5 more ridings report suspicious election calls
More voters and campaigns cite cases of misleading robocalls, harassing live calls
An Elections Canada investigation into deliberately misleading robocalls made to voters in the Ontario riding of Guelph has traced the calls to a cellphone with a Quebec area code and registered to an apparently phony name, Pierre Poutine.
But Opposition parties have identified some 46 other ridings so far where they suspect voters received false, misleading or harassing live or automated telephone calls during last spring's election campaign. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre says the Conservatives have reports of "troubling" phone calls hitting Conservative campaigns in 15 ridings as well, but a party spokesman hasn't responded to a request for the list.
Here's more about the latest complaints in five ridings:
Liberals in the P.E.I. riding of Egmont haven't filed an official complaint yet, but they're revisiting complaints received by Liberal candidate Guy Gallant's office last spring in light of the latest revelations.
The calls were particularly confusing to some voters in the riding because some callers mispronounced Gallant's first name, using the English pronunciation of Guy, rather than the French.
'It took a while for me to register," Wellington resident Gilles Painchaud told CBC News on Tuesday.
Robert Gallant, the campaign co-chair for the Liberals in Egmont, said he didn't understand what was happening at the time because the calls described weren't from his team. Now he's thinking he should have filed a formal complaint and is asking anyone who didn't report the calls at the time to come forward.
"What's to stop somebody from the next election, if they got away with this, doing the same thing again?" he asked.
Defeated NDP MP Jim Maloway has written to Elections Canada asking the agency to investigate suspicious calls made to voters in his Winnipeg riding.
Resident Shawn Luky remembers receiving an automated message the day before the May 2 vote, supposedly from Elections Canada, telling him to go to a different polling location.
"I listened to about half of it," Luky told CBC Newson Tuesday. "I realized, 'What a scam. What are they doing? What a scam.'"
Fellow Elmwood-Transcona voter, Brent Blain, received a live call redirecting him to a polling station way outside his neighbourhood.
"I just thought it was a crank call," Blain told CBC.
Voters have also complained in two ridings on Montreal's West Island.
Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia told CBC News that just days before last spring's election, his campaign manager reported complaints from about a dozen voters who alerted his office to robocalls directing them to the wrong location to cast their ballots.
Scarpaleggia says he chalked it up to mischief.
"We had no idea that it could be part of a larger, co-ordinated, orchestrated, strategic attempt to skew the vote," the Liberal MP said Tuesday.
Bernard Patry, a fellow Liberal candidate and former MP, said he was approached by two voters from his riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard who said they'd received calls and been directed to the wrong polling station.
"I would like first of all to get an inquiry about this," Patry said. "There's too many things that went wrong during this campaign."
Vancouver South, B.C.
Don McDonald, the Liberal Party's B.C. campaign director in 2011, told CBC News that suspicious calls were reported by voters in Vancouver South, the riding where incumbent Ujjal Dosanjh was in a tough fight against Conservative Wai Young. Young ultimately won by some 3,500 votes, after losing to Dosanjh by a narrow margin in 2008.
In the week leading up to May 2, McDonald says, people started complaining about incoherent, late-night calls from people who said they were with the Liberal Party. McDonald is sure the harassing calls weren't made by any Liberal campaigners.
"Every call [made by Liberal callers] is actually recorded and we have people supervising when those calls are actually being made," McDonald told CBC News on Tuesday.