Dean Del Mastro charged and out of the Conservative caucus

Conservative MP accused of violating Elections Act
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

In the matter of the $21,000 cheque, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro is now facing four charges of violating the Canada Elections Act. Here is the official release from the commissioner of elections and here are the details of the charges.

There is no official word yet from Mr. Del Mastro’s office, but the NDP’s Charlie Angus has released a statement suggesting that Mr. Del Mastro be stripped of his parliamentary secretary duties and expelled from Conservative caucus until his case is resolved.

Conservative MP Wajid Khan withdrew from the Conservative caucus in 2007 when he was charged under the Elections Act. He returned to the Conservative caucus a few months later after the matter was resolved.

Update 5:12pm. Global reports that Mr. Del Mastro has been booted from the Conservative caucus.

Update 5:19pm.I can confirm that Mr. Del Mastro is no longer a member of the Conservative caucus. A government source says Mr. Del Mastro has resigned, but that “ultimately Mr. Del Mastro did not have a choice.” In addition to Mr. Khan, the other precedent here is Peter Goldring, who withdrew from the Conservative caucus in 2011 after being charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test. He rejoined the caucus in June.

Update 5:30pm. An official statement from Mr. Del Mastro.

Today I learned that Elections Canada laid charges against me pertaining to the 2008 General Election. As I have consistently stated in the past, I entirely reject these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to defend myself in court.

Since my election in 2006, I have been dedicated to first and foremost, the people of the Peterborough Riding, and that will not change moving forward, and secondly to the Conservative Party. While it is my full intention to continue to support the Government’s economic agenda and the principals for which it stands, I have advised caucus leadership that it is my intention to step out of caucus until this matter is resolved.