Sunday, March 19, 2017

More On The Rogue Senator And Moral Coward, Don Meredith

On Friday's Power and Politics, host Rosemary Barton was her usual relentless self, evident in her sharp questioning of Selwyn Pieters, the attorney representing disgraced Senator Don Meredith, about whom I posted on Friday. It seems to me that the only point she overlooked was when Pieters insisted that Meredith did not use his position of authority to influence the unnamed 16-year-old into a sexual relationship. In fact, the moral coward promised to get the young woman a Senate internship.

Meanwhile, Toronto Star letter-writers are unanimous in their opinion of the miscreant-senator: Disgraced senator must resign or be sacked.

I offer but one of several missives that tell us why he must go:
I am disappointed with the leniency your editorial treated the senator by asking him to resign. He should be sacked. His resignation should not be accepted.

How could a senator, an ordained pastor and a married father be allowed to get away with this serious offence by allowing him to resign? First, he denied, then he tried to derail the investigation, and when the report was ready he apparently requested two versions: a sanitized report for public consumption, the other for the Senate.

Is our red chamber so rotten?

Muri B. Abdurrahman, Thornhill


  1. Yes the Senate is that rotten, but he doesn't deserve to be sacked, as she was of the age of consent, so it's not the Senate business in the first place.

    Is the Senate to go through all the personal lives of it's membership looking for scandals?

    Unless a crime has been committed, then the personal lives of MPs and Senators are off limits as far as I am concerned, I don't support a Puritan witch hunt.

    1. I appreciate your point of view, Gyor, and in the majority of instances I think I would tend to agree with you. However, the issue of the age of consent is not as cut and dried as it appears here. Here is what a source offering legal perspectives has to say:
      If a person is in a position of authority or trust toward a minor, the law doesn’t recognize the minor’s consent to any type of sexual activity between them.

      The young person’s consent isn’t valid even if it was obtained honestly and without the other person taking advantage of the position of authority or trust.

      "In other words, the sexual activity is considered a crime whether or not the minor agreed to it.

      The purpose of this rule is to protect young people who are in a weak or vulnerable position because of the nature of their relationships with certain people.

      To decide whether someone was in a position of authority or trust at the time of the sexual activity, the facts of each case must be considered. For instance, a court might take the following factors into account:

      -age difference between the partners
      -evolution of their relationship
      -the position of the person in trust or authority in relation to the younger person

      You can read more at this website:

      By this measure, I think you can see the problem for Meredith here.

  2. Your understanding of the difficult consent issue is sound, Lorne. Employers, those in a position of authority or trust, have always been held to a higher standard of propriety in sexual matters involving subordinates. Bosses aren't permitted to treat the mail room as their game preserve although some definitely have.

    Mr. Pieters didn't succeed in garnering understanding much less sympathy for Meredith. Perhaps he was just intended to catch or deflect the expected slings and arrows.

    1. Pieters came across even less effectively in his interview on Power Play, but I felt Mercedes Stephenson did a far less effective job in questioning him than did Rosie Barton.

  3. The Senate wasted incredible amounts of police and Crown resources trying unsuccessfully to pin something on Senators Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau and Harb. Senate leaders alleged criminal conduct, and if not, then violations of vague senate rules or rules that weren't in place at the relevant time.

    Now they're at it again with Sen. Meredith. The cops have looked at the evidence and won't lay charges. Despite what that goon Sen. Vern White says, Meredith is entitled on that basis to be presumed innocent.

    Not satisfied, the Senate leadership and ethics officer want to drum Meredith out for violating sections 7:1 and 7:2 of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators that “are applicable to all conduct of a senator, whether directly related to parliamentary duties and functions or not, which would be contrary to the highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator." The trouble is that those sections were passed AFTER Meredith's affair with Ms. M was over! It would be a gross violation of justice to make the rules retrospective.

    It's a rare day when I find myself agreeing with Con Black, but he's dead right here - this is a lynching.


    1. Your passion for the issue is evident and admirable, Cap, and I appreciate the link to the Conrad Black piece. As well, your point about sections 7:1 and 7:2 of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators provides additional food for thought. I still reject the notion that cries for his removal are prompted by racism, and wish, if Meredith is capable of such a virtue, that he would do the honourable thing and resign. However, it appears from our exchanges here that there is little legal basis for his removal.