Dean Del Mastro

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Dean A. Del Mastro
Member of Parliament
for Peterborough
Incumbent
Assumed office
2006
Preceded by Peter Adams
Personal details
Born (1970-08-16) August 16, 1970 (age 44)
Peterborough, Ontario
Political party Independent (2013–)
Conservative (2006–2013)
Spouse(s) Kelly Del Mastro
Residence Peterborough
Profession Auto dealer[1]
Religion Catholic[2]

Dean A. Del Mastro (born August 16, 1970) is a Canadian politician. He has represented Peterborough in the House of Commons of Canada as a member of the Conservative Party since January 23, 2006. After being charged by Elections Canada with falsifying election documents and knowingly exceeding the Election spending limit, he resigned from the Conservative caucus.[3] Del Mastro faces charges of violating the Canada Elections Act and up to five years in prison with a $5,000 fine. He previously served as the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Del Mastro was born to an Italian Canadian family in Peterborough, began high school in Lakefield, and graduated from the Adam Scott Collegiate and Vocational Institute. He graduated from the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor and holds and Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree.[citation needed] The Del Mastro family founded a Suzuki dealership that now sells RVs.[5][1][6] Del Mastro was originally a supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada, though he has said he became disillusioned with the party after the 1993 federal election.[7]

Political career[edit]

Del Mastro won the Conservative nomination for Peterborough over six other contenders in May 2005, defeating former party nominee James Jackson by only eight votes on the final ballot.[8] He was elected in the 2006 federal election, narrowly defeating his Liberal Party opponent. The Conservatives won a minority government in this election, and Del Mastro entered parliament as a backbench supporter of Stephen Harper's administration. He was re-elected with an increased majority in the 2008 election, as the Harper government increased its seat total but fell short of a majority.

He was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage on November 7, 2008.[9] According to his website, he was also the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Sport.[10] He was the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.[4]

Cultural issues[edit]

After the 2006 election, Harper charged Del Mastro with coordinating the Conservative Party's outreach to Lebanese Canadian voters.[11] Del Mastro planned to participate in a parliamentary delegation to the Middle East organized by the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations in August 2006, during the period of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. He withdrew from the trip at the last minute, and there are conflicting reports as to the reasons for this decision.[12] Some charge that the Prime Minister's Office pressured him not to participate in a trip that would challenge the government's pro-Israel line, although Del Mastro denied this and cited security concerns.[13]

Del Mastro spoke against a Private Member's Bill introduced by Liberal Member of Parliament Massimo Pacetti in 2010 that called on the government to issue an official apology for the internment of Italian Canadians in World War II. Del Mastro argued that the bill was poorly drafted and could leave the government vulnerable to lawsuits, and said that most Italian Canadians were satisfied with an informal apology issued by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney twenty years earlier.[14] The bill was approved by the House of Commons, without Conservative support.[15]

Passenger rail service[edit]

In 2007, Del Mastro lobbied the Harper government to reopen a passenger train service link from Peterborough to Toronto that was cut by Via Rail seventeen years earlier. He estimated that the track upgrades would cost $150 million and that the service would be used by nine hundred people daily.[16] In February 2008, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that his government would reopen the line. Although locally popular, this plan was widely criticized as impractical, improperly planned, and designed for political gain. Some editorials noted that the line would travel through several Conservative ridings, including Flaherty's own.[17] A 2010 study commissioned by the provincial and federal governments estimated that capital costs for the project would run between $541 million and $1.5 billion. Del Mastro criticized these figures and accused the study's creators of bias, while acknowledging that the project would probably not move forward if assessed solely on the basis of that one report.[18] In 2011, Del Mastro promised that the first passenger train would leave Peterborough on July 1, 2014.[19]

Del Mastro has also led a non-partisan House of Commons Rail Caucus and has lobbied for a high-speed link connecting Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.[20]

Social issues[edit]

Del Mastro is a social conservative. In 2006, he supported an unsuccessful government motion that would have reopened the parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage (which has been legal in Canada since 2005).[21] He has also taken part in anti-abortion rallies on Parliament Hill, including one organized by the Campaign Life Coalition in 2007.[22]

Robocall scandal[edit]

Del Mastro was charged as being responsible for the Conservative response to the Robocall scandal.[23] He has called the robocall scandal "baseless smears."[24] He has asked Elections Canada if it had leaked details around the robocalls. Elections Canada replied such an accusation was smearing Elections Canada by indicating that details of the robocall scandal were purposefully leaked.[25]

During the Canadian federal election, 2011, in Dean Del Mastro's Peterborough riding, robocalls were made under the name "Jeff", and originated from Jeff Westlake, the Conservative campaign manager in the riding. Voter confusion resulted, as the Liberal MPP was also named Jeff, and issued a statement to clarify he was not involved.[26][27]

During the election, Dean Del Mastro's campaign employed the firm, Campaign Research, paying them $22,000. This firm has been associated with a seminar promoting voter suppression tactics, tactics borrowed from the U.S. Republican Party. The founding members of Campaign Research organized a seminar in co-ordination with the Manning Centre. The tactics taught at this seminar were later used in the 2011 Canadian federal election to illegally dissuade voters from voting. These tactics were also used by Campaign Research in Irwin Cotler's riding falesly claiming that Cotler was going to resign.[28]

2008 Election Overspending Probe[edit]

It was revealed in June 2012 that Elections Canada was investigating Del Mastro for overspending during the 2008 elections. The investigation surrounds a payment of $21,000 made by a personal cheque to Ottawa-based polling firm Hollinshed Research Group for which Del Mastro was not reimbursed, exceeding his personal spending limit of $5,000. Del Mastro has insisted he has not broken any election law and claimed that the $21,000 cheque was for a riding-mapping software called GeoVote that Holienshed intended to launch, and not for telephone calls to constituents during the campaign.[25][29][30] Del Mastro has refused to meet with Elections Canada officials. The NDP has called for the matter to be handled by the Director of Public Prosecution, and RCMP Commercial Crimes Unit.[31]

In June 2013, Del Mastro, speaking in Parliament and protected from defamation law, accused Frank Hall, a witness in the Elections Canada investigation, of having "concerning details" in his background that required investigation. Subsequently Frank Hall wrote to Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons complaining Del Mastro “gratuitously slandered” him. Hall wrote "I am attempting to comply with my legal duties, as a law-abiding Canadian, Mr. Del Mastro’s statements to you appear to be aimed at dissuading me from doing so." Hall asked Scheer for protection from further verbal attacks from Del Mastro "so that I, and other witnesses can continue to carry out our legal duty to comply with subpoenas and to cooperate with public investigations of national importance, without fear of persecution or reprisal." Hall further requests that Scheer order Del Mastro to apologize and withdraw his remarks.[32]

Del Mastro was formally charged by Elections Canada with four breaches of the Elections Canada Act on September 26, 2013. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail with a $5,000 fine.[33]

Dean Del Mastro's cousin, David Del Mastro, is also under investigation by Elections Canada for violations of elections spending rules. David Del Mastro is alleged to have created a scheme whereby 22 of his employees, working for Deltro Electric, made donations of $1,000 to Dean Del Mastro's campaign and the Peterborough Conservative Riding association in exchange for a reimbursement of $1,050.[34]

Other[edit]

Del Mastro was a Conservative representative on the House of Commons Ethics Committee in 2007 and took part in the committee's work on the controversial business dealings between Karlheinz Schreiber and Brian Mulroney.[35]

In 2009, he spoke against a proposal that would have allowed Canada's broadcasters to bill cable and satellite companies for transmitting their signals.[36]

In 2012, Del Mastro claimed in the House of Commons that the Liberal Party used an American telemarketing firm during the 2011 federal election when it was in fact a Canadian company. It was later revealed that his own campaign was one of 14 conservative campaigns to enlist the services of Ohio based, Front Porch Strategies[37] Del Mastro maintains that none of these activities are tied to the so-called "Robocalls" controversy.

In 2012, veteran CBC parliamentary reporter Kady O'Malley wrote a scathing article accusing Del Mastro of going "in camera" too often thereby contradicting his own party policy of openness and transparency.[38]

While addressing criticism of the digital locks provision within proposed copyright legislation under Bill C-11 (formerly C-32, and C-61 and C-60 before that), Del Mastro mistakenly compared format-shifting to the act of buying socks from a retailer, only to return later and take a pair of shoes without paying.[39]

On October 28, 2014, in a Facebook posting, he made allegations of sexual blackmail against an un-named member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.[40]

Provincial politics[edit]

When John Tory resigned as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in 2009, Del Mastro was briefly rumoured as a candidate to become his successor.[41] Nothing came of this, and he later announced his support for Christine Elliott's candidacy.[42] Christine Elliott is the widow of Del Mastro's former Tory colleague in the House of Commons the former Finance Minister the late Jim Flaherty.

Ethics committee[edit]

In March 2013, NDP MP Charlie Angus called on PM Stephen Harper to remove Del Mastro from the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Del Mastro has missed 26 consecutive meetings since June 2012. Prior to his last meeting in June the Ottawa Citizen revealed Elections Canada was investigating Del Mastro for alleged campaign overspending during his 2008 re-election campaign. Del Mastro's annual salary is $173,565 but does not include extra pay for sitting on the committee.[43]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Dean Del Mastro 29,393 49.67 +2.27
New Democratic Dave Nickle 14,723 24.88 +10.96
Liberal Betsy McGregor 12,664 21.40 -10.20
Green Michael Bell 2,105 3.56 -3.35
Independent Gordon Scott 189 0.32
Canadian Action Michael Bates 104 0.18
Total valid votes/Expense limit 59,178 100.00
Total rejected ballots 170 0.29 +0.01
Turnout 59,348 65.31 +1.99
Eligible voters 90,870


Canadian federal election, 2008: Peterborough
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Conservative Dean Del Mastro 27,630 47.40 +11.50 $90,988
Liberal Betsy McGregor 18,417 31.60 -0.77 $83,805
     New Democratic Party Steve Sharpe 8,115 13.92 -11.76 $47,973
Green Emily Berrigan 4,029 6.91 +1.86 $10,235
Marxist–Leninist Elaine Couto 98 0.17 none listed
Total valid votes/Expense Limit 58,289 100.00 $92,567
Total rejected ballots 164 0.28 -0.04
Turnout 58,453 63.32 -6.34
Electors on the lists 92,317
     Conservative hold Swing +11.6


Canadian federal election, 2006: Peterborough
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Conservative Dean Del Mastro 22,774 35.90 +3.98 $80,784
Liberal Diane Lloyd 20,532 32.37 -11.18 $68,799
     New Democratic Party Linda Slavin 16,286 25.68 +6.67 $61,606
Green Brent Wood 3,205 5.05 -0.47 $7,949
Marijuana Aiden Wiechula 455 0.72 none listed
     Independent Bob Bowers 179 0.28 none listed
Total valid votes/Expense Limit 63,431 100.00 $86,008
Total rejected ballots 207 0.33 -0.01
Turnout 63,638 69.66 +4.47
Electors on the lists 91,361
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wedley, Brendan. "Suzuki Canada looking for new dealership in Peterborough after parting ways with Del Mastro Motors". Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  2. ^ A 2010 report in the Peterborough Examiner indicates that Del Mastro identifies as a Catholic, but generally attends a Pentecostal church service. See Fiona Isaacson, "Catholics ‘in good standing’ attend mass: priest," Peterborough Examiner, accessed 28 August 2010.
  3. ^ Payton, Laura (September 26, 2013). "Dean Del Mastro quits Tory caucus after Election Act charges". CBC News. 
  4. ^ a b [1] Dean Del Mastro, Member of Parliament Profile (Current), accessed 02/01/2012
  5. ^ Don Butler, "The front lines," Ottawa Citizen, 7 January 2006, B1.
  6. ^ http://www.delmastrorv.ca/About-Del-Mastro-RV-Center.asp#.U8g-mvldV1A
  7. ^ Trevor Wilhem, "Ex-Liberal runs for Conservatives," Peterborough Examiner, 29 November 2005, B3.
  8. ^ The other contenders were Aaron Anderson, Darrin Langen, Paul Peterson, Alan Wilson, and Bill Hampton. See Vivian Song, "Conservatives choose political newcomer locally: 'Family man, successful entrepreneur'," Peterborough Examiner, 16 May 2005, A1. Anderson was thirty-one years old and on the right-wing of the party, and said that he ran to advance the role of Christians in politics. He was born in Peterborough but later moved to Toronto. See Rachel Punch, "Field growing for those seeking Conservative nomination in riding," Peterborough Examiner, 29 April 2005, A3. Alan Wilson has served as chair of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Services Board and described himself in 2005 as a centrist. See Mike Lacey, "Alan Wilson makes it five after nomination," Peterborough This Week, 29 April 2005, p .3; Rachel Punch, "Another Tory candidate steps up," Peterborough Examiner, 30 April 2005, B1. Bill Hampton was a lawyer in the Peterborough area. He was forty-three years old, described himself as "middle of the road," and favoured human rights and public health care. See "Lawyer seeks Conservative nomination," Peterborough This Week, 27 April 2005, p. 2; Elizabeth Bower, "Four-way race for nomination," Peterborough Examiner, 27 April 2005, B1.
  9. ^ Dean Del Mastro: Roles, Member of Parliament Profile (Current), Parliament of Canada, accessed 28 August 2010.
  10. ^ About Dean, Dean Del Mastro, accessed 28 August 2010.
  11. ^ Jennifer Ditchburn, "MPs set to visit Syria, Lebanon," Toronto Star, 9 August 2006, A7; Daniel LeBlanc, "Tories target specific ethnic voters," Globe and Mail, 16 October 2007, A1.
  12. ^ Graham Fraser and Tonda MacCharles, "Tory MP backs out of Middle East visit," Toronto Star, 16 August 2006, A12.
  13. ^ Mark MacKinnon, "A tour of Lebanon and harsh words for Harper," Globe and Mail, 21 August 2006, A10; "Tory MP says he wasn't pressured to quit Mideast trip," Ottawa Citizen, 16 August 2006, A9.
  14. ^ "Official apology sought for Italian Canadians," Toronto Star, 24 April 2010, A18; Gloria Galloway, "Italians seek new apology from Canada over war internment; First gesture from Mulroney deemed inadequate," Globe and Mail, 30 April 2010, A8.
  15. ^ "MPs vote for apology to Italian-Canadians, but Tories opposed," Canadian Press, 28 April 2010, 18:20.
  16. ^ Jeff Gray and Steven Chase, "Flaherty's train catches his officials off guard," Globe and Mail, 29 February 2008, A1.
  17. ^ "Flaherty's folly" [editorial], Toronto Star, 29 February 2008, A4; "This is no way to run a railroad" [editorial], Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 1 March 2008, A14; "Flaherty's wild ride" [editorial], Globe and Mail, 3 March 2008, A12. A confidential report by the provincial government, drafted in 2006 and made available after the controversy arose, listed the Peterborough-Toronto link in the lowest priority range for transport improvement in the Greater Toronto Area. See Patricia Best, "Flaherty's train gets derailed," Globe and Mail, 5 March 2008, B2.
  18. ^ Tess Kalinowski, "Price tag threatens Peterborough railway link," Toronto Star, 21 May 2010, GT1.
  19. ^ Gordon, Kennedy (11 January 2011). "Del Mastro says trains will run by 2014". Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  20. ^ David Akin, "Ontario MP pushes for high-speed rail plan," Montreal Gazette, 8 January 2009, A8.
  21. ^ Janice Tibbetts, "Same-sex debate: 'Time to move on'," Ottawa Citizen, 8 December 2006, A3.
  22. ^ Julie Smyth, "MPS use rally to press for abortion law," National Post, 11 May 2007, A7.
  23. ^ Galloway, Gloria (September 10, 2012). "Harper 'not opposed at all' to giving elections watchdog more teeth". The Globe and Mail. 
  24. ^ Horgan, Colin (20 March 2012). "Conservative party's robocall scandal has Canadians less than impressed". The Guardian (London). 
  25. ^ a b "Tory robo-calls point man denies exceeding campaign-spending limits". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 7 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "Robocalls that confused Peterborough voters sent out by Dean Del Mastro". National Post. March 13, 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  27. ^ Eagle, Galen (2012-02-27). "Del Mastro says he was victim of 'robocalls'". Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  28. ^ "Not planning to vote Conservative? The Tories still want to know all about you". Vancouver Observer. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  29. ^ "Dean Del Mastro denies election-spending wrongdoing as opposition calls for his head". National Post. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  30. ^ "Del Mastro trial now awaits closing arguments". Maher, Stephen (Ottawa Citizen) (Ottawa). July 14, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Dean Del Mastro agrees to meet with Elections Canada over donation allegations". National Post. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  32. ^ Maher, Stephen (2013). "MP Dean Del Mastro interfering in elections investigation, witness says | canada.com". o.canada.com. Retrieved June 18, 2013. "so that I, and other witnesses can continue to carry out our legal duty to comply with subpoenas and to cooperate with public investigations of national importance, without fear of persecution or reprisal." 
  33. ^ "Harper’s former parliamentary secretary faces five years jail | National Post". National Post. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  34. ^ Eagle, Galen (2014-01-14). "Cousin tried to curry favour: Elections Canada". Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  35. ^ Jack Aubry and Juliet O'Neill, "Schreiber stays -- for now," Ottawa Citizen, 29 November 2007, A1; Daniel LeBlanc, "Mulroney must explain cash payments, Tory MP says, Globe and Mail, 13 December 2007, A4; Jennifer Ditchburn, "Conservative MPs kind to Mulroney while following a script," Associated Press, 13 December 2007, 17:15.
  36. ^ Jennifer Ditchburn, "Fee-for-carriage bid by broadcasters dead on Parliament Hill," Canadian Press, 19 June 2009, 16:47.
  37. ^ Weston, Greg (3 March 2012). "Conservative MPs used U.S.-based telemarketers". CBC News. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  38. ^ O'Malley, Kady. "Dean Del Mastro: Always ready with a motion to go in camera ...". CBC. Retrieved 3 March 2012. [dead link]
  39. ^ "SleepyRobAnders". "Harper's Conservatives think it should be illegal to format shift your media". 
  40. ^ https://www.facebook.com/deandelmastro/posts/10152567288463842
  41. ^ Lee Greenberg, "Tory quits a party he failed to unite," National Post, 7 March 2009, A1.
  42. ^ Maria Babbage, "Kenney backs Hudak in Ont. leadership race," Canadian Press, 27 April 2009, 18:57.
  43. ^ McGregor, Glen (2013). "Dean Del Mastro missed 26 ethics committee meetings". canada.com. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 

External links[edit]