OTTAWA—A former Conservative aide has been charged in connection with the fraudulent robocalls in Guelph that sought to confuse voters and suppress votes in the last federal election.
The charge relates to an investigation into automated phone calls that went out to Guelph voters on election day in 2011 falsely claiming their polling stations had moved.
“The strong public reaction to the fraudulent telephone calls made to electors in Guelph . . . shows how deeply disturbed Canadians were by what happened,” Yves Côté, the Commissioner of Canada Elections, said in a statement.
“I hope that the charge we filed today will send a strong message that such abuses . . . will not be tolerated.”
But Sona has insisted he’s not Pierre Poutine and has complained that he’s being made the fall guy in an investigation
now probing complaints of misleading phone calls in dozens of other ridings.
After the election, Sona became an aide to Conservative MP Eve Adams but stepped down in February 2012 after his name became publicly linked to the automated calls.
In a statement Tuesday, Sona’s lawyer, Norm Boxall, called the charge “disappointing” but said it marks a chance for him to address the allegations and “resolve it permanently.”
And Boxall gave a hint of their possible defence, saying that Sona had a “junior position on a single campaign and who clearly lacked the resources and access to the data required to make the robocalls.”
“If the government was interested in the public being fully informed and the issue of robocalls being properly addressed a full public inquiry would be called,” the Ottawa lawyer said.
The Conservative party on Tuesday said it had no part in the fraudulent phone calls, calling voter suppression “extremely serious.”
“The Conservative Party of Canada ran a clean and ethical campaign and does not tolerate such activity,” Fred DeLorey, the party’s director of communications, said in a statement.
“The party was not involved with these calls and those that were will not play a role in any future campaign.”
Canada’s chief electoral officer released a series of recommendations last month aimed at curbing election fraud and deception before the next election in 2015.
“There is enough that happened in the last election that we should be all concerned,” Marc Mayrand said.