­graced Sen. Don Mered­ith is re­sign­ing from the Se­nate rather than wait to see if his col­leagues ex­pel him for en­gag­ing in a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a teenage girl.

The Se­nate was poised to vote as early as Wed­nes­day on a Se­nate ethics com­mit­tee re­port, which last week con­cluded that Mered­ith is un­fit to serve as a se­na­tor and rec­om­mended that the up­per house take the un­prece­dented step of ex­pelling him.

But in a state­ment to­day, Mered­ith says he rec­og­nizes that the Se­nate is more im­por­tant than his “moral fail­ings.”

He says he’s de­cided to move forward with his life, with the full sup­port of his wife and chil­dren, and ex­presses the hope that his ab­sence from the cham­ber will al­low se­na­tors to fo­cus on their good work.

His lawyer, Bill Trudell, con­firms that Mered­ith has de­cided to re­sign, although he doesn’t specif­i­cally say so in the state­ment.

“I am acutely aware that the up­per cham­ber is more im­por­tant than my moral fail­ings,” Mered­ith’s state­ment reads.

“Af­ter con­sult­ing with my fam­ily, com­mu­nity lead­ers, and my coun­sel over the past sev­eral weeks, I have de­cided to move forward with my life with the full sup­port of my wife and my chil­dren. I am blessed to have had their un­con­di­tional love and sup­port through­out this or­deal. It is my hope that my ab­sence from the Se­nate will al­low the se­na­tors to fo­cus their good work on be­half of all Cana­di­ans.

“The path of ex­pul­sion be­ing con­sid­ered by my col­leagues will have ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for the Se­nate of Canada. This is a con­sti­tu­tional fight in which I will not en­gage.”

The com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion fol­lowed an ex­plo­sive re­port from Se­nate ethics of­fi­cer Lyse Ri­card ear­lier this year.

Ri­card con­cluded that Mered­ith, a 52-year-old mar­ried Pen­te­costal min­is­ter, had failed to up­hold the “high­est stan­dards of dig­nity in­her­ent to the po­si­tion of se­na­tor” and acted in a way that could dam­age the Se­nate it­self.

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

Ri­card also con­cluded that Mered­ith had abused his po­si­tion as a se­na­tor to take ad­van­tage of the teen.

Mered­ith had called the af­fair a “moral fail­ing” but in­sisted he did not have in­ter­course with the girl un­til af­ter she turned 18.


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