Don Meredith (politician)

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The Honourable
Don Meredith
Don Meredith.jpg
Don Meredith during the candidates debate for the 2008 Toronto Centre by-election
Senator for Ontario
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 18, 2010
Appointed by Stephen Harper
Preceded by Peter Stollery
Personal details
Born (1964-07-13) July 13, 1964 (age 50)
Saint Ann, Jamaica
Political party Conservative Party [1]
Residence Richmond Hill, Ontario
Religion Christian, Pentecostal

Don Meredith (born July 13, 1964)[2] is an ordained minister[2] in Canada, executive director of the GTA Faith Alliance which focuses on the issue of youth violence, particularly involving gangs and guns, and a member of the Canadian Senate.[3][4][5][6] The GTA Faith Alliance has organized peace rallies in the Malvern and Rexdale communities of Toronto following incidents of violence as well as organizing town hall meetings on related community issues.[3] Meredith was the Conservative candidate in the March 17, 2008 federal by-election in Toronto Centre. He received 12.5% of the vote, and placed fourth behind Liberal victor Bob Rae and the New Democratic and Green candidates.

Background[edit]

Born and raised in Jamaica, Meredith immigrated to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in the early 1980s.[7] He attended Ryerson Polytechnical Institute and, while he was a student, began Donscape Landscaping Services, which he still owns and operates.[2]

Meredith was ordained a minister in 2006,[2] is a graduate of Rhema Studies of Theology Association[8] and is the volunteer Senior Pastor at the Pentecostal Praise Centre in Maple, Ontario[9] close to Richmond Hill, Ontario[2] where he now lives.[10] Previously, he was a minister at Grace Christian Life Centre in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough.[6] Meredith is a member of the Chief’s Advisory Council for the Toronto Police Services; he has also been a member of the York Region Community Police Liaison since 2004, as well as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Consultative Committee since 2005.[3] He is the former Co-Chair of the Black Community Police Consultative Committee, an advisory group of community members who advise the police on various issues. Meredith participated in the “Black Family Summit,” held in August 2006.[11]

Politics[edit]

In December 2007, he was nominated by the Conservative Party of Canada as its candidate in the downtown Toronto riding of Toronto Centre federal by-election held on March 17, 2008.[12] Meredith won the Conservative nomination by acclamation several weeks after the party controversially removed Mark Warner as its standard-bearer.[13]

Meredith is a social conservative who has spoken out against pre-marital sex and stated that "when we have marriages, we don't have these social problems."[14] Meredith has also stated that he would like to see the age of sexual consent raised to 18 from 14 which is it at odds with the Conservative government's stated intention to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16.[15] Nonetheless, Meredith has indicated that he supports New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Bill Siksay's private member's bill[16] to add gender identity to the list of distinguishable group traits protected from hate speech by the Criminal Code and to allow judges to take into account whether crimes were motivated by hatred of transgender or transsexual people when determining the offender's sentence.[17] In opposition, Stephen Harper had opposed Siksay's predecessor, former NDP MP Svend Robinson's successful private member's bill that added sexual orientation to the law in 2004.[18]

He placed fourth in the by-election which saw him receiving 12.5% of the vote, down from the 18.2% received by the Conservative candidate in the 2006 federal election and also down from the 18.3% that the Conservative candidate would receive in the federal election held seven months after the by-election.

Meredith was appointed to the Canadian Senate on December 18, 2010 on the advice of Prime Minister Harper. He sits as a Conservative.

In September 2012, Meredith was criticized for attending a cultural event at Carleton University organized by the Iranian embassy at a time when the Canadian government is urging a boycott of Iran.[19]

Credentials questioned[edit]

Meredith claims an honorary degree from an association of Christian counsellors, the Canadian Christian Clinical Counsellors’ Association, that has no standing as a degree-granting school and has been signing himself as "The Honourable Dr. Don Meredith" since receiving the honour. Meredith also claims to have earned a bachelor's and master's degree in religious studies from California State Christian University, an unaccredited, unregulated school which is not recognized by either the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and is not permitted by the state of California to grant graduate degrees.[20][21]

Awards[edit]

In 2006, Meredith received an Urban Leadership Award from the Canadian Urban Institute for being an “outspoken advocate against crime and for the advancement of a just society”.[3]

In 2008, he received the Toronto Police Service 13 Division Community Service Award.[1]

In 2012, he received the Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award [22] and the BBPA Youth Advocacy Award.[23]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal by-election, March 17, 2008: Toronto Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Bob Rae 14,187 59.2 +7.0%
New Democratic El-Farouk Khaki 3,299 13.8 -9.9%
Green Chris Tindal 3,263 13.6 +8.4%
Conservative Donald Meredith 2,982 12.5 -5.7%
Animal Alliance Liz White 123 0.5 +0.4%
Canadian Action Doug Plumb 97 0.4 -
Liberal hold Swing +8.5%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Parliament of Canada". Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Toronto Centre Conservatives welcome new candidate Don Meredith, Toronto Centre Conservative EDA press release, December 21, 2007 (retrieved January 3, 2008)
  3. ^ a b c d Award Recipients - Urban Leadership Awards 2006, Canadian Urban Institute
  4. ^ Whittington, Les, "Harper calls 4 by-elections for March 17; Two former Liberal leadership candidates Rae and Hall Findlay to run in Toronto ridings", Toronto Star, December 22, 2007
  5. ^ Welsh, Moria, "Faith in ending violence; 'We are not going to sit back and let 2006 become like 2005'; City's church leaders pray, then announce extensive plan Response to gangs includes 400 mentors for at-risk youth", Toronto Star, January 3, 2006
  6. ^ a b Fowlie, Jonathan, "No more bodies on our streets", Globe and Mail, April 3, 2004
  7. ^ Elect Don Meredith Campaign website, retrieved January 31, 2008
  8. ^ Toronto Kiwanis - Don Meredith (speaker's biography), retrieved January 4, 2008
  9. ^ "Senate appointee known as activist preacher leading campaigns against gun violence", Globe and Mail, December 20, 2010
  10. ^ Grech, Caroline, "Residents express cell tower health worries", The Liberal (Richmond Hill), December 1, 2007
  11. ^ Black Family Summit, 2006 accessed December 21, 2007
  12. ^ Canadian Press, Bob Rae gears up for federal byelection in Ontario, CTV News, December 22, 2007
  13. ^ Four federal byelections offer Dion chance to solidify leadership", Canadian Press, December 21, 2007[dead link]
  14. ^ "Harper annonce la tenue d'élections partielles le 17 mars", Le Devoir, December 22–23, 2007
  15. ^ "Candidate tackles top issues", Towncrier, January, 2008
  16. ^ Creelman, Brent Siksay introduces trans hate crimes bill, Xtra, December 13, 2007
  17. ^ Rau, Krishna Conservatives appoint new by-election candidate, Xtra, January 17, 2008
  18. ^ CTV, Toews on record for repeal, changes to hate law, CTV, June 8, 2004
  19. ^ Proussalidis, Daniel (September 4, 2012). "Tory senator slammed for attending Iranian event". Toronto Sun. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Tory Senator Don Meredith Touts Degrees From Unaccredited Schools". Huffington Post. May 5, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Tory senator calling himself ‘doctor’ received honourary degree from group without authority to grant degrees". National Post. May 5, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Planet Africa Awards". Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "BBPA Harry Jerome Awards". Retrieved 11 April 2013.