Conservative Party Website Hacked with False Press Release About Prime Minister’s Health

This morning a press release about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s health appeared on the Conservative Party of Canada’s website. Within about an hour of the press release hitting twitter, it was confirmed to be false.

The press release, which has since been removed, read:


JUNE 07, 2011

The prime minister has been rushed to Toronto General Hospital (TGH) this morning after an incident at breakfast. According to staff at the hospital, Harper was brought in via helicopter early this morning after his wife called 911. He was eating breakfast with his kids when a piece of hash-brown lodged in his throat, blocking air from reaching his lungs. A member of his security team happened to be nearby, and immediately began to apply first-aid.

Due to the nature of the incident, we are cautiously assuming that the Prime minister will completely recover within the next few days. From the looks of things, Harper will miss many of his planned meetings over the next few days. He had just arrived home last night from his planned trip to the Richelieu flood zone in Quebec. We are awaiting any further word of his condition from the doctors and staff of TGH, and wish the best to him and his family.

People were immediately suspicious of the press release. Not only did it sound eerily similar to the George Bush pretzel incident in 2002, but it was also odd that Harper would have been sent by helicopter to Toronto for a choking incident instead of going to a hospital in Ottawa, if hospitalization was even necessary.

Shortly after 8:30am, about 30 minutes after people first started tweeting about the press release, the Prime Minister’s Communications Director, Dimitri Soudas (@PMOSoudas) confirmed that it was false. He tweeted: “PM Harper took his daughter Rachel to school this morning and is on his way to Parliament Hill.”

The press release had a ripple effect too. Apparently some Conservative Members of Parliament, like Chris Alexander (@calxandr) automatically tweet new press releases from the Conservative Party website. As a result, Alexander initially thought his twitter account had been hacked and apologized to his followers for it.

Reaction on twitter to the news that the Conservative website was hacked has been mixed. CBC reporter Rosemary Barton (@RosieBarton) tweeted: “I don’t find jokes about someone’s health amusing.” Jeff Paradis (@JeffParadis), an NDP organizer in Quebec, tweeted “Whoever hacked made me smile and is hereby thanked.”

So far no one has claimed credit for the hacking.
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Photo credit: TeddyBoy on flickr


Kasia Y.
Kasia Y.5 years ago

Its too bad that Harper didn't die this morning. Millions of Canadians would be instantly better off, and the 24 million of us who didn't vote for him would appreciate it immensely.

Maureen Hawkins
Maureen Hawkins5 years ago

Tom Y. In case you didn't notice, Jack Layton's dead! Or do you thank that was a false report?

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

Sylvia B...Tom Y does. Let's see,that makes....1, OH and the crap that comes out of his mouth, we'll count that as 2
Brigitte DePape for Prime Minister!

Sylvia B.
Sylvia B6 years ago

Who freakin cares about Harper. Not many!

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

Who but a leftist could exult in such news? This incident goes to show how invasive, personal and venomous the Left can get. I am so thankful it's Harper as Prime Minister and not his disastrous opposite, Jack Layton! Harper gets a steady hand with policy now, and Layton, you can be sure, will not be the subject of a fake report claiming he's suffered severe injury. Conservatives, and even most Liberals, don't express themselves politically with such ugly cheap-shots.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

Gee that's too bad, I had hoped that Nazi bastard did choke to death, hopefully it will be his own policies next time.

Jean Mccarthy
Jean Mccarthy6 years ago

Voting for Harper (known factor) seemed to be the lesser of other evils of voting for unknown factors), however, how terrible that people wish ill of others, regardless of who it might be. Someone might just wish the same thing of you. Be kind to each other and try to help rather than hinder. I would never wish someone to die, and my name is not Pollyanna!

Helen K.
Helen K6 years ago

Wow, I don't know anything about Canadian politics but we haven't seen so much raw, blatant hate (via these comments) since our own George W.
Actually, I think hacking is a hoot - unless it's about me!

Geoffrey Y.
Geoffrey Y6 years ago

Hacking is criminal it linked with money and interests. Our battle field is no long the same as before.

Leslea S.
Leslea S.6 years ago

I'm disappointed 2 fold... 1 that it's not true that he was choking and 2, that ANYONE would do anything to help him.

It would have been funnier if they'd have said he choked on a sausage... Especially given Harpers rabid homophobia. ;)