Ottawa

John Williamson Maverick Watch

The Conservative backbencher abandons the government’s free speech defence.

“I don’t think there will be any more use of suggestions that a byelection might happen,” said New Brunswick MP John Williamson, one of the Conservatives who had initially defended the phone calls as simple “voter identification.”

Williamson, a former communications director in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office before he entered elected politics, said all parties will continue to conduct phone campaigns to identify potential supporters for future elections. He also said that Conservatives would not call misinformation “free expression.” “Let me put it this way: that was the weakest argument put forward,” Williamson said.