Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded after an ethics probe discovered that Ontario senator Don Meredith had sex with a teenage girl.
While he was in Houston, Texas Friday at an energy conference, Trudeau told press:
“It is not for me to weigh in on how the Senate should continue to conduct itself, but of course every politician in Canada, senator or MP or at any level … needs to conduct themselves in a way that is worthy of the public trust placed in them.”
The media has been a buzz this week after a 30-page report was released Thursday by Senate Ethics Officer Lyse Ricard detailing Meredith’s relationship with a teenage girl.
Meredith, 52, is an ordained Pentecostal pastor found to have had sexual relations with a teenage girl who, at the time, was under the age of 18. The report refers to the young girl only as “Ms. M.”
The report concluded that Meredith used his senate position to “lure or attract Ms. M, a teenager, who by virtue of her age, was necessarily vulnerable.”
As the Toronto Star notes, Meredith used his Senate cell phone to call the young woman and even invited her to his Senate office. He also tried to get her an internship on Parliament Hill.
In the ethics report, Ricard wrote:
“Sen. Meredith failed to uphold the highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of the Senate.”
The Senate’s ethics committee will now deliberate before deciding whether Meredith will be removed from the Senate entirely, or suspended without pay, such as past senators like Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, and Pamela Wallin were.
Sen. Peter Harder, the government representative in the Senate told reporters:
“It is debatable as to whether or not the Senate has the authority to force a resignation.”
However, Harder urged Meredith to resign now to save himself further humiliation.
Meredith would video chat with the young girl and ask her to remove her top while he would masturbate. Conservative Sen. David Wells called his conduct “disgusting” telling reporters:
“I don’t think the Senate is any place for a person of that character. The things that he’s done as disgusting. They’re wrong by any measure.”