Michael Sona

Michael Sona is a Canadian political figure known for his involvement in the Robocall scandal, which occurred while he was employed as a Conservative campaign worker in the Guelph riding for the 2011 federal election.[1] During the election, voters in Guelph claimed to have received robocalls, purporting to be from Elections Canada, which falsely informed them that the location of their polling stations had changed.[2][3] Sona, perhaps along with others, had arranged for the calls in an attempt to suppress voters intending to vote for other political parties.[4][5]

After the allegations first arose in the media, Sona appeared on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon where he denied any involvement in the scandal. During the interview, Sona claimed he had no information about who was responsible but was "not going to take the fall for something [he] didn't do".[6]

Following investigations by Elections Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Sona was charged with willfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting in an election, an offence under the Canada Elections Act.[1] On August 14, 2014, Sona was found guilty; however, Justice Hearn noted that Sona had likely not acted alone.[4][7] The Court found that Sona displayed a "callous and blatant disregard for the right of people to vote" as part of an "ill-conceived and disturbing plan". No one else has been charged or convicted in relation to this matter.[8] Sona was the first and, to date, only person ever convicted of endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting.[9][10] He was sentenced to nine months in prison, along with 12 months probation.[2][11][12] The sentence was appealed, but was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal.[13][14][15] He was granted parole in September 2016. The remainder of his sentence expired in January 2017.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Payton, Laura (2 April 2013). "Conservative campaign worker Sona charged in robocall probe". CBC News.
  2. ^ a b McGregor, Glen (19 November 2014). "Michael Sona gets nine months in jail for his role in 2011 robocalls scandal". National Post.
  3. ^ Maher, Stephen; McGregor, Glen (February 27, 2012). "Elections Canada investigating 'robocalls' that misled voters". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved March 18, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b R. v. Sona, 2014 ONCJ 365 (Justice G.F. Hearn), online at: http://canlii.ca/t/g8m0r[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Payton, Laura (13 November 2013). "Michael Sona 'boasted' about robocalls, witnesses allege". CBC News.
  6. ^ Michael Sona Interview (31 October 2012). "Power & Politics with Evan Solomon". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  7. ^ CBC News (14 August 2014). "Michael Sona guilty in robocalls trial - but 'did not likely act alone'". CBC News.
  8. ^ National Post (23 February 2015). "Police and elections officials take the rules seriously, even if some politicians don't". National Post.
  9. ^ R. v. Sona, 2014 ONCA 859 (Justice H.S. LaForme), online at: http://canlii.ca/t/gfgd1[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ The Canadian Press (15 December 2014). "Prosecution service to challenge Michael Sona's sentence". CBC News.
  11. ^ R. v. Sona, 2014 ONCJ 606 (Justice G.F. Hearn), online at: http://canlii.ca/t/gfb7r[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Payton, Laura (19 November 2014). "Michael Sona sentenced to 9 months in jail for 'callous' robocalls". CBC News.
  13. ^ CBC News (9 June 2016). "Former Tory staffer's appeal in robocalls case fails, sent back to jail". CBC News.
  14. ^ R. v. Sona, 2016 ONCA 452, online at: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2016/2016ONCA0452.pdf
  15. ^ Mehta, Diana (9 June 2016). "Michael Sona's 9-month sentence upheld by Ontario's top court". CTV News.
  16. ^ Payton, Laura (5 October 2016). "Michael Sona, convicted of 2011 robocalls, released from jail". CTV News.