Danielle Smith says audio recordings of derogatory phone calls made by someone claiming to be from her UCP leadership campaign are not from her team.
The Calgary woman who received the calls over the weekend said she feels she has been targeted. She told Global News the caller claimed to be from Smith’s campaign.
Cassandra Raugust said the calls — which came from an unknown number — began Friday evening and the caller asked her if she supported Smith.
“I said, ‘I absolutely do not, have a good evening,’ and I hung up,” Raugust said on Monday.
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But the calls did not stop there. Raugust, who said she is an NDP member and supporter, told Global News the person called back three more times and then proceeded to call her a racist and a communist before leaving a voicemail.
“(On) Sunday, I was doing payroll. The phone rings — an unknown caller,” said Raugust, who owns her own cleaning business.
Raugust said that caller also claimed to be with Smith’s campaign and invited her to an event on Monday evening. She said when she declined, they left her a voicemail.
“This is Dale calling back from the Danielle Smith campaign and I checked with my supervisor to make sure that your phone number is removed from our list and actually it turns out communists are not allowed at the event tomorrow night,” a voice could be heard saying in a recording Raugust played to Global News.
“So please don’t come because nobody will want to see you there. They also don’t want the vaccine.”
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Global News reached out to Smith. She declined to comment on camera, but in a text she said she believes the voicemails were a “malicious prank” from someone pretending to be with her campaign.
“This is fake,” Smith wrote. “Our call centre uses a publicly accessible campaign number, not a private number.
“It’s a good idea to refrain from jumping to conclusions as dirty tactics seem to be common these days.”
Real or not, the damage may already be done, according to Lori Williams, a political analyst with Mount Royal University.
“It’s one thing to say that it’s a rogue campaign worker or someone who fakes something online,” Williams said. “But when some of the views expressed line up with things that have been said by Danielle Smith herself in the past, I think that’s where it could potentially be damaging.”
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