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September 05, 2008

Pre-Election Announcement Redux: It's Deja Vu All Over Again

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Two of the top stories in tonight's Peterborough Examiner:

1. Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro denies that the unveiling of a $90 million proposal for a mega-resort was timed to coincide with the imminent announcement of a federal election.

He's provided two plausible (albeit somewhat contradictory) explanations since launching his proposal on Tuesday:

(ONE) He hadn't intended to reveal his plan to the public right now because he didn't want to be accused of trying to profit from the pre-election timing ("I didn't want it to be part of an election campaign.") The plan was inadvertently made public as a result of an error on the part of his staff (they neglected to pull his presentation from Peterborough County Council), making it necessary for him to follow through with that presentation, present his idea at Peterborough City Council, and go public with his idea.

(TWO) He had intended to release it to the public right now because he wanted to be upfront with the public about his idea before the election: "Del Mastro said he planned on presenting the proposal to city council well before there was any talk of a federal election. 'To be honest, I considered pushing it back until after the election,' [Del Mastro] said. But he wanted to be upfront with the public about his idea, he said, and wouldn't want to submit the proposal after the election." (Peterborough Examiner)

2. Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro denies that the launch of a local passport office was timed to coincide with the imminent announcement of a federal election.

If this all sounds very familiar, you're not imagining things. You may recall that, back in late winter/early spring, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro announced that the area would soon be benefiting from an $88 million investment in a VIA commuter train connection to the area. This announcement was made on the eve of an anticipated spring election and came as a total surprise to Peterborough area residents. (Everyone expected the Tory budget to fail and an election to occur.) The election didn't materialize. Neither did the VIA commuter train link. Peterborough got a transportation feasibility study instead.

Are Peterborough constituents getting the straight facts? Only time will tell.

In the days ahead, I'll be going my best to help people navigate the slippery slope between fact and fiction, Kawartha style, as I've been doing for much of the past two years. Stay tuned.

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