Monday, November 2, 2009

The Dean Del Mastro Story: Tax Payer Abuse, Corruption & Scandal

If Dean Del Mastro had a sense of humour he could play the Grinch, without makeup. With the exception of photos he poses for, he always looks like he wants to hit someone.

However, this past summer he created a crisis in Peterborough, his home riding; by using tax payer money to lobby for a private developer, then run a less than reputable mini referendum that included ballots by dead people. A perfect Reform Conservative, but a lousy Canadian, and one more reason why these guys have got to go.

Meet the wonderful pro-active Peterborough citizen from the video. We need more Canadians like this.

So Why is Deal Del Mastro Taking Surveys on Behalf of Private Developers?

From the sounds of things, the Conservative MP from Peterborough may be hurting his re-election prospects and that would be hunky dory around here. Not a fan. There was a public meeting in Peterborough last night over an area known as Little Lake.

Apparently there is a city process that has been underway to review its development, in whatever form that may take. It sounds like there is a strong disposition toward maintaining green space and public use. But along comes Del Mastro who appears to be assisting a private developer, to the extent that the developer's proposal is being referred to as "Del Mastro's plan" and "Del Mastro's idea." In doing so, he seems to have galvanized the community against the development proposal:

MP Dean Del Mastro’s idea to build a resort and condominium complex on Parks Canada land next to Little Lake threatened to hijack a city planning process last night.
Several in the audience carried their ballot and information pamphlet that Del Mastro mailed to Peterborough-riding residents last week.He has asked residents to vote on the idea of allowing a private developer to build on the Trent-Severn Waterway headquarters property that’s owned by the federal government.
Del Mastro’s plan has brought people together to defend the green space, said Mary-Anne Johnston, a Lakefield resident.“His plan has totally galvanized people against it,” she said.

Dean, Dean, Dean. Is he using public resources with his little survey and with his time to help out this private developer? Seems inappropriate and it sounds like many of his fellow citizens agree.

The Peterborough Examiner
Ballots mailed to the dead

Melanie Ready's mother lived in London, Ont. until she died on Nov. 26, 2005.
On Monday, her mother got a ballot in the mail for the proposed Little Lake resort and condominium project.

Along with her mother's ballot, Ready got two ballots addressed to her -one in her maiden name and another in her married name, which she has used since July 2007.

"I started to think it's kind of funny, but really it's not," Ready said yesterday. "Actually, I found it a little scary because it made me think that I'm probably not the only person to get three and you're counting on the integrity of the person that they're not going to use all three ballots.
"If I did fill them out... there would be no way for them to know that I'm filling out three ballots.... It made me think the system was a little suspect."

Ready said her husband received one ballot and her 20-year-old son hasn't got a ballot yet.

Other Peterborough riding residents have had similar experiences since Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro mailed 98,608 ballots to eligible voters in the riding on Thursday.

He said last week that he used an Elections Canada list to send a personally addressed pamphlet and ballot to eligible voters in the riding.

Del Mastro couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

Del Mastro has said he's using the poll to gauge public interest in a proposal to build a resort and condominium complex on the Trent-Severn Waterway headquarters property next to Little Lake.

The property is on Ashburnham Dr. between Johnston Park and Lock 20.

Dean Del Mastro Calls Little Lake Poll "A Victory for Democracy": Peterborough Citizens Are Reminded of Orwell's Classic Political Satire 1984
July 2, 2009

There's democracy - and then there's Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro's idea of what constitutes democracy.

The Peterborough Examiner quotes Del Mastro as describing the results of the poll as "a victory for democracy."

Others, including Peterborough Federal Liberal Riding Association President John Nichols, heartily disagree. “He expended all kinds of taxpayers’ money to disseminate 98,000 ballots.

Dean should be spending his time dealing with federal issues for which he was elected. He should not be acting as a lobbyist for a private developer, nor should he be trying to encroach on municipal jurisdiction to self-promote himself.”

Del Mastro's idea of what constitutes a victory for democracy is the stuff of which great Orwellian novels are made. (Think 1984 being played out in Peterborough in 2009.)

Here are a few examples of the very un-democratic ways in which this whole fiasco has played out so far.

- The list of people who received mail-in ballots was never enumerated. This resulted in a huge number of errors on the so-called voters list. Ballots were received by dead people. People received multiple ballots. People who haven't lived in the riding for years were eligible to vote.
- The ballot-counting process was conducted in-house by our MP (someone with a vested interest in the outcome) without any external scrutineers or auditors overseeing the process.
- Voters were required to include their names, addresses, and telephone numbers on their ballots. How can our MP be bragging about how democratic the process was when the sacred democratic principle of the secret ballot was sacrificed?
- Personal privacy was sacrificed. Our MP has drawn some conclusions based on his analysis of the information voters were required to provide: he has stated that voting occurred along partisan lines. I did not provide my name, address, and phone number so that my MP could attempt to link my name with political party records or use my data for partisan purposes.
Perhaps this explains why the votes on the No side were not greater. (Anyone who monitored public opinion on this issue had the sense that public opinion was about 90% opposed to the process and the project.) It's possible that a lot of No voters boycotted the referendum because it was so flawed - and because, in the end, it had no legal standing. Why sacrifice your privacy for the sake of a ridiculous exercise in pre-election data-mining orchestrated by your MP?
- 4.5% of the ballots were declared spoiled - some because they contained an obscenity. Citizens were invited to provide comments, but they were not provided with any comments about whether the content of those comments might result in a ballot being declared invalid.
- The referendum was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Elections Act. The Act states that referenda must be conducted in conjunction with a municipal election.

Clauses 8, 9, and 10 of this document remind citizens of the high standard of conduct that is set for MPs. It is our duty as citizens to ensure that the people that we elect are seen to be following these guidelines.

Is the issue dead now that the poll results are in? Only in Dean Del Mastro's dreams. As Jeannine Taylor, an organizer of the Little Lake Protection Group, told the Peterborough Examiner, “I don’t think it’s a dead issue and it’s still really of concern. We’re going to keep plugging away at it … We can’t let this happen again.”

Anyone who truly cares about democracy recognizes that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to ensure that this kind of breakdown of democracy is never allowed to happen again in our riding.

Our MP either fails to recognize the implications of his actions - or he doesn't care. Either possibility is mind-boggling - and should serve as a wake-up call for citizens of this riding.

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