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NEWS: Today’s developments on the ‘robocall’ scandal

CTV reports on today’s developments on the growing ‘robocall’ scandal.

RCMP and Elections Canada investigations
“The RCMP and Elections Canada are looking into reports that automated calls were made in as many as 18 ridings. …The RCMP has executed a search warrant at the offices of an Edmonton-based call firm hired by the Conservative Party in the last federal election, as police investigate allegations of voter fraud in the growing ‘robocall’ scandal. Racknine Inc. is being asked to hand over any data, such as emails or billing records, linking it to the Conservative campaign in Guelph, Ont., where the robocall accusations originated. Residents said they received phone calls directing them to the wrong voting locations. …They are also asking for all records related to a disposable ‘burner’ cellphone number from Joliette, Que., also linked to the robocalls.”

Speaker rejects emergency debate
“(On) Monday, Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer rejected a Liberal request for an emergency debate on the issue, citing the investigations by police and Elections Canada. …’This debate is necessary because denying someone the opportunity to vote, is to deny them the most basic right that exists in our democracy,’ Liberal leader Bob Rae said in a letter to Scheer.”

House of Commons motion
“(Also on) Monday, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion Monday that asks all MPs to help the RCMP and Elections Canada investigate the robocall allegations. …While the Conservatives supported the NDP motion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper denied his party was involved in the dirty tricks. …’If the NDP has any information that inappropriate calls were placed, and we certainly have information in some cases and we have given that to Elections Canada, then I challenge that party to produce that information and give it to Elections Canada.'”

Conservative Party ‘investigation’
“The Conservatives say they are conducting their own internal investigation into the matter. …Last week, Michael Sona, a 23-year-old Conservative staffer, resigned from his post at an Ontario MP’s office after his name was linked to the robocalls. However, a source has told CTV that Sona is being ‘thrown under the bus’ as he is not ‘tech savvy’ and ‘couldn’t have done the robocalls on his own’. NDP MP Pat Martin has dismissed the claim that the calls were the work of one staffer acting independently, however, telling CTV’s Question Period on the weekend that the calls were part of a deliberate, planned strategy to mislead Liberal and NDP voters.”

By-elections by court order?
“Rae suggested Monday that the Liberals may attempt to have results in some ridings overturned. In particular, he cited the riding of Etobicoke Centre, which he said ‘is being litigated right now, and will be in court at the end of April.’ In that riding, Conservative Ted Opitz beat Liberal incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj after a recount put the Tory on top by 26 votes. …In older for a by-election to be called, an elector in a specific riding would have to prove to a federal judge that the number of electors affected by the robocalls was greater than the number of votes that separated the winner and the second-place candidate. ‘If you’re able to demonstrate that, the judge will say a by-election must be called,’ Canada’s former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley said. ‘This is so serious that when the judgement is made, if you want to appeal that, you have eight days, that’s all. And then it goes to the Supreme Court of Canada directly, and they must deal with it expeditiously.'”

To add your voice to Leadnow’s call for a public inquiry backed by the RCMP and Elections Canada and to read Steven Shrybman’s blog on the court remedy option under the Elections Canada Act, please go to