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NEWS: Harper denies party involvement in the growing robo-call scandal

The Globe and Mail reports, “Stephen Harper is categorically denying the Conservative Party’s national campaign was behind misleading robo-calls… It’s a declaration that could come back to haunt him should evidence ever surface that anyone at Conservative election headquarters on Lancaster Road in Ottawa knew of illegal phone calls. …Opposition parties allege the problem is more widespread – across 30 to 40 ridings – but Conservative partisans privately say they believe whoever was behind the calls in Guelph was perhaps responsible for similar activities in a handful of ridings at best.”

Postmedia News adds, “On Wednesday, CBC reported that Elections Canada is investigating reports from Thunder Bay, Ont., of alleged voter suppression calls reported by workers in a call centre run by Responsive Marketing Group, the Conservatives’ largest provider of call services. If true, the report would be the first instance of the agency investigating reports beyond Guelph.”

“Elections Canada never comments on whether it is investigating possible violations of the act, but spokesman John Enright said Wednesday that if there is evidence that the act was violated, they will take steps. …(But) many of those who complained to Elections Canada about harassing calls have never heard back from the agency. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae suggested Wednesday that the agency may not have the resources it needs to investigate what his party alleges is a widespread pattern of deceptive calls.”

“The New Democrats say the government should consider referring the mushrooming number of reports of misleading or fraudulent election calls to a public judicial inquiry.” To see our action alert from earlier this week supporting the call for a public inquiry, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13769.

As noted in a media advisory, Council of Canadians executive director Garry Neil and legal counsel Steven Shrybman will be speaking at a media conference at 10 am this morning in the Charles Lynch Press Room in Centre Block on Parliament Hill to announce our plans to address the robo-call scandal, including possible legal action to defend democratic rights.

Stay tuned.