American filmmaker Michael Moore is turning the tables on Conservative claims that he and the NDP may have broken election rules.
Last week, the Conservatives issued a statement questioning whether Moore and NDP incumbent Tony Martin violated the Canada Elections Act by hitting the hustings together in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
"This canvassing appears to be a violation of the Canada Elections Act, which clearly states that only Canadians can actively participate in a Canadian election," a Tory statement read.
But in a letter Monday to an online newspaper in the Sault, Moore said it was the Conservatives who initially invited his film crew to go campaigning with Tory candidate Cameron Ross.
The director told SooToday.com that when the Tory candidate failed to meet up with the crew, Martin proposed they tag along with the NDP instead.
Moore, who made the popular documentaries Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, said he visited two homes alongside Martin and interviewed the residents on their feelings toward the candidate.
Brad Lavigne, an NDP spokesman, said crews documenting candidates or the election campaign is not new — or wrong, for that matter.
"Mr. Moore was not handing out literature or persuading people to vote one way or another, and therefore, the claim is fairly bogus," he said.
"Having your canvass documented by either a domestic or international documentary filmmaker, in our judgment, in general, does not constitute a violation of the [Elections] Act."
The Elections Act states that: "No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate …"
Canadian citizens or permanent residents are an exception to the rule.
Moore has reportedly asked Elections Canada to investigate the Conservative candidate. The agency said it was against its policy to confirm or deny whether a complaint had been filed.
Ian Shields, Ross's campaign manager, would not discuss the situation.
"Not now. I may comment when the election is over," Shields said Monday from the campaign office. "I have far too much to do to get myself involved in what Michael Moore is saying."
Shields said Ross would not be commenting on the matter, either.
Moore and five technicians showed up for a candidates debate in Sault Ste. Marie last week. The director interviewed four of the five candidates — Ross did not join the others.
Moore refused to discuss the film he's working on.