Michael Sona Charged By Elections Canada In Connection To Robocall Scandal
Neither Mr. Sona or I will be making any public statements beyond the following statement at this time.
Although the charge is disappointing, it represents an opportunity for Mr. Sona to finally address the allegations in a court as oppose to in the media and resolve it permanently. I cannot help but comment, that if the government was interested in the public being fully informed and the issue of robocalls being properly addressed, a Full Public Inquiry would be called, rather than a charge laid against a single individual who held a junior position on a single campaign and who clearly lacked the resources and access to the data required to make the robocalls. I am confident the public agrees.
Counsel for Michael Sona
Bayne Sellar Boxall
Elections Canada has filed a charge against Michael Sona, the ex-Conservative staffer fingered by the Tories in the so-called robocalls scandal, The Huffington Post Canada has learned. Elections Canada would not confirm the charge, detailed Tuesday in a provincial court filing in Guelph, Ont., but HuffPost has learned he is charged under section 491.3(d) of the Canada Elections Act, which relates to willfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting. The date of the alleged offence is April 30, 2011 -- two days before the last federal election day.
Sources say the charge relates to phone calls made to voters during the election. A court staffer confirmed a charge was filed against Sona Tuesday.
In a statement, Sona's lawyer, Norm Boxall, called the charge "disappointing" but added it will afford his client the opportunity to address the allegations in court, rather than through the media.
"I cannot help but comment, that if the government was interested in the public being fully informed and the issue of robocalls being properly addressed, a full public inquiry would be called, rather than a charge laid against a single individual who held a junior position on a single campaign and who clearly lacked the resources and access to the data required to make the robocalls," he said.
Sona was unavailable for comment. He is due to appear in court May 3 at 9:30 a.m.
Elections Canada spokeswoman Diane Benson refused to comment.
"We don't comment on Commissioner investigations and we would not comment on matters before the court," she said.
Sona could face fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison if the Crown chooses to prosecute the charge as an indictable offence. The Crown, however, could chose to issue a summary conviction, which could result in a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail.
The charge was filed on behalf of the director of public prosecutions, following the advice of Yves Côté, the commissioner of Elections Canada, who’s been investigating thousands of illegal robocalls made in Guelph on election day, May 2, 2011.
The calls instructed unlikely Tory voters to cast ballots at non-existent polling stations. Sona’s name was leaked to the national media after the story emerged in February, 2012, and he was fired from his job on Parliament Hill as an assistant to Conservative rookie MP Eve Adams.
In his version of the story, first told to The Huffington Post Canada last fall, Sona said he was a scapegoat who had been thrown under the bus, first by the Conservative Party and then by Elections Canada.
Sona, now 24 years of age, told HuffPost last October that he had no access to the Conservative database, the constituent information management system (CIMS), which is widely believed to be the source of the telephone numbers used in the robocall affairs.
Elections Canada began its investigation into the voting irregularities in Guelph nearly two years ago. It appears only Sona has been charged.
Calls to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Brian Saunders’ office were referred back to Elections Canada.