In regards to the matter of the Valeriote campaign’s call, it is the Liberal side’s contention that robocalls do not qualify as advertising (and thus are not covered by Section 320 of the Elections Act). Here is how the Liberals explained the matter in an email bulletin this evening.
It is clear that so-called “robocalls” do not constitute “advertising”.
Elections Canada agreed with this assessment during the last election and posted this interpretation on its website:
“Elections Canada has taken the position that the prohibition (against Election Day advertising) does not extend to messages, whether live or automated, which are sent to a specific telephone or e-mail address.”
So while “advertising” is something that is broadcast, “robocalls” are targeted and are not subject to the same rules. While we don’t dispute that the Liberal automated call in Guelph should have more clearly identified its origin, it should not be used by the Conservatives or anyone else to muddy the waters and further confuse Canadians.