I have two daughters ages thirty and forty, and two granddaughters ages five and twenty-one. One of my daughters at fourteen years old fell for an older man, started not coming home at night, and began to have sex with him. Like any concerned loving parent, I thought that the law was on my side and reported the man to the Montreal police. I was told that my fourteen-year-old was of legal age to consent and the man had broken no laws.
I am telling you this, because I know what it is:
- to be a parent;
- to have a fourteen-year-old daughter fall in love with an older man;
- to have the law protect the adult man instead of my minor child;
- to feel helpless and betrayed;
- to live my life in fear that the same thing will happen to my granddaughters, because the law has not changed.
What I find to be as disgusting as what Senator Meredith admits to doing, is the fact that Senator Don Meredith, has been found to have broken no Canadian law. Not one of the outraged politicians, news anchors, guest panelists, called for a change in the law that makes it legal in Canada for an adult man to prey on girls fourteen and up for sex. Everyone is so busy talking about saving the reputation of the senate, that no one is talking about changing the legal age of consent back to eighteen-years-old, and putting some serious consequences for those found guilty of statutory rape.
Does it make any sense that a fourteen-year-old girl in Canada is considered old enough to consent to sex with an adult male under the law, but not old enough to, smoke, drink alcohol, gamble, quit school, or vote? Does it make sense that as an adult to sell a person under eighteen-years-old tobacco products or alcoholic beverages is a crime, but an adult can enter into a relationship with a fourteen-year-girl and offer to make her a star, or an intern, for sex?
Senator Don Meredith and miss M’s story in my opinion is no different from that of René Angélil and Celine Dion, and yet the story of René Angélil and Celine Dion is considered one of the great love stories and successes of all time and Senator Don Meredith and miss M’s story is considered to be disgraceful. How can one of these men be guilty of an immoral relationship, so reprehensible that he must be driven from his job, and yet the other be allowed to use his immoral relationship to become entertainment royalty, amass great wealth, and most get a state funeral?
I do not believe that the race card is being played out in the senate, but I do believe that when the senate says it is considering trying to do an end run around its own rules when it comes to the firing of a sitting senator, then it opens itself to the race card and a whole bunch of other problems.
There are rules of conduct in every work place, as there are in the senate. It is important that these rules are applied the same to everyone. When talking about the integrity, honor, morality of the senate, an institution responsible for helping to create the rules that Canadians live under, how can one breach of the standard be more of an offense than another?
It is important to understand that in spite of the fact that Senator Don Meredith is an embarrassment to:
- his office;
- his race;
- his peers both in the senate and his church, as well as to his family;
- Senator Don Meredith has of yet to be charged with any criminal offense by any police agency in Canada, because he has not broken any laws.
Under the Constitution, a senator can be removed for five reasons:
- If for two consecutive Sessions of the Parliament, he fails to give his Attendance in the Senate.
- If he takes an Oath or makes a Declaration or Acknowledgment of Allegiance, Obedience, or Adherence to a Foreign Power, or does an Act whereby he becomes a Subject or Citizen, or entitled to the Rights or Privileges of a Subject or Citizen, of a Foreign Power.
- If he is adjudged Bankrupt or Insolvent, or applies for the Benefit of any Law relating to Insolvent Debtors, or becomes a public Defaulter.
- If he is attainted of Treason or convicted of Felony or of any infamous Crime.
- If he ceases to be qualified in respect of Property or of Residence; provided, that a Senator shall not be deemed to have ceased to be qualified in respect of Residence by reason only of his residing at the Seat of the Government of Canada while holding an Office under that Government requiring his Presence there.
The end run around its own rules has never been tried before, by the senate…not even:
- at the height of the senate scandal;
- when Mike Duffy was found innocent of all charges;
- when Senator Beyak spoke of the “good intentions” behind the residential schools system;
- after Senator Beyak refused to take back her statement, or give up her seat on the Senate’s Aboriginal Peoples committee;
- when Senator Brazeau’s was arrested on February 7, 2013, for domestic assault and sexual assault;
- on September 15, 2015, when Senator Brazeau pleaded guilty to simple assault and cocaine possession as part of a plea deal in which other assault charges were dropped, and he was acquitted of sexual assault.
Some of the things being suggested the senate do about Senator Meredith are listed below.
- Television programs hosted by the likes of Rosie Barton, Don Martin, and their regular assortment of political pundits have stated on television that they do not care what the law says and insist that the senate should do whatever is necessary to get rid of Senator Don Meredith.
- Interim Conservative Party Leader, Rona Ambrose and most of the senators believe the senate should do this end run around the law and the senate rules to end the Meredith embarrassment.
- The NDP wants Trudeau to put pressure on the senate to change their rules, although the senate is supposed to be an independent and separate entity from the House of Commons.
- The senate itself has asked their law clerk to look further into Section 18 of the Constitution Act. Section 18 of the Constitution Act states that Canadian parliamentarians have all the “privileges, immunities or powers … enjoyed, and exercised by the Commons House of Parliament in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” (In Britain, MPs can oust a member of the House of Commons with a majority vote in favor of a motion to remove that person. Section 18 seems to imply that Canadian senators could have that same power).
Everyone seems to think that it would be okay to violate the existing rules and historical practices of the senate and do whatever it takes to remove Senator Don Meredith. They all seem to agree that they would not like to see this happen too often though…perhaps just this once to remove Senator Don Meredith. I say stop grandstanding and work to change the law that makes girls of fourteen years old easy targets for male predators!
What does it say of Canadian justice and Canadian institutions responsible for creating and passing the laws that Canadians are supposed to live by, if those in parliament and the senate adhere to an alternative, or shadow justice system, which ignores Canadian law and the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Canadian Constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Canada is supposed to be a country that believes in the rule of law. Canada’s belief that that all Canadians are equal and can expect equal treatment under Canadian law, is a corner-stone if not the very foundation upon which Canada’s democracy depends. The push to remove Senator Don Meredith from the senate by any means necessary, may:
- look like the right thing to do, surface;
- satisfy most people’s desire to see him removed from the senate.
The reality is that this is little more than:
- mob justice;
- vigilante justice;
- political grandstanding.
None of the above mentioned will do anything to stop older men from having inappropriate relationships with minor girls.
There will always be men like the man who had sex with my daughter at fourteen, René Angélil, or Senator Don Meredith: Men who do the things that they do and get away with it, because the law is on their side. Until the government stops using this issue as a political football and the law is changed, girls of minor age will continue to be, unprotected by Canadian law, at risk and vulnerable to the desires and urges of adult men.
Justin Trudeau sits with a majority government right now and could change the law and make it illegal for an adult male to have sex with a minor.
Rona Ambrose’s Conservative Party of Canada had a majority government and they never passed a law to protect minor girls from adult male sexual predators.
None of the NDP have called for any changes to the law.
I am not concerned about:
- how embarrassed the senate is by the actions of Don Meredith;
- how the senate can’t withstand another scandal.
What I am concerned about is:
- all of the other minor girls that remain vulnerable to adult male predators;
- all of the parents who will find no help within Canada’s legal system protect their children adult male predators;
- that not one political party or politician has called for a change in the law that protects minor girls from adult male predators.
If the law had been changed years ago:
- I would not have been helpless while an adult male had sex with my minor daughter;
- Celine Dion’s mother could have stopped the relationship between her minor; daughter and an adult man, that she was concerned about and did not approve of;
- The senate would have no problem removing Don Meredith, because he would be in jail for breaking the law.
Changing the senate rules may be out of reach without opening up the constitution, but changing the law is not. Changing the law, just requires the political will to do so.
If Senator Don Meredith resigned tomorrow, only the senate would win, because his removal from the senate would do nothing to protect minor girls from being preyed on.
Talk is cheap! Action is required to save lives!