Conservatives helped MP win with misleading robocalls: Duffy

Sen. Mike Duffy has introduced a new plotline into his story about his life with the Conservatives, alleging that party operatives deliberately misdirected voters in a Vancouver Island riding in 2008.

OTTAWA — Sen. Mike Duffy has introduced a new plotline into his story about his life with the Conservatives, alleging that party operatives deliberately misdirected voters in a Vancouver Island riding in 2008.

Duffy was testifying Thursday about a trip he took to British Columbia in September 2009, at the request of former sport minister Gary Lunn. Many of the 31 charges that Duffy faces have to do with travel he billed to the Senate.

Duffy says he met Lunn and David Angus, a lobbyist for Molson Canada, a few months prior. He said Lunn was worried about re-election and wanted Duffy to appear at a local fair and for Molson to help with an Olympic torch.

“He’d had a close call during the previous election and it was only through the divine intervention of (late campaign manager) Doug Finley’s black ops group at Conservative headquarters that he managed to get himself re-elected,” Duffy told the court.

Julian West, the federal NDP candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2008, had withdrawn from the race, but his name remained on the ballot. Duffy recounted that the Conservatives used the party’s voter database to encourage NDP voters to vote for that candidate.

“Basically what happened was that they used robocalls to misdirect NDP voters, to split the vote and allow Gary Lunn to win,” Duffy said.

“He knew nothing about it, except that they phoned him afterward and said ‘You’re welcome Gary.’ He said ‘What?’ (They said) ‘We got you in’.”

Lunn told The Canadian Press on Thursday that he has no recollection of the June 2009 lunch, never knew who made the misleading phone calls and never told Duffy that it was Conservative headquarters.

Angus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lunn was defeated in the 2011 election by Green party Leader Elizabeth May.

Duffy’s third day of testimony went through several of the trips he took to Conservative events on the Senate’s dime, many of which were specifically partisan. The defence has emphasized that the Senate’s rules mention partisan activities as one of a senator’s core functions.

On the September 2009 trip to British Columbia, Duffy met his children in Vancouver and says he received a phone call the night before Lunn’s event on Vancouver Island telling him not to come.

“The campaign strategist who worked on B.C. decided that they had the Olympic torch in Saanich and to have me there would detract from Gary Lunn,” Duffy said he was told later.

Lunn testified earlier this year that Duffy’s participation was cancelled weeks before the event because the riding association didn’t want to pick up any related expenses.

On other events, Duffy said he was there to “friend raise” for the Conservative party. By that, Duffy said he meant using his reputation as a former broadcaster to broaden the party’s appeal.

He said he was in high demand among Conservative MPs, who would approach him at the weekly caucus meeting with requests for him to appear in their ridings.

Duffy said he would often meet non-party members at the events, including mayors and special interests groups who wanted to discuss public policy issues with him.

Defence lawyer Donald Bayne repeatedly asked Duffy whether the trips were for private business, or social purposes.

“Did you believe, sir, that this was all valid public business that you could charge the Senate for?” Bayne asked.

“I did then and I still do,” Duffy said.

“Any deception involved?”

Said Duffy: “None whatsoever.”

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

Just Posted

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

People watch the sun set in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
OPEC cartel, allies face decision on increasing oil output

OPEC Plus made deep cuts in output in 2020 to stave off a collapse in prices

The Twitter Canada office in Toronto is shown in this undated handout photo. Twitter Inc. will be bulking up on Canadian talent this year with a hiring spree meant to add dozens of engineers in the country to its staff. The San Francisco, Calif.-based social media giant said Thursday that it plans to form its first Canadian engineering hub with at least 24 new workers it will soon hire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Twitter Canada
Twitter to launch engineering hub in Canada with dozens of hires this year

Twitter says technical talent has been evolving in the Canada recently

Jim Lowes, a living kidney donor who was inspired by Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Boulet, is photographed at his home in Burlington, Ont., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Green Shirt Day, April 7, was started after the crash that killed 16 people and coincides with the anniversary of Logan Boulet’s death. Boulet’s family donated his organs after the crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Three years after Broncos bus crash, Logan Boulet still inspiring organ donation

Nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in two months

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, a vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday, March 3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash

California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Alex Kurtzman, from left, Heather Kadin, Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck participate in the “Star Trek: Discovery” show panel during the CBS All Access presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. Paramount+ debuts Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the latest — and last — streaming option from a major media company, this time from ViacomCBS. The company hopes its smorgasbord of offerings — live sports and news, reboots of its properties like “Frasier” and “Rugrats,” original shows like “Star Trek: Discovery” and the ViacomCBS library will entice viewers(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Will Paramount+ be a mountain or a molehill in streaming?

Over the last year and a half more and more streaming services have debuted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Most Read