POLITICS

Don Meredith, Tory Senator And Pastor, Says Wallin, Duffy, Brazeau Deserve Second Chance

10/28/2013 01:02 EDT | Updated 10/28/2013 01:09 EDT
CP

OTTAWA — A Conservative senator who is also a church pastor says senators should temper their "judgment with mercy" and says he plans to vote against motions to suspend Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau without pay.

Senator Don Meredith is a pastor with the Pentecostal Praise Centre in Maple, Ont. and an executive director of the GTA Interfaith Alliance. He told The Huffington Post this weekend that his colleagues deserve to be given a second chance.

"I believe in that sense of redemption, that one is able to redeem themselves, irrespective of the difficulties that they find themselves in," Meredith said.

Meredith described Wallin and Duffy as "stars" for the Conservative party who travelled across the country on behalf of the government, but had fallen out of favour with the Prime Minister's Office. Political expediency had to be placed aside in favour of humanity, he said.

"We are talking about people's lives here."

Meredith came to Canada from Jamaica when he was 12, and has spent part of his life working with at-risk youth. The biography provided by his church says "he has a heart for people and desires nothing more than to see all people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and His glorious Kingdom."

Turning the other cheek is nothing new for the reverend. He notes that Wallin, Brazeau and Duffy — through Nigel Wright — had already paid back money that was improperly claimed. He points to Martha Stewart and Conrad Black as individuals who paid their dues and are back contributing to society.

Meredith hopes the three embattled senators will show contrition. It would help put the accuser at ease and help everyone to move on, he said.

Even if the three senators believe they have done nothing wrong, Meredith said they should tell their colleagues: "Look I was acting on the best impression, however, I apologize that I wasn't as diligent as I should be. I may humbly feel that I did nothing wrong but in the interest that there is confidence placed back in me as an individual, I apologize."

He hopes a compromise position can be reached and that a friendly amendment from another Conservative senator will be put forward. If not, Meredith — like Conservative senator Don Plett who opposes the motions — said he might table an amendment.

The Conservative Senate caucus is meeting Monday before the upper chamber resumes its deliberations in the afternoon.

On Friday, Tory Senate Leader Claude Carignan told reporters he was open to compromises, after facing dissent in the Conservative ranks. The prime minister, however, insisted in radio interviews that he wants to see the three suspended without pay.

"Whatever the leader decides, he has to explain his position, why any kind of leniency is given in any way," Meredith said.

"Obviously, we are all in support of a minor or less severe expulsion from the Senate, whether it is for a three, six or nine-month period," Meredith said of the Senate Tory caucus.

"In my opinion, it should be done with pay."

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The Senators Against Suspension