Don Meredith (politician)
|Don Meredith during the candidates debate for the 2008 Toronto Centre by-election|
|Senator for Ontario|
December 18, 2010
|Appointed by||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Peter Stollery|
July 13, 1964 |
Saint Ann, Jamaica
|Political party||Conservative Party |
|Residence||Richmond Hill, Ontario|
Don Meredith (born July 13, 1964) is an ordained minister 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. 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. 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.
Born and raised in Jamaica, Meredith immigrated to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in the early 1980s. He attended Ryerson Polytechnical Institute but never graduated; while he was a student at Ryerson, he began Donscape Landscaping Services, which he still owns and operates. His failure to complete a university education has been attributed to the troubles he encountered when he later fabricated having earned university degrees.
Meredith was ordained a minister in 2006, is a graduate of Rhema Studies of Theology Association, which is a non-degree granting association. He is the volunteer Senior Pastor at the Pentecostal Praise Centre in Maple, Ontario close to Richmond Hill, Ontario where he now lives. Previously, he was a minister at Grace Christian Life Centre in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. 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. 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.
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. Meredith won the Conservative nomination by acclamation several weeks after the party controversially removed Mark Warner as its standard-bearer.
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." 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. Nonetheless, Meredith has indicated that he supports New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Bill Siksay's private member's bill 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. 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.
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 was urging a boycott of Iran. Almost oblivious to his governments foreign position on Iran, Meredith travelled to Iran in 2012 in attempts to forge business deals with the government.
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 stopped calling himself a doctor after his credentials were questioned and he was called upon to substantiate his educational credentials. 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. Meredith has been described by insiders as "ungovernable" and continues to use the falsely acquired designation of "Dr." in his private life and work with the GTA Faith Alliance where he uses his Senate position to attempt to create entrepreneurial opportunities for himself still utilizing the fabricated title of "The Honourable Reverend Dr. Don Meredith". The fake titles and educational credentials are used in opposition to the Party which has prohibited him from using the fabricated designations. He is also known to utilize his Senator's position to show up at unapproved events to which he may not have even been invited. In 2014 he attended the National Prayer Breakfast attended by notable preachers and politicians in the United States. He expensed the first class trip for himself and his wife along with the hotel cost to the Senate and was later forced to repay the expense. He has been removed from all Senate Committees for what the Party described as inappropriate and embarrassing behaviour, including habitual lateness.
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”.
In 2008, he received the Toronto Police Service 13 Division Community Service Award.
|Toronto CentreCanadian federal by-election, March 17, 2008:|
|New Democratic||El-Farouk Khaki||3,299||13.8||−9.9%|
|Animal Alliance||Liz White||123||0.5||+0.4%|
|Canadian Action||Doug Plumb||97||0.4||-|
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