Disgraced former Conservative MP Dean del Mastro’s appeal was today. As those who read my blog might remember, del Mastro was convicted in November of 2014 of electoral fraud during the 2011 federal election, specifically of spending more than $21,000 of his own money to circumvent election spending limits and then covering up the fact. His campaign finance manager was also convicted for his role in the fraud and coverup.
This afternoon, Dean del Mastro made his final court appearance in regards to these charges — I say these charges, of course, since he’s also a under investigation in another electoral fraud case from the 2008 federal election, and may yet face charges in relation to the attempt by his cousin and business partner David del Mastro to circumvent campaign contribution laws by laundering money through his employees.
Justice Bryan Shaughnessy upheld the trial judge’s conviction, but rejected the prosecution’s call for a longer prison sentence. Joelle Kovach of the Peterborough Examiner published an excellent summary of the day’s events including a description of a tearful Dean del Mastro being taken directly from court after the end of the hearing. He will spend the next 29 days in jail, followed by four months house arrest, and is banned from seeking public office for several years.
What really caught my eye in Kovach’s article, however, was the final paragraph quoting Deano’s brother, Mike Del Mastro, who spoke to reporters after the hearing.
“It’s absolutely absurd to send someone to jail for spending their own money,” he said. “What kind of country are we living in? Next we go to jail for jaywalking? I’m very upset right now.”
I. Can’t. Even.
How fucking stupid are you, Mike, to think that’s why your crook of a brother went to jail? You can’t be that stupid. You’ve got to be willfully blind, unconscionably arrogant, or both.
Dean didn’t go to jail for spending his own money, Mike. He went to jail for violating electoral spending limits. He went to jail for lying about it, and for falsifying records, and for callously undermining the democratic process in the name of personal gain. And you would minimize that crime by comparing it to fucking jaywalking?
And I was going to say that the fact Dean used “his own money” was immaterial, but in fact it isn’t immaterial. That makes it worse. Peterborough is full of families who live on considerably less than $21,000 a year. Try it sometime. The fact that your smug, hypocritical, scumbag brother could drop twenty-one grand to undermine democracy like it was chump change makes me sick. Literally nauseous. And the fact that you, Mike del Mastro, could blow it off tells me everything I need to know about the culture of arrogance and entitlement that you’re both coming from. Between you and your cousin David I’m starting to think that there’s something wrong with your whole fucking family, or at least the rich white male part of it.
I do have sympathy for Kelly del Mastro; I can’t imagine what it’s like watching your spouse leave a courtroom in disgrace for that long drive to the Central East Correctional Center. On a very human level I refuse to be facetious or nasty about it, for the same reason that I’m not indulging in the “don’t drop the soap” jokes being tossed around Twitter and Facebook. This had to be one of the worst days of Kelly del Mastro’s life, and she is doubtless going to need the support of family and friends over the next four weeks.
But to imply that this is an injustice? Or a judicial overreaction? Or that Deano is the one being victimized?
Dean del Mastro cheated. He lied. He committed felony electoral fraud, and he got caught. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dean del Mastro is not the victim here; Canadian voters are the victims. The blame for his disgrace and the embarrassment that the del Mastro family is currently suffering falls entirely on the shoulders of one person: Dean del Mastro.
He isn’t being victimized, he’s being punished… which is a thing that’s supposed to happen to people who’ve been convicted of felonies. He made his bed and he can fucking well sleep in it for the next 29 nights. As far as I’m concerned the only “absurd” thing about the situation is that he only got a month in jail, not a year, because right now del Mastro’s sole value as a public figure is to serve as a very visible warning that no matter how rich, white and male you are, if you try and undermine democracy you must pay the price.