It is perhaps not entirely surprising, but it seems that soon-to-be former Senator Don Meredith had the tiniest shred of shame left in him after all, and he announced yesterday that he would be resigning from the Senate. Well, sort of. He wrote a letter where he implied that he was resigning but didn’t actually say it, and made himself out to be a hero for not putting the Senate through a Constitutional challenge around its powers to expel a member. It took calls to Meredith’s lawyer to confirm that yes, he was resigning, and then more calls to confirm that yes, the letter stating that had been sent to the Governor General (who has to get it and then inform the Senate Speaker of that fact) but just hadn’t arrived during the evening political shows.
Don Meredith says in statement that he will not "engage" in fight against expulsion. Wants to "move forward" in his life. pic.twitter.com/AmTzAg7oCO
— Alex Ballingall (@aballinga) May 9, 2017
So now there are a couple of questions remaining. One of them is what happens to the two ongoing investigations into harassment in his office, which would normally be suspended given that they are considered moot given that he’s no longer there. That could change, however, if the Senate Ethics committee decides to let them continue in order for everything to be aired. Given the current mood, that may still happen.
The other question, and we’ll hear no end of sanctimony about it, is about Meredith’s pension. That’s the one thing that most reporters immediately glommed onto yesterday, because of course they did. Apparently, Treasury Board gets to make this call, and they’ve apparently reached out to PMO on the issue, so I’m sure we’ll get some kind of a political determination around it within a couple of days. At that point, we’ll see if Meredith decides that it’s a fight he wants to take on, despite the fact that he’ll have popular opinion against him. He may, however, have the law on his side, but more to the point, the desire to preserve one’s pension has been a driving force for getting bad actors to resign gracefully. Taking that option away will disincentivise future bad actors to do so, which is a bigger problem long-term than the public outrage about this one public figure.
Yeah, let's not go there. https://t.co/uF6N3XdzfN
— Philippe Lagassé (@pmlagasse) May 10, 2017
Meanwhile, this means that the Senate’s powers to expel one of its own members will remain untested, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m not sure that it’s preferable for them to have gone ahead with it, even as a test case, given the historical message that it sends. Regardless, here’s James Bowden laying out the case for why the Senate does have the power to expel its own members, should it become necessary once again in the future.
- The federal government has stated that they will pick up the costs for deploying the Canadian Forces to help with the flooding.
- Here’s an attempt to suss out more about that call between Trudeau and Trump that apparently saved NAFTA.
- Canadian officials are on the ground in Iran for the first time in nearly five years, and no, Iranian election polling stations won’t be allowed in Canada.
- While the Commons brays about Sajjan exaggerating his record in Afghanistan, there are serious concerns that said country is on the brink once again.
- Your latest bout of cheap outrage will be over Snapchat filters. No, seriously.
- Aaron Wherry crunches the numbers on Maxime Bernier’s promises.
- Philippe Lagassé looks at the curious constitutional position of Prince Charles in Canada as we lack our own succession laws (elaborated on here).
- Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at the issue of time allocation (and if you ask me, she’s overly generous about the time needed for Second Reading).
- Susan Delacourt wonders where the next great political book is coming from. *raises hand*
- My column this week looks at how all parties are quick to ignore our constitutional norms in order to suit their narratives, which kind of a big problem.
Odds and ends:
Remember that Liam Neeson film that Parks Canada blocked from shooting on their sites? Turns out the ministers of Heritage and Environment weren’t notified.
Historian Charlotte Grey looks at the eccentricities of William Lyon Mackenzie King, and how they have been portrayed over the decades.
Programming note: While there will be a QP recap this afternoon, there won’t be a roundup post tomorrow morning owing to scheduling.
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) May 10, 2017