Bob Nardi has a proposition for Yukon MP Ryan Leef.
It involves handing over phone records for public scrutiny.
Nardi is one of five Yukoners who have come forward after receiving misleading robocalls just before the last federal election informing them their polling stations had moved. They hadn’t.
Last month, after the robocall scandal broke, Nardi posted a question about the call on Leef’s Facebook page.
The post was mysteriously deleted a few days later, but this didn’t stop people from responding to Nardi, including a Conservative blogger from B.C. who emailed Nardi and his boss questioning the claims.
Leef also had a suggestion for Nardi.
“The simplest way to track down the call is to produce phone numbers to Elections Canada so they can track down numbers and find out who called him,” said Leef in an interview with the News last Tuesday.
Nardi’s the “only one capable of providing that, Elections Canada can’t subpoena his phone record and if I were him, I’d provide that information,” he said.
Now, Nardi is challenging Leef to do just that.
“If I should provide records of my calls publicly, then he should do the same,” said Nardi. “I’d be happy to meet him at the Yukon News where we can jointly hand over our records for public scrutiny.”
But that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Northwestel won’t releases phone records, said its corporate communications manager Emily Younker.
“We do not, as a matter of normal business, track, log or record any information on local incoming or outgoing phone calls,” she said.
The only way phone records can be retrieved is by an RCMP request or a court order, she said. And then call records are “only released to the RCMP, never directly to the customer,” said Younker.
Since Tuesday, Leef also realized phone records may not be so easy to come by.
“There’s been some back and forth comments about Northwestel being able to get the phone records,” he said on Friday.
“If possible, I encourage Mr. Nardi to provide information if he’s able to do it,” said Leef.
“I’m not disputing that if Northwestel says it’s not possible, then it’s not possible.”
Leef used to be an RCMP officer. “And I started thinking back to my RCMP experience, and how we went about those things,” he said. “I remembered we’d almost have to pre-arrange a tap on a phone and then they’d start tracking it.”
Leef’s constituency assistant, Martin Lehner, also dialed into the phone records dispute.
Northwestel “ARE able to pull local call records, long distance call records, or in other words, any call that made it to your phone,” he wrote in an online comment last week.
At this point, Leef cut Lehner loose.
“What Martin says is fair enough, but if he’s saying that, and doesn’t know, then he’s speaking on his own behalf and not mine or my offices,” said Leef.
Tired of all the back and forth, Nardi responded to both Lehner and Leef.
“A reasonable person would not miss the implication that if I don’t provide the records, there must be something wrong with my report,” he wrote.
“Wiggle as you might, that’s a not-so-thinly veiled attack on my credibility.”
That’s when Nardi decided to challenge Leef to come up with his own phone records.
“Obviously, Mr. Nardi’s oral record holds value,” said Leef on Friday. “But it’s always nice when you can complement it with additional hard facts.”
Nardi’s “oral evidence to Elections Canada will be taken at face value and it should be,” added Leef. “And I’m sure there are other ways Elections Canada will be able to corroborate some of the things he’s saying with either phone records or timing, and in conjunction with other witness testimony.”
Leef said he is tired of all the discussion surrounding phone records.
“It sort of distracts the issue and takes away attention,” he said.
“Now all of Yukon is discussing is whether Northwestel can subpoena phone calls. It’s starting to distract from the real issue, which is not how we get the evidence, but that we do get it and we have to get it.
“I don’t want Mr. Nardi to think me, or anyone in my office, is suggesting he do things that are impossible to do in order to prove his case, because I’m quite satisfied that the only thing he has to present to Elections Canada is his oral evidence. Then it should be taken at face value and given its due consideration.”
Contact Genesee Keevil at firstname.lastname@example.org