Witness gave Conservatives IP addresses, Sona trial hears
GUELPH – The Conservative party had insider information about the misleading Guelph robocalls when the investigation was underway, court heard Tuesday on the second day of the Michael Sona trial.
Matt Meier, president of Edmonton-based automated calling firm RackNine, said he supplied IP addresses to the Conservative Party in March 2012 after he first discovered them and gave them to Elections Canada investigator Allan Mathews.
The IP addresses would have shown that calls came from Conservative candidate Marty Burke’s campaign office.
Meier said he also spoke to Andrew Prescott, Burke’s deputy campaign manager who received immunity to testify against Sona, after first being contacted by Elections Canada.
But Meier stopped, he said. “It became clear I shouldn’t be speaking with him.”
Prescott was one of two clients from the office who used RackNine’s services during the 2011 federal election. The other was Pierre S. Jones, the infamous person who allegedly set up the misleading calls using a burner cellphone registered to Pierre Poutine.
Meier said he accepted “Pierre S. Jones” as a client because he was referred by the Conservative party. Jones claimed to be a student doing marketing research and not political calls.
Meier told court he gave the Tories the information because the Conservatives were his client. He also said he spoke with Conservative party staffer Chris Rougier, who is expected to testify later Tuesday, about robocalls media reports.
Earlier, Meier told court he warned whoever set up the Jones account that robocalls “could do serious damage if misused.”
WATCH: The search for answers in the so-called robocalls case got underway in Guelph, Ont. on Monday.
He said he spoke with Jones once by phone before setting up the account, but couldn’t pinpoint the voice other than it was young and male. Meier agreed he couldn’t rule out Prescott.
Whoever used RackNine’s services sent out thousands of misleading calls on election day May 2, 2011, used to send non-Conservative supporters to the wrong polling station.
The person also set up false Liberal calls that were never sent out, court heard.
Under examination by Crown attorney Croft Michaelson, Meier also said “almost all” of the new clients are able to set up an account without help.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist,” he said.
Meier told “Jones” isn’t it a typical service to provide over the phone, so “good to know who is using it.”
He added it’s a very inexpensive way to make large-scale calls, at a cost of 1.9 cents per minute.
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