Liberal MP Scott Andrews has formally requested that the ethics committee be recalled to hear from Dean Del Mastro.
“Mr. Del Mastro says he wants a process put in place by which he can clear his name,” said Mr. Andrews. “By proposing this meeting, the Liberal Party is providing Mr. Del Mastro the opportunity, with full Parliamentary immunity, to respond to these very serious allegations. This is a process that he has been asking for and we hope that he will put his money where his mouth is, agree to appear and provide the documents that he claims will exonerate him.”
As Kady O’Malley notes, Mr. Andrews needs three more members of the committee to second his request before the committee can be recalled, but it appears unlikely that the NDP will support Mr. Andrews. Charle Angus tells me he is happy to talk with Mr. Andrews about this proposal, but he is not sure how effective and appropriate a committee hearing would be—would it, for instance, draw enough witnesses to explore the charges involved?—and he is concerned about providing Mr. Del Mastro with a platform to speak with immunity.
If this is about a gong show then count me out. I want to know that we’re getting a serious investigation of what happened there and it’s done fairly. And I also don’t see the point of giving a forum to allow someone who is under investigation by Elections Canada, or potentially by the Director of Public Prosecutions, to walk in, say what they want to say in a majority-controlled Conservative committee and then walk out with immunity.
Mr. Angus wrote to the Justice Minister today to propose that the various allegations be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Below, the text of that letter.
Dear Hon. Robert Nicholson,
I am writing with regard to the growing allegations of illegal campaign contributions to Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 election campaign.
In addition to previous reports around a personal cheque and possible overspending on voter identification work, recent reports in the Ottawa Citizen[i][ii]have raised further questions concerns about the legality of some campaign contributions by employees of Deltro Electric Ltd. to Mr. Del Mastro’s election campaign. With these growing allegations, including eyewitnesses, we are concerned the issues surrounding this campaign financing scheme have gone beyond the potential violations of the Elections Act.
We believe these alleged offences fall under federal jurisdiction, potentially crossing several federal laws. Those laws and sections that could be in violation include:
· Conspiracy to commit fraud over $5000 Section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada
· Making a false claim in a return Section 239(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act
· Collusion to circumvent contribution limits and concealing the source of a contribution, Section 405.2(1) and Section 405.2(2) respectively of the Canada Election Act
At this stage I propose that this matter be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the RCMP Commercial Crimes Unit for further investigation and other law enforcement authorities, as appropriate.
According to his mandate, The DPP is responsible for providing prosecutorial advice to law enforcement agencies on investigations that may lead to prosecution under federal laws and for prosecuting criminal offences under federal jurisdiction. It is with this mandate that I believe inclusion of the DPP is appropriate to ensure that all law enforcement agencies are directed accordingly in their investigations.
In the wake of the Sponsorship Scandal, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution was established to oversee these types of prosecutions and ensure freedom from possible or apparent political interference.
Given the evidence already made public and the possible involvement of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, it is not only within your mandate to refer this issue to the independent office of the DPP, I believe it is your responsibility to do so.
These are seriously allegations involving a senior member of your government and I trust you will ensure that the investigation, and the laying of charges if appropriate, are done free of any possible conflict of interest.
These allegations must be investigated not just for the sake of the public interest, but to maintain the integrity of the democratic process. Above all else, the criminal justice system must prevail – if crimes were committed the perpetrators must be held to account.
Charlie Angus, MP
[i] Dean Del Mastro donors produce cheque copies that support reimbursement allegations, Ottawa Citizen, June 27, 2012
[ii] Del Mastro donors offer to speak to Election Canada if given immunity, Ottawa Citizen, June 28, 2012