Investigate 2008 robocalls following Duffy testimony: Elizabeth May
OTTAWA – There is at least one politician who is happy about Sen. Mike Duffy’s testimony Thursday alleging Conservative party “black ops” sent out misleading robocalls on Vancouver Island during the 2008 election.
And that person is Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
“This is huge,” May said from Paris, where she is attending the climate change summit COP21.
“My constituents are still really angry about knowing that somebody committed an election fraud and we were never able to get to the bottom of it.”
Watch: One of the focuses of Thursday’s testimony at the Mike Duffy trial was on a trip he took with then Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009.
Duffy was testifying for the third day at his fraud and breach of trust trial when he made the allegation that former sports minister Gary Lunn told the senator in June 2009 about an orchestrated robocalls campaign to get Lunn re-elected in his Saanich-Gulf Island riding, now held by May.
“He’d had a close call during the previous election and it was only through the divine intervention of (late campaign manager) Doug Finley’s black ops group at Conservative headquarters that he managed to get himself re-elected,” Duffy told the court.
Julian West, the federal NDP candidate in the riding, had withdrawn from the race following a controversy, but his name remained on the ballot.
Duffy told the court that the Conservatives used the party’s voter database to encourage NDP voters to go out and vote for him regardless.
“Basically what happened was that they used robocalls to misdirect NDP voters, to split the vote and allow Gary Lunn to win,” Duffy testified.
“He knew nothing about it, except that they phoned him afterward and said ‘You’re welcome Gary.’ He said ‘What?’ (They said) ‘We got you in’.”
May said she did her own investigation into the 2008 robocalls but was never able to pin down where the calls came from.
“I don’t know who’s responsible for what happened, but this is evidence under oath,” May said.
Many of the 31 charges that Duffy faces have to do with travel he billed to the Senate. His testimony relates to a September 2009 trip he took to British Columbia at Lunn’s request, following their June lunch meeting.
Duffy says he met Lunn and David Angus, a lobbyist for Molson Canada, at Hy’s Steakhouse in Ottawa. He said Lunn was worried about re-election and wanted Duffy to appear at a local fair and for Molson to help with an Olympic torch.
But Duffy never made it to the fair, testifying that Lunn cancelled his appearance the night before.
Lunn told The Canadian Press on Thursday that he has no recollection of the June 2009 lunch, never knew who made the misleading phone calls and never told Duffy that it was Conservative headquarters.
Neither Angus nor the Conservative Party immediately responded to a request for comment from Global News.
But May says she hopes Duffy’s revelation sparks another investigation by Elections Canada and the RCMP.
A spokeswoman for the Commissioner of Canada Elections said the office doesn’t confirm or deny whether an investigation will proceed. The RCMP didn’t immediately return phone calls on Thursday.
“Duffy may have wanted to just throw that in, but it does raise for me a really large alarm. And I hope we’ll maybe use this as a reason to reopen that investigation,” May said.
“Because when people get away with election fraud, it could happen again.”
– with files from The Canadian Press
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