An investigation on two fronts

CBC reports that Elections Canada has expanded its investigation to RMG’s call centre in Thunder Bay. But Postmedia says Elections Canada might not be able to pursue some nuisance calls.

Volpe’s lawyer wrote to Elections Canada on April 15, 2011, to complain that for the previous 10 days constituents in the riding were receiving calls “from persons falsely identifying themselves as calling from the Joe Volpe campaign.” The email from Elections Canada suggests such calls are not forbidden by the act. “The act does not prohibit or regulate the use of telephone solicitations for a particular candidate or party, or the content of a call unless actual intimidation or false pretence can be shown,” the email said.

The harassing calls in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence had a call display showing a North Dakota number often blamed for credit card scams. Calls from the same number have been reported in a number of other ridings across the country. But the elections agency said the use of “spoofed” call display numbers “is not regulated by the Act. “Consequently in most cases compliance or enforcement issues do not arise under the Act from political calls soliciting support for a candidate or party,” Elections Canada said. “This simply recognizes the role played by free speech and communication in the democratic process, including speech that is annoying, repetitive or of a partisan nature.”