Federal Conservatives acknowledge they're behind Saskatchewan push poll

OTTAWA – The federal Conservative party is acknowledging it commissioned a so-called push poll in Saskatchewan that warned listeners that electoral boundary changes would “destroy Saskatchewan values.”

Residents have complained of automated phone calls that suggested the redrawing of ridings in Regina and Saskatoon would pit rural people against urban dwellers — then asked respondents to agree by pressing a number on their phone.

The robocalls provided no party identification, but said they came from a company called Chase Research.

The boundary changes could hurt Conservatives — who hold 13 of the province’s 14 seats — because a more concentrated urban vote in some ridings might end up electing their rivals.

After initially denying any involvement, party spokesman Fred DeLorey now says the calls should have been identified as coming from the Conservatives, chalking up the error to an “internal miscommunication.”

Riding redistribution takes place as populations shift; the changes are proposed by a non-partisan panel after public consultation.