The bills for internet services that Elections Canada hopes will lead to the person behind robocalls in Guelph, Ont., don't match the account number assigned to the Guelph Conservative campaign, the Ottawa Citizen is reporting.
Al Mathews, the lead investigator in the case, requested customer information that corresponded to an IP address used to access RackNine, the company that was contracted to make the robocalls. A comparison done by the newspaper of expenses filed by former Conservative candidate Marty Burke shows his campaign's Rogers account number doesn't match any of the four sets of account information provided.
A spokesman for Elections Canada said it would take two business days to make the records available for viewing and wouldn't confirm the report.
Mathews filed an order to produce the records March 20 and received one set of records that day, with information following on March 30.
Elections Canada has been investigating misleading robocalls made to Guelph voters on May 2, 2011, the day of the federal election. The automated calls directed voters to the wrong polling station. It's illegal to interfere with anyone's right to vote.
Mathews traced the IP addresses used to access RackNine's voice broadcasting, or robocalls, service to:
- A proxy server that allows users to hide their IP addresses.
- The same IP address used by Burke campaign staffer Andrew Prescott to access the campaign's legitimate account. This IP address was traced to a computer in Guelph, Mathews says in court documents.
While it's been just over a year since Mathews started his investigation, NDP MP David Christopherson says the election agency should take as long as it needs to compile evidence.
"The last thing we want them to do is to move too quickly, wrong anyone in the process. So giving them the time to do their job, we have confidence," he said.
Election agency doing 'due diligence'
"It's just so complex. I don't think they've ever dealt with anything like this, anything so widespread and anything so potentially scandalous and, quite frankly, dangerous to our democracy. So ... I would hope that they're moving very carefully, very thoroughly and that when they do bring results and findings to the Canadian people that it's solid work and that it'll hold up in court if that's where we ultimately end up," Christopherson said.
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro wouldn't comment on Elections Canada's process.
"They're doing their due diligence, investigating some serious allegations and we support them in that," Del Mastro said.
Liberal MP Frank Valeriote, who beat Burke to take the seat in Guelph, says he knew when his campaign first submitted evidence to Elections Canada that it would "take a bit of time." Valeriote's campaign had enough complaints about misleading calls that they provided a list of 80 complainants to the agency.
"We just have to let Al do his job. He's very probative, he's very thorough. And I know he's doing his best," Valeriote said.