MONTREAL - Liberal MP Irwin Cotler says the Harper government is using public money to pay a "shadow MP" in a partisan campaign targeting his riding.

For weeks, Cotler has complained about so-called phantom calls organized by Conservatives, in which his constituents are told he's about to resign.

Now he's denouncing the Tories hiring -- as an employee of the Government of Canada -- a man he calls a "shadow MP."

He says the Tory he defeated in the last election, now employed in the office of Heritage Minister James Moore, is performing the duties of a member of Parliament.

He says former city councillor Saulie Zajdel is offering to help municipal politicians in his Montreal riding secure federal grants and services.

Zajdel narrowly lost to Cotler in the last election in Montreal's Mount Royal riding and is expected to take another run at it.