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New website counter tracks how long federal Conservatives have violated Parliament’s deadline for anti-robocall law

More than 63,000 messages sent in anti-robocall, pro-election law enforcement letter-writing drive

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch launched its online counter to track how much time has passed since the federal Conservatives have violated Parliament’s deadline for introducing a bill to restrict election fraud robocalls and strengthen election law enforcement.  As of today, the Conservatives have been in violation of the resolution for more than 19 weeks.

The House of Commons passed a resolution unanimously last March setting a deadline of the end of September for the Conservatives to introduce the bill.

Democracy Watch called on the federal Conservatives to end their negligence and introduce the bill.

Democracy Watch’s national letter-writing and petition drive has resulted in Canadians sending more than 63,000 messages to key politicians across Canada calling on them to pass effective laws to stop election fraud robocalls, and to strengthen enforcement of election laws.

Democracy Watch is calling for a law that requires anyone who transmits an election-related robocall to confirm the identity of the person or organization who makes or pays for the call, and for a mandatory penalty for anyone wins an election through election fraud of loss of their seat and a ban on running in another election for at least five years.

To their credit, the federal Liberals, federal NDP and Alberta Conservative government have all introduced bills to restrict election fraud robocalls.

“The new counter shows how negligent the Conservatives are being in failing to walk the walk by banning election fraud robocalls.” said Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch.

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 provincial elections.

Measures to make false robocalls illegal and essentially impossible will help, but there are also enforcement problems.  Elections Canada is investigating the false robocalls from the 2011 federal election, but there are serious questions about its enforcement.

Elections Canada has failed to disclose the rulings it has made on more than 2,000 complaints it received from 1997 to 2010, and more than 1,000 complaints it received during the 2011 federal election.  It has also recently made some very questionable rulings.

Elections Canada must be required to disclose every ruling it makes to ensure that it proves it is enforcing the law fairly and properly (and election agencies across Canada must also be required to disclose all their rulings).

Democracy Watch is calling on Canadians to send a letter and to sign the petition that both call 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.

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Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Tel: 613-241-5179
Email: [email protected]

Democracy Watch’s Voter’s Rights Campaign