Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Erin O’Toole makes his opening statement at the start of the French Leadership Debate in Toronto on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Erin O’Toole makes his opening statement at the start of the French Leadership Debate in Toronto on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Erin O’Toole camp seeks police probe, accuses MacKay camp of theft

In a brief tweet, Peter MacKay’s campaign organizer said not a single word of the allegation is true.

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay’s campaign team is dismissing an allegation of theft of campaign materials levelled in a late-night press release Friday by rival Erin O’Toole’s team as a “desperate, last ditch strategy.”

O’Toole’s campaign issued the release late Friday, saying it had filed a formal complaint with police seeking an investigation into MacKay’s organization.

The complaint involves the theft of confidential campaign and strategy data and alleges the O’Toole campaign’s systems were hacked earlier this week.

In a statement this morning, MacKay’s team says called 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 their 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 their 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 face-off between all four candidates before the ballots are sent out to party members early next month.

The Canadian Press

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