Illegal calls directing voters to non-existent or wrong polling stations during the last federal election have been traced by Elections Canada, the Ottawa Citizen is reporting.
The Ottawa Citizen report says the investigation traced the calls, a tactic used to suppress election participation, to a company in Edmonton called Racknine, which provides a service that allows a recorded message to be sent to multiple phone numbers.
The company has been used in the past by Conservative candidates, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to conduct legitimate phone campaigns. There is no evidence that any Conservative candidates were involved in the fraudulent calls.
"The Conservative Party of Canada was not involved with these calls," party spokesman Fred Delorey said in a statement to CBC News.
"We spend the entire campaign identifying supporters and we work hard to get them out to vote on election day. Our job is to get votes out. We do not engage in voter suppression."
Liberal MP John McCallum, speaking at a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday morning, says he hopes the Conservatives co-operate with any investigation.
"I think it's relevant the degree to which the Conservative Party had ties to this company, yes," he said.
"We don't have a smoking gun pointing to Stephen Harper or the Conservative Party, but we do know that these actions benefited the Conservative Party. We do know that the strategy of vote repression has been in their toolkit for some time, so there are definitely suspicions.
"I think it's also a technique that the Conservative Party has borrowed from its Republican friends to the south, where the technique, I think, is more developed."
McCallum pointed to a tight race in Etobicoke Centre, saying if a dozen people stayed home, it's possible it changed the outcome of the election.
'Cynical old-style politics'
Nycole Turmel, the interim NDP leader, took aim at the Conservatives in a statement.
"Cynical old-style politics have become a trademark for the Conservatives," Turmel said. "Just a few months ago, they pled guilty to breaking election spending laws, now they’ve upped the ante with what looks like the most widespread and systematic voter suppression campaign in Canadian history."
Elections Canada said in its post-election report that the commissioner of elections was looking into complaints of "crank calls designed to discourage voting, discourage voting for a particular party, or incorrectly advise electors of changed polling locations."
A spokesman for Elections Canada said the agency's practice is to neither confirm nor deny whether it has received complaints or is investigating.
The commissioner of Elections Canada works under the chief electoral officer to make sure the Canada Elections Act is enforced.