Bruce Campion-Smith - Documents are showing Elections Canada's investigation of the robocalls affair is pointing them to an apparent fake name, Pierre Poutine. During question period Tuesday, accusations were flying from both sides of the House.
The revelation was made in court documents as part of an Elections Canada probe to identify who was responsible for false messages about changes to voting locations received by voters in the riding of Guelph.
Pierre’s Poutine is also the name of a restaurant in downtown Guelph, near the Old Quebec Street Mall — the phony voting site where automated phone calls steered Guelph voters on election day last year.
Robo-calls: Voter was told take 90-minute journey to cast ballot
Elections Canada is investigating ties between the federal Conservatives and RackNine Inc., an Edmonton-based company used to make automated phone calls. The name behind the cellphone was first revealed Tuesday by Postmedia and the Ottawa Citizen, who obtained court documents filed as part of the Elections Canada investigation.
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro said Tuesday his party had no role in the misleading phone calls in Guelph, even though Tory aide Michael Sona — who had worked in the riding during the election — quit his post without explanation Friday.
“The Conservative Party of Canada does not place intentionally misleading calls to voters. We simply do not,” Del Mastro said.
But opposition MPs have been calling for a broader, independent inquiry to probe what they say was a nationwide campaign of dirty tricks to deter Liberal and NDP supporters from casting a ballot.
NDP MP Pat Martin said Tuesday the clearly falsified ID behind the cellphone is proof of the deliberate efforts to suppress votes and that the people behind it were trying to hide their tracks.
“Who the hell uses a burner cellphone and is not trying to hide something?” Martin said.
“If you’re trying to tape a recording through an Edmonton company to play in Guelph, Ont., why the hell do you use a burner cellphone in Montreal? Only dope dealers and Hells Angels and Tony Soprano use burner cellphones.”
Conservative scripts misdirected voters in 2011 election, say call centre staff
For the second day in a row, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives on Tuesday shrugged off opposition charge of widespread election fraud and challenged the Liberals and New Democrats to provide proof.
But with stories of crank calls coming from across the country, Liberal interim leader Bob Rae said Harper should not be so dismissive.
“I think the Prime Minister should be wary of being so dismissive of the concerns that Canadians have about making sure that the electoral process is fair,” Rae told reporters.
Tim Harper: It's time for Canadians to get angry