OTTAWA — Angry Canadians called for Sen. Don Meredith to be removed from the Senate after allegations emerged that he had an improper relationship with a teenager.
The demands for Meredith — who is facing the prospect of a police investigation into the allegations — to lose his Senate seat landed in the Prime Minister’s Office inbox, according to emails obtained by The Canadian Press.
Some Canadians had seemingly been pushed too far by yet another senator caught in a scandal and, more specifically, another one appointed by Stephen Harper.
“Man o man…couldn’t you have put some half decent people on the Senate payroll?” one email read.
Another message was just as blunt: “Holy Hannah, has there been anyone nominated by Harper to the Senate that hasn’t brought shame to Canada?? How is it indeed possible to have so many senators nominated by one prime minister go in the ditch?”
The emails were sent on June 18 and 19 after published allegations of misconduct forced Meredith to quit the Tory caucus. The names and addresses of the writers were redacted from the messages, which were released to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
Many emails raged at the Conservatives and the Senate over yet another scandal in the upper chamber.
Meredith could face a police probe into allegations following a Toronto Star report that alleged he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl, who is now 18.
The woman told the Star that Meredith initially thought she was 18, but that she only told him her true age six weeks after their first meeting.
The Star report said the woman had sexually explicit online chats with Meredith and that the relationship progressed to kissing and touching before she turned 18.
She said the pair had intercourse twice after she turned 18 before the 50-year-old Meredith, a married Pentecostal minister and father of two, broke off the relationship earlier this year.
The age of consent in Canada for sexual relations is 16, except in cases of a relationship of trust or authority in which the young person is in a dependent or exploitive relationship, when it increases to 18.
The allegations against Meredith remain unproven and no formal complaint against him has been filed with the Senate.
Meredith has not responded to the allegations. He quit the Conservative caucus when the allegations were published.
“That’s a good first step, but it’s only a first step,” said one email to Harper.
“He should be booted out of the Senate entirely, and this should be done tomorrow! He is a disgrace and has no longer any right to be in that institution.”
That writer went on to call for the abolition of the upper chamber — something the NDP has pledged, if elected — or “at the very least” make the selection process for senators non-political, which the Liberals have promised to do.
Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard said Friday she was suspending her review of Meredith, citing a request from another authority that didn’t want her to interfere in their investigation.
She didn’t identify which investigative body asked her to suspend her review, but the clause in the Senate ethics code cited by Ricard only kicks in when police ask the ethics officer to put a review on hold.
Harper appointed Meredith to the Senate in 2010 after he ran unsuccessfully in a 2008 Toronto byelection. Other Harper-appointed senators have found themselves in trouble over the past three years, including Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.
Although many non-Harper appointees to the Senate have since landed in hot water over their spending, eight of the 30 senators named by the auditor general were appointed by Harper. Nine were appointed by Jean Chretien, six by Brian Mulroney, five by Paul Martin, and one each by Joe Clark and Pierre Trudeau.
The opposition parties, however, have tried to pin the upper chamber’s problems on Harper.
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Jordan Press, The Canadian Press