Pity poor Dean del Mastro. He stands convicted on all counts. Del Mastro claims he is the victim of a gross injustice. Michael Harris writes:
In fact, one of the things noted by Judge Cameron in rendering her verdict was Del Mastro’s lack of credibility. She noted how he obfuscated the evidence and avoided telling the truth on the stand. In some cases, he left questions asked on cross-examination ignored and unanswered. While such tactics are grounds for promotion in the Harper government, they are not traits that generally end well when you are under oath in court.
The inescapable lesson behind Judge Cameron's judgement is that Stephen Harper has a lousy eye for talent:
What makes this even more farcical is how the prime minister has — again — demonstrated his appalling judgement on major appointments. He made Dean Del Mastro his parliamentary secretary. And despite demands from the opposition that Del Mastro step down while he was being investigated, Harper kept him on until he was formally charged by Elections Canada.
That’s right. The same acute eye for talent that put Arthur Porter (now languishing in a Panamanian jail) in charge of oversight for CSIS — that tapped Bruce Carson a senior policy advisor and appointed two senators now facing criminal charges — has struck again. Del Mastro is further proof the PM should start outsourcing his staffing requirements — maybe to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
But there is a larger lesson. Evidence of the del Mastro syndrome stretches back further than the last election:
In 2006, the CPC used an accounting scam — moving money in and out of local and national accounts — that allowed the party to spend a million dollars more than the spending limits allowed. This became known as the In-and-Out scandal, which resulted in charges five years later.
In 2011, Harper cabinet minister Peter Penashue was forced to resign and run in a by-election after an Elections Canada investigation found that he had accepted illegal contributions in 2011 and overspent his campaign limits. The woman who beat him in the by-election, Liberal Yvonne Jones, described the outcome this way: “People are tired of the fearmongering. They were tired of the attack ads. They were tired of the lies.”
Don't expect Stephen Harper to learn any lessons from all of this. But, if Canadian voters have not learned any lessons from Harper's appalling eye for talent, we are in deep trouble.