My furious reaction to the conviction of my Member of Parliament for electoral fraud has simmered down to a slow burn of frustrated anger… but Dean del Mastro keeps adding fuel to the fire. First, he announced that he was “keeping his seat” because, referring to Justice Lisa Cameron’s decision: “I know what the truth is. That’s her opinion. My opinion is quite different.”
Well, okay, but Mr. del Mastro’s opinion doesn’t matter anymore. You see, Justice Cameron didn’t express “her opinion”, she issued a legal verdict through her authority as a federal judge ruling on the case. That’s not an “opinion”; a verdict is the finding of fact — and the fact in question is that Dean del Mastro is guilty of electoral fraud. I’m sure that Dean is unhappy about that fact… but then I suspect very few convicted felons are pleased to hear the judge say “guilty.”
And what about the opinions of his constituents? Or, I should say, his alleged constituents, because I honestly believe that Mr. del Mastro has lost the right (if he ever had it) to sit as the MP for Peterborough. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that my opinion is not the minority in this riding, this province or even this country.
The local paper, the Peterborough Examiner, which has been pro-Dean all the way and is notoriously Right-leaning, published an editorial calling for del Mastro to resign. The former head of Peterborough’s Conservative Riding Association, Paul Peterson, went on record calling for del Mastro to serve jail time.
This weekend, Dean announced that he and his lawyers would introduce “fresh evidence” that would miraculously clear the name of the disgraced (former) MP. My reaction to that — and I am admittedly not a legal expert — was “then why the hell didn’t they put that evidence forward during the trial?” And frankly, considering that Justice Cameron’s decision specifically cited a lack of credibility in del Mastro’s defence, it’s hard to imagine any “last-minute evidence” he suddenly puts forward will carry much weight with the court.
Today the local paper carried the news that Dean will be “at work” on Parliament Hill after the Remembrance Day break, but that he won’t sit in the House of Commons because he wants “to be respectful of everyone.”
Uh huh. Because Dean’s career has been notable for the level of respect he’s shown to others.
Shortly after he announced that he wasn’t going to vacate his seat, I contacted my (alleged) MP via his website and left a message for him: After identifying myself with my name and address, I wrote “I expect Mr. Dean Del Mastro to vacate his seat in Parliament immediately. He was convicted today of a serious fraud against us, his alleged constituents, and against the values of a democratic Canada. He needs to stand aside immediately so that a by-election may be held, allowing the people of Peterborough to have a legally elected representative in Parliament.”
I haven’t heard back from him. I don’t expect to. For all his protestations of “living and breathing Peterborough” it’s clear from his performance over the years that Dean del Mastro doesn’t give a shit about the opinions of the people he claims to represent.
So in the hope that he reads my blog, let me address my opinion of Mr. del Mastro directly to him:
You, sir, are a crook. You’re a convicted felon. You’re a liar, and a cheat, and an insult to the very concept of democracy in this country. Your continued insistence in filling the MP’s seat for this riding, despite a clear finding of electoral fraud, is a slap in the face of every registered voter in Peterborough. It’s a disgrace to Parliament. It’s an embarrassment to your political party — and no, I don’t believe that your sham of “sitting as an independent” has broken any connections to the Conservatives, not least of which because the Tories haven’t named a new candidate for the riding of Peterborough.
Mr. del Mastro, you are not my Member of Parliament. You chose to overspend on your elections finances and then tried to falsify documents to cover up that decision, and you have been convicted of that wrongdoing in a court of law. You no longer have any right to represent yourself as an elected official, and you have no right — no right at all — to block the road to a by-election which would allow the people of Peterborough to put a new representative in place.
And if that hurts your feelings, Mr. del Mastro: tough shit. You lied, and any humiliation you may have suffered in consequence leaves me totally unmoved. Any distress this process has caused to your family is entirely your fault. Congratulations on the new daughter, by the way, and I hope for her sake the prison’s visiting area is nice, because you deserve jail time, Mr. del Mastro. You deserve it for breaking electoral law, for years of lying, and for the contempt you’ve shown to the judicial process both during the trial and in the days following your conviction.
And you damned well ought to serve the maximum sentence that your offences can bring.
Because that’s your last and only remaining value to Canadian democracy, Mr. del Mastro: a convict serving time as a cautionary warning for any other amoral politicians who think the rules don’t apply to them. Worst-case scenario, you’re going to jail for five years; which, if you’re having trouble understanding, is one year less than you’ve served in Parliament since you committed electoral fraud.
Drop the act, Mr. del Mastro. Man up and take responsibility for what you’ve done. You chose to break the law, to defraud the voters, and to lie to the public and to Parliament. Own it.
And for gods’ sake show a little dignity while you do.