Staff turnover in senator's office prompted review: Speaker

Don Meredith is under special review by upper chamber about level of staff turnover in his office

Don Meredith/Mitchel Raphael

Don Meredith/Mitchel Raphael

OTTAWA — A Conservative senator appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is under special review by the upper chamber about the level of staff turnover in his office.

Don Meredith has been subject to what the Senate calls a workplace assessment since February. As part of the review, a number of Meredith’s former staffers have been interviewed about their experiences working for the Ontario senator.

Senate Speaker Leo Housakos confirmed the review is ongoing and that a report outlining the findings of the review should be available by the end of June.

The review was ordered by the previous Speaker, Pierre Claude Nolin, and other top senators who “thought there was too much of a revolving door in his (Meredith’s) office in terms of the number of employees in a very short period of time,” Housakos said.

“They thought that was questionable.”

Housakos said an outside investigator was called in, but there was no formal complaint, said Senate spokeswoman Nancy Durning. Meredith could face an internal discipline process or further review by the Senate ethics officer, she added.

“No comments,” Meredith said Thursday on his way into the Senate chamber.

Harper appointed Meredith to the Senate in 2010, two years after Meredith ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in a 2008 byelection in the riding of Toronto Centre.

His time in the Senate has not been without controversy.

In 2012, Meredith landed in trouble with members of his own caucus for appearing at a Persian cultural event at Ottawa City Hall co-organized by the Iranian embassy. The Prime Minister’s Office distanced itself from Meredith after the event, saying Meredith wasn’t there representing the government, which has taken a hard line against Iran.

Last year, Meredith repaid the Senate for a trip he and his wife took to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The annual event draws some 3,000 politicians and diplomats, including the U.S. president.

Meredith also landed in hot water for referring to himself as “Dr. Don Meredith” in press releases, despite the fact his doctorate came from a institution that didn’t have degree-granting abilities.

Similar questions were raised about his purported master’s degree, which the PMO touted when it announced Meredith’s Senate appointment.


Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.