Robocall Restriction Violation Clock
Time that has passed since federal Conservatives violated the unanimous House of Commons deadline for introducing a bill to restrict robocalls and make other key fair election changes
Join Rick Mercer’s call to stop election fraud robocalls (see video below) and please join everyone across Canada by sending your letter now!
To see the anti-fraud robocall petition Democracy Watch ran last fall, click here.
You’ve heard lots of talk from politicians saying they are concerned about false election robocalls and enforcement of election laws, but it is clear politicians need to be pushed to make key changes to stop false election robocalls and strengthen enforcement.
False robocalls were received by tens of thousands of voters in more than 230 ridings during the spring 2011 federal election, and were also used to mislead voters in some recent provincial elections.
Last March, federal politicians unanimously supported Democracy Watch’s proposal to pass a law quickly to stop false election robocalls, and the NDP’s motion about the law set a deadline for this fall for the federal Conservative government to introduce the law.
To their credit, the federal Liberals introduced private member Bill C-424 last May to increase fines for false robocalls and other fraudulent attempts to sway voters from $2,000-$5,000 up to $20,000 to $50,000. The Conservatives rejected Bill C-424 on November 21, 2012.
Also to their credit, the federal NDP introduced private member Bill C-453 on October 17, 2012, sponsored by Democratic Reform Critic MP Craig Scott, that would make changes to prohibit false robocalls during federal elections and strengthen enforcement in ways that match most of Democracy Watch’s recommended changes. The federal Conservatives have blocked the NDP bill from moving forward to becoming a law.
The Alberta Conservative government introduced Bill 7 which, among other changes, requires the sponsor of any robocall to clearly identify themselves and their contact phone number and political party affiliation in the call. However, in Alberta there are also questions about the effectiveness of election officials.
In contrast, the federal Conservatives have failed to comply with the resolution they voted for by failing to introduce a government bill to prohibit election fraud robocalls by the end of September. The federal Conservatives have now violated for several months (see Robocall Restriction Violation Clock above) Parliament’s deadline for introducing a bill to restrict election fraud robocalls and strengthen election law enforcement.
Measures to make false robocalls illegal and essentially impossible will help, but there are also enforcement problems.
Elections Canada has failed to disclose the rulings it has made on more than 3,000 complaints it has received since 1997, and has recently made some very questionable rulings. Elections Canada must be required to disclose every ruling it makes to ensure it proves to Canadians that it is enforcing the law fairly and properly (and election agencies across Canada must also be required to disclose all their rulings).
So please help win these changes by joining with everyone across Canada by sending your letter now, calling not only on federal politicians to introduce and pass a law to stop false election robocalls and strengthen enforcement, but also for politicians in every province and territory to pass similar laws that apply to their provincial, territorial, and municipal elections.
And please help Democracy Watch keep this campaign going until all election laws across the country are changed to ban false robocalls and to ensure fair elections – please donate now here.
Thank you very much!
See why Rick Mercer thinks robocalls must be stopped:
Brought to you by Democracy Watch’s Democratic Voting Systems Campaign