Canadians will have to wait to find identity of Pierre Poutine
Published Monday, March 12, 2012 10:54PM EDT
It could be years before Canadians know the identity of "Pierre Poutine," the mysterious figure at the centre of the robocalls scandal.
"Elections Canada said we'll only know if charges are actually laid, and that may be months or years away," CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife said Monday night.
The person who sent the fake recorded messages was careful to cover his or her digital tracks, using a prepaid cellphone and a fake account with the fictional address of "Separatist Street" in Joliette, Que.
However, speculation continues.
A senior Conservative says that local campaign staff in Guelph, Ont., claimed to have identified the real identity of Poutine.
The senior Tory was told that staff members had identified Poutine after Michael Sona, 23, allegedly owned up to the scheme.
But a source close to Sona denied the allegations, saying that "Conservative Party headquarters is trying to pin it on him."
The source also said Sona was in church on the day some of the Pierre Poutine calls were made.
Sona, who worked on the Guelph campaign during the last federal election, has previously denied having anything to do with the robocalls, which falsely claimed to come from Elections Canada and directed voters to the wrong polling locations.
Conservative insiders insist they are not forcing Sona to take the fall.
Meanwhile, opposition parties are demanding a formal inquiry into the robocalls scandal.
"Do they really think that Canadians are going to believe that the guy who named himself after cheese curds and gravy is behind this, as though he is some kind of robofraud equivalent of Dr. Evil?" NDP MP Charlie Angus asked of the Conservatives Monday.
The Conservatives have responded with counter accusations, saying the Liberals made phony election calls in Guelph that attacked the local Tory candidate over abortion.
Frank Valeriote, the Liberal MP for Guelph, has admitted his campaign used robocalls, but said it was an oversight that the calls did not say they were Liberal-financed.
On Sunday, people in a number of cities across Canada held protests calling for a public inquiry into the robocalls scandal.
Opposition parties claim voter turnout may have been affected by the calls, when either pre-recorded messages or live callers informed voters of changes that hadn't actually occurred.
The RCMP and Elections Canada are looking into reports that automated calls were made in as many as 18 ridings, though opposition parties claim 34 ridings were affected.