The chief electoral officer of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand, finally broke the agency’s silence on Thursday in relation to the ongoing robo-calls investigation. Saying that Elections Canada received 700 specific complaints regarding misleading phone calls voters received in the days preceding the 2011 federal election, Mayrand confirmed the agency also received 31,000 submissions from the public as the result of an online petition calling for a public inquiry into the matter.
While the National Post’s Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor reported that an unnamed source qualified some of the information submitted to Elections Canada as “gold,” the CBC’s Terry Milewski reported on Friday that the public broadcaster checked the 31 ridings reported to have received fraudulent or improper calls and found a pattern that those receiving misleading calls had previously been called by the Conservative Party to find out how they would vote.
The CBC report suggests that the calls impersonating Elections Canada were made by people who had access to the data in the Conservative Party’s tightly controlled database, which the party uses to identify and keep track of voters and which has recently come under the scrutiny of Elections Canada as part of its investigation into the phone calls received by voters in the riding of Guelph, Ont. during the 2011 campaign.