Robocall controversy sparks Calgary protest

More than 100 protesters took to downtown Calgary streets Sunday afternoon to add their voices to the robocall controversy.
Protesters demanded everything from a public inquiry to a new election at the Calgary rally against the robocall scandal. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

More than 100 protesters took to downtown Calgary streets Sunday afternoon to add their voices to the robocall controversy.

Elections Canada is investigating whether automated phone calls manipulated how people voted in the last federal election.

So far it has received 31,000 "contacts" from voters, all related to the 2011 election.

Rallies were organized in cities across Canada in what was called a National Day of Action Against Election Fraud.

Many protesters in Calgary said they want answers on who is at fault. One protester even donned a "robo" costume to prove her point.

Jade Boldt dressed up in true robocall fashion for the protest. (CBC)

"We shouldn't let other people and parties suppress our vote," said Jade Boldt.

Most fingers are pointing to the ruling Conservatives, but one Calgary protester says that's not fair.

"There is nothing linking this to the government of Canada or the Prime Minister's Office as of yet," said Merle Terlesky.

Views differ on solution

But while many of protesters said they were there to fight for democracy, many differed on what should happen next. Some want a full inquiry and others want to head back to the polls.

Protester Dave Matson said if any irregularities are found, he thinks there should be byelections in those ridings.

Duane Bratt, a political expert at Mount Royal University, doubts that will happen.

"Not only would you have to prove malicious intent, you would have to prove cause and effect," he said.

The controversy has been significant enough to rile up the Raging Grannies, a local group of older women activists.

"This whole scandal of diverting people from voting is just deeply shocking," said member Susan Stratton. 

Another rally is planned for later this month.