The trial of the 24-year-old mastermind behind the plot carried out during the 2011 federal election to fraudulently mislead and harass voters in the riding of Guelph has begun in Ottawa before Ontario Court Judge Celynne Dorval.
In April, you’ll perhaps recall, Michael Sona (pictured at left in this CBC file photo) was charged under the Elections Act with wilfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent a voter from casting a ballot. The prosecution has elected to proceed by way of indictment as opposed to seeking a summary conviction, so should Sona be convicted he could face a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
That would be a penalty the accused would richly deserved. As the only person charged after a prolonged Elections Canada investigation into approximately 7000 robocalls that were made in the days leading up to the election, he has a lot to answer for.
To begin with, he cleverly inserted himself into the ranks of the Conservative Party of Canada by being hiring as the director of communications for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke. Once he was so ensconced, he tapped into a private Conservative data base to obtain the phone numbers of thousands of voters who had previously indicated a disinclination to support the Conservatives in the election.
Then, through a series of clandestine maneuvers involving vanilla gift cards purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart and a burner phone purchased at Future Shop under the name Pierre Poutine, he contacted an Alberta company called RackNine using a computer in the Conservative campaign office and arranged to have the fraudulent and harassing calls made.
Clearly, this Sona character is a ruthless criminal who should suffer the full weight of the law for his misdeeds and the harm he has caused to credibility of the Conservative Party of Canada though his wanton and devious actions. You can read more in these CBC and Ottawa Citizen reports.