OTTAWA — The Senate's Ethics Officer Lyse Ricard resigned suddenly Monday.
Ricard has been leading an investigation in allegations of workplace harassment in the office of former senator Don Meredith, who stepped down last month when it seemed he may be expelled over a relationship with a teenage girl.
Former senator Don Meredith is seen in his lawyer's office in downtown Toronto on March 16, 2017. (Photo: Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press)
Ricard cited "sudden and unforeseen family obligations requiring her full attention for her early departure," according to Senate Speaker George Furey. She will resign on June 30. She has been the Senate's ethics officer since 2012.
It's unclear what this means for the Meredith report or another report into allegations concerning independent Liberal Senator Colin Kenny. Calls to the office of the Senate's ethics officer were not immediately returned.
According to the ethics code, an inquiry pertaining to a senator is automatically permanently suspended if they cease to be a senator. However, Senate committees do have the authority to override the permanent suspension of an inquiry if they decide it should be completed once started.
Meredith resigned a week after the Senate ethics committee recommended he be expelled for his relationship with a teenage girl.
Days before the committee recommended expulsion, HuffPost Canada published an investigation revealing the senator harassed and sexually abused his staff for years.
Other senior Senate officials moving on
Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk told the Senate that Ricard was resigning due to the unexpected illness of her husband, Jean-Pierre Dubeau.
She acknowledged Ricard for her dedication, professionalism, hard work and the integrity she had brought to the Senate ethics officer position.
Ricard is the third senior Senate administrator to leave her post. Nicole Proulx, the chief corporate services officer and clerk of the standing committee on internal economy, budgets and administration, will retire on Aug. 31. The clerk of the Senate Charles Robert is also moving on. Robert will be the new clerk of the House of Commons.
With files from Zi-Ann Lum