A Tory candidate in Saskatoon is considering legal action after someone from the campaign office of his Liberal opponent called a live cable TV show and falsely accused the Conservative of sexual assault.

Liberal candidate Chris Axworthy has apologized to Conservative incumbent Maurice Vellacott for the call. He conceded the call was made from his office but denied he had anything to do with it.

He believes someone not connected to his campaign sneaked in and made the call.

"We'll find out who it was if we can and we'll make sure that person doesn't participate again," Axworthy said.

Vellacott and Axworthy were participating in an all-candidates debate on a cable TV show Tuesday night that was taking calls from viewers.

One caller phoned and asked Vellacott if he had ever been removed from a local church because he was charged with sexually assaulting his secretary. The caller was cut off by the station.

Join us Jan. 23 after 10 p.m. EST for all the latest riding results and full analysis of the story
"Absolutely not, that would be a lie," Vellacott responded. "You'd want to be careful about that kind of thing when it's slanderous and defamatory."

Vellacott was a pastor before being elected as an MP in 1997, but maintains that he has never worked at North Park and has never been accused of sexual assault.

Caller ID traced the phone number back to the Axworthy's campaign office.

Axworthy, a former Saskatchewan justice minister, issued a statement Thursday afternoon apologizing and called the sex assault allegation "deplorable."

"In as much as it appears that our phones were misused and that the comments were hurtful to Mr. Vellacott, I offer my heartfelt apologies," Axworthy said in the release.

"As anyone who has known my record in public life will attest, I do not campaign in this fashion or condone this type of conduct."