Campaign worker in Guelph faces first charge in 2011 election robocalls affair

OTTAWA – A junior Conservative campaign worker in Guelph, Ont., has been charged under the Elections Act for fraudulent robocalls made during the 2011 election campaign.

The charge was confirmed by the lawyer for Michael Sona, a young employee on the campaign of local Conservative candidate Marty Burke.

Elections Canada has been investigating hundreds of fraudulent robocalls in Guelph and dozens of other ridings across Canada that purported to be from the elections regulator.

Voters were told their polling stations had been moved, part of an alleged scam to suppress the vote. The fraudulent calls appeared to target identified non-Conservative voters.

Sona, now 24, was initially fingered by sources in the Conservative party but has loudly and repeatedly asserted that he was being made a scapegoat by party brass.

His lawyer, Norm Boxall, repeated that allegation in a statement Tuesday.

“Although the charge is disappointing, it represents an opportunity for Mr. Sona to finally address the allegations in a court as oppose to in the media and resolve it permanently,” Boxall said in an email.

“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, rather than a charge laid against a single individual who held a junior position on a single campaign and who clearly lacked the resources and access to the data required to make the robocalls.”

Neither Elections Canada nor the public prosecutors’ office would comment on the nature of the charge.

The Guelph courthouse also could not confirm the charges because Sona has not been served, an court employee said.