Elections Canada probed Tories’ Guelph campaign in November

Elections Canada’s robocall probe, which has dominated federal politics for the last week and sparked claims of widespread electoral fraud from the opposition, appears to be limited to a single riding, according to documents obtained by the Edmonton Journal.

The arms-length federal agency obtained a warrant for documents held by RackNine Inc., an Edmonton company caught up in the scandal, in November. From the Ottawa Citizen:

[The Order] specifically refers to records related to the campaign of Conservative candidate Marty Burke in Guelph, where many voters reported receiving pre-recorded messages that falsely claimed their polling stations had moved.

Since reports of that investigation came to light last week, Liberals and New Democrats have reported fraudulent calls in dozens of ridings across the country and the Conservatives have called on anyone with information to send it to Elections Canada — but the documents suggest any such investigation was more narrowly focused, at least in November.

The news could provide some cover for the beleaguered Tories, who on Monday clung to the lines they’ve used since the story broke: that they ran a clean campaign; that any malfeasance was limited; and that rogues elements are to blame for anything that went wrong. From The Globe and Mail:

The message from Tories, in private conversations Monday, was that something wrong happened in the riding of Guelph in the spring, 2011 election campaign – but that was the work of local staffers and took place without the knowledge of the national Conservative machine.

Complicating that narrative, however, are stories cropping up daily of other alleged dirty tricks from across the country. The Citizen reported Tuesday that Liberals had complained of similar foul play in a tightly contested Ottawa-area riding in November. Aaron Wherry, meanwhile, had the running tally of ridings in question at 11 as of Monday night. (He added another three to the list Tuesday morning.)

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