Toronto – March 18, 2017 – Just a couple of years after leaving the Prime Minister's office, many of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's picks for the Senate have come back to haunt him.
It's not hard to remember the many months of negative headlines inspired by inappropriate expense claims by Harper's herd of senators: the twists and turns of the Mike Duffy scandal; former television host Pamela Wallin's inappropriate expense claims for business unrelated to the Upper House; and Patrick Brazeau, who also claimed living expenses he was not eligible for, and who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus after an arrest that was eventually followed with a guilty plea to assault and drug charges.
Now, two more of Harper's senatorial selections find themselves in hot water.
Senator Lynn Beyak, a former candidate for the Ontario P.C. party, who was appointed to the Senate in 2013, was recently critical of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report on the residential school system. Beyak complained that the report overlooked the "good deeds" of the "well-intentioned" residential schools. Her comments have been condemned across the political spectrum. NDP MP Romeo Saganash called for Senator Beyak's resignation after she praised a system that the United Nations described as form of cultural genocide. Beyak’s remarks were even condemned by her fellow Conservative senators, yet she still sits in the Conservative caucus.
Another Harper-selected Senator, who finds himself in trouble is Toronto-based ordained minister Don Meredith. He was expelled from the Conservative caucus in 2015 – but not from the Senate – following allegations that he had conducted a two-year affair with a teenager that began when the girl was 16.
A just-released report from the Senate's Ethics Officer investigation has now concluded that the 54-year-old Meredith had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the young woman, yet Meredith has refused to resign from the Senate.
As we move away from the Harper era, day after day, more and more names get added to the ever-growing list of blunders made by the former P.M., as the legacy of his bad judgement continues to linger.