After 22 months of investigation, Elections Canada has charged a former Conservative campaign staffer over misleading robocalls sent to voters in Guelph, Ont. in the 2011 election. A single charge was laid in Guelph against Michael Sona, who served as director of communications to losing Conservative candidate Marty Burke. Elections Canada confirmed that Sona was charged Tuesday under a section of the Elections Act that makes it illegal to “wilfully prevent or endeavour to prevent an elector from voting at an election.” The charge is the first to be laid in the politically charged robocalls affair that has hovered over the Conservative Party.
“The strong public reaction to the fraudulent telephone calls made to electors in Guelph during the May 2011 general election shows how deeply disturbed Canadians were by what happened,” Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté said in the statement.
“I hope that the charge we filed today will send a strong message that such abuses under the Canada Elections Act will not be tolerated.”
An officer, believed to be Elections Canada investigator Allan Mathews, signed an information in the Guelph courthouse on Tuesday morning. That document cannot be released until it is served on Sona, a court official said.