Senate Considering Compensation For Alleged Victims Of Don Meredith Is 'Unreal'
OTTAWA — In a move described as “totally unreal” by an alleged victim, a powerful Senate committee met on Thursday to discuss possible compensation for staffers who reported — as far back as 2013 — sexual harassment by former senator Don Meredith.
“They’ll be evaluating how much I deserve while they were the ones imposing the trauma on me. What the f**k is that?” she told HuffPost Canada in an interview. “As of today … we never received one phone call from anyone from the institution asking us, ‘Do you need help?’ No one.”
The former employee, whose testimony was deemed credible and reliable in an investigation by the Senate Ethics Officer, was in disbelief that senators who ignored her case six years ago are on the same committee discussing potential redress. She spoke about her experience on the condition of anonymity, citing professional and personal concerns.
In earlier interviews with HuffPost, she alleged that Meredith, who is also a Pentecostal pastor, inappropriately touched her at work.
She said that he used the intimacy of prayer to put his hands on her shoulders before touching her breast and bottom. In other incidents, he locked the office doors and sexually forced himself on her, she claimed.
Senate spokesperson Alison Korn said the institution “has not received any request for compensation.”
Report confirmed toxic work environment
A report this summer from Senate Ethics Officer Pierre Legault found that Meredith bullied and threatened his staff, and repeatedly touched, kissed and propositioned some of them. The report outlined the experiences of six former employees and a parliamentary constable.
Independent Sen. Raymonde Saint-Germain told reporters before the meeting of the internal economy, budgets and administration committee (CIBA) that the allegations bring “shame” to the Senate as an employer.
“If there’s a need for compensation, compensate at the high level, at the needed, required level, the fair level. We need to do that. A fair employer needs to do that,” she said.
High staff turnaround in Meredith’s office the Senate speaker at the time to order a workplace assessment to find out what was going on.
Saint-Germain said people noticed a “great number of employees were changing, were becoming sick, were complaining.” Among them, “young women,” she said.
“And what did the administration do? And the whips at the time? They send other beautiful young girls. There was an issue there.”