Looks like the Tories will be sacrificing another “campaign worker”.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper is denying the Conservative Party was involved in misleading phone calls sent out during the last election campaign directing voters to the wrong polling locations.
“In this case, our party has no knowledge of these calls,” he told reporters in Iqaluit. "It’s not part of our campaign."
Anyone found responsible would face the full force of the law, Harper said.
Harper’s remarks came in response to a Postmedia News-Ottawa Citizen report that found an ongoing Elections Canada investigation has traced the calls to a call centre with Conservative connections.
Earlier Thursday, the party’s campaign manger, Jenni Byrne, issued a statement denying any connection.
“The Conservative Party of Canada ran a clean and ethical campaign and would never tolerate such activity,” the statement said.
"The party was not involved with these calls and if anyone on a local campaign was involved they will not play a role in a future campaign."
The Conservatives appear to be preparing to cast blame for the calls on a young campaign worker. As Postmedia reported, the Conservatives had launched their own internal investigation, led by Toronto lawyer Arthur Hamilton.
Sun News, a media company known to be friendly with the Conservatives, reported the name of a worker from the Conservative campaign in Guelph, where many of the fake calls were made.
The Sun website ran a photograph of the worker, captioned “accused fraudulent caller,” standing next to Harper at a campaign event.
The party has not confirmed the name, however.
Opposition MPs pounced on the Postmedia report and said that, despite the denials, it was clear the Tories stood to benefit from what appears to have been a co-ordinated effort to discourage Liberal or NDP supporters from getting to the ballot box.
The pre-recorded calls received in Guelph, Ont. claimed they were from Elections Canada and told voters their polling stations had moved to a busy shopping mall in the city’s downtown.
NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel issued a letter the party sent to Commissioner of Canada Elections William Corbett, asking him to investigate fully.
But an Elections Canada investigation has been underway since immediately after the May 2 vote.
An investigator acting for the commissioner already has tracked phone records back to an Edmonton automated dialing company called Racknine, which had worked for the Conservative campaign in the election and for several Conservative candidates.
The company says it was unaware its voice-broadcasting equipment was used for the calls and is co-operating with the investigation.
NDP MP Pat Martin said the calls were a “disgusting” interference in the democratic process. He said it was not credible to suggest that the campaign of phoney calls on election day was co-ordinated by “a couple of hillbillies in Edmonton” acting alone.
"It was not some rogue punk out in the boondocks. It’s just not plausible."
Liberal MP John McCallum said his party doesn’t have a “smoking gun pointing at Stephen Harper” but he encouraged the Conservatives to co-operate with the investigation.