Robocalls: Mr. Sona goes to Ottawa

Michael Sona on Parliament HillBy Alison@Creekside

Former Guelph Con Party communications director Michael Sona relates how he was sitting in his Hill office on Feb. 23 2012 when he was shocked to hear Sun News reporter Brian Lilley fingering him on air for the Guelph robocalls election fraud. Sona:

“I contacted a few people at [Con] headquarters and I just said I wanna know what’s going on. Like why am I being thrown out here because Sun News is you know kind of an alternate method of getting press releases and other stories out from the party, right? I mean everyone knows that, right? It’s just a standard comm’s tactic. And I knew if this is on Sun News, this isn’t just some you know hack journalist picking up some story that he’s fabricated in his head. This is  someone. Someone is feeding him this.”

Sona eventually hears back from Con Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton, who tells him not to worry about anonymous sources.

Excerpted from that 2012 Sun News broadcast with Brian Lilley:

“The Conservatives have someone identified already on who they think this could be . . . . We’ve been talking to sources here for the Ottawa bureau for Sun News Network and they’re pointing towards one individual in particular. His name is Michael Sona . . . . We’re waiting on an official statement on this but sources are saying at this point it appears it is this one individual, a Michael Sona, who has associations with the campaign, may have worked on a local campaign, but he’s not, was not with the national Conservative campaign. So then it becomes a question of was this a directive from the top, was this someone acting on their own locally to try and help their candidate win? . . .”

Lilley says Con lawyer Arthur Hamilton is already on it — praises him as a “no-nonsense guy.”

“But it does look at this point that it was Michael Sona who was behind this . . . .”

A statement is then read out from Steve’s political director Jenni Byrne denying Con Party headquarters involvement. Back to Lilley:

“Sources say that it does look like it was Michael Sona who was behind this but no confirmation for sure, no charges laid at this point and we’ll wait and see what Mr. Sona himself has to say. We’ll be reaching out to him today of course as well.”

Fictitious "Sun News Exposed" coverAfter the broadcast and a phone call from Jenni Byrne, Con MP Eve Adams asked Sona to hand in his resignation.

 
DefMin Peter MacKay answering a question on the Guelph robocalls three days later:

“I think they’ve identified the individual that was involved in this . . . and that individual is no longer in the employment of the party.”

Eye-bleach graffic to the right inspired by the cover of Brian Lilley’s popular runaway! runaway! bestcellar book CBC Exposed, which accuses the CBC of being the state broadcaster:

“This book takes on the holy grail of the Canadian media landscape and lays bare the truth about CBC. Reckless reporting at the state broadcaster has ruined lives . . .”

“Ruined lives” indeed. Michael Sona, forced to resign his job on the Hill the day of that Sun News broadcast, is still waiting for resolution a year later.

Big City Lib blogged on Thursday that Harpercrat Action Plan ads appear to account “for well over half of the adverts on the Sun TV website.”

“Does this amount to a government subsidy . . . the Harper Gov. throwing money to a message friendly news service?  And if so, does that make Sun TV Canada’s REAL state broadcaster?”

Certainly the Conservative Party seems to think so.

Just before the last federal election, Patrick Muttart, Harper’s former deputy chief of staff and the chief marketing strategist for the Conservative Party of Canada, forwarded what appeared to be a photo of Michael Ignatieff in Kuwait in US battle fatigues, but wasn’t, on to former Harper spokesy, now founder and VP of Sun News, Kory Teneycke — presumably for election news publication. Teneycke caught it in time.

At the time, Muttart told reporters that he was both an unpaid advisor to Sun News to launch their TV network and “on the Con payroll as a consultant to the party’s election war room.”

CBC is the national public broadcaster. Sun News Network, as Michael Sona puts it, is an alternate method of getting stories out from the party.

Michael Sona’s video interview with McMaher on Friday, btw, well worth a full listen. (Click on the link, then click on the “Video” tab above the story.)

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