CRTC hits Alberta's Wildrose Party with $90,000 fine for robocalls in 2011, 2012

EDMONTON – Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party says it has paid a $90,000 penalty imposed by federal regulators for violating automated phone call rules.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says Wildrose broke the rules in 2011 and before, during and after the April 2012 provincial election.

Wildrose party president David Yager (YAY-ger) says the company that made the automated calls assured the party that it was following the rules.

He declined to name the company, but says the firm had made similar calls for other political parties.

“We chose a vendor that had worked for other political parties, that had been around a lot longer than we have,” Yager said Thursday.

“We felt that we were using a qualified vendor and that it really wasn’t our fault; what we learned is that it doesn’t really matter who the vendor is, ultimately it’s the sponsor that’s liable.”

Wildrose co-operated fully with the commission and will follow the rules in the future, Yager said.

Federal regulations stipulate that automated phone calls must include the name of the party sponsoring the call, as well as an address and contact telephone number.

“We’ve been open and transparent, we’ve co-operated fully, we’re taking our lumps,” Yager said. “I’d just like to say that this is a regrettable event for our party, our members and our supporters.

“It’s not going to happen again.”

The CRTC told the party in April that it was being investigated.

Yager said he hoped the CRTC expands its investigation to look at other Alberta political parties.

“None of the calls we made were compliant. None of the calls I’ve ever received are compliant and I’m not sure that any call ever made by a political party in Canada is compliant and all we’ve asked the CRTC is to apply these regulations even-handedly to other political organizations.”