Re: Voter fraud met by silence, May 10 letters.
I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on the so-called ‘robocalls’ issue raised by letter-writer R. Benoit.
First, the Conservative party and its staff are not under investigation by Elections Canada. Rather, we have been actively assisting Elections Canada because we want anyone responsible for breaking elections law brought to justice.
Second, the Guelph, Ont. riding where many improper calls were made during the 2011 election was won by a Liberal candidate, not a Conservative. That Liberal candidate, now Liberal MP Frank Valeriote, has since confessed that, sadly, his campaign conducted illegal ‘robocalls’ to attack the local Conservative candidate.
(Editor’s note: Valeriote has said his campaign should have been identified in calls that attacked his opponent’s views on abortion, but that the calls did not violate rules and were issue-based – unlike the automated calls that misdirected voters where to vote.)
And, third, while the use of phone services to reach voters has certainly been demonized recently by the improper actions of a few, such services are essential to free and fair elections. For instance, in the 2011 election, Elections Canada changed the locations of over 1,000 polling stations during the campaign.
The ability of candidates and parties to use phone services to inform voters of the new polling locations, and encourage them out to vote, strengthened our democracy.
MP Russ Hiebert, South Surrey- White Rock-Cloverdale