Former Tory MP Del Mastro on trial on Elections Act charges from 2008 campaign

A member of Parliament, whose job it once was to beat down allegations of Conservative voter fraud, used backdated invoices from a data-research firm to help cover up campaign overspending for the 2008 election, a Crown lawyer told the trial of Dean Del Mastro.

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — A member of Parliament, whose job it once was to beat down allegations of Conservative voter fraud, used backdated invoices from a data-research firm to help cover up campaign overspending for the 2008 election, a Crown lawyer told the trial of Dean Del Mastro.

Del Mastro paid for the firm’s services from a personal account, which meant he exceeded a limit on personal contributions, but tried to make it appear the company had only charged a fraction of the cost during the campaign, Crown prosecutor Tom Lemon alleged Monday, the first day of the trial in Peterborough, Ont.

Del Mastro has pleaded not guilty to charges of overspending during the 2008 campaign, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.

He said Monday he was pleased his trial was underway and feeling confident.

Richard McCarthy, Del Mastro’s official agent for the 2008 campaign, is being tried at the same time on three charges, including “incurring election expenses in an amount more than the election expenses limit.” He has also pleaded not guilty.

At the heart of the case are Del Mastro’s dealings with Ottawa-based data-consulting company Holinshed Research, which made voter identification and get-out-the-vote telephone calls for Del Mastro during the campaign.

Lemon alleged Del Mastro’s campaign initially paid Holinshed a $10,000 cheque and gave the company a post-dated cheque for September 2008 that was worth $11,000 — for a total of $21,000.

“As the campaign progressed, Mr. Del Mastro and Mr. McCarthy realized the campaign was in danger of exceeding its expense limit,” Lemon said, adding that McCarthy then cancelled the post-dated cheque.

Del Mastro, Lemon alleged, then paid Holinshed $21,000 for its services using a personal cheque from an account he shared with his wife. The amount would have put him over the maximum $2,100 candidates can contribute to their own campaigns.

The personal cheque was dated August 2008, before the election, but Del Mastro’s bank records show that he only had the $21,000 in October, Lemon noted.

After Holinshed president Frank Hall received Del Mastro’s cheque in October, he then wrote out a $10,000 cheque from Holinshed to McCarthy, to reimburse him for what was by then an overpayment for services, Lemon said.

Hall and Del Mastro continued to correspond between October and December 2008, with Del Mastro promising Holinshed further business from his constituency office and the Peterborough Conservative Electoral District Association, Lemon said.

In November 2008, Del Mastro asked Hall to provide a quote and invoice for analysis on get-out-the-vote data collected during the election campaign and asked him to date the invoice for September 2008, Lemon alleged.

Del Mastro signed and dated the documents, which billed for $1,575 in services, for September 2008 as well, said Lemon.

At the same time, Hall had also sent Del Mastro a Holinshed quote for services to the Peterborough Conservative EDA for $14,175 dated for June 2008 at Del Mastro’s request, and a quote for services for Del Mastro’s constituency office for $7,434 date for November 2008, Lemon said.

RCMP had found both documents were actually created in November 2008, he added.

“The last two quotes closely mirrored the $21,000 Holinshed fee for the campaign,” Lemon told e court.

When Del Mastro’s campaign eventually filed its expenses with Elections Canada in February 2009, only a Holinshed invoice for $1,575 was reported, said Lemon.

“The $21,000 Holinshed expense was not reported as either an expense or contribution. Doing so would have put the campaign substantially over its expense limit,” he said.

“Thus the Holinshed invoice for $1,575 comfortably permitted the campaign to be below its expense limit.”

If found guilty, Del Mastro and McCarthy could each face fines of $1,000 and a year behind bars.

A conviction would not stop Del Mastro from running from office again.

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

road consturction
Road closures at Red Deer hospital next week

Red Deer drivers are advised of road closures in the vicinity of… Continue reading

Black Horse Singers performed for students at Ecole la Prairie on Monday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Students remind Red Deer that every child matters on National Indigenous Day

Heart-shaped messages to decorate trees at Ecole la Prairie through the summer

The Lime-S electric scooter is pictured in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. When shared e-scooter companies rolled into Canada in 2018, they hoped a few small pilots would quickly result in a country full of people zipping around on two wheels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giordano Ciampini
Despite the rough ride, e-scooter companies are bullish on Canada

TORONTO — When shared e-scooter companies rolled into Canada in 2018, they… Continue reading

Inter Pipeline's Heartland Petrochemical Complex is shown under construction in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., on Thursday, January 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Inter Pipeline rejects revised hostile takeover offer by Brookfield Infrastructure

CALGARY — Inter Pipeline Ltd. has rejected a revised hostile takeover offer… Continue reading

A crowded Maid of the Mist tour boat operated from the American side of the Niagara River is seen from Niagara Falls, Ont., on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. The travel industry says the federal government’s new border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians are a step in the right direction but don't provide enough clarity on what travel will look like for consumers this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Travel industry says new border rules don’t provide enough clarity

HALIFAX — The travel industry says the federal government’s new border measures… Continue reading

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

Inuk elder Reepa Evic-Carleton light a qulliq, a traditional oil lamp, at a public ceremony to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the bank of the Ottawa River behind the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Thursday, June 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Singh blasts Liberal ‘hypocrisy’ on National Indigenous Peoples Day

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes the Liberal government… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada will… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada to unveil travel rules for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents

OTTAWA — Canada is set to detail what quarantine rules citizens and… Continue reading

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky poses for a photo in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. Two of Canada’s most prominent athletes are part of the ownership group of a new Las Vegas National Lacrosse League franchise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash join forces with Las Vegas lacrosse team

League’s 15th team will start play in the fall of 2022

Most Read