Michael Sona, a young Conservative parliamentary staffer who worked on the federal election campaign in Guelph, Ontario, has been let go, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.
The move comes days after a Tory robocall scandal erupted and the NDP warned a kid would be called to take the fall.
Sona, 23, was the communications director for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke during last year’s federal election campaign. Sona was working as Conservative MP Eve Adams' assistant when he was fired, two sources confirmed.
A third source, however, suggested Sona’s firing had nothing to do with Adams and that the staffer had resigned on his own accord Thursday night.
Guelph was one of the ridings where misleading pre-recorded election day calls purported to be from Elections Canada were made to identified Liberal supporters telling them the location of their polling station had been changed.
Sona made headlines during the campaign for trying to stop a special ballot vote at the University of Guelph after complaining to Elections Canada that it was illegal.
Postmedia News reported earlier this week that Elections Canada and the RCMP had traced the robocalls to a RackNine Inc., a call centre in Edmonton with Conservative connections.
RackNine CEO Matt Meier confirmed its automated dialing service was used to deliver the phony messages and said he is co-operating fully with the authorities.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters Thursday he had absolutely no knowledge about the calls.
“It’s not part of our campaign,” he said.
Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey said Friday he wasn’t aware that Sona had been let go. He insisted the party’s own internal investigation into the source of fraudulent robocalls was still ongoing.
“I have no knowledge on who placed these calls,” he said. “We are looking into this … we obviously want to get to the bottom of this, as everyone does.”
“We don’t have the answers to what happened yet, we don’t know who did this,” he added.
The Conservative Party’s national campaign manager Jenni Byrne suggested Thursday that a rogue campaign staffer might be to blame.
“The party was not involved with these calls and if anyone on a local campaign was involved they will not play a role in a future campaign. Voter suppression is extremely serious and if anything improper occurred those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," she said in a written statement.
Opposition parties jumped on the statement suggesting it was nearly impossible for a Tory staffer to be acting independently in ridings from Nova Scotia to Manitoba.
NDP MP Pat Martin said the Conservatives were "laying the foundation for throwing some kid under the bus" when it's clear there's been "a massive conspiracy to defraud the electoral system."
Sona could not be reached for comment Friday. Both of Adams' offices did not return calls for comment.
Conservative MP Rob Moore, who hired Sona in 2010, told HuffPost he wasn’t aware his former assistant had been let go.
With files from The Canadian Press