Conservative leadership candidates Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay used every chance they had to poke holes in each others’ records and promises, in a June 18, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Peter MacKay campaign dismisses O’Toole team’s theft allegation

No proof or documentation has been provided about this investigation or its findings

Tension between the two perceived frontrunners of the Conservative leadership contest reached fever pitch this weekend with Erin O’Toole’s campaign accusing leadership rival Peter MacKay of stealing confidential campaign data — charges MacKay’s team is dismissing as a preposterous political ploy.

O’Toole’s campaign issued a late-night press release Friday, saying it has filed a formal complaint with three police agencies seeking an investigation into MacKay’s organization.

The complaint involves an alleged theft of confidential campaign and strategy data uncovered by an internal investigation after the O’Toole team’s systems were reportedly hacked earlier this week.

No proof or documentation has been provided about this investigation or its findings, nor have any details been released about how this investigation was conducted, except that it included data collection and in-person interviews.

The O’Toole campaign alleges the MacKay team obtained confidential O’Toole login information for virtual campaign meetings held over the popular video conferencing application Zoom, and that at least some of them were downloaded.

MacKay’s team is dismissing the allegations as a “desperate, last ditch strategy.”

ALSO READ: Erin O’Toole camp seeks police probe, accuses MacKay camp of theft

It issued a statement Saturday calling it “mildly amusing” to be on the receiving end of this accusation late on a Friday of what they believe was a “bad week for the O’Toole campaign.”

“It is not surprising that this is a tactic being trotted out the same week that Erin O’Toole performed very poorly in the debates in front of party members and Canadians,” the MacKay campaign said in their statement.

“Their campaign telegraphed immediately after the debates that they had given up on their unity message and were going to tear down their opponents as a desperate, last ditch strategy.”

MacKay’s team further noted that if someone from the O’Toole campaign leaked information, the O’Toole campaign should be talking to its own volunteers.

The O’Toole allegation names MacKay campaign organizer Jamie Lall and says details have been shared with RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police and Toronto police.

The police agencies did not immediately respond for comment.

In a brief tweet, Lall said not a single word of the allegation is true.

Lall did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Canadian Press.

“We call on Peter MacKay and his team to immediately return and delete any stolen data or video’s currently in possession of staff and volunteers,” the O’Toole campaign said in a Friday release.

“We further insist on swift co-operation from Mr. MacKay and his campaign with the RCMP, OPP, and Toronto Police Service and the immediate termination of all involved in this potentially criminal action from their campaign.”

The allegations come after MacKay, O’Toole and fellow candidates Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan squared off in two leadership debates this week.

The debates will likely be the final faceoff between all four candidates before the ballots are sent out to party members early next month.

The four candidates now have two months left to convince thousands of party members they are the best person for the job.

Ballots will go in the mail in July and must be back at the party’s headquarters by Aug. 21. A winner will be announced shortly after.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

Reserve a gym spot online with the Houston Leisure Facility

The online system is another step to make things easy during the pandemic

Bulk water, sewage project gets council’s approval

Facility to service large-scale users

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read