My MP, Dean del Mastro, has this morning been found guilty of electoral fraud. Specifically, he exceeded the legally-mandated campaign spending limit, tried to cover that fact by paying a contractor with a personal cheque of $21,000, and then knowingly submitted falsified documents to Elections Canada to cover up his activities. Both he and his campaign accountant have been found guilty.
At first I found it difficult to describe how I feel about this, but after a couple minutes of thought I was able to put a name on the emotion: Fury.
I’m not furious that he was convicted… I’m furious that it’s taken six goddamn years to convict the bastard. Six years. He got re-elected during that time, an achievement which is now extremely suspect. Six years when he’s claimed to represent me. Six years during which he has defrauded the Canadian people, misrepresenting himself as an elected offical. Six years of voting in Parliament. Six years of speeches. Six years of casting votes.
Six years of mocking the democratic process. Six years of lying.
Apparently his defence lawyer is going to argue that his punishment should only be a fine, because “a jail sentence would set a precedent.”
Too fucking right it would: Send him to jail. Send him to prison for the maximum sentence available. Set that precedent. Send a message: Make sure that any would-be politician who might think the law doesn’t apply to him understands that no one — no one — is above the law of the land.
Anything else simply continues the ugly mockery of our democratic process that is Dean del Mastro’s political legacy.
And do you know what the worst part is? Dean del Mastro is still my goddamn Member of Parliament. Apparently he’s refusing to resign, and it’ll take an Act of Parliament to strip him of his seat.
Update 15:00 The Prime Minister’s Office just issued a statement saying they “accept the court’s decision” and reminding everyone that del Mastro “has not been a member of the Conservative caucus for some time.”
The technical term for this is “throwing him under the bus.” They’ve cut Deano loose in the hopes that they won’t get splashed.
Of course, del Mastro wasn’t only a member of the Conservative caucus until he was charged, he was the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, and therefore the voice of the Prime Minister himself. I’m disinclined, as a voter, to let the Conservative Party of Canada put any distance between themselves and Mr. del Mastro. He did what he did assuming that the party would shelter him… and instead he found out how things really work in Harper’s government.
That had to sting… and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. Not for del Mastro’s sake, but for the voters’ sake. Dean del Mastro’s fraud didn’t occur in isolation but against the background of a culture of entitlement, arrogance, and megalomania in the Canadian Conservative Party.