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Hackers post fake news release on Conservative website

PM Stephen Harper, right, flips a pancake with police officer Jim Forde at a Stampede breakfast in Calgary on July 10, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not choke on a hash brown and was not airlifted to hospital, as a fake news release on his party’s website claimed.

Early Tuesday morning, a story appeared briefly on the front page of the Conservative Party of Canada site describing a supposed mishap that landed Harper in hospital.

“He was eating breakfast with his kids when a piece of hash-brown lodged in his throat, blocking air from reaching his lungs,” the bogus statement said. “A member of his security team happened to be nearby, and immediately began to apply first-aid.”

The release said Harper was airlifted to Toronto General Hospital after his wife called 911 and he would likely miss many of his meetings in the coming days.

Harper’s office confirmed the breach to 680News, and his communications director tweeted the PM’s whereabouts to show nothing had happened.

“PM Harper took his daughter Rachel to school this morning and is on his way to Parliament Hill,” Dimitri Soudas posted at 8:35 a.m.

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement followed up on Twitter as well, calling the hack “despicable.”

Hours later, the party’s contact page still linked to a Twitter user claiming responsibility for “a nice juicy release.”