Dirty campaign tricks begin well ahead of 2015 federal election

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Constituents in the Montreal riding of Mount Royal have been receiving calls from a telephone number identified as "Campaign Research" asking if they intend to support the Conservative Party in an impending federal by-election.

There is a bit of a problem though: Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who represents Mount Royal, has no plans of stepping down and there's no impending by-election.

An angry Colter, wanting to find out who was making the calls, addressed  the House of Commons, Thursday.

"Telling my constituents that I am resigning and that there is a by-election imminently occurring is not only patently false, but the clear and important point here is that it violates my privileges as a member and should be regarded by all members in the House as an unacceptable practice for this institution and its members," he told Speaker Andrew Scheer.

"The particularly relevant part is that while this occurred in my riding of Mount Royal," he said, "nothing is to stop this from occurring in another riding and this practice ends up being an affront to all who serve in this place."

So who is making these calls? And, more importantly why?

According to an article in the Globe and Mail, Campaign Research, is a Toronto-based Marketing research agency whose clients have included Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The Conservatives, however, have not taken responsibility for the mischief.

This Mount Royal incident is reminiscent of another  story from the 2011 Federal election campaign, when Liberal supporters in Ontario received rude late-night phone calls from people claiming to be working for the local Liberal candidate.

"It's a classic voter suppression technique," former Liberal MP Joe Volpe told the Toronto Star in April. "Only our political opponents would benefit from these incessant phone calls, a tactic taken straight from the Republican dirty-tricks playbook."

Also on election day, according to an article in the London Free Press, Liberals' alleged some of their supporters were being called and told their poll location was moved.

Perhaps this latest round of phone calls is just the beginning of the 2015 election campaign.

Let the games begin?

(CP photo)