One of three people vying to become Manitoba's next Liberal leader says he's been targeted by a fake Twitter account.

Bob Axworthy says earlier this fall, an account called "Actually Bob Axworthy" tweeted policy positions he says were taken out of context, such as support for the NDP government's controversial PST increase." 

Dougald Lamont

Dougald Lamont, one of three candidates in the Manitoba Liberal leadership race, says he's not involved with the fake Bob Axworthy Twitter account. (CBC)

Axworthy, who has his own Twitter account, said the fake account also sent direct messages to local media in an effort to cause confusion in advance of the party's leadership vote this weekend.

"This level of dirty tricks in social media should not be accepted by anyone in any campaign," he said Thursday.

The other two leadership candidates, Dougald Lamont and Rana Bokhari, said they were not involved.

"I'm absolutely certain it's not anybody from my campaign, but I doubt that it was anybody in the Liberal party at all," said Lamont.

Bokhari acknowledged that at least one member of her team engaged with the fake Bob Axworthy account using a private account, but she said that doesn't mean they were behind it.

Rana Bokhari

Leadership candidate Rana Bokhari said a member of her team engaged with the fake Axworthy account using a private account, but she said that doesn't mean they were behind it. (CBC)

"It's part of life; that's what we do. Everyone does that — you retweet, you read something and you move forward," she said.

Axworthy has complained to Twitter. The fake account has since been shut down.

Online brand consultant Sarah Zaharia said if what Axworthy said about the fake Twitter account is true, that would be alarming.
"That really takes it to a different level and what that fake account must have been doing is having a little bit more intent than what we see in some of the joke accounts," she said.

Manitoba Liberals will elect their new leader Saturday in Winnipeg.