Look in the dictionary for the definition of “fall guy” and you’ll probably find a new entry this week: Michael Sona.
Sona’s the only person charged with a criminal offence in the robocalls scandal, and he was convicted yesterday for his role in a crime that even the judge in the case says the Conservative party worker was unlikely to have carried out by himself.
The question now is whether the investigation can, and will, continue. And whether we’ll ever know what really happened.
There are certainly others involved — but will they be allowed to simply walk away scot-free?
There are plenty of new questions, questions that several players have stoically been refusing to answer.
For example, there’s the campaign manager for the Guelph riding, Ken Morgan, who refused to talk to Elections Canada investigators at all about the case and then moved to Kuwait — present whereabouts unknown.
There’s fellow campaign worker Andrew Prescott, who may also have been involved, but who was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony against Sona.
There’s the identity of “Pierre Poutine,” who bought and paid for an unidentifiable cellphone used to launch the robocalls.
And above all that are questions about the role and extent of the Conservatives’ huge voter identification and tracking system, CIMS, which was apparently accessed to gain the information needed to send 7,000 misleading robocalls to supporters of others parties, faked calls claiming to be from Elections Canada and directing those voters to non-existent polling stations.
All this can be held up against a substantial and recent weakening of the Elections Canada legislation by the current government with its so-called “Fair Elections Act,” changes that make it no easier to root out those who would tamper with the absolute basic core rights of a democracy: the right for voters to cast their ballots in an honest and fair election.
Cheat someone out of a vote, and you are spitting on the idea of democracy.
But if the crime was base enough, you have to look at the reaction as well.There’s probably nothing more galling than the response to the verdict by the federal Tories. With so many questions left unanswered, the Tories are actually trumpeting their role in Sona’s conviction.
“Voter suppression is extremely serious and those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That's why we reached out to Elections Canada when we heard of wrongdoing in Guelph and did all we could to assist them,” Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann said in a statement. “We spend our campaigns identifying supporters and working hard to get them out to vote.”
Ah, wonderful: claiming to have the wings of angels, all the while wearing feet of clay.
The Tories clearly want this all to end, without ever having the answers in front of the public.
Here’s a message you don’t need a robocall to spread: something still stinks.