IN THE NEWS ~ MP Del Mastro resigns days after guilty verdict in spending scandal

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Published | Publié: 2014-11-05

Received | Reçu: 2014-11-06 1:32 AM

CBC TV: The National

CBC TV: The National

 

PETER MANSBRIDGE

Participants: MARGO MCDIARMID, ANDREW SCHEER, DEAN DEL MAESTRO, PETER JULIAN, ALAN WILSON

PETER MANSBRIDGE (HOST):

- He broke election laws, but before the House could vote him out, a former member of Stephen Harper's inner circle resigns.

DEAN DEL MAESTRO (FORMER ONTARIO CONSERVATIVE INDEPENDENT MP): Sorry, mom, I told you I wouldn't do this. -

Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro decided not to wait to get kicked out of the House of Commons. In a long emotional speech to the House today, he resigned. The Peterborough MP who once spoke for the prime minister was found guilty last week of breaking election laws, but as Margo McDiarmid tells us, he will keep his pension.

ANDREW SCHEER (SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS): I understand the Honourable Member for Peterborough is rising on a point of personal privilege.

MARGO MCDIARMID (REPORTER): Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro was between a political rock and hard place: either get booted out by other MPs, including members of his own party, or quit. Today he spoke for an emotional 15 minutes.

DEAN DEL MAESTRO (FORMER ONTARIO CONSERVATIVE INDEPENDENT MP): Sorry, mom. Told you I wouldn't do this.

MARGO MCDIARMID (REPORTER): And then stepped down.

DEAN DEL MAESTRO (FORMER ONTARIO CONSERVATIVE INDEPENDENT MP): With appreciation and with humility and gratitude, I tender my resignation effective immediately in this House.

DEAN DEL MAESTRO (FORMER ONTARIO CONSERVATIVE INDEPENDENT MP): (Lindsay, Ontario - Last Friday) I think it goes without saying I'm disappointed.

MARGO MCDIARMID (REPORTER): Last week, Del Mastro was found guilty of spending too much on his 2008 federal campaign in Peterborough, Ontario, and then trying to cover it up. He maintains he didn't do anything wrong.

DEAN DEL MAESTRO (FORMER ONTARIO CONSERVATIVE INDEPENDENT MP): To begin with, I want to make one thing clear and I stand by this. I did not donate too much money to myself. I did not.

MARGO MCDIARMID (REPORTER): MPs were to vote tonight on whether to suspend him from Parliament. Even the Conservatives, his former party, planned to support the opposition motion. Del Mastro, who was once the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, was clearly returning out of time.

PETER JULIAN (OPPOSITION HOUSE LEADER): We are talking about serious violations of the Elections Act, convictions on three counts. I don't think there is any doubt that that's what he had to do.

MARGO MCDIARMID (REPORTER): By quitting, Del Mastro hangs on to his generous MP's pension which will kick in when he's 55. He's the fifth Conservative who has had to resign since the last federal election. In his Peterborough riding, many Conservatives who were stunned by his conviction last week are now left to pick up the pieces.

VOICE OF ALAN WILSON (PETERBOROUGH CONSERVATIVE, ELECTORAL DISTRICT ASSOCIATION): (Peterborough, Ontario) This whole thing certainly will have an effect on the Peterborough riding. You know, the brand is not helped by this sort of a situation.

MARGO MCDIARMID (REPORTER): Del Mastro says he plans to appeal his conviction and hints he would like to get back into politics if he wins, but tonight the party says Del Mastro won't be running for the Conservatives again. Peter?

PETER MANSBRIDGE (HOST): All right, Margo, thank you. Margo McDiarmid in Ottawa.