But the counterattack backfired when Conservative MPs mixed up two companies with the same name. Pierre Poilievre and Dean Del Mastro pointed in question period to Liberal candidates who, they said, used a company based in North Dakota to make calls soliciting support. "The opposition parties said that [their supporters] received calls from a telephone firm with offices in North Dakota. But the only party who hired a firm with offices in North Dakota was the Liberal Party," Poilievre said.This could interesting. Harper and his crowd are rudderless, and most definitely now operating in an environment they cannot control. The depth and breadth of scandal seems to be growing by the minute.
NDP MP Charlie Angus, who spoke right after Poilievre, pointed out that was incorrect. "Mr. Speaker, they're going to need to get some better researchers, because there is a firm in North Dakota with the same name, but it actually doesn't work for the Liberal Party," he said.
The confusion centred on three call companies with similar names, including Prime Contact Group, based in Canada, and Prime Contact Inc., based in North Dakota.
A spokesman for Prime Contact Inc. told CBC News that the company has never worked for a Canadian political party or candidate and is not affiliated in any way with Prime Contact Group. Harper said a third company, First Contact, routed its calls through the U.S. A number of Liberal campaigns used First Contact for calls during the 2011 election and in at least one previous election.
But First Contact owner Mike O'Neill told the CBC's Dave Seglins last April that someone was "spoofing" First Contact's numbers — projecting a fake caller ID — to impersonate his company.
CBC News conducted its own experiment and found dozens of online companies and services that allow users to create bogus caller IDs and faked display phone numbers. It takes just seconds and can be done for just pennies per call.
A spokesman for Harper says First Contact's servers are in the U.S., so the phone number will appear as a U.S. number.
These people have a history of using whatever means and exploiting whatever weakness in the system they can get away with when they're backed into a corner. They'll fight with claws and teeth to get out of it.