Senator Don Meredith, who tendered his resignation yesterday amid a sex scandal, is “entitled” to his pension, his lawyer said.
“He was appointed to the Senate after being involved heavily in his community, [and] he worked in the Senate for a number of years,” lawyer Bill Trudell said in a telephone interview on Global’s The Morning Show.
“He has worked to engage with Canadians, the pension [is] vested, and I believe that he’s entitled to it.”
READ MORE: Disgraced Sen. Don Meredith resigns after sex scandal
Meredith was appointed to the Senate in December 2010 under then-prime minister Stephen Harper, and joined the Conservative caucus. He was kicked out of caucus in 2015, when allegations of an affair with a teenager surfaced.
Last month, the Senate ethics commissioner found Meredith guilty of violating the upper chamber’s ethics code, and a committee studying the matter subsequently recommended his expulsion.
WATCH: Does the Senate’s proposed punishment fit Don Meredith’s crime?
Such a move – unprecedented in the Senate’s history – would have required a vote which could have taken place as early as today, one day after Meredith announced his resignation.
But to suggest he jumped before he was pushed is not fair, Trudell said.
READ MORE: Expel Meredith, Senate ethics committee says
“Only a few days have passed … from the time the committee reported,” he said Wednesday morning. “But [that time] has been spent looking at the options, looking at the power of the Senate to expel and really looking at the big picture And, I think Senator Meredith said in his statement, the Senate is bigger than him.”
In his statement Tuesday, Meredith said he recognized that the Senate is more important than his “moral failings,” and hoped his absence from the chamber allows his peers to focus on other work.
Despite any ethical violations, Meredith will keep his $25,000 annual pension, which is based on calculation of his six years in the Senate and his annual salary. Payments can begin in a few years.
WATCH: Historic Senate decision to remove Don Meredith
The committee’s recommendation followed an explosive report from Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard earlier this year.
Ricard concluded that Meredith, a 52-year-old married Pentecostal minister, had failed to uphold the “highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator” and acted in a way that could damage the Senate itself.
READ MORE: Don Meredith won’t address former aide’s allegations, lawyer says
She said Meredith began a relationship with the girl when she was just 16 and progressed from flirtatious online chats to fondling, sexually explicit live videos and, eventually, to sexual intercourse – once shortly before she turned 18 and twice after.
WATCH: Senator Andre Pratte demands Meredith be removed from the Senate
Ricard also concluded that Meredith had abused his position as a senator to take advantage of the teen.
Meredith had called the affair a “moral failing” but insisted he did not have intercourse with the girl until after she turned 18.
With files from