Spotty Management of the O’Toole Campaign Results in Leaks

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on June 25, 2020

Campaign security may turn out to be a major topic of discussion in the current Conservative leadership election.

Recently, Conservative leadership candidates Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay got into a spat over an accusation from O’Toole’s campaign alleging that MacKay’s team may have hacked their campaign. According to the leak, it included a Zoom call recording of O’Toole asking social conservative voters to place him as their second place choice on the ballot. 

The O’Toole campaign has released a statement about the leak, stating: “Our investigation uncovered that [there] were numerous unauthorized instances where access to our private and security accounts had occurred and where sensitive information owned by the campaign was illegally accessed, downloaded, and seemingly disseminated.” The campaign has since gotten multiple RCMP branches involved in the investigation of the leak.


The leaked clip was likely a source of embarrassment for the campaign, as O’Toole was shown acknowledging that he was not likely to be a first choice of social conservatives—while still asking for their support as their second-place choice on the ranked ballot under the guise that he did have concerns about Bill C-8, which he reversed himself on when the clip was leaked to the media

Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis have both spoken about their issues with Bill C-8, specifically concerning the way it deals with children who have gender dysphoria. It is likely that O’Toole was trying to vaguely imply he had similar issues with it, without outright saying anything about the legislation to avoid losing his support from moderates.

Moving back onto the subject of the leak, what had actually occurred was not hacking from the MacKay campaign but rather a leak from a rogue summer CPC intern working in MP Greg McLean’s office.

In a statement made to the CBC, MacKay spokesperson Chisholm Pothier described how the O’Toole campaign had sent their login and password information to more than 300 MPs and their political staffers. 

Although MacKay’s campaign states that they had nothing to do with the leak, Pothier noted that the O’Toole campaign’s alleged carelessness with sensitive information that they possessed resulted in “no reasonable expectation of privacy,” given the circumstances. 

Nevertheless, the O’Toole campaign continues to allege that Jamie Lall, an organizer from MacKay’s campaign, was explicitly trying to persuade the intern to download and handover relevant information to him.

The unnamed intern offered the media his side of the story. “I was never coached or pushed by Jamie Lall to get any sort of information, or anyone from the Peter MacKay campaign for that matter. I have only ever met Jamie Lall once, and I did the reaching out to him and was the first to make contact.” 

The MacKay team did indeed obtain the information, but unless other evidence emerges, it is not presently clear if the intern did this act on request by MacKay’s team or as a personal initiative to hurt O’Toole and help MacKay.

Regardless of the details of who exactly did what and for what reason, it is clear that when it comes to campaign security, everyone needs to take a lesson from this episode. In a federal election—if a campaign was to lose vital information or have a video release that was not for mass consumption leak—it could not only hurt the reputation of the party, but severely damage the election campaigns of individual MPs. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

One response to “Spotty Management of the O’Toole Campaign Results in Leaks”

  1. Peter RICHARD says:

    O’Toole is not going to be the second choice of social Conservatives and neither is the other liberal in the race.