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Elections Canada not looking into MP's kickback scheme: lawyer

By Brendan Wedley, Peterborough Examiner

Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro. (QMI Agency)

Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro. (QMI Agency)

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. -- Elections Canada doesn’t seem to be investigating an alleged kickback scheme organized by a cousin of Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro for donations made to the Conservative MP’s 2008 election campaign, a lawyer representing one of the donors says.

About 20 people who either worked for Deltro Electric or are relatives of someone who worked for Deltro at the time each donated $1,000 to Del Mastro’s campaign and Deltro paid them $1,050 in return, Allan Kaufman claims.

“Elections Canada doesn’t seem to have any interest in pursuing this matter at all and we want to know why,” he said. “This is a matter of considerable public interest.”

Kaufman said his client and about six other people who made donations and were reimbursed offered to give the federal agency evidence of the scheme in exchange for immunity from prosecution for the possible Canada Elections Act violations.

“Elections Canada is capable of charging the little people on this file and not charging the people who organized it,” he said. “This is a scheme organized by her boss, by her employer, who put them up to it ... He paid them to participate in the scheme and he did it for the benefit of his cousin, who’s a member of Parliament.”

The allegations about the kickback scheme haven’t been proven in court.

David Del Mastro, who owns Deltro Electric Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont., couldn’t be reached for comment.

Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary, didn’t respond to a request for an interview.

Kaufman wouldn’t provide the name of his client. He said she’s a former Deltro employee, but wouldn’t give any information about the circumstances of her departure from the company.

David Del Mastro has told the Ottawa Citizen that the allegations are untrue and likely originate with a disgruntled former staff member.

Glen Hore, who lives in Hamilton, Ont., said that a friend asked him to donate to Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 election campaign through the Peterborough Conservative riding association. Hore wouldn’t discuss how he knows Del Mastro or the allegations about a kickback scheme.

“It’s between me and him,” he said of how he knows Del Mastro. He said he didn’t work at Deltro.

Hore donated $1,000. The limit for political donations was $1,100.

The commissioner of Elections Canada ensures that the Canada Elections Act is enforced.

The commissioner never confirms or denies whether complaints have been received or whether an investigation is underway, Elections Canada spokesman John Enright said.

“The commissioner takes allegations very serious,” he said. “The commissioner is always interested in hearing from all people who have information about possible violations of the act.”

Enright wouldn’t comment on Kaufman’s claims, but spoke about how Elections Canada’s commissioner generally handles investigations.

“He does not investigate complaints through the media,” he said. “The commissioner does not have the authority to grant immunity from prosecution.”

Dean Del Mastro is already under investigation by Elections Canada for allegedly exceeding the $92,567 campaign spending limit in 2008 by about $17,850.

In court documents, Elections Canada investigator Thomas Ritchie alleges that Del Mastro knowingly exceeded the campaign spending limit, that Del Mastro tried to cover up the violation by paying for $21,000 worth of voter contact calls from his personal bank account and that his campaign created a false document to hide the expense.

The allegations haven’t been proven in court and Del Mastro has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

 

 


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