Del Mastro Trial Sentencing Saga

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Dean Del Mastro

Peterborough MP (as he then was) at Peterborough Airport for Global Angels June 21, 2014

Peterborough Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro has had his days in court over charges he violated the Elections Act in his 2008 re-election campaign. The trial began in Peterborough on June 23 and ended in Lindsay with final evidence heard on July 14. Closing argument was given by the defence  September 2 and by the prosecution on September 4th.  A guilty verdict was given on Halloween.  Parliament then had to consider whether to expel Mr. Del Mastro from Parliament but he resigned just before the vote.

Mr. Del Mastro changed lawyers from a local lawyer Jeff Ayotte to a Toronto criminal law specialist Leo Adler who attempted unsuccessfully to reopen the case on January 27 a date set for sentencing.  This delayed the proceedings so it was adjourned for sentencing in Lindsay on February 19th.  On February 19 the Crown asked for a jail sentence but submissions were not completed. The sentencing saga continued in Lindsay court on April 28th when submissions were completed. It is now expected that the actual sentencing of Mr. Del Mastro will take place on the next court date of June 26.

Meanwhile Peterborough still has no Member of Parliament and the constituency office is overseen by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer.  Andrew Scheer is a Conservative Member of Parliament representing a riding in Regina Saskatchewan.  It is still possible that a Peterborough by-election will be called but it is almost certain the vacancy will not be filled until a general election for all of Canada later this year.

While charges were pending Mr. Del Mastro sat as an independent Member of Parliament being required to leave the Conservative Party caucus.  The charges concern a payment of $21,000 made by a personal cheque to an Ottawa-based polling firm for which Del Mastro was not reimbursed, exceeding his personal spending limit of $5,000.  Mr. Del Mastro’s cousin David Del Mastro has been charged with offences related to improper campaign contributions to the Dean Del Mastro election campaign to get around donation limits, where his company is alleged to have had employees make contributions in their names, which were not from them personally but using funds of David Del Mastro.

Peterborough’s former Member of Parliament, having been convicted will be sentenced and will face a fine and possibly a jail sentence.   The Conservative candidate to replace the former MP is not yet decided.  The Liberal candidate is Maryam Monsef and the NDP candidate is Dave Nickel.   A federal general election is to be held October 19, 2015 unless the Prime Minister calls an election earlier, and it is not known yet who the local candidates will be from any of the major parties.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has the authority to call a by-election or he may simply call an early general election.  Stay tuned for more drama.

Peterborough Member of Parliament Charged

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Peterborough MP

Peterborough’s Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro

Peterborough’s member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro has been charged and will face trial in June 2014, with four offenses under Canada’s Election Act.  This follows a lengthy investigation related to cheques written and spending limits in the 2008 Federal Election and subsequently failing to provide correct information as requested for the investigation. Mr. Del Mastro denies the allegations against him and vows to fight them.  His first appearance on the charges was in the Peterborough criminal court on November 7, 2013.   Mr. Del Mastro is defended by local lawyer Jeff Ayotte who appeared as agent for Mr. Del Mastro who did not attend.  The case was put over until December 4th. On December 4th trial dates were set with the trial to begin on June 23 and if necessary to continue into the month of July.

Peterborough’s Member of Parliament has left the Conservative Caucus in Parliament while charges are pending and he has indicated he intends to sit as an Independent Member of Parliament who will vote with the Government. He has been removed as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, and for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. He has lost the $16,000 annual salary that goes with the parliamentary secretary job. While continuing as Member of Parliament for Peterborough, Mr. Del Mastro will still receive his $160,200 salary for being a Member of Parliament in Canada.  Dean Del Mastro continues to operate his Constituency Office and his website deandelmastro.ca   The website correctly refers to work as Parliamentary Secretary in the past tense and does not refer to any party affiliation although it clearly puts forward support for accomplishments of the Harper Government.

Peterborough.org is an independent website which expresses no political views but welcomes your opinions on issues relevant to the Peterborough community.  In our Poll we asked if it is best for Mr. Del Mastro to resign or continue as Peterborough’s representative in Canada’s Parliament.

39 people voted on whether Dean Del Mastro should resign his seat in Parliament now, if convicted, or not at all.  We kept the poll as neutral as possible. Abuse of the poll was possible but did not appear to happen.  We did not require voters in the Poll to be Peterborough residents. IP addresses of voters were monitored to help with the honesty of the poll. Voting ended October 31, 2013. Twenty five voted that Mr. Del Mastro should resign now and ten voted that he should resign if convicted. Nobody voted that he should not resign.  There were four comments instead of votes, half of which were negative about Mr. Del Mastro and not appropriate for publication, and half appeared to be spam not responsive to the question in any way.  Obviously Mr. Del Mastro has made his decision to stay on in Parliament as an independent member while the charges are pending and we will see what happens next summer after they are resolved.