Accused Robocalls mastermind comes up well short in clearing his name

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

The man accused of masterminding the Pierre Poutine robocall controversy broke his silence this week to disavow any knowledge of the political scandal still being investigated by Elections Canada.

Former Conservative campaign staffer Michael Sona broke nearly eight months of silence, appearing on CBC's Power and Politics to declare himself innocent of an attempt to suppress votes in Guelph, Ont.

Sona is, of course, the person identified by an anonymous party member as Pierre Poutine, the mastermind behind a conspiracy to keep non-Tory voters away from the ballot box during last year's election.

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The 24-year-old (he was 22 years old at the time of the great caper) shouldered the blame for a series of robocalls that sent incorrect voting information to people who had been identified as non-Conservatives.

He was tarred by his party, feathered by the public and, after meekly protesting his innocence, stepped into the shadows. Now Sona hints at a greater conspiracy. But all he really does is hint.

Sona told CBC's Power and Politics:

All the anonymous sources in the world can point the finger at me, but I'm not going to take responsibility for something that I'm not responsible for.

You've got to take a look at the options and just say, you know what, what is the more realistic option here? That some then-22-year-old guy managed to co-ordinate this entire massive scheme when he didn't even have access to the data to be able to do this, or the alternative — that this was much more co-ordinated or possibly that there were people that knew how to do this, that it was being done?

At times during the 23-minute conversation with Evan Solomon, Sona appears to adeptly choose his words, a politician in the making.

At other times, he appears an overwhelmed youth; the wound of being cut loose by the party he loves clearly still raw.

Sona managed to negotiate the interview without accusing a single person of being anywhere near the robocall scandal. Baseless accusations are bad, he says he knows this firsthand.

He wouldn't throw a single person under the bus. Nor should he. However, after eight months of introspection, he must have some thoughts to share.

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Cut adrift by his party and fingered as the fall guy, Sona is still loyal enough to take the bullet while all the while denying any involvement.

Sona's claim is that he was made the scapegoat by a larger conspiracy — that he was handed the hot potato by those who were actually playing the game.

He doesn't want to hold the hot potato anymore. But until we know who was actually playing, how can he expect to hand it back?