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

RDCK reduces number of properties under evacuation alert from Talbott Creek Fire to 46

Improved visibility has allowed helicopters to resume water suppression efforts on fire

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Kootenay teachers’ union going to labour relations board over COVID-19 related work conditions

Union issues open letter to premier, education minister, health minister and Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Two men killed in Hwy 3 collision west of Castlegar

The single-vehicle incident happened Thursday morning

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Missing Lardeau man not found, underwater search called off

Thomas Schreiber was last seen on Sept. 15

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read