Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on March 12, 2012.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

As a Crown prosecutor sought to have Dean Del Mastro jailed up to a year for his campaign overspending convictions, the former Conservative MP's lawyer vehemently argued the penalty would be far too harsh for a case he claimed did not involve electoral fraud.

The spirited submissions were made Thursday at a sentencing hearing for Del Mastro, who was found guilty last fall of violating the Canada Elections Act during the 2008 campaign.

The Crown said it was essential that the former politician's punishment deliver a clear message.

Story continues below advertisement

"Nothing less than a period of imprisonment of nine to 12 months would adequately reflect the gravity of the offences and the degree of his responsibility," said prosecutor Tom Lemon.

"Moreover, anything less than real jail would fall short of properly denouncing his conduct and adequately deterring him and others from committing these or similar offences."

Lemon also asked that Del Mastro be required to pay $10,000 to the Peterborough Conservative Party Electoral District Association to reimburse money he "fraudulently obtained from them" for a contract with a data consulting firm.

Del Mastro— Prime Minister Stephen Harper's one-time point man on defending the Tories against allegations of electoral fraud — has maintained his innocence throughout his trial, and even called the judge's verdict her "opinion."

That adamant refusal to accept his convictions has made a sentence involving jail time all the more necessary, Lemon argued.

"Mr. Del Mastro does not seem to get the consequences of his actions and what he was convicted of, and the seriousness of those actions," Lemon said.

Del Mastro was consequently not a candidate for a rehabilitative sentence, Lemon said, and a discharge "is not even close to being on the radar."

Story continues below advertisement

The Crown's arguments were challenged by Del Mastro's lawyer, who repeatedly said time behind bars was far too heavy a penalty for his client.

"There is no prior judicial decision that says jail is the penalty that ought to be imposed for overspending under the Canada Elections Act," Del Mastro's lawyer Leo Adler said firmly. "It makes no difference how many different ways the Crown tries to say it, this is not a case of election fraud."

Adler contended that a discharge in the case was a possibility and said Del Mastro was not likely to commit such offences again as he was no longer an MP.

Del Mastro was found guilty of exceeding spending limits, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.

He faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine on each of the three convictions.

His lawyer argued that if the Crown truly felt Del Mastro had committed electoral fraud, they ought to have charged him under the Criminal Code.

Story continues below advertisement

"To not do so while headlining breach of trust and fraud as the issues to be decided....is in itself arguably a fraud," Adler said. "It is not for the Crown to try to recast these three charges as corruption when they don't fall under that definition."

For the Crown, however, Del Mastro's offences appeared to have struck at the heart of the electoral system.

"The essence of the federal election financing system is to ensure that all Canadians have a fair and equitable chance to be heard and elected," Lemon said.

"These provisions seek to create a level playing field for those who wish to engage in electoral discourse. This in turn enables voters to be better informed. No one voice is louder than another."

By not fully declaring voter identification and get-out-the-vote calling services as election expenses, Del Mastro shifted the dynamics of the 2008 election campaign in his Peterborough riding, Lemon argued.

"Not claiming polling, voter ID and get-out-the-vote calling allowed Mr. Del Mastro to do more advertising. And in allowing him to do that, it allowed him to control more of the discourse during the election," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Lemon also pointed out that Del Mastro was not a first-time candidate in 2008, and was familiar with campaign spending limits.

"The actions of Mr. Del Mastro were planned, deliberate and involved a high degree of sophistication," Lemon said. "These offences do strike a blow to democratic principles."

Del Mastro's sentencing hearing is set to continue April 28.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies