Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Elections Canada Witness Accuses Conservative MP of Intimidation, Bullying

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Elections Canada Witness Accuses Conservative MP of Intimidation, Bullying

Article excerpt

Witness accuses Conservative MP of bullying

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OTTAWA - A witness who is helping Elections Canada unravel a Conservative MP's 2008 campaign expenses says he has been publicly bullied, discredited and intimidated.

Frank Hall, who ran an Ottawa-based polling firm that did work for Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, has written to both the Speaker of the House of Commons and the prime minister saying Del Mastro has abused the concept of parliamentary immunity.

"It's purpose is not to enable MPs to settle personal scores with ordinary, individual Canadians, on private matters, by engaging in character assassination of them," Hall wrote Monday in a letter to Speaker Andrew Scheer.

Hall says if Del Mastro, Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, is allowed to slander a private citizen's good name in Parliament, then all witnesses who could help Elections Canada root out election fraud will be intimidated.

Del Mastro gave an impassioned speech in the Commons last week that accused Elections Canada of "malice and contempt" in its ongoing investigation of alleged campaign overspending.

The MP from Peterborough, Ont., also accused his former pollster Hall -- by name -- of having ulterior motives in assisting Elections Canada.

And he said a judge should not have granted a search warrant based on Hall's evidence.

"It is inconceivable that the presiding justice in this matter would not have asked the investigator quite simply, what do we know about Frank Hall?" Del Mastro said.

He went on to state: "I stand accused by a person who has admitted to falsifying records and reports, failed to deliver on contracts time and time again, and been involved in other civil disputes with public officials."

Hall, a private citizen whose polling company Holinshed Research is no longer in business, was not present in the Commons for Del Mastro's speech, nor could he have addressed the claims if he had been. …

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