Ontario MP Dean Del Mastro is in a heap of trouble.
The former right-hand man to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was charged Thursday with improper election spending that could see him in prison for as much as five years.
Harper's office also released a statement Thursday saying Del Mastro is no longer a member of the Tory caucus.
Del Mastro and his former official agent, Richard McCarthy, are charged with filing a 2008 campaign return that was false or misleading, exceeding the legal election spending limit, and filing a return that omitted required information.
Del Mastro is also charged with exceeding the political contribution limit of $1,000 by writing a $21,000 personal cheque that allegedly went into his own campaign.
A conviction could mean fines of between $2,000 and $5,000, a sentence of up to five years in prison, or both.
But just last week, Del Mastro, who served as Harper’s parliamentary secretary, was shifted to the economic development portfolio. Parliamentary secretaries get $16,000 wage hikes on top of their MP salaries of $160,000 but are not members of cabinet.
As political researcher Tim Abray-Nyman told Postmedia last week, the position is essentially a reward for loyal MPs.
"Historically, because the patronage system was very strong in the early days of Canadian parliamentary democracy … it made sense to have a system by which you could reward particularly loyal people," Abray-Nyman told Jordan Press. "This provided you with an additional layer to reward people."
Fans of question period know Del Mastro proved his loyalty as a frequent speaker, at least before this scandal began to take off, who would rise to defend the Harper government from allegations and fire back at members of the opposition.
But even outside the House of Commons, Del Mastro would toe the party line and mix it up with rivals.
Here are just a few of Del Mastro's memorable moments before he became, evidently, persona non grata to Conservatives.
'Why Mr. Speaker? Why?'YouTube
High Praise For HarperYouTube
Stop Me If You've Heard This One..YouTube
'I'd Like To Thank The Member For 8 Mile..'YouTube
'Your Son Is A Member of Parliament'YouTube
'Go To Their Average Adult Video Store..'
With files from The Canadian Press
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