Appearing before a House of Commons committee on the same day that most reporters were tied up with budget speculation and analysis, Canada’s chief electoral officer discussed the scope of the so-called robocalls scandal that saw hundreds of Canadians receive suspicious phone calls directing them to non-existent polling stations during the last federal election.
Under the Elections Act, trying to prevent someone from voting is illegal.
Marc Mayrand, head of Elections Canada, told the committee that 800 people had filed specific complaints about the misleading calls, and that they come from 200 ridings in 10 provinces and one territory. “Pretty much the whole country,” he said, as iPolitics.ca reported.
So far, the crux of the investigation has focused on the riding of Guelph, Ont., where the infamous “Pierre Poutine” allegedly organized the calls. “These are very serious matters that strike at the integrity of our democracy,” said Mayrand, quoted by the Montreal Gazette. “Whether it was organized or bigger or whatever, the fact that electors, at least that we know in Guelph, were misdirected by calls falsely made on behalf of Elections Canada is absolutely outrageous.”
Mayrand also said Elections Canada has the resources to investigate the matter, and will issue a report within a year on how electors should use contemporary technology to communicate with voters.