Hackers claim PM choked on hashbrown breakfast
The Prime Minister's Office said Stephen Harper was in good health and on the job as usual Tuesday morning, not in hospital recovering from a hashbrown choking incident as hackers claimed in a false statement posted on the Conservative Party website.
The statement, which was removed from the site by about 8:30 a.m., said Harper was taken to Toronto General Hospital on Tuesday morning after his wife called 911.
"He was eating breakfast with his kids when a piece of hash-brown lodged in his throat, blocking air from reaching his lungs," the statement said.
"A member of his security team happened to be nearby, and immediately began to apply first-aid."
The PMO has not issued a direct response to the post, but media inquiries were referred to a tweet from Harper's communications director Dimitri Soudas. Soudas tweeted at 8:35 a.m. ET that Harper had taken his daughter Rachel to school, and was on his way to work at Parliament Hill.
Andrew MacDougall, a PMO spokesperson, told The Canadian Press in an email that Harper was "fit as a fiddle."
As of 10:30 a.m. the Twitter link on the Conservative website's contact page still featured a link to an account called @LulzRaft.
By Tuesday afternoon, however, it appeared as though the security breach had spread.
A tweet posted on Monday from @LulzRaft said "We're not trying to cause some nationwide twitter panic or anything...just some #lulz!" Lulz is web-speak for laughs.
A later tweet from @LulzRaft also purported to link to a list of passwords for website, as well. The Conservative website was also offline.
Initially the choking statement appeared to have fooled newly elected Conservative MP Chris Alexander, who tweeted a link to the statement with the words "Prime Minister Rushed to Hospital After Breakfast incident."
Alexander -- Canada's former ambassador to Afghanistan -- later told CTV he hadn't posted any tweets Tuesday morning, however, and his site had been hacked. He later corrected that statement, explaining that his Twitter account is linked to the Conservative website, suggesting it automatically generates tweets to new releases.
The strangely worded news release triggered a flurry of response on the social networking site Twitter, as journalists questioned whether the statement was true.
The news release said staff were "cautiously assuming" that Harper would "completely recover" but suggested his short-term schedule would be disrupted.
"From the looks of things, Harper will miss many of his planned meetings over the next few days," the news release said.
"He had just arrived home last night from his planned trip to the Richelieu flood zone in Quebec. We are awaiting any further word of his condition from the doctors and staff of TGH, and wish the best to him and his family."