Skip to main content

RCMP charges ex-staffer for Barrie mayor hopeful with mischief

Former MP Alex Nuttall is running for mayor of Barrie as one of his former staffers is accused of hacking into the Erin O'Toole campaign's computer data during the 2020 Conservative Party of Canada Leadership race.

The RCMP charged Dion Ahwai, 30, with mischief.

Court documents reveal the Toronto man is accused of accessing a secure zoom account belonging to the O'Toole campaign between June 7 and June 12, 2020, allegedly compromising the secure computer account.

Ahwai served as a political staffer for former Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall from at least 2016 until 2019.

After four years in Ottawa, Nuttall announced in 2019 that he was retiring from federal politics, citing family reasons.

In 2020, Nuttall became campaign manager for Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Peter MacKay.

According to The Canadian Press, in June 2020, the O'Toole campaign accused the rival MacKay camp of accessing and downloading videos that it said contained sensitive strategic information.

The Canadian Press report said the O'Toole campaign alleged it detected several unusual sign-ins to the account and multiple downloads of, what it called, confidential information.

CTV News reached out to MP Erin O'Toole's constituency office for comment and was told, "As this matter is before the courts, Mr. O'Toole will not be commenting."

The RCMP charged Ahwai earlier this month.

Nuttall wouldn't say what, if any, Ahwai's role was in the 2020 MacKay leadership campaign.

Nuttall declined an interview with CTV News. Instead, a spokesperson released a statement saying, "I can confirm that Mr. Ahwai, a person living with disabilities, worked for me when I served in Her Majesty's Official Opposition as Shadow Minister for Persons with Disabilities."

Nuttall served in that role until 2019.

The statement continues, "The Peter MacKay campaign has already commented publicly on this matter."

As for Nuttall's campaign for Barrie mayor, Nuttall added, "Mr. Ahwai is not currently and hasn't been employed or working on my campaign. As is standard, I will not be commenting further on any matter before the courts and haven't been involved in that process."

Nuttall is one of several local political heavyweights in the race to become Barrie's new mayor in late October.

Ahwai did not respond to several requests by CTV News for comment on the mischief charge, his work with Nuttall or involvement in MacKay's Conservative leadership bid.

The accused is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 4 in Toronto.

The allegations against him have not been tested in court. Top Stories

Stay Connected